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Talking SATS...

Talking SATS...

Monday, May 9, 2016

THE beauty of an independent school education is the independent curriculum that goes with it and the opportunity afforded to take the best of tradition, research and options for assessment for learning, without being dictated to by the wider political agenda! Communication, knowledge, breadth and skills are all necessary to succeed. We do not have this dilemma about the SATS!

Already in our school today you will find researchers, communicators, reflective thinkers, top mathematicians, scientists, engineers, programmers, story writers, musicians, artists and even palaeontologists - we can go on and on!

So what have we been studying this term? Down in Pre-Prep and Nursery, there have been dinosaur eggs hidden amongst the trees, a wow start to a lesson! A trail of magical fairy doors with glittery dust connecting them!

In the Reception classes you'll find some fantastic displays! Smelly sardines in a bucket, to inspire observation drawing and knowledge! Puffin Island and films about the Farne Islands. The children have also been designing flip flops and soon we will be sending our designs to famous flip flop brand, Havianas.

Our Year 1 children visited the County Castle Museum on Tuesday as part of their topic on tiaras and turrets. You can read the full report on page 5.

Our students have been busy building hide outs in the forest school and learning about stone age fire making and cooking. Year 3 have been studying Vikings whilst Year 4 create a magical rainforest.

All this activity leaves no time for teaching the SAT test facts that are then unable to be regurgitated or used in future learning or even connected to skills we need to use.

However, in place you will find national PIPS and MIDYIS assessments and testing taking place in May, national cognitive profiling - all bench marked against national data and delivered in a sensitive age and stage appropriate way, strong grammatically correct prose, and a rigorous new maths curriculum.

You will see problem solvers, independent thinkers and sparkly learners! You will see high expectations and target setting for the uniqueness of our children. You will see lots of drama, ethics and philosophy, music, art, sport and healthy competition. All underpinned by the PSB programme of skills starting from Year 1 through to Year 8.

The core skills of the PSB are:
Thinking and reflection on learning
Reviewing and Improving – learning about failure too!
Communication – debating, organising and delegating
Leadership skills
Collaboration and Independence of thought - helping to build confidence.

Wellbeing is at the top of our agenda and research shows that happy children, playful children, safe risk takers and confident children who are excellent communicators are successful! Yes to assessment and tracking but no to stressful SATS that even a minister (who shall remain nameless) failed!

Kathy McLauchlan and Duncan Sinclair