ST EDWARD’S r h u b a r b
and allow their efforts to be assessed in many, and different, ways. This new academic year sees the introduction of some innovative courses – Pathways and Perspectives – which will replace some of our GCSE courses for Fourth and Fifth Form pupils. These have been developed by us and will be assessed by us as well. A significant benefit of these courses is the variety of assessment strategies that are open to us. GCSEs are in the main assessed by terminal exams; the Pathways and Perspectives courses will be assessed using a variety of strategies appropriate to the specific subject matter including extended writing, presentations, artefacts, research reports and performances alongside tests and exams of varying sizes. Perhaps one of the most exciting aspects of these new courses is the creation of links with institutions outside the School. The whole process will be validated by Buckingham University, but more importantly we are giving the pupils the opportunity to benefit from partnerships with the Medical School at Buckingham and the Oceanography Department at the University of Southampton. We want our pupils to take more time to see experts actually working in particular fields and to reflect on their practice and what it is to be a professional within a discipline. We are building
programmes around real experiences and connecting pupils to learning that is both relevant and adaptable to the skills they needs for future learning. All of this is very much in tune with Howard Gardner’s Five Minds for the Future – a manifesto for the types of abilities that pupils need to help them navigate the world of the future. Howard Gardner is an American developmental psychologist and Research Professor of Cognition and Education at Harvard University. His “five minds” are the developed abilities to: • master a discipline • synthesise information • be creative (with ideas as much as with language, music or art) • be respectful • have an ethical outlook If our education can achieve all of these with success then we will have done our job well. Co-education is also now at the heart of the Teddies approach to pupil development, preparing our pupils for adult life. Cooper Lodge – our new co- educational house which has girls in the Sixth Form as well as boys throughout – is joined by Sing’s who, this September, also welcomed girl boarders. Having girls and boys in the same school does not really
create a fully co-educational environment – one might call that simply “bi-education” – so we are pushing for greater interaction between the sexes, fostering a deeper understanding of other people. This can be best achieved as the pupils grow up in school. We don’t, of course, have to tackle our education in this way; we don’t have to take these approaches – indeed not every school does. We could respond to the strong pressures (from parents, from Governors) to succeed in the exam room by a thorough going programme of cramming. This has some merits and indeed it can be very successful, but I am unconvinced that it achieves our fundamental mission of setting our pupils carefully on the path to adult life; I probably would say that it does the opposite and infantilises them. So there are many challenges that we face in the modern school which mirror the challenges that the pupils themselves face and will continue to face. Our approach does help them and we saw this clearly last term when the world was in lockdown and our pupils were learning remotely. All that we have done in the past few years was of enormous benefit to them as they sought to crack on without classroom, games field or House – most importantly without their friends – and they came through it all magnificently.
F E AT U R E
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