There is little evidence to show that a programme designed to help pupils develop their thinking and assessment skills has improved standards in the outcomes of assessments at 7, 11 and 14 years-old.
In the best lessons, teachers involved in delivering the programme facilitate, rather than direct learning. They speak less and focus on open-questioning and on encouraging in-depth answers. This approach stimulates pupils’ critical thinking, analysis and problem-solving skills. However, there is still too much variation in the quality of teaching within and between the schools involved in the programme.
The programme is more developed in primary schools than in secondary schools.
Schools and local authorities should:
- embed the programme and similar initiatives within a whole-school curriculum plan for developing pupils’ skills progressively, particularly in literacy and numeracy;
- make sure all teachers and classroom assistants are trained for, adopt and apply the programme consistently across the curriculum; and
- share within and across schools the learning gained by teachers involved in the programme.
The Welsh Government should:
- provide guidance on how the programme can be linked to the National Curriculum Skills Framework and the Foundation Phase curriculum; and
- establish clear success criteria for new programmes and initiatives so that their impact on standards and value for money can be evaluated.
For a full list of recommendations, please download the report.
Case studies within the report include best practice from St Richard Gwyn Catholic High School, Ysgol Ty Coch, St Athan Primary and local authorities in north Wales.