Trinity Primary School

Approach to teaching and learning

'The hallmark of successful individuals is that they love learning they seek challenges they value effort and they persist in the face of obstacles.' 

Professor Carol Dweck.


Trinity School is a school committed to 'Learning without Limits’. This means we believe that there is more in everyone than we think. Labels for children can inadvertently limit our expectations of them but here at Trinity we believe every child is intelligent and extraordinary. We want all our children to leave our school with the knowledge and the skills they will need to lead a flourishing life, and to have the disposition to help others' to do so too.

To make this happen we believe:

  • all children and adults can be trusted to learn if the conditions for learning are right;
  • in an ethic of 'everybody';
  • in working hard, effort is key - effort creates success;
  • courage and compassion are essential to all learning.

Our school is a place that values quality, character, standards and craftsmanship. It is a school where children are always encouraged to do real work for a real purpose whenever we can. Our children are taught how we can all work together to help make our school and the world a better place.

We aim to offer choices of tasks within lessons and children make decisions about how much challenge they can attempt. We provide feedback about learning rather than just scores - this is central to our approach. This sense of control builds intrinsic motivation to approach new learning in a very powerful way.

Rosenshine's 10 Principles of Instruction

Learning is at least in part defined as a change in long-term memory. As Sweller et al (2011) has pointed out,

‘if nothing in the long-term memory has been altered, nothing has been learned’.

It is, therefore, important that we use approaches in our classrooms which help our children to integrate new knowledge into the long-term memory and make enduring connections that foster understanding. To do this we can draw on a growing evidence base from Barak Rosenshine.

Barak Rosenshine’s principles of direct instruction informs the way our teachers plan and deliver their lessons. This ensures that children build strong understanding in their long-term memory.

Rosenshine’s Principles combines three distinct research areas (cognitive science, classroom practices, cognitive support) and how they complement each other by addressing:

  • How to effectively implement classroom strategies;
  • How to help students learn and remember new class material;
  • How much support teachers should be giving their students.

The Learning Pit

Trinity has adopted James Nottingham’s ‘Learning Pit’ as one of our approaches to learning. The Learning Pit (or Learning Challenge) is for the teachers, leaders and support staff who wish to guide their students in the development of critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinking. It is a model that provides children with a language to think and talk about learning. It helps build participants’ resilience, wisdom and self-efficacy. And when it is used as a structure for learning, it can also improve teacher clarity and raise expectations of success. The Learning Pit (or Leanring Challenge) is designed to help children think and talk about their learning. In some ways, it is a child-friendly representation of Vygotsky’s (1978) zone of proximal development in that it describes the move from actual to potential understanding. It can help develop a growth mindset (Dweck, 2006), prompt people to explore alternatives and contradictions, and encourage children to willingly step outside their comfort zone.  (Taken from -

The Learning Pit is based on the following principles:

  1. Children are generally more interested in learning when others around them are curious and willing to express uncertainty. The Learning Pit therefore assumes a willingness to say, ‘I’m not sure,’ or ‘I’m confused’;
  2. We are all fallible. The Learning Pit assumes we are all willing to admit, or even draw attention to, our own errors;
  3. Learning is enhanced by participation in guided inquiry;
  4. High quality learning comes from making connections and understanding relationships between ideas. Being in the pit compels us to make these links;
  5. Knowledge, understanding, skills and attitudes transcend school subject categories. Therefore, attention should be given to the transferability and connectedness or what is learnt;
  6. Everyone who takes part in lessons involving the Learning Pit should aim to be thoughtful, reflective, supportive and reasonable;
  7. Though most lessons involving the Learning Pit result in agreement about what answers are right, there are occasions, particularly with philosophical questions, when no right answer is achievable. This does not make the experience any less valid. It is the process of thinking together, reflecting and giving reasons that is at the heart of learning.