Our first assembly of the term focused on New Year’s resolutions and what they mean. We discussed that a resolution is usually a promise to start doing something good, or perhaps stop doing something bad and that it often comes from thinking about ourselves and our actions and reflecting on what might need to change.
This practice of reflection is in the DNA of every excellent school and it is firmly embedded at Gateway School in many guises. The nature of our great teachers is that they continually reflect on the learning experiences and classroom environment for their pupils, making alterations and improvements along the way. Additionally, quality professional dialogue about learning and teaching practices, with monitoring, reflection and improvement, is built into the staff continuing professional development programme.
We encourage our children to build this life skill into their everyday learning experiences too. In lessons, activities are paused enabling children to reflect on their learning and provide opportunities to question their depth of understanding, challenge them further or smooth out any misconceptions. Children regularly reflect in relation to the red, amber, green ‘target’ in their classrooms (otherwise known as Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development) where they accurately articulate if they are in the ‘challenge’ zone where optimal learning takes place and if not, what they need to do, or have help with, in order to find themselves in this zone.
Seeking views from others is also an important part of any school’s reflective practices and we readily welcome opportunities for pupils and parents to share their thoughts both informally and formally. Our successful School Parliament with its associated committees (charity, environment, food and community) provide a great structure for our pupils whilst our annual parents’ survey and Parent Forum discussions form an impactful way of receiving feedback on where the school is doing well and where improvements could be made. In addition, our termly Governance cycle also provides opportunities for self-reflective discussions on practice, pupil progress, school development and compliance.
It is also healthy for a school to receive feedback and reflections from sources outside of the immediate community, so opening our doors to this scrutiny is beneficial too. I hope you have had the opportunity to read our recent Muddy Stilettos review which aptly reflects the essence and ethos of Gateway School and how we support and develop children to be the best versions of themselves. As you are aware, we received a visit from the Independent Schools Inspectorate at the start of December who really honed in on the children’s academic and personal development. We are keenly anticipating the publication of this report as another reflection on why we believe Gateway School is a great environment for your children.
The philosophy of 'better never stops' underpins our beliefs at Gateway School. We will seek further feedback through surveys and discussions and act on our findings to ensure we continue to improve our practices and provide the best positive learning experiences for your children.