A round up of conversation …
My writings of the Teaching and Learning blog during the Covid-19 situation at school has somewhat run dry. I have nothing left to say … Hoorah I hear you say!
So, I thought for the last week of the academic year I would turn my attention to that very recent Inspection Report, which I hear on the grapevine reads OK. I think I have heard utterances that it was in fact it is a ‘bit of a corker’. The sad fact of the matter is that I have to admit to you that (although I have skim read it) I have not quite found the time to reflect on the report up until this week.
As I read through the first 7 pages of formality and overview, with its language of utmost importance and clarity, I began to wonder how much parents really read in an inspection report. I can imagine that if I was not in the teaching game then all of the report would swirl into a hazy blur. (They are a bit boring)! This week I am going to attempt to cherry pick some of MY favourite statements in the inspection report. They are not the most obvious statements, but the parts where I am so proud (and surprised) that the inspectors spotted these features in our school. They are deliberately designed to be important parts of our unique curriculum and I am only surprised as I find most visitors think these features are there by accident or by chance. What our inspection team wrote showed that they had really understood our intent as a school and agreed that what the children get throughout their time here at St Peter’s Preparatory School is something really very individualised and very special.
- The outstanding achievement and progress are underpinned by the implementation and consistent delivery across all ages and stages of the St Peter’s School Baccalaureate®,
which is a bespoke skills-based curriculum where pupils are empowered as individuals to be involved in and plan the course of their own learning. HOORAH.
- The pupils hypothesise, analyse and synthesise convincingly and effectively at advanced levels for their age and confidently apply their knowledge to new situations. YES THEY DO.
- The vast majority of pupils throughout the school demonstrate outstanding and extensive knowledge and understanding across the different areas of learning and begin to pursue personal intellectual interests at an early age. PERSONAL INTELLECTUAL INTERESTS are so important to our curriculum model.
- They develop high-level skills and understanding to enhance their learning and are motivated by committed teaching. YEP.
- The pupils understand that some skills will take practice and they try hard to put in the necessary work to achieve their goals. The curriculum and consistent encouragement and praise enable pupils to take an active part in their learning. ‘YOUR KIDS HAVE SOME SERIOUS GRIT AND DETERMINATION’ was a comment that pleased me from a couple of the inspection team.
- Across all areas, pupils engage in their target setting and understand clearly the next steps in their learning. They therefore have great success in meeting their targets. WITHOUT A TARGET HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE AIMING FOR?
- Pupils’ curiosity initiates learning throughout the school and is developed in a culture of possibility, in which all are encouraged to try something new. A CULTURE OF POSSIBILITY – I WILL TAKE THIS COMMENT. It makes me very happy indeed.
- The pupils are excellent communicators, eager to inform, discuss and debate. I AGREE – I SEE THIS IN EVERY LESSON I OBSERVE.
- Pupils of all ages demonstrate higher-order thinking skills across the curriculum and use these to enhance their learning. WHOOP WHOOP – this is soooooo hard to embed and we have worked so hard on this for a number of years!
- Most pupils who responded to the questionnaires said that they are encouraged to think and learn for themselves. Pupils’ study skills are highly developed throughout the school. INDEPENDENCE
- In EYFS, the youngest children show intellectual curiosity which is nurtured consistently and allowed to flourish. The skills-based curriculum is implemented consistently from Year 1 and consequently pupils maintain their spirit of enquiry and develop critical thinking skills from an early age. WE LOVE SKILLS LEARNING FOCUS INSTEAD OF ALWAYS KNOWLEDGE DRIVEN LESSONS – cannot believe they saw and understood this!
- The pupils’ attitudes at all ages are very positive, the vast majority thriving and learning in an inspiring and stimulating atmosphere. INSPIRING KIDS IS WHAT WE STARTED THE BACCALAUREATE TO DO.
- Pupils enjoy great success working both independently and collaboratively and the two skills are clearly embedded within the ethos of the school. YIPPEE!
- Young pupils begin to take leadership in their own learning and use their initiative when faced with intellectual challenges. With these attitudes embedded, older pupils are aspiring independent learners. The pupils participate in lessons enthusiastically, embrace challenges and enjoy their learning. I AM ENDLESSLY IMPRESSED WITH OUR PUPILS LEARNING ATTITUDES.
- Pupils across all ages enjoy positive self-esteem, persevere when challenged and develop a strong awareness of their own strengths and weaknesses. From an early age, pupils begin to understand themselves as learners and the next steps to improve their learning. They can articulate where they think they went wrong and the strategies they will use to move their learning forward. KNOWING YOURSELF AS A LEARNER IS VERY IMPORTANT PART OF BEING AT OUR SCHOOL – the good and the bad.
- The pupils are self-aware and speak with eloquence and confidence. They are self-confident and resilient, viewing the inevitable and occasional difficulties and mistakes as learning opportunities. MISTAKES ARE GOOD.
- The pupils are adept and confident decision makers and understand the value and importance of this skill. From an early age, they are afforded numerous opportunities to exercise and develop the skills associated with this and so it becomes part of their thinking and approach to life. Pupils are given the strategies they need in order to make good, rational decisions. They discuss, challenge, listen and reconsider flexibly. DECISION MAKING IS A KEY SKILL
- The pupils are thoughtful and caring. They have a strong grasp of the non-material aspects of life and demonstrate an awareness of spiritual understanding that is beyond their age. I LOVE THIS!
- The spiritual side of life is evident, not just in the way the pupils clearly appreciate the beautiful views, but with the relationships between staff and pupils which show clearly that spirituality is talked about, respected and valued. IT IS.
- The pupils have a highly developed social awareness, are empathetic and willing to offer help or support to others. Collaboration is excellent, and while each pupil focuses well on their own learning, they derive great enjoyment in working together in pairs or groups to achieve common goals. With high levels of emotional maturity, pupils demonstrate a significant understanding of the importance of contributing positively beyond their own lives and personal circumstances. OUR PUPILS DO THIS IN A WAY THAT MAKE THEM APPEAR WAY ABOVE THEIR YEARS. MOST IMPRESSIVE.
- The pupils have an excellent understanding of the importance of respecting others and for tolerating the differences between individuals and groups. THIS IS HOME AND SCHOOL WORKING TOGETHER ON THESE MESSAGES.
- Respect and tolerance are embedded within the philosophy of the community and pupils and staff treat each other with respect and kindness. HOW FANTASTIC THIS WAS SEEN AND FELT BY THE INSPECTION TEAM.
- There is a pervading culture of care for each other throughout the school, including pupils and staff. The pupils reflect on who they are, what they are passionate about, what they would like to achieve and how this can motivate them to stay mentally strong. They understand the importance of games and physical education sessions and keeping active in order to stay physically healthy. IS THERE ANYTHING MORE I CAN ADD HERE?!
- The inspectors spotted and commented to me separately about how the children were incredibly able to break down barriers between subjects and join up their learning across all faculty areas. This pleases me very much. This shows how important the whole child is in our ethos here at St Peter’s Preparatory School. It shows that the kids here never stop asking questions. They never shy away from finding things out and they always present their learning to a high standard. In other words. The school models and does exactly what it says it does. We have fulfilled our vision – now surely that is worthy of celebration! Well done everyone. I am glad I took the time to look at the report again!
Onwards we march towards September … and REMEMBER …