“Cosmic” eduation…. mmm we call it “Skills for Success”

by Nat Moody

S4S posterIt would seem that more and more schools are trying to deal with a lack of independence in students.  At Beaumont this issue appeared to be more of a problem at key stage 5. We quickly realised that trying to develop the skills required to learn independently at this point is too late for pupils – they need to be growing as independent learners from the time they reach our doors for the first time. As a result,  Skills for Success was born – Beaumont School’s whole school strategy that works to build these attributes from year 7 onwards, in hope of enabling students to become confident and adaptable learners.

S4S logosMaria Montessori spoke of “Cosmic” education in relation to holism; a holistic approach to educating young people, not just the production of a future employee or a robot that can pass standardised tests (although of course I appreciate that the ability to pass exams is fairly handy!). I’m not sure that our students would respond all that well to “Beaumont’s Cosmic Education” but they are certainly responding to the Skills for Success programme, which aims to foster a love of learning within an academic curriculum.

I have been teaching at Beaumont for 6 years and in that time I have experienced the introduction of strategies such as ‘Building Learning Power’ and ‘Personal Learning and Thinking Skills’, amongst others. These are great strategies which aim to engage learners, build independence and enable them to take ownership of their progress. So why did the initial buzz fizzle out? In my opinion, due to the fact that these strategies were not personalised. As with all schools, at Beaumont we have our own unique atmosphere and ethos. The S4S team have considered the principles of strategies like BLP and PLTS to create a worthwhile and effective strategy which is moulded to the particular needs of our students and our staff.

In other words, its home grown and that’s why it works.

I was recently corralled into presenting at Beaumont School’s first TeachMeet last November. I spoke about S4S, with a specific focus on Take Ownership – one of the key strands. If you would like a little more information on S4S my presentation can be found here.