| Head's Blog

In the week of World Mental Health Day, our thoughts as a staff have naturally focused on what we do to help our children effectively manage the ups and downs of learning. As a school, we have been looking at how we continue to develop the delivery of a personalised learning approach, as befits our mission statement of the children being ‘at the heart of all we do.’ This commitment to treat each learner as an individual is, of course, far removed from the traditional idea that a ‘one-size fits all approach’ enables all learners equal access to the curriculum. Instead, at Sherborne House, we believe that a variety of methods and strategies should be used, and that these should be based wherever possible, on a child’s individual learning style, preferences and interests. Of course, the teacher must then also adapt their role, becoming not a presenter of facts and material, but rather a vehicle through which children learn how to determine, drive and assess their own learning needs and experiences. This approach can be initially quite daunting for some children, so this year we are using four Learning Powers to reinforce the habits and attitudes which are needed for children to become confident and independent learners. Enter Charlie the Challenging Chinchilla, Peggy the Persevering Penguin, Raj the Responsible Racoon and Rita the Reflective Robin, all of whom can be spotted in the classrooms!

After an initial assembly, during which each Learning Power character was introduced (complete of course, with an individual story and CV!) the children were tasked to see whether they could identify and use each Power at some point during the week. Writing the Head Teacher’s Awards so far this term has been a double pleasure, as children have clearly begun to recognise, and feel comfortable, with each of the aforementioned learning attitudes. In Reception, an Award was given for Perseverance in reading, the child using her phonics knowledge to break down unfamiliar words. In Year 2, Responsibility was recognised, the recipient proof-reading his first draft in Talk4Writing, correcting some letter reversals and adding extra adverbs to meet the lesson objective. In Year 4, the Learning Power identified was Reflection, the award being given to a child who had shown evidence of thinking about his own learning preferences, and selecting an appropriate method to solve a challenge posed in design technology. Finally, Challenge was identified in Year 6, when a child set herself the task of cross-referencing her knowledge of fractions, decimals and percentages with the simplification of ratio and proportion.

Good teaching should promote the development of resilient, reflective, determined learners, who accept and enjoy a challenge and who are enthused and inspired by their learning experiences. Thus will the ups and downs of learning be viewed as simply part of the journey, and, as with life as a whole, something to be embraced, celebrated and enjoyed.

Heather Hopson-Hill, Head Teacher