Skills and Mastery at Norfolk Academy: Attainment with Cooperative Learning

Oct 2014 Werdelin Education has been working closely with the acting head of Stalham Academy, Andrew Howard, to facilitate the newly converted Academy’s vision of high attainment through engaging, high impact student-centred learning.



Andrew Howard, acting head at Stalham Academy, 2014. Watch this space!

Cooperative Learning is often incorrectly perceived as “talking exercises” unsuitable for teaching specific procedures or rote learning.

The contrary is true: Cooperative Learning is highly effective in teaching facts, reading, maths and SPaG. The new Skills & Mastery course intentionally cuts out theoretical background and Ofsted compliant tick-box language in order to put simple, comprehensive tools into the hands of teachers looking to boost attainment with instantly applicable and assessable student-centred learning.

This reflects the fact that schools are not looking for CPD to re-wire their overall strategy and successful routines they have built up over months and years; and teachers even less so. As I have stated before we need to move beyond the buzzwords of ‘self-directed’, ‘flexible’, ‘inquiry based’,  ‘project based’  – no, give teachers a practical tool to effectively steer group processes in the direction they need, and everything else will follow.

“Cooperative Learning has had an immediate quantifiable impact on learning at our school”

Andrew Howard, Acting Head, Stalham Academy
Skills & Mastery CL course, 2014

Though nominally priced as an off-the-shelf CL course, the same versatile nature of Cooperative Learning that permits instant mix-n-match implementation in live classrooms allows the content of this CPD course to be re-ordered and refurbished with actual LO’s and teaching materials at no extra cost.

A most suitable image from Stalham Academy’s homepage

By the end of the full 6 hour Skills & Mastery CL course participating teachers will be able to supplement their teaching with a number of engaging group and pair work interaction patterns:

  • activating schemata in relation to topics and tasks
  • using CL to discover solutions
  • unobtrusive monitoring of learning and thinking processes to provide relevant on-the-fly teacher response
  • effective task work in pairs and teams
  • using CL to creative writing, skim, scan and intensive reading, in English and foreign languages
  • Higher Level Thinking Skills; enhancement and rote learning integration
  • homework checking
  • cross-class knowledge sharing
  • retention of  rules and facts
  • memorising and training correct application of rote procedures e.g. mathematical formula, how to use a foreign language dictionary or steps in conducting scientific experiments.


“Thank you for this evening! We are all buzzing from your approach and how we can adapt to our school  re children’s learning and assessment for learning!!”

Deborah Gillespie, Deputy Head, Stalham Academy
Skills & Mastery CL course, 2014

The course may be delivered as twilight sessions in blocks of 2 x 3 hours or 3 x 2 hours, as well as a full day at your school. All courses are preceded by a non-committal discussion about the needs of the specific school, regarding both pupil population, staff and materials. Two hour units of the course may also be bought individually.

More on Cooperative Learning and rote read post Facts vs. Free Thinking? a CL perspective

More about this and other Cooperative Learning courses at

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