13 March 2022

Image of Spring Term - 14th March 2022

Whole School CPD Focus:

Purposeful Writing (Explaining and Modelling)

Walkthru Cluster:

Explaining and Modelling



Set the Standards (pg. 84)



This Walkthru overlaps with others, but essentially aligns with our Teaching and Learning Policy.  Sherrington references Dylan Wiliam as he emphasises the importance of students needing to know and understand the learning goals.  He suggests that teachers should engage students in a process of clarifying learning goals.  Admittedly, part of this process will involve setting the standard for the work to be completed; and this is where our ‘Brilliant Teaching and Learning Toolkit’ comes into play.  One section of our Toolkit – exam technique – relies on this approach.  Students need to see exemplars and WAGOLLs to understand the standard expected of them. As Sherrington says, ‘if students are not aiming for a high standard, they are unlikely to reach it.’ 


So what are the five stages of Sherrington’s Walkthru?


Stage One: Make ‘What Does Excellence Look Like?’ a routine.

As an embedded part of every instructional process, include a discussion about the nature of excellence in the work that students will produce.  So, this might include the features of excellent writing; a science practical completed to an excellent standard; a performance in PE or drama that is excellent.  Sherrington suggests that by making it routine, students will start to ask the question: ‘what does excellence look like?’


Stage Two: Deconstruct Exemplars

This stage will come as no surprise.  We need to present students with models of excellence and engage them in a process of evaluation that allows them to understand the elements that add up to making these exemplars excellent. Again, this may be pieces of writing, exercise books containing excellent presentation; maths solutions that are successful and efficient; etc.  A visualiser works well here as you are then able to annotate ‘live’ and highlight/annotate important features.


Stage Three: Co-Construct Success Criteria

So, from the discussion, it is important to clarify the features of excellence.  Make a checklist here.  This will then form the success criteria for students’ subsequent work and will allow them to self- and peer assess their own work. Where judgements of quality are involved, Sherrington suggests making sure links between the criteria and exemplars are made as explicit as possible.


Stage Four: Reference Contrasting Examples

Once you have shared exemplars or excellent practice, Sherrington suggests that it is important to show students exemplars of work from different standards. Looking at these examples in comparison with the success criteria should help the students be clear and focused here.  You may also use ‘Check for Understanding’ to ensure engagement with the different standards of work and what it takes to improve them. Often it is difficult to discern the differences between an average piece until compared, side-by-side, with an excellent example. Allowing students to see this for themselves is often more effective than simply telling them.


Stage Five: Blend Teacher Assessment and Self-Assessment

When students have completed their work, provide feedback referencing the exemplars as comparison, teasing out successes and areas for improvement.  You are then modelling an assessment process that students can use for themselves.  Ask students to compare their work to the exemplars and identify the similarities and differences between them.  This should help them to form targets and to deepen their understanding of the standard required.


We often talk about ‘teaching to the top’.  In adopting this Walkthru, we make this possible; we will draw students into their learning and set the standard for the work to be produced, encouraging them to ASPIRE and achieve.


Previous blogs and Walkthrus in this cluster:

  • Deliberate Vocabulary Development
  • Worked Examples
  • Dual Coding
  • Big Picture, Small Picture
  • Abstract Models, Concrete Examples
  • Live Modelling
  • Scaffolding
  • Metacognitive Talk


CPD Cascade

National College

Remember that there are subject-specific watchlists available in National College.


Free Sessions – VSH



Wednesday 16th March 3.30pm

Understanding and Promoting Resilience in Children and Young People

Wednesday 23rd March  9.30am

Trauma-informed Working in Schools

Wednesday 23rd March 3.30pm

Supporting Children and Young People with Low Mood and Depression

Friday 25th March 9.30am

Supporting Children Following Loss and Bereavement


Posted by Rachel Long

Category: Teaching and Learning Digests

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