Last week, the much-anticipated Middle and Senior School Elstree Debates too…
Teaching and Learning Ethos
What is the teaching like at Elstree?
The beauty of Prep School teaching is the variety in approaches that can be celebrated across the school. At GCSE and A Level, the variety of teaching methods narrows leaving less time for teachers to explore with pupils the knowledge in such a variety of exciting ways due to time constraints.
At Elstree, an ‘enquiry approach’ to teaching is celebrated whereby pupils’ thoughts are harvested, shared, developed and nurtured. The answer arises through collaboration and problem solving rather than dictatorial teaching, which still has its place, but at specific moments in time.
Energy, enthusiasm and passion is what I see as Director of Teaching and Learning as I walk around the school site on a daily basis. We encourage each other as colleagues to observe each other and share best practice as often as possible. We have an experienced staff and one, which welcomes communication with, parents because the relationship between home and school is as important as the teacher/pupil relationship in the early years of a pupils Prep School life.
The balance of supportive praise and accurate feedback is important in both nurturing the pupils’ learning development but also in preparing them for Public School life. We have a fantastic House System, which the pupils adore. Every ‘star’, ‘commendation’ and ‘distinction’ filters into this well managed House System. The sense of community and reward for effort is very much alive at Elstree. Effort is ‘king’ and teachers enable this to be fostered in their specific learning environments so that pupils have the correct work ethic.
What does the learning at Elstree look like?
Teachers at Elstree focus on excellent learning outcomes for our pupils. We ensure this through tracking pupil’s progress through our specialist heads of department and at a whole school level by the Director of Studies and Director of Teaching and Learning. Pupils are encouraged to take control of their learning by target setting and having time to reflect upon their work. The Headmaster takes a personal approach to ensuring that each child is prepared for the correct Senior School and he works with parents to ensure this is a smooth transition.
Elstree pupils feel encouraged to take risks and not be afraid of failure. By Year 8 many pupils try for Scholarships which can be a gruelling experience requiring resilience. All pupils are encouraged to think about their learning style (metacognition) and study skills are supplemented by elevate education in the last few years of the pupil’s lives at Elstree.
All learning is underpinned with a sense of purpose, direction and value. The World, British and Elstree Community values come through everything we are trying to achieve. This enables pupils to be inspired and make excellent progress. As a staff we are trying to deliver a curriculum fit for the 21st Century child. Our values and direction in which we working can found in the Elstree Learner Profile.
Appropriate progression in learning is monitored through our Academic Departmental Reviews, Book Scrutiny and lesson observations (both formal and informal). Results are analysed and each department has clear development plans to ensure they are offering the very best for the pupils in their care. As practioners we also try to take time to reflect on our teaching practice and we analyse our results. This informs our teaching so that we can meet the individual needs of the pupils in our care. Our Learning Development Department enables each child to learn at the correct pace using the correct methods so that they feel supported and that they too can achieve progress.
If you would like any further information regarding our approach to teaching and learning at Elstree please do not hesitate to contact me.
Andrew Pilkington, Director of Teaching and Learning.