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Changes to Topic Planning

Changes to Afternoon Lessons (B.A.D. Learning)

In our constant drive to improve the ways we teach here at Emmanuel, we have looked at our current ‘Topic’ planning and provision for the pupils and asked for your thoughts and those of your children.  We have decided to change the way we teach these subjects.  The information about this you can find below.


B.A.D. Learning (Basic, Advanced, Deepening)

Chris Quigley is an educational specialist and works with schools to improve their delivery of lessons in school; his role is also to support teachers and management with the recent changes to the national curriculum.  We have now signed up to deliver lessons loosely based upon his ideas and methods in our afternoon ‘Topic’ based lessons.  B.A.D. is an acronym that he uses in this work that describes the concept of Basic, Advanced and Deepening of understanding.  Basically, his work aims to bring pupils to a deeper understanding of their work by looking at the same knowledge of a subject in a deeper way.  For instance, a pupil could understand what the main parts of a plant are called at a ‘Basic’ level: stem, petals, roots, etc.  To have an ‘Advanced’ understanding in this, they could say why the different parts of the plant are important and what their function is: a root system is needed to support the plant and anchor it to the ground, but also to draw water up to help the plant grow.  Lastly, to a Deepening level of understanding where a pupil could evaluate their learning: how would you prove that roots were essential for a plant to grow?  Do all plants need or use a root system and, if not, why?

As a school we have taken this concept and planning structure to modify what we currently do in school, alongside the comments we received from parents.  Furthermore, we are looking particularly at our use of questioning in school to help pupils improve and develop their understanding and create a better and more consistent level of challenge.



Based on current research, the following reasons are given to support the use of effective questioning in the classroom.


  • Increased levels of pupil engagement
  • Lessons become focused quickly so we become more productive
  • Inclusive as children can come up with their own ideas at different levels
  • Develops respect for others’ point of view
  • Enables the teacher to assess prior and current knowledge
  • Encourages problem solving
  • Reveals misunderstanding
  • Identifies success criteria in a different way
  • Promotes discussion
  • Deepens thinking and reasoning skills
  • Encourages skills of grouping, organising thinking and making generalisations
  • Encourages debate


Where does it come from?

Bloom’s Taxonomy


The most famous piece of research into questioning styles and how to deepen the thinking of pupils. Towards the top of the pyramid, things become more difficult and thinking is deepened.


Frozen Planet

For our current topic, we aim to deepen the understanding of the pupils through differentiated tasks  and questioning skills.  Here are the main areas we are focusing upon over the Spring Term as a school:

  • What is the climate of the polar caps like?

  • How does life survive in the ‘Polar Regions'?

  • What is Global Warming?

  • How does Global Warming potentially effect the Polar ice caps?

  • What is the ‘Water Cycle’?

  • What qualities does a person need to be an Arctic explorer?


You can support your children by working on our homework activities or looking at the above questions as a revision or pre-learning activity.


Thank you again for your continued support.

The Emmanuel Team