Partnership Working: Building Blocks, The Learning Partnership (TLP) and Cadoxton Primary School

Over the past 8 years we have been on a journey to truly discover our own vision and the key pedagogies that help us as a learning community to thrive. Central to our development as a school is our partnership work with The Learning Partnership (TLP). We first started working with TLP as a leadership team and they supported us in reviewing our teaching and learning policy. At the time we were focused on developing our pedagogy from the Foundation Phase into KS2. Their experience, insight and passion aligned so closely with our vision.

In 2014 we made the decision to start using the Building Blocks portal and it was the best decision we have made as a school.  The portal has grown in sophistication over time and it now enables us to utilise all its capacity to plan, monitor, assess and report in one online system. The system allows us to store and share our bespoke planning across phases making duplicating and editing accessible to all. School leaders are able to monitor coverage and the progress of every learner and at the click of a button you can see where the child is working and what their next steps are. This has made planning and evaluation simple and highly personalised to the individual. Because Building Blocks is so current it has enabled us to begin to use the framework of the CFW but also to create our own school-based curriculum that we call ‘The Cadoxton Way!’ The team at TLP have such professional integrity and we wouldn’t be where we are as a school without their challenge and engagement. They have brought expertise to train, support and develop an approach to suit our school.

Building Blocks has for us become far more than a system for tracking and raising standards, because it is driven by a team of professionals who care so much about making a difference to the lives of young people. They ensure that the professional learning they offer is current and relevant and fits with the philosophy of the four purposes and schools as learning organisations.

We take great pride in saying that the impact of our partnership with TLP and the associated Building Blocks portal has led to: –

  • Improved understanding of what good teaching and learning is and how professional learning supports it
  • The co-creation of a bespoke professional learning programmes to support our schools short and long term plans
  • Development of excellent practice in our Foundation Phase built on the learning that happened during professional dialogue visits facilitated by TLP
  • Sustainable changes in the development of our leadership team through challenge and accountability coaching and mentoring
  • Rich learning experiences to support the planning of authentic learning experiences with the four purposes at their core
  • The development of Foundation Phase pedagogy for all
  • The creation of “inquiry-based learning” – The Cadoxton Way!
  • Professional understanding across the school of progression within and across the AoLE’s
  • Improved understanding of assessment for learning as opposed to assessment of learning
  • Tracking, monitoring, formative assessment and coverage of the curriculum and a new understanding of how they are intrinsically linked to support the development of key priorities and standards
  • A new method of the reporting standards using purposeful data to Governors and parents
  • Developing an environment that is fit for 21st century learning both indoors and outdoors
  • Our inquiries are planned and built on real life concepts that reflect the need for global learning and understanding the rights of the child

As pioneers of the new curriculum, a Rights Respecting School, an Eco School and the only Ashoka Change Maker School in Wales, we were motivated to develop a school-based curriculum that is fit for learning in the 21st century. We feel excited about the next steps because of the strong partnership with TLP. Staff are confident because they have a clear sense of vision built on them becoming masters of pedagogy. Staff see themselves as active inquirers developing Cadoxton’s pedagogical principles. TLP have supported us to create ‘time and space’ for quality professional learning to happen for all staff. They delivered high quality training in cooperative learning, the philosophy of Singapore Maths and Inquiry based learning. The approaches reflect both on academic and social development based on the principles of the Curriculum for Wales.

Our next collaboration in these uncertain times is exploring the need for learning to be ‘continuous’ both in school and from the home. With the support, guidance and challenge of TLP we have begun to focus our efforts now on using a wide variety of learning strategies, resources, technologies and learning experiences.  Our professional learning supported by TLP during Covid-19 has focused on ensuring that our children have the necessary skills, attitudes and dispositions to become independent and interdependent learners. The Building Blocks challenges formed the basis of our planning for continuous learning (blended learning/home learning). These authentic, active learning contexts enabled parents to see the importance of continuous learning and also secured high levels of engagement among children.

Rhian Milton Head of School, Cadoxton Primary School, Barry, Vale of Glamorgan.

Cadoxton Primary School has been involved with or is a:

  • Curriculum and Professional Learning Pioneer School (Welsh Government)
  • Health and Wellbeing Lead School CSC 
  • Digital Lead School CSC 
  • Apple Training Centre 
  • Rights Respecting School – Platinum
  • Eco School – Platinum  
  • Ashoka Change Maker School 
  • Hwb+ Lead School 
  • Lead Partnership School- Trinity St Davids 
  • Investors in Families (IIF)
  • Fare Share School 

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