Hertford Juniors

Small school big learning

Learning together

This is how we learn at Hertford Juniors.

Learning Friends

We use learning friends in class to help us think about how we are learning. Each of our seven learning friends is a different type of learner. Often we will think about the type of learner that we will be at the start of the lesson and keep checking in throughout the lesson. If you have shone as a learner you will be given the learning friend to show to everyone else how you have been learning.

Learning Partners

We use learning partners in class to allow us to think, pair and share ideas. This means that we have the opportunity to discuss ideas before feeding these back to the class. Often learning partners are generated randomly using the hat and changed on a weekly basis. This means that children have the opportunity to work with lots of different children in the class. Research shows that learning partners benefit children academically and socially.

Traffic lights

Children use traffic lights to self assess their work. The teacher then also traffic lights the work when it is marked. Often there will be a discussion of why a certain traffic light has been used. It is a good way to show who would like support in the next session.



​​​All children know their targets for literacy and numeracy. These are ongoing targets in addition to specific learning intentions for a lesson. The children are encouraged to refer to their targets across curriculum subjects not only in literacy and numeracy. These targets allow children to focus on skills which will help them to progress quickly.

Learning Journeys

We embrace a creative curriculum in which children embark on a learning journey. In every year group children take part in three learning journeys over the year. As much as possible links are drawn together between different subjects to enhance children's learning. Learning journeys begin with a stunning start and end with a fantastic finish which is often a celebration that parents and carers are welcome to attend.

Learning Objectives and Success Criteria

We very clearly share the learning objectives, the skill that we are focusing on , with the children before the children are expected to show this learning. The children themselves help to set the success criteria this can be in the form of 'remember tos' that need to be followed to be successful. This means that children do not have to guess at what is expected within a lesson and can follow clear steps to achieve.

Talk about learning

The use of learning friends has enabled a growth in talk about learning. We all now talk not only about what we are learning but also how we are learning.

Our Learning Environment

We provide the children with learning environments which both celebrate their achievements but also facilitate their learning. In addition to the class room environment the children are able to make use of our grounds to enjoy outdoor learning too.

Working with Others

All staff have been trained by Dr Cathy Ota in Working With Others practices. We are explicitly teaching children the skills needed to work with others and providing opportunities across the curriculum for them to do so. If you would like to know more about Working With Others and see the HJS page on the external website.

The Hat

The Hat is a program that allows us to randomly pick names. We use it to fully engage children in their learning. For instance it may be used to select children to share work during lessons, generate random pairs to work together or select children to answer questions during learning partner talk sessions. All children know that it is fair and that all contributions are valued and that there are high expectations that all learners are involved.

Self assessment and peer assessment

Children are given the opportunity to reflect on their learning and to assess themselves against the shared success criteria. Each unit of learning for Maths and English has a Big Picture which details the learning intentions that will be covered. The children self assess before they begin the unit and continue to assess during and at completion of the unit using the traffic light colours.  We are now developing co-operative improvement sessions between learning partners to help children to find their own ways forward.


We see questioning as a great way for children to extend their learning. Across lessons we use a range of questions which develop higher level thinking.
A question may start with the answer!
If triangle is the answer what is the question?
Present a right or wrong choice.
Why is this meal healthy and this unhealthy?
Offer a range of answers.
What do we need for life? water, telephones, cars, clothing, shelter, food.
Present a statement.
This is a picture of a Roman soldier. Do you agree or disagree?
Children are also encouraged to be like Clara the cat and develop their own questioning skills.