At Glenfrome, we teach children to be independent, confident learners, using ‘learning powers’ to help them achieve. They know how to challenge themselves, what to do if they get ‘stuck’, and that making mistakes is a brilliant way to learn.
Our exciting outdoor spaces are our secret weapon – one of the things that makes us unique. As well as extensive grounds, we are within walking distance of Purdown, Snuff Mills and Eastville Park, and make good use of these spaces to enhance the children’s learning.
A Forest School
Our Forest School programme gives all children access to the local woods, to explore and be curious about the environment. Learning is hands-on and child-led, improving spatial awareness, motor development and team work. High adult:child ratios mean that children can safely experience exciting activities like climbing trees or lighting fires.
We are proud of our children’s musical talent and currently offer music tuition in recorder, violin, drumming, singing and guitar. Watch out for the Glenfrome Orchestra performing in a venue near you soon!
Recent visits include the M Shed to learn about the Slave Trade; @Bristol to study the solar system; Bristol Zoo to explore habitats and mini beasts; and The Red Lodge to experience Tudor life.
We regularly welcome visitors into school to engage and inspire us all, from African drummers to theatre groups, Indian dancers to Meet-a-Medic; we aim to give children both aspirational and inspirational experiences.
The Mastery-learning model
This forms the basis of our approach to teaching the National curriculum (implemented in 2014). This allows us to spend more time going into depth about a subject instead of rushing through the objectives. Previously Primary Schools had too many objectives to cover. This meant that some children were left with large gaps in subject knowledge because the concept they had just learnt was not consolidated.
At Glenfrome we focus on ensuring that children have an absolutely solid, concrete understanding of subject knowledge and skills. We have the confidence to take learning at a steadier and deeper pace, ensuring that no child is left behind, as well as providing deeper and richer experiences for children who are working above the national expectation for their age.
The National Curriculum puts the focus on all children achieving what is expected of their age group and not going beyond this. Evidence shows that children need to be able to understand a concept, apply it in a range of situations and then be creative to really understand it. Simply going beyond their age group does not guarantee they understand something, it just means they have heard it.
Mastery-led learning means that no child is taught content from the year group above them. Instead they will spend time becoming really confident with the objectives for their age, applying and being creative with new knowledge and skills in multiple ways.
While we continue to make the transition from the old curriculum to the new national curriculum there will be some children who need to be taught objectives from a previous year group in order to access the learning for their own year group. This may also be necessary for any new arrivals to our school. Teachers and learning support assistants will use pre-teaching sessions in the morning and afternoon to do this in order for us to quickly close the gaps and ensure that your child can learn the objectives for their year group.
In short, this means working towards:
- Teach less, learn more: less teacher talk and more evidencing of learning and progress
- No child left behind: all children are enabled to keep up every day.
- Space and time to experience and apply, with all children entitled to additional support to ensure they do not fall behind or to go deeper
- Understanding real life applications wherever possible to make learning relevant and not abstract; nothing should be taught without a purpose.
- Catch up: some children will be given additional time and support to learn concepts that they have not yet grasped from previous year groups
All of this means that you may see a change in the way we teach and assess your child, most notably will be in how we organise your child’s learning and how we report their progress to you.
We do more of this:
- Teaching all children in class, together, most of the time
- More verbal feedback during lessons, shorter comments in books and more ticking of correct concepts
- Spending longer on one idea
- Giving children who need it, additional support over shorter, more intense periods, like a day or week.
- Daily or weekly mini assessments with a few formal tests over the year
And in mathematics lessons the mastery approach means we will:
- Allow more time for discussion and pair work
- continually assess children’s understanding using multiple hinge questions
- provide support or scaffolding when needed
- present challenges through ‘Star Questions’ and develop understanding through expert questioning
And less of this:
- Formal marking with lots of written feedback and highlighting
- Covering lots of ideas in one week
- Formal, long-term interventions to boost them out of class
- Separating children into ability groups
- Formal testing of children weekly or termly