Learning to learn

We teach children how to learn rather than what to learn. Children are encouraged to be independent, critical thinkers – learning the value of making mistakes, taking risks and persevering in the face of a challenge.

Motivation comes from the intrinsic pleasure of learning – there is no need for sticker charts or gold stars when children learn to evaluate and take responsibility for their own learning.

Making learning visible

From their earliest experiences at Lewes New School children are immersed in a culture where learning is an object of attention, conversation and reflection. Learning is everywhere and everyone is on a learning journey.

  • Learning Portfolios: Incorporating photos, examples of work, detailed teacher observations and the child’s own reflections and evaluations, portfolios form a record of the child’s individual learning journey throughout their time at the school.
  • Exhibitions: An authentic opportunity to share the fruits of learning with family and friends. This may be a movie screening, dance performance, multimedia installation or an interactive science laboratory – alongside displays of work.

Assessment that enhances learning

Assessment supports learning rather than dictates it. Our students are not required to sit standardised tests (SATs) but are fully involved in a rigorous process of assessment.

  • Regular, ongoing dialogue: Children reflect on both the processes and quality of their work. Teachers provide sensitive, constructive feedback based on ongoing observation. The aim is to foster motivation and work together to decide ‘what next?’.
  • Self assessment and peer review: Learning the art of giving and receiving constructive criticism is a part of daily life. Children are able to reflect on what constitutes ‘good’ work in themselves and others.
  • Family consultations: Children are invited, but not required, to meet with their parents and teachers to take part in conversations concerning their work.
  • The Learner Profile: Drawing on a range of sources and research, we have developed our own framework for dialogue and reflection about the attributes of an effective learner: creativity, resilience, knowledge, sociability, mindfulness, reflectiveness and integrity. We encourage children to step out of their comfort zone and explore each of these dimensions of learning while acknowledging their natural strengths.

“I am so glad that when I walk into the playground in the morning with Isaac I feel acceptance and love.”

Alison, parent