By Andy Walles (Associate Assistant Headteacher) We are introducing a new assessment procedure at DBS for the Academic Year 2021-2022. We want to move away from a conventional assessment approach, testing recall and knowledge of a topic that has just finished, towards a more holistic skills-based approach. Through the increased use of synoptic assessment, as championed by Dylan William and Tom Sherrington, we are aiming to bring a more cumulative, building-block approach to subjects for our students. We want our students to be able to link different parts of different topics, or even subjects, with ease. This is an approach that is a regular feature in IB exams, and some aspects of IGCSE exams. Allowing students to access synoptic, skills-based learning through our assessments, will improve their abilities at creating these links. This will allow us to move away from assessing students at the end of terms in big blocks of exams and further move away from assessing students just to get a grade to put on a report. It will allow us to focus on increasing enjoyment and engagement with a subject as a whole, assessing the students’ capabilities accurately, across a range of topic areas at once. With our new progression maps, teacher feedback and skills-based learning, our students will be able to reflect on their ability within key skills in each subject, and know exactly the level at which they are working, and how to move onto the next level and beyond. It is an exciting time for our students and our teachers, as we focus on a holistic view of our wide-ranging subjects. We are eagerly anticipating the improvements we are expecting from this movement.
By Kerry Walton and Katy Leighton (Assistant Heads of Secondary) Transition is a huge part of any child's education, whether it's transitioning from preschool to reception, primary school to secondary school or secondary school to sixth form, the transition still generates the same type of feelings by the children. Nervousness, anxiety, excitement and uncertainty. The aim of transition is to welcome the students from one area of the school to another, to allow them to experience the lessons and culture of the school and to meet classmates and their teachers. This year it has been slightly different to normal years, but the impact we hope is still the same. Year 6 students were able to spend a day in secondary school experiencing the timetable of a Year 7 student. They had a variety of lessons including, maths, science and DT. After speaking with the Year 6 students, what they enjoyed the most about the day was being able to walk around the school and see different classrooms! Year 11 students will experience a transition week online; the transition to Year 12 can be a daunting experience. The curriculum changes from IGCSE to IAS or IB. The expectations of a year 12 student change, as does the teaching and learning. To prepare students for university, we need to make sure that they are independent learners. Year 11 students will receive 7 workshops, ranging from how to take notes, how to study and the expectations of a sixth form student. They will then experience an IAS or IB lesson, with a task to complete over the summer. This demonstrates to students how their lessons will be delivered and what they can expect from the teacher.
The platform to stretch our Most Able students By Elodie Jugue (Deputy Head of Secondary) In a world that is forever changing and getting more and more competitive, we, at DBS, want to ensure our students are equipped with the skills, the confidence and the resilience to achieve their goals. This is why we have now designed our long awaited Most Able Programme to enable our high flyers to challenge themselves even more through deep thinking, academic research and by putting them out of their comfort zone. Outside of lesson time and in parallel with their world class Curriculum, 40 KS3 students have been selected and invited to join our programme and to enter in our ‘Brighten your Thoughts’ competition where our talented students will be presenting their ideas on questions such as ‘How can we achieve equality in an unequal world?’ or ‘Should healthcare be free?’. They will be guided, mentored and supported by educators, researchers and IB students through their journey in order to perfect and refine their skills and knowledge before they present it to a jury during a live event where their parents, fellow students and teachers will be invited. We are incredibly excited about this opportunity which will be for sure a source of great pride and inspiration for our students and hopefully a springboard to cultivate a love for learning and researching.