1. Principles


2.1 Policy into Practice - Planning and Delivery

2.2 Policy into Practice - Learning environment and resources

2.3 Policy into Practice - Assessing and Evaluating Teaching and Learning

2.4 Assessing and evaluating our performance


3.1 Policy into practice: Departmental Procedures for Effective Learning

3.2 Policy into Practice - Common Procedures at the Senior School for Effective Teaching

4. Continued Professional Development

5. Outcomes

6. Using this information purposefully & Review

1. Principles:

This policy describes the overall approach to teaching and learning at The British School of Amsterdam. The policy has implications for all sections of the school. It can only be fully understood in the context of the whole range of the school’s other policy documents. At BSA we believe in the concept of lifelong learning and that adults and children learn new things every day. We believe that learning should be an enjoyable and rewarding experience for everyone.

We believe that our core purpose drives our approach to teaching and learning at our school:

  • We create a happy, caring, friendly and supportive environment and our teaching allows our pupils to feel comfortable with challenge, motivated and secure in their learning.
  • We are very ambitious for our pupils and have high expectations for our pupils . This provides the opportunity for them to reach their full potential both academically and socially.
  • Each pupil has appropriate access to the whole curriculum so that there is a holistic approach to learning in order to ensure solid foundations, socially, emotionally and academically. In the Senior School, pupil options are carefully considered.
  • We offer a broad and balanced curriculum which has English and Maths as a central focus whilst developing rounded individuals. We understand that achievement in a variety of subjects and enrichment activities helps to produce happy and motivated pupils who are ready for the next stage in their learning.
  • We seek to be creative and innovative in our practice and are always looking for ways to improve it.
  • We are alert to rapidly changing technology and we utilise a range of technology to enrich the experience of our learners and build on their digital literacy.
  • We understand that there are different styles of learning and use a range of teaching styles. Much use is made of the visual, particularly important for learners with special needs or whose first language is not English.
  • We understand our unique context and the many varied backgrounds and cultural experiences of the school population, and we reflect this in providing a relevant and meaningful curriculum that acknowledges the many strengths and diversity amongst the school community and the wider international setting.
  • To make the most of learning opportunities we ensure teaching is delivered with appropriate pace and enthusiasm. We meet children’s individual needs by providing suitably differentiated tasks and learning experiences.
  • We encourage pupils to take responsibility for their learning, appropriate to their age; to be involved as far as possible in reviewing the way they learn, what helps them learn and what makes it difficult for them to learn.
  • We believe that a good relationship between school and parents is essential for effective learning and we seek to continue to develop good communications with parents about all aspects of their pupils’ lives at school.
  • We recognise that when our mainstream setting is not able to meet the needs of a child we work closely with parents to find a more suitable school.
  • We teach using a variety of methods including but not limited to: demonstration, instruction, discussion, direct and indirect teaching, child initiated learning, intervention, questioning, challenging and exposition.


Our curriculum is based on the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and the National Curriculum for England. Pupils are taught in year groups according to age (except in exceptional circumstances) and teachers plan collegiately to deliver teaching in English, Maths, Science, Art & Design, History, Geography (Humanities), PHSE, PE, Computing and Music. We also offer additional Modern Foreign languages; Dutch for Reception onwards, and also French from KS2. As good primary practice, we aim to make relevant, useful and purposeful cross curricular links between these subject areas. We see the importance of pupils learning and perfecting the skills that will enable them to become lifelong learners and dynamic members of society. We aim to utilise the skills and talents of all staff in delivering an integrated and exciting curriculum that is tailored to the needs of our learners and our context.

Staff teamwork

We understand within our unique international context we are reliant on good teamwork to successfully deliver an outstanding educational experience, and therefore we place high value on team work. Each teacher is responsible for planning the delivery of appropriate lessons and opportunities for their class or subject, however we recognise that together we can share good practice and develop our curriculum, therefore we work in Year Group teams, departmental teams and also in cross phase working parties to review and organise the learning.

We are committed to offering an excellent experience for all learners that is also broader than the school day, therefore we plan and provide a large range of extracurricular clubs and activities that supplement the pupils’ core learning and social experience and which forms part of the extended school day.

2.1 Policy into Practice - Planning and Delivery

Each year group plans a curriculum which follows the UK National Curriculum in all subjects, including Personal, Health & Social Education (PHSE/JIGSAW). This ensures that all pupils in each year group have equal opportunities and access to the same learning opportunities. Where possible links are made between the different subjects to deliver a thematic approach in which pupils are able to use their skills across the curriculum.

A Curriculum overview including skills progression is developed in each school and kept on the network/firefly.

As a staff we undertake to regularly review and update our planning to ensure we are maximizing useful and meaningful links between the areas of learning, and ensuring progression between stages and phases.

All plans and lessons provide for differentiation so that the needs of all pupils are included. It is important that every child is included and able to access the curriculum at their own level. Differentiation includes meeting the needs of pupils who need learning support, additional support with learning English and more able pupils (MAP).

A wide variety of resources are used, both inside the classroom and utilising the school grounds and resource rooms to provide a range of exciting learning opportunities. Where possible, teachers provide a variety of lesson activities and use a range of strategies to address the different learning styles of the pupils.

Teachers plan and assess pupil’s work in a variety of ways in line with the Assessment Policy. Assessment for Learning (AfL) is used to inform planning and target setting. AfL includes the use of questions, talk partners, marking ladders, assessing against the learning objective, peer assessment and self-assessment, and informing the pupils the steps they need to take in order to succeed. This reflective practice informs teacher’s planning. Pupils engage in setting SMART learning targets for themselves.

All planning is stored across the shared networks of the school.

2.2 Policy into Practice - Learning environment and resources

We believe that learning takes place in environments that are welcoming, stimulating and challenging.

Our classrooms are attractive learning environments that are:

  • Happy and caring
  • Well organised
  • Encouraging and appreciative
  • Well-resourced and labelled
  • Peaceful and calm

Our classrooms are organised to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to:

  • Work individually, in groups or as a class
  • Be creative
  • Receive support
  • Discuss their ideas and share their thoughts
  • Develop independence
  • Learn in different ways, using different learning styles

We believe that a stimulating environment sets the climate for learning and that organised, exciting classrooms promote the independent use of resources.

In our classrooms, pupils have access to:

  • A range of dictionaries, thesauruses, fiction and non-fiction books
  • Up to date resources for all subject areas
  • A range of mathematical resources and manipulatives
  • An interactive whiteboard that is used to support teaching and to engage pupils in their learning
  • Access to IT equipment that can be used for research, to support learning or to present learning in an appropriate way

Our school is up to date with advancing technologies and is equipped with portable IT equipment including ipads and laptops.

Our classroom displays are changed at least once per term to ensure that the classrooms reflect the topics studied by the pupils and include Learning Walls. We ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to display their best work at some point during the year.

Our displays:

  • Celebrate success
  • Provide academic support
  • Make learning accessible
  • Challenge our pupils’ thinking
  • Share class and school rules and values

We believe that learning also happens outside of the classroom and we strive to provide opportunities for this within local and international contexts.

Regular class and year group trips are planned to support work in school and to engage the pupils in experiential learning.

From KS2 through the use of annual residential camp trips in KS2, we ensure that the pupils also have the opportunity to develop on a social and emotional level

2.3 Policy into Practice - Assessing and Evaluating Teaching and Learning

We are committed to establishing and maintaining high standards in the effectiveness of our teaching and the learning outcomes achieved by all pupils within the school. To ensure our practice is having the best effect, we carry out regular assessment and evaluation of our work, including Lesson Observations, Learning Walks, Book Scrutinies, CPD activities and peer exchange.

Through monitoring and evaluating our performance we seek to:

  • establish how well we are performing;
  • identify our strengths and weaknesses;
  • celebrate our strengths;
  • ensure that our future actions are targeted to address the weaknesses;
  • inform the cycle of school development planning;
  • allocate resources in the most effective way.

2.4 Assessing and evaluating our performance

Assessment and Reporting in the Early Years.

Staff in the Early Years School use observational assessment to understand pupils’ learning. This form of observation does not require prolonged breaks from interaction with the pupils. Staff use the 2Simple app “2Build a Profile” to record observations and assessments. The app provides a simple way to log pupils' achievements against the Early Years Foundation stage profile. The app allows practitioners to take a photo with the device's camera, write a virtual post it note, select the pupils who are being observed, and tag the observation with the early learning goals.

Observations are automatically sent via wifi to a secure website (Web Management Suite) where observations can be collated, viewed, saved and printed at any time. In the web management suite, teachers track individual pupil progress as well as progress across a class and a year group.In February and July each child’s profile is downloaded as a PDF from the web management suite and e-mailed to parents. An end of year report is also sent to parents at the end of the summer term reporting on the child’s progress against the three prime areas and four specific areas of learning within the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile.

In KS1 & 2, assessment is undertaken using a variety of formative and summative events and procedures, and recorded on the network (See Assessment Policy)

We analyse test papers and writing samples:

There is an annual programme of assessments taken by the pupils (see Assessment Policy). The results of the analysis allow us to identify gaps in learning and focus on elements of the curriculum that are not as strong as others.

We analyse data:

We use the summative assessment information at the start of each year and at the mid-year assessment event to evaluate how each year group is performing, to inform our long term planning, to track progress, to check how different groups of pupils are achieving, and to plan for support and extension opportunities. We examine and compare assessment information across parallel classes to ensure a fair coverage of curriculum skills and knowledge, linked to our planning.

We assess learning through regular and meaningful marking:

We mark all work set, and aim to empower pupils to take control of their own learning by establishing dialogue with pupils, providing opportunities for pupils to self-evaluate their learning including peer review, and through end of unit summaries of learning. (see also Marking Policy)

We assess targets:

We engage with pupils to evaluate their learning. This is achieved through the setting of targets in Mathematics and English, and Learning Support Plans (LSPs) for pupils identified in need of additional learning support, which are reviewed each term with the pupils. We also target track on a lesson-by-lesson basis through the use of shared and explicit Lesson Objectives (LO’s and WALTs) and measure their achievement and attainment through our marking policy.

We share pupils’ work and talk to pupils:

We regularly examine samples of pupils’ work to look at progress and consistency across the school, and to share good practice with our colleagues; we also talk to pupils about their learning as part of our teaching.

We conduct lesson observations:

There is a programme of lesson observations with two strands;

  • An annual audit according to the agreed BSA Standards criteria for teaching and learning of either English or mathematics in all classes; although this is not always graded.
  • focused lesson observations arising from other foci of the School Development Plan.

We conduct other observations:

From time to time we may conduct other observations, such as looking at the behaviour of pupils in the playground, to support CPD or as part of Peer Mentoring/ Peer Exchange and through Learning Walks.

We also collect information through a range of other means:

There is a range of other means of collecting information, such as:

  • structured discussions with pupils, parents, staff, governors
  • questionnaires;
  • annual surveys;
  • evaluation sheets.


Common Procedures and Practice at the Senior School: Effective learning

  • We encourage pupils to take responsibility for their own learning, to be involved as far as possible in reviewing the way they learn, and to reflect on how they learn – what helps them to learn and what makes it difficult for them to learn.
  • There is a school homework timetable which details the subjects to be set each evening and gives guidelines as to the lengths of time to spend. From September 2017 Firefly will become a homework portal
  • The school assessment policy outlines the need to share assessment criteria with the pupils so that they are able to understand how to improve their work
  • Every pupil in KS3 and 4 has a planner and is required to record and manage their work.
  • Strategies are in place to assist learning needs, EAL and the very able.
  • A programme of enrichment aims to stimulate the interests of all pupils in Key Stage 3
  • The use of pastoral records helps pupils to review progress and set targets (see Assessment Policy).
  • Subject specific targets, and strategies for reaching those targets, are discussed with all pupils (see Assessment Policy).
  • Particular examination targets are discussed with KS4 pupils and the Sixth Form following internal and mock examinations (see Assessment Policy).
  • The Sixth Form work in consultation with their tutors and the Head of Sixth Form to monitor progress and refine learning skills.
  • Study skills are part of our PSHE programme in KS4 and Sixth Form.

3.1 Policy into practice: Departmental Procedures for Effective Learning

Learning opportunities are provided in many forms.

  • Within the classroom, each department has strategies in place to support the particular needs of their area. These include investigation and problem solving, research and finding out, group work, pair work, independent work, whole-class work, use of the computer, drafting and redrafting, creative activities, use of audio and visual material, debates, role- plays and oral presentations.
  • Educational visits and guest speakers are also organised on a regular basis throughout the school to support the needs of the curriculum.
  • Particular learning needs are addressed within the classroom environment.
  • Enrichment is seen as an entitlement for all pupils in KS3.
  • A full co-curricular programme takes learning opportunities out of the classroom and into our wider community.

3.2 Policy into Practice - Common Procedures at the Senior School for Effective Teaching

We treat the pupils with understanding and respect. We treat them fairly and give them equal opportunity to take part in all class activities.

Our classrooms are attractive learning environments with access to suitable equipment and materials. We believe that a stimulating environment sets the climate for learning, and an exciting classroom promotes independent use of resources and high-quality work by the pupils.

Effective teaching results from frequent discussions in departments about methodologies, materials and the progress of individuals.

  • Each department has established long term plans for the delivery of the curriculum.
  • Medium term plans with more detail of materials and teaching strategies complement these.
  • The needs of individuals are constantly addressed within the classroom. Teachers differentiate materials and tasks as appropriate for LS, EAL or G+T needs.
  • Each individual member of staff is expected to develop the use of new technologies into his/her lesson planning.
  • Records of pupil progress are used to help teachers refine and develop their teaching practice.
  • Teachers are expected to keep detailed records of pupil progress.
  • Teacher are expected to share assessment criteria and give constructive guidance about how learners can improve performance
  • Heads of Faculty organise tasks and assessments within the department in order to monitor individuals and amend teaching strategies.
  • Mock examination results are analysed in order to identify areas of concern for individuals and areas of strength or needing improvement within the department.
  • External information is also available (end of KS2 SAT, CAT, previous examination results) for the department to use in identifying under performers and in enabling suitable teaching strategies to be employed

4. Continued Professional Development

Teachers are encouraged to reflect on areas which they would like to develop in their work and to plan their professional development needs accordingly. Staff are expected to keep abreast of current UK thinking in classroom practice, examination course delivery and school wide issues. In Service Training can be organised for individuals or groups, in the UK or at the BSA.(see CPD policy)

5. Outcomes

Effective teaching and learning will result in:

  • every pupil reaching their full potential
  • the development of well-rounded individuals
  • the development of excellent academic standards
  • the maintaining of a highly valued and competent staff
  • personal satisfaction, for pupils and teachers alike

6. Using this information purposefully & Review

We annually review our School Development Plan as part of the ongoing School Self Evaluation, linked to the BSO Standards framework, and we use information gathered as part of our various assessments of teaching and learning to guide our priorities for future development.

How do we ensure that monitoring and evaluation is rigorous?

It is the responsibility of the Leadership Team to ensure that our monitoring and evaluation exercises are rigorous by ensuring that the programme is thorough.


We will review this policy regularly to ensure it is thorough and relevant to the needs of our learners and reflects our commitment to offering an outstanding educational experience to the pupils in our school.

This conforms to Part 1: Quality of education provided as part of the UK Government’s British Overseas School Standards.