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St Andrew's College Dublin St Andrew's College Dublin

High-Quality Learning

Our Definition of High-Quality Learning:

We believe that high-quality learning is a relationship and process that enables our learners to acquire knowledge, skills and understanding and to foster the key skills of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking to enable them to succeed during their time in St Andrew’s College and beyond. This learning occurs within a caring community with a strong mission and shared set of values. 

In this context, high-quality learning is closely connected with a high-quality teaching environment and high-quality teaching.

  1. What does a high-quality teaching environment look like?

Physical Environment:

  • The learning spaces are accessible and reflect the age of the learners and their learning needs.
  • The teachers and learners have access to high-quality equipment that is designed for and suitable for the task.
  • Working walls and other relevant displays that celebrate students’ learning and support the curriculum.
  • Classrooms are well-lit and well-maintained.
  • The Library supports student learning and the curriculum.  It reflects the international character of the school through its provision of multi-cultural, diverse and inclusive material on all levels of ability across a variety of formats, with diversity of appeal, representing many different points of view.
  • Learning is enriched with technology and appropriate resources.
  • There is space for play and physical activity.

Non-Physical Environment

  • The learning environment is a welcoming, safe, orderly, inclusive, calm, purposeful and supportive environment where learners trust one another, feel respected, learn and can take risks.
  • There is respect between learner and teacher and between peers.
  • Learners are encouraged to participate in their learning through asking questions, collaborative work, presentations, oral communication etc.
  • Class sizes allow for individualized learning, learner discussions, questioning, exploring and taking risks.
  • There is a partnership between home and school, and that the learners feels at the centre of a team focused on their achievement and wellbeing.
  • There is effective staff collaboration and shared ‘best practice’ with respect to teaching & learning.
  • Staff are supported through effective support networks and have access to relevant continuous professional development.
  • There are effective home-school partnerships and communication between all the stakeholders.
  • The learner voice is welcomed & encouraged.
  • There is attention to learner attendance and punctuality; and appropriate behavioural interventions are taken.
  • A growth mindset is encouraged.
  • There is an inclusive, internationally minded and progressive teaching environment.
  • There are policies & procedures which give a framework to the teaching & learning environment.
  • The learners are motivated by their learning and are inquisitive; they can identify what they are learning and why via learning outcomes & feedback.
  1. What does high-quality teaching look like?

The Learners

  • are inclusive, make an active contribution to the lesson and are encouraged to ask questions;
  • are motivated to work to the best of their ability and to develop an enquiring mind;
  • are empowered to be excited by learning;
  • are challenged to learn;
  • are motivated by their learning and can identify what they are learning and why.

The Teachers

  • are inclusive;
  • use innovative resources, dynamic pedagogical approaches and a variety of methodologies;
  • have a deep understanding of the curriculum, and provide carefully planned lessons with explicit teaching of knowledge and skills;
  • are aware of the learners’ individual needs & differentiate learning material when required;
  • use technology as a tool to support the learner experience;
  • use both summative & formative assessment techniques;
  • use assessment that is consistent, authentic, transparent, and never punitive;
  • share the criteria for success, ensuring it is balanced and transparent;
  • work with other departments of the College to ensure the learning & wellbeing needs of the learners are met;
  • provide high and clear expectations for all learners;
  • put an emphasis on language, literacy and communication.

The College:

  • provides access to high-quality continuous professional development for all staff;
  • provides time for planning and collaboration;
  • sets high standards via the frameworks for teaching & learning:
    • Looking At Our School
    • School Self Evaluation
    • Digital Plan
  • supports teachers;
  • provides instructional and transformational leadership;
  • builds trusting and strong relationships.
  1. We can observe high-quality learning when :

The Teachers:

  • differentiate across content, process, product and environment;
  • observe learner work and give ­­­­­feedback in a verbal and written format;
  • set goals & targets to help them gauge the learner progress;
  • use continuous assessment to inform the next learning steps
  • reflect on their practice, updating classes and subject plans
  • track academic progress of learners
  • employ inclusive classroom strategies:
    • Define clear minimum standards for behaviour
    • Enforce those standards consistently
    • Deal with children who misbehave in a sensitive way.
    • Create opportunities to listen to all children
    • Develop a 'scaffold' approach to learning
    • Be aware of the specific needs of every child in your class.

The Learners

  • are armed with choice, autonomy and self-reflection skills;
  • engage with both formative & summative assessment practices;
  • engage with peer and self-assessment to support learning;
  • develop good habits for learning and study;
  • are self-motivated;
  • engage in well-planned and effective collaborative tasks;
  • ask good questions;
  • are courageous, step outside their comfort zone and take risks;
  • are allowed to explore areas that interest them;
  • take responsibility & ownership of their learning;
  • develop resilience skills;
  • have hands-on, real life learning opportunities.
  1. A measure of our success in providing a high-quality learning is …
  • having high levels of learner, teacher and parent satisfaction;
  • having high rates of punctuality and attendance;
  • having high levels of progress and attainment;
  • having a strong reputation locally, nationally and internationally;
  • having high retention rates and transition to the senior school & colleges of further education.