High quality ’Quality First’ teaching


The Department for Education sets out the expectations of the National Curriculum and states that “every state-funded school must:

  • Offer a curriculum which is balanced and broadly based and which promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils at the school and of society, and prepares pupils at the school for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life
  • Teachers should set high expectations for every pupil. They should plan stretching work for pupils whose attainment is significantly above the expected standard. They have an even greater obligation to plan lessons for pupils who have low levels of prior attainment or come from disadvantaged backgrounds
  • Lessons should be planned to ensure that there are no barriers to every pupil achieving
  • In many cases, such planning will mean that these pupils will be able to study the full national curriculum
  • Teachers must plan lessons so that these pupils can study every national curriculum subject. High quality teaching that is differentiated and personalised will meet the individual needs of the majority of children and young people 
  • Some children and young people  need educational provision that is additional to or different from this”.

As part of their work to inform evidence-based practice at the SEND Support level, guidance by the Department for Education details the evidence for different high-quality teaching strategies and features approaches deemed to have ‘good’ evidence: 

All ages

  • Teaching planning, monitoring and evaluation of pupils’ own work enabling them to reflect on their understanding to improve attainment
  • Encourage the use of memory strategies e.g. chunking, mnemonics, linking audio and visual knowledge
  • Provide regular practice of information that has already been taught, interleaved with new material, to ensure learning is retained to a level of automaticity and fluency
  • Encourage regular physical activity in the school routine. There is evidence that both moderate and lower intensity activity improves attention and behaviour
  • Promoting language awareness and communication strategies in the classroom
  • Explicit teaching of reading comprehension strategies in which pupils are taught techniques to understand the meaning of what is written, including inference from text, identifying key points and monitoring their own understanding. 


Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS)

Children develop more rapidly during the first five years of their lives than at any other time. Children at this stage follow a specific curriculum which starts from birth and  continue until the end of their reception year.  Irrespective of the type of Early Years setting they attend.

This curriculum reflects  the need for young children to learn through movement and play. There is a strong emphasis on working alongside parents, who know their children best.  

The curriculum sets out seven areas of Learning and Development: three prime areas and four specific areas.  All areas inter connect but the prime areas are considered to be the building blocks for the specific areas.

Prime areas:

  • communication and language 
  •  physical development 
  •  personal, social and emotional development 

Specific areas:

  • literacy
  • mathematics 
  • understanding the world
  • expressive arts and design 

Assessment plays an important part in helping parents, carers and practitioners to recognise children’s progress, understand their needs, and to plan activities and support.  


Key Stage 1 and 2 

During the primary years there are a number of strategies that can be undertaken at the Quality First teaching level to support and promote the learning of pupils with SEND. 

● Language is reduced, chunked, simplified and avoids ambiguous terms, and collaborative learning opportunities which group pupils of differing language levels are implemented.

● Visual support systems such as visual timetables, targets on the desk, targets shown on the whiteboard, prompt cards etc are used regularly.

● A peer buddying system is used to model social and play skills, which are explicitly taught and reinforced throughout the day, alongside the use of visuals to support understanding of rules and social expectations.

● Good attention and good listening skills are noticed and praised and activities to target attention and listening skills are planned for.

● Tasks are adapted to take into account the strengths and interests of the pupil to increase motivation.

● Calming strategies are modelled and undertaken daily e.g. breathing exercises, strategies from mindfulness to support emotional wellbeing and regulation.

● Physical and outdoor learning opportunities are incorporated into teaching and learning.


Key Stage 3 and 4

In secondary school a number of the same high-quality teaching strategies used in earlier key stages remain beneficial.  Further examples include:

● Differentiation is based on task presentation, content and outcome.

● Instructions are repeated and reinforced, and for pupils who need it a visual plan/checklist for the lesson is provided.

● Pupils are given more time to process verbal information, with key words emphasised; new vocabulary is explained.

● Pupils are supported to develop self-awareness of difficulties and ‘triggers’, and are supported to self-regulate through staff reminding them of strategies in a supportive manner.

● Collaborative learning opportunities which group pupils of differing ability levels are in place.

● Drop-in sessions for pupils who require learning support or support with homework (lunchtime, after school) are routinely provided

● Strategies to develop and extend listening and attention, including availability of distraction free environments for some teaching and learning sessions, are available throughout the setting.

● Simplified reading texts and aids for writing including writing frames, sentences starters and word banks are used.

● Key learning points are reviewed at the end of each lesson and explicitly linked to prior learning.

● A behaviour policy which prioritises relationships and offers a restorative approach to resolving conflict and disagreement is in active use throughout the setting.


Post 16

Even though post-16 learning may be more vocational for many learners with SEND, high-quality teaching strategies can and should be used, including;

● Vocational and alternative learning opportunities are incorporated into teaching to ensure students to work towards their career aspirations.

● Students are taught planning, monitoring and evaluation strategies and there is an understanding of meta-cognition by all staff.

● Staff model and encourage the use of memory strategies and other study skills and revision techniques.

● Students are explicitly taught and reminded of social and emotional skills including skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, responsible decision making.

● Individualised targets and rewards are developed with the student

● Tasks are modelled and understanding is checked, and tasks are differentiated based on task presentation, content and outcome. For those who have difficulties with motivation, ‘starter’ tasks which enable success before more challenging work is introduced are used.


When there are concerns about a child’s development practitioners follow the Assess, Plan, Do, Review cycle , also known as the Graduated Response, in collaboration with parents and other professionals.  


29/06/2021, 12:15:36