What Queen Victoria primary School Is All About
Embedded real learning happens when the learning makes sense not because it is a special event , although we do have some of those, but because it is a natural organised part of the work we do in school. Children are doing authentic learning, with actual problems, with genuine audiences, and dealing with the real world. They work with visitors to school who immerse them in a new subject; they ask visitors to school all about their jobs and what made them choose them; they sing for the old people in local care homes; they present to headteachers and teachers from other schools about their learning; they run their own clubs, their own fundraisers; they take assemblies, serve on committees, lead their own learning and that of others. They create their own opportunities for learning through the questions that they want answered and independent activities; they learn by doing as well as listening, through their own discovery as well as guided discovery. They have learning without walls where they go out into the community and the wider world in real life or through the technological media.
‘We learn far more than the teacher can ever teach us because we are allowed to learn by ourselves’
Everyone can make a difference
We are about unleashing aspiration whereby children see their own worth, aspiring to contribute and being inspired to succeed rather than just try. It’s about developing a will to keep going , to do the best that we can, to beat challenge, to overcome failure, to aim for something special – and this includes all who come into contact with us. We want children, staff, parents to do things that they have never done before and discover talents that they never knew that they had. We want to nurture the growth of mindset, knowledge, skills, talents, pride and understanding. We want to do things differently and show everyone that they can make a difference.
We believe in a creative curriculum that fosters imagination, curiosity, flexibility, willingness to think the impossible, confidence to try things out and succeed, ability to handle uncertainty, perseverance in the face of adversity, self reflective awareness, good communication skills, a good standard of numeracy and Literacy. All of these qualities, skills and knowledge are being chased by employers. The need for creativity and enterprising behaviours are vital for the future challenges of economic, technological, social and personal challenge. The present economic climate does not give any stability for the present or future- we have to educate children to take part in the economies that we have no knowledge of – we can’t, in the words of Sir Ken Robinson “try to meet the future by doing what they did in the past”.
Divergent thinking is an essential capacity for creativity. It’s the ability to see lots of possible answers to a question, lots of possible ways of interpreting a question – collaborative learning “is the stuff of growth”
– Sir Ken Robinson
Choice, Challenge and Collaboration
We have developed Choice, Challenge and Collaboration in our teaching and learning by the children determining the direction their learning takes through the questions they want answered, through them having a choice to take on leadership – running their own clubs, being on teams , influencing the running of the school, giving them choice in independent activities:
- Through the Pupil Learner to Leaders
- The Learning Ambassadors, peer tutoring and peer assessment
- Through the School Council and the various Leadership Teams
- Through the staff Research Teams, Curriculum Teams, the Change Team and the continual sharing of expertise across the school and reflection of our practice – at the impact of the way we do things.
- By giving challenge (smash the challenge) in every lesson in order to achieve highly
- By setting learning challenges in the form of aspirational targets
- and by the challenge of doing things differently.
Both teachers and pupils evaluate their learning across the curriculum every term in a pictorial form that is put on the website for parents to share (Pink Posters), in lessons and at conferencing time. We have had an incessant drive on looking at all aspects of teaching and learning and are constantly refining our practice . Our teachers are talented and have the drive to succeed and see their pupils succeed. They also are constantly making learning irresistible for our children and that is the basis of our success.
Parents say that the children come out “smiling every day”, “that they are full of what they are learning” and that they “are amazed at their knowledge”. We work to put joy and laughter in the learning.
Some visitors from Finland recently commented – “We have seen the joy in learning at your school” and “We are very impressed with your child centred learning”
We work to help children and families to improve their chances, through the Nurture Programme, the Aspire Days, Open Lesson days, the Fantastic Finishes, Parent Workshops, Family Learning, Family Outings, Holiday Clubs, Before and After School Clubs, Advice Clinics, and numerous other activities and ventures. Children in school are encouraged to take part in the joys of learning in all shapes and forms; indeed the Research teams are looking at how the vital signs for children “thriving” at school can be developed. We want to keep alive the “natural state of the child –play”; it’s a child’s job to do this. There are many studies that say that creativity, and divergent thinking is knocked out of a child as they get older – is our education system doing this? We want our children to be alive to the arts, sport, companionship, nurture, imagination, curiosity, compassion, awareness of the world around them, the world of work, knowledge and understanding, communication, the wonders of technology and how they can support us – we could go on and on!!