David Bradbury, headmaster at Portland Place School, explains why the one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work – never has and never will.
Education is a personal journey with each pupil aspiring to a different end goal, whether that be in their further education or future career choice. I believe that as educators, we need to focus on each and every individual as just that, ‘an individual’.
We can empower pupils to set their own learning direction by providing them with the opportunity to explore topics and issues further, enabling them to develop a sense of questioning and curiosity. When we are curious, we see things differently, making connections and experiencing moments of insight and meaning – all of which provide the foundation for rich and satisfying life experiences.
Through facilitating personalised curriculum options, we can achieve substantial academic success and foster within each pupil a passion and enthusiasm for learning. Putting the individual in control of their education.
In my view, we can excite and broaden the minds of our pupils through utilising highly creative and ‘out of the box’ learning initiatives such as the Portland Place School Strive Programme. The programme allows students to explore the world beyond the national curriculum, we want to harness their curiosity and deepen their engagement of a particular project through closer study. The remit is broad – be creative. With no limit on the medium, our students have seized this opportunity and completed projects on topics ranging from creating new computer game apps, a Whitechapel vlog on Jack the Ripper, making Tudor cakes and a Barcelona travelogue.
Some Year 9 students, for example, have decided to take their love of research a step further and are submitting their projects for external assessment which will give them an award equivalent to half a GCSE. Projects include an examination of the addictive nature of ‘Fortnite’, a fully functioning Gothic style battle helmet and an analysis of Game Theory. I believe that by encouraging this form of education, children can begin thinking and experimenting with different ways of learning, helping them to develop strategies for their independent education which will be essential for success.
By stretching learning far beyond the classroom, inspiring pupils and motivating them to set their own direction, we can nurture the spirit of discovery while promoting a real love of learning. A truly enriching and diverse education.