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The Independent School Inspectorate recognised in its report last year that “Pupils’ good progress is supported by consistently good and increasingly excellent teaching. This is characterised by excellent subject knowledge and classroom management.” However, as a school, we are deeply committed to continual improvement to our teaching and learning.
Consequently, in June 2015 three members of staff at Trent College became our first Learning Innovators. Each teacher proposed an enquiry-based, best practice research project to complete over the course of the following twelve months. Whilst initially the findings will benefit the teachers’ own classes and then classes across their departments, ultimately the excellent and innovative practice will be shared across the school.
Head of Computing, Shaun Reynolds, is the first to complete his project. He developed a problem-solving based on-line programming course for his Year 11 pupils. As he says, “By providing the pupils with objectives rather than instructions, we encourage the pupils to be creative and self-reliant, and we promote the problem-solving mentality that they need to develop in order to impress top universities and employers.” The course also provides the means for stretching our highest achieving pupils as it involves learning in a new programming language.
Three new Learning Innovators have been appointed for academic year 2016-17, exploring the significance of metacognitive skills, how well-being can be put at the centre of the PSHE curriculum and how giving pupil breathing space can benefit their studies.
Deputy Head (Academic), Paul Taylor, commented that “Professional development takes many forms but it tends to be most successful when it is led by practising teachers, involves a teacher carrying out research in an area of pedagogy that interests the individual, and links to the improvement priorities of departments and the College, thus benefiting our pupils. This should be a way of developing experts in certain pedagogical fields as well as gathering ideas from cutting edge research carried out at other schools.”