What is meant by flexible personalised learning?
Whilst new buildings are always exciting, the more notable significance of the development is the learning and teaching that will be supported by the new facilities. Over the last few years the School has increasingly adopted a focus on individual growth and developing students as skilful, reflective learners. This shift has occurred in line with the recent review of the NSW syllabuses and aligns with the PYP as evidenced by the outstanding learning that has occurred through the PYP Exhibition.
The new learning spaces will further support this approach as the students move into the final two years of primary school. As we transition into these spaces, students will experience a more flexible and personalised approach to learning and teaching that empowers them to take greater ownership and responsibility for their learning. We believe this will be of great value to our students as they begin the transition from primary school through to Year 7 and beyond.
In the future, the Year 5 and 6 cohorts of students will work under the tutelage of three Classroom Teachers, supported by an additional Teacher Aide. This will allow far greater flexibility to group and regroup students on a regular basis to meet their specific learning needs. Students will gradually be empowered to take greater responsibility for these learning needs and to select the learning pathway that is most appropriate. On a daily basis, students will work with different teachers in workshop-style groups as well as having the opportunity to work individually where appropriate. Assessment and tracking will occur regularly to ensure students are aware of their next steps in learning. Ultimately, this approach will enable the support of students to be more targeted whilst also supporting the students to develop self-management skills, time management and independence.
TESS Teachers will continue to provide additional support for students as they currently do.
Whilst the students will work with different teachers across the day, it is anticipated that each teacher will take pastoral responsibility for a group (or class) of students. This teacher will operate more similarly to the Middle School Housemasters in the High School. This approach is more age-appropriate and will create a closer alignment between Year 6 and Year 7.
How will boys who prefer quiet spaces to concentrate be catered for?
One of the key focuses of adopted the flexible personalised approach to learning is to provide the students with greater agency; choice, voice and control. Accordingly, teachers will work with each student to reflect on what helps them to learn most effectively. Students will be supported to make informed learning decisions about where they work, who they work with, the level of teacher support they require and when they require it. This will include managing noise. The Year 5 and 6 Learning Centres will contain a variety of learning spaces to provide students and teachers with choice. These spaces will include a classroom-sized break-out space, a ‘boardroom’ that could accommodate approximately 15 students, an open area akin to a Library and a tiered seating area. These areas will be used in different ways to support teachers in meeting the needs and preferences of students.
How much formal seating will there be for the students?
As per the previous answer, it is anticipated that each learning space will have different types of quantity of furniture. For example, the break-out classroom is likely to have more regular classroom furniture whereas the ‘Library’ space will have more flexible options. We hope to work with furniture suppliers throughout 2021 to trial furniture options before making final decisions.
What impact will the new learning spaces have on the different key learning areas?
Students will continue to spend the same amount of time on the different Key Learning Areas as they currently do. It is hoped that the more flexible learning spaces will have a greater impact on the way students approach their learning. Students will continue to use specialist learning spaces for Art, STEM, Music, Christian Studies and PDHPE. Mandarin will occur in their classrooms during the building works but will return to the Mandarin Room once it is completed.
How will pastoral care be prioritised with this new approach given students won’t have a normal classroom teacher?
Each student will have a ‘Pastoral Care Teacher’ who will have overarching responsibility for his wellbeing. Whilst final systems and structures are still being finalised, it is anticipated that students will meet with their Pastoral Care Teacher each morning as well as having particular lessons with them throughout each week. It will provide a helpful transition for students as they move into the Middle School where students have a House Master and Tutor.
How will assessment of learning and reporting be managed?
As the new flexible personalised approach is adopted, the teaching team will take collective responsibility for the academic growth of the students in the cohort. This will typically involve all teachers teaching across the cohort of students each week. Teachers will implement a range of tracking systems to ensure they are aware of student progress across each key learning area and unit of work. The teachers will review learning data on a weekly basis to ensure they are aware of each student’s next step in learning. This will influence future planning.
Canvas will continue to be used for continuous reporting of assessment data by providing parents with access to student submissions and feedback rubrics.
The process of writing reports is still to be reviewed; however, it is likely to be a collective effort with all teachers contributing to each student’s report with the Pastoral Care Teacher taking responsibility for the General Comment.
How will Parent Meetings work in this new model?
The Pastoral Care Teacher will be the first point of contact regardless of the focus of the parent meeting. Given the collective responsibility for academic growth, it may be that this teacher will need to speak with the other teachers to gather current information before meeting with the parent. This will also more closely resemble the model in the Middle School with the House Master.
How will the playground be managed to ensure the boys can still find space to play at the first and second break?
This will be managed in a few ways; we anticipate offering additional co-curricular opportunities at both breaks, playground areas will be allocated to different years levels and this will be rotated for fairness, and the Gym will be open at both breaks.