At Scartho Junior Academy (SJA), ‘developing a lifelong love of learning’ is the heart of all that we do. Scartho Junior Academy is a two form entry junior school situated on the outskirts of Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire.
Our community is in the majority white British and we’ve historically been seen as a school in a leafy green area. However, over the last three to four years there has been a significant shift in the profiles of the cohort of children that are coming through the school. In this regard, our children who are eligible for ‘Pupil Premium’ has risen from 9% to 27%.
About six years ago, we realised that whilst the teaching and learning was good at SJA, we didn’t feel that we were truly developing our children as learners who were developing skills that were fit for the 21st century. At that point in time, we started developing our Learning Skills approach and building it into the curriculum. Three years ago, we started to intertwine the REAL© Projects and Immersive Learning approach into our Learning Skills curriculum. Over the last three years, this curriculum development has been supported by EOS and now EdTransform.
Through all the hard work of the amazingly dedicated and motivated whole school team at SJA, we have now developed our very own unique approach to learning through ‘SJA’s Pyramid of Learning’. At the top of the pyramid is our learning motto ‘Developing a Lifelong Love of Learning’. Everything that we do at SJA contributes to this. The next level of our pyramid are our newly developed Principles of Learning. We achieve these principles in three practical ways through REAL© Projects, the development of Learning Spaces that impact on Learning and Learning Skills.
Our Learning Skills, have developed over the last six years and focus on six key areas. They are: Effective Participators, Self Managers, Independent Enquirers, Creative Thinkers, Team Workers and Reflective Learners. Children work on these skills during the year and then share their progress with parents at Student Led Conferences.
As with other schools that have worked with EdTransform, we developed our curriculum through the REAL© Projects approach to learning. REAL© Projects are designed to challenge children, through Big Essential Questions, Challenge Based Learning and SOLE (Self Organised Learning Environments) to explore real world problems. Our children know that their work is important beyond the school walls and so they are now truly motivated to produce work of excellence and to make a real difference to the world. Through each project, children know that they have to produce authentic outcomes that will be celebrated at the end of the project through Public Exhibitions or Celebrations of Learning .
Our focus on Learning Spaces is the third way that we practically achieve our Principles of Learning. At the start of our REAL© Projects journey we developed our learning environments so that they were immersive. Through research, visiting other schools and our own experimentation, we have now moved to classrooms designed around learning spaces. At the core of this approach is the focus on children choosing where they learn and with whom.
A key concept that has supported our curriculum and pedagogical development over the last three years has been visits and collaborations to and with like minded schools. This has enabled us to collaborate in the true sense of the word to directly impact on the learning that takes place at SJA so that all our children ‘develop a lifelong love of learning’.