At Barton Court Grammar School we believe that education is more than the sum of subjects. It is also about what you learn and how you learn.
Research by the Sutton Trust has shown that when students understand how they think and learn they make greater progress and become more resilient and adaptable. Students are encouraged to become resourceful and resilient learners who take responsibility for their own learning. We have placed “thinking” at the heart of our teaching and learning, and have developed a common visual language of learning to enable our students to become independent, confident, life-long learners.
“Teachers use a wide variety of activities and learning styles to engage and enthuse students” – OFSTED
Why are we using visual tools?
Visual tools offer students some structures through which they can be flexible, adaptable and open with their thinking and learning.
Students are encouraged to work together in teams and enjoy new friendships, take on roles of responsibility and develop a mature sense of values.
We want our Sixth Form students to stand out from the crowd in this competitive world and, as such, we actively encourage them to develop their independent and enquiring minds. An Independent Learning Centre enables students to think and work in quiet, calm and modern surroundings. Here, they can make extensive use of ICT facilities, including wireless technology for their own laptop. All students are encouraged to develop their own area of academic enquiry. The majority of students choose to complete an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). This provides students with the opportunity to focus on a specific aspect or theme of any area they are interested in and conduct their own enquiry into it. This approach also underpins our Sixth form enrichment program where students have access to a wide range of subject based academic enrichment which further develops their thinking and independence as lifelong learners. Much of this enrichment involves interaction with local universities and employers.
Working with Exeter University, a university with an excellent reputation in education and curriculum development, we are an accredited “Thinking School”. We have placed thinking at the heart of our learning and we are developing a common and visual language of Thinking Tools to enable our students to become independent, confident, thoughtful, life-long learners, the foundations for both personal achievement and academic success.
So, what is a Thinking School?
A Thinking School is:
“A learning community in which all members share a common language; where thinking strategies and tools are used across the curriculum and teachers and students have sound understanding of metacognition; where all students are developing and demonstrating independent and cooperative learning skills; where the school generates high levels of achievement and an excitement and enthusiasm for learning” (Thinking Matters)
The criteria for a Thinking School can be found at: www.thinkingmatters.com