The wellbeing of the girls and boys in our care is underpinned by the notion of balance. Among other things, this means that the educational experiences we offer must protect them from the grip of exam fever. It’s all too easy to adopt a focus of “drill and practice” which narrows their experience to one of teach and test, as a means to achieve good exam results. Written exams, as important as they are, can only assess a small sample of the knowledge and a limited number of skills associated with a specific subject.
An article I recently read put it this way “The notion of being educated implies a range of additional skills that true students develop over time at school – soft skills of perseverance, prioritisation, persistence, working in collaboration with others, problem-solving strategies, debate and discussion, tolerance of different views, critical engagement with ideas, ownership of thought, responsibility and so on.”
This happens both within and without the classroom. Our Teaching & Learning Group have developed a whole school approach to ‘learning skills’ which teachers are embedding into lessons. We call them the 4Cs of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. The idea is that through the 4Cs students develop the confidence, skills and strategies to extend their own knowledge and understanding by applying concepts that they know in unfamiliar contexts – surely the real goal of education.
It’s my observation that a teacher cannot truly know a child if they only ever see them in a classroom, and so balance demands that pupils are prompted, nudged, encouraged to find their talents and make the most of the breadth of opportunities beyond the classroom. It’s also important for the wellbeing of our teachers that they can indulge their own passions through our co-curricular programme. You won’t be surprised that there is no shortage of teachers offering to help Mr Meads with surfing!
There were some impressive skills on display on the sports field in the past week. In a rare feat of excellence, our U16 rugby team have been crowned county champions, after a good win against Penryn College. The rare bit is that this team have been county champions every year since joining Truro School five years ago. Playing in front of large crowd under floodlights at St Austell RFC made for a terrific occasion.
On Saturday it was the turn of our distance runners who turned up on a damp and rather windy morning to race in the Cornwall Cross Country Championships. As a school, it’s fair to say that we stole the show with our runners medalling in the junior boys, inter boys and girls and then the super-duo of Finn B and Harris M bringing home Gold and Silver in the Senior boys. The prize for grit must go to Izzy L who, having picked up a silver medal in the Inter Girls event, dashed off to Penzance to race in the county swimming championships where she won another silver medal in the U15 girls 800m freestyle. Great to see Anya H winning gold in the same event for U14 girls and Sam N also performing well.
Saturday is a big day for a large number of boys and girls who will be descending on Truro School to sit the 11+ and 13+ entrance exams. Alongside the entrance exam, I interview prospective candidates and have been having a thoroughly enjoyable time getting to know those who will be our cohort of 1st Years in 2019. I look forward to welcoming our prospective parents and pupils back to school.