Fast Feedback

The Alternative To Marking

How do you ensure that children are learning without creating excessive workload for staff? 

When we banned written marking at two of our primary schools, we saw a 50% improvement in teacher retention and better outcomes for pupils. Since then, we’ve introduced Fast Feedback at more schools and helped others to successfully implement this approach. 

If you would like to reduce teacher workload, while providing high-quality feedback to children in your school, we can help you at every step of the way. 

What is Fast Feedback?

Fast Feedback is our highly acclaimed alternative to written marking. 

At Fast Feedback schools, children mark and evaluate their own work, independently and collaboratively with their peers, and all feedback from teaching staff is given verbally. Teachers still look at children’s books daily, meet with them regularly to discuss their learning and adjust planning as they see fit, but only children get to write in their own book.

Schools that have successfully adopted Fast Feedback have seen many benefits:

  • Reduced teacher workload and stress
  • Improved staff retention
  • More effective learners

Children at Fast Feedback schools have ownership over their own learning. They take pride in their work, are resilient in the face of challenges, know how they learn best, and are better prepared for secondary school because they are already confident in evaluating their own work and capable of independent learning.

Staff are proud to work at the school and feel supported with their workload. They said that leaders and members of the governing body take consideration and care to promote their wellbeing. 

~ Ofsted, Churchfield Primary School, 2022

History of Fast Feedback

In 2016, our CEO Matthew Kleiner-Mann, who was headteacher of Lavender Primary School in Enfield at the time, saw an NQT dragging a suitcase full of marking out of school on a Friday afternoon and decided something needed to change.

He banned teachers from writing in children’s books and the results were remarkable. Children became more independent learners and standards went up. Teacher wellbeing and retention improved and Ofsted was happy with the approach. 

Since then, we have helped other schools to successfully implement our alternative to written marking through events, guest speaking and bespoke support. Fast Feedback has been featured in the press and made into a book, published by Bloomsbury Education.

Leaders have not been afraid to adopt innovative approaches to increasing pupils’ rates of progress. For example, teachers make effective use of pupil conferences; they meet individually with pupils to ensure that teachers have a clear picture of what pupils understand, and that pupils are clear about what they need to learn next. This results in pupils having a programme of support which is well tailored to their needs.

~ Ofsted, Brimsdown Primary School, 2016

Fast Feedback events

Upcoming events will be added here.

Training and support

We can work with your school on a one-to-one basis, supporting you to successfully implement Fast Feedback in your setting.

Training is delivered by Gemma Whitby, co-author of Fast Feedback: How One Primary School Abolished Written Marking, published by Bloomsbury Education. Gemma has worked in primary education since qualifying in 2010 and has a Masters in Teaching and Learning. She has experience as a classroom teacher, middle leader and senior leader, as well as in leading primary science training.

1/ Online staff training: 3 hours or 2 x 1.5 hours (£350)

These online training sessions, suitable for teachers, leaders and support staff, will include:

  • An introduction to Fast Feedback with examples, testimonials and insight into our journey.
  • Tips for creating the right learning culture first.
  • Insight into research around effective oral feedback and exploration through practical activities.
  • Understanding of what ‘conferencing’ looks like in practice.
  • Strategies for effective peer and self-assessment to use in the classroom.
  • Our digital Fast Feedback resource pack

2/ School visits: half a day, with follow up online session (£600)

These half-day visits are tailored to your school’s unique setting and can include:

  • An initial meeting with your SLT and those involved to introduce the approach, troubleshoot potential barriers and create a plan of action to implement Fast Feedback successfully in your setting.
  • Half-day Fast Feedback training for all staff delivered at your school (for those within London / Greater London areas. See online staff training above for more details).
  • A learning walk and book-look to identify good practice and opportunities for peer coaching, and practical solutions for any areas that require further development.
  • In-class support working with teachers and support staff to embed conferencing and effective self and peer feedback successfully.
  • Our digital Fast Feedback resource pack

All half day visits include an online follow-up session 1-3 months after the school visit to offer advice and answer any questions you may have.

3/ Fast Feedback training package (£1,000)

Our most comprehensive in-school training package includes:

  • Half day in-school training for staff (see above)
  • Half day in-school follow-up learning walk and book-look
  • Follow-up online session (see above)
  • Our digital Fast Feedback resource pack
  • A copy of our book

Alternatively, we may be able offer the above training package with two 1.5 hour online staff training sessions instead of a half-day in school.

To discuss training or for more information, please contact Gemma Whitby at gemma.whitby@ivylearningtrust.org.

Really useful training. We’ve already started implementing it and staff are universally loving it and can see the impact for the children. A key benefit so far has been developing the children’s ability to articulate what they have ‘learnt’ rather than what they have ‘done’. We’ve seen a noticeable difference within just 6 weeks.

~ Jo, Headteacher, 2023

Fast Feedback Resource Pack

Our resource pack has been designed to support teachers to implement Fast Feedback successfully in their classrooms.

The pack contains over 50 resources, including:

  • Learning resources, such as sentence stems and scaffolds, to support pupils to reflect
  • Display resources
  • Teacher/ peer stickers
  • Tools to support teachers, eg top tips, record examples and conference planning templates.
  • A teacher handbook to support teachers to use each resource effectively 

It costs £100 and is available as a digital download, so that you can print resources locally.

Fast Feedback book

The story of how Lavender Primary School successfully introduced Fast Feedback is available as a book, published by Bloomsbury Education

Written by Lesley Hill and Gemma Whitby, with a foreword from Matthew Kleiner-Mann, the book details the highs and lows of Lavender’s journey towards a no written marking policy. It features quick tips, reflective questions, fact files and chapter summaries for easy navigation to help you follow the same steps to reform feedback and marking at your school.

Topics covered include: success criteria, effective questioning, mindset and resilience, reward and motivation, effective learners and effective feedback.

Guest speaking 

We’ve appeared at a number of educational conferences, including the Schools and Academies Show, World Education Summit and the ResearchED National Conference, to speak about teacher workload and alternatives to written marking. We can also host seminars, workshops and presentations on this subject.

Please contact Gemma Whitby at gemma.whitby@ivylearningtrust.org.

A huge thank you for the great day we had at your school. We had this amazing opportunity to meet you, get your experience, walk around and visit some classrooms. Thank you for your time, we are coming back full of new ideas and projects to improve our feedback practice.

~ Sonia and Marie-Camille, Year 2 teachers, 2023