Central to the Reddam House philosophy is the importance of nurturing the unique individuality, talent and self-assurance of all students. Our Challenge and Extension programme, which is an integral feature of all of our schools, is therefore accessible to all students, regardless of ability. We wish to develop every child’s potential and to allow them opportunities to undertake work which moves forward their learning and allows the development of higher-order thinking skills. The foundation of the Challenge and Extension programme is the development of a ‘mindset for learning’ incorporating the ideas of resilience, effort and the understanding that success is in the hands of the individual. This is also why it is one of the fundamental pillars of our student code of conduct.
In all four schools challenge and extension is woven into the fabric of school life and can be found in both the curriculum and co-curricular programme. In the classroom, from the ELS through to Year 13 teachers provide a stimulating learning environment, where all students are stretched. Our recent inspection (February 2016) stated that our ‘teaching used the CHEX initiative well, providing challenges for all and extension for those more capable.
The use of open-ended questions or 'possibility questions' are used from the earliest stage of an infant’s education to encourage them to explore the next step. This prompts them to find out what might happen next and to reach their potential in all areas. These questions ensure that children can be involved in constructing their own curriculum and direction of learning. As children grow they discuss their knowledge and then are supported to ask questions about what further information they would like to find out about a particular area of learning. This is incorporated into small group planning so that children are true protagonists in the classroom.
In the Reception classroom, CHEX books encourage children to attempt more challenging tasks and to explore each area of the classroom each week. The challenges are open-ended and therefore allow children to complete them in the way they would like to but allow for the classroom learning to be enriched and embedded into continuous play provision. This style of learning encourages our children to become independent learners who can decide how they want to complete elements of their work in a play context. Reception children are truly excited by the challenges revealed each Monday and are keen to explore areas of learning outside their comfort zone.
CHEX in the Junior School is a seamless continuation of the exciting discovery work started in the ELS. As our pupils embark on a more structured curriculum, they are challenged to engage, enquire and extend their own learning, through their classwork, extra-curricular activities and homework. We do not put limits on our pupil's learning, but instead, using the model of 'Austin's Butterfly', gently encourage them to achieve their true potential. Our pupils flourish in this warm and supportive environment and they look forward to the challenge of CHEX woven into every lesson.
Each of our classrooms displays CHEX in different ways, allowing children to see it visually and even add their own CHEX work for others to complete. Junior School pupils from Year Three to Six also have an individual CHEX Challenge Choices booklet to use at home. Packed full of exciting tasks to develop creativity and thinking skills at home, these books are igniting new interests and are uniquely Reddam.
In the Middle School at Reddam House Berkshire, teachers understand the importance of developing young people’s confidence, self-discipline and understanding of the learning process. One of the benefits of a through school is that we are able to recognise and build on what learners already know, avoiding unnecessary repetition and setting out appropriate objectives for all students. In the Middle School, a variety of teaching approaches are used to make learning an enjoyable and challenging experience, matching tasks to learners’ maturity and preferred learning styles.
To ensure that learning opportunities for Years 7-9 are maximised, every classroom has a CHEX board; an interactive display with a series of subject relevant extension tasks which are designed to be fun whilst also helping to develop higher-order thinking skills. These are extremely popular with the students and are a unique feature of Reddam House Berkshire.
In the Senior School at Reddam House Berkshire, we encourage a classroom culture of high expectations and aspirations, where hard work, curiosity and knowledge are viewed positively, and where all sorts of talents and abilities are valued. In addition, the use of peer and self-assessment to make young people partners in their learning, help them to assess their strengths and weaknesses, and inform subsequent progress.
Teachers are encouraged to present their curriculum as a series of problems to be solved rather than a body of knowledge to be absorbed; where independent thinking and open inquiry are stimulated. Furthermore, teaching and learning methods are created to foster independent thinking and open inquiry, so that learning becomes an enjoyable and challenging experience for all. In particular, students are encouraged and supported in asking their own questions and linking out of class experiences with day to day learning.
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