Intersen Phase - Girls on grass 1

Kagan Co-operative Strategies

For the foreseeable future we would like to focus on innovating in every aspect of our school. The journey we started four years ago, to change the way we do things at Sweet Valley, has become official and our main focus. You will notice that certain aspects of school life will begin to look different to what they used to look like.

Innovation will be an ongoing process and learning is going to be an integral part of that innovation. Not only are the children going to continue to learn, but so are we and, hopefully, so are you. Our ‘Sweet Valley Family’ ethos has always been one of our biggest strengths and we want to continue to develop and rely on this strength.

Our mission statement is going to drive this process. We have identified key elements that we are going to focus on in our innovation. They are elements that we would like to develop in ourselves, in the children and hopefully, you will join us in developing them in yourselves. We want Sweet Valley to be the perfect place to leap into the future and we can achieve this with your support.

Our staff have identified collaborative learning as the next step that they would like to focus on in their journey of innovation. In February and April this year, all staff will attend workshops training them in Kagan Co-operative Strategies.

On our year planner test and exam weeks in the second and fourth terms are now called “Assessment Week”. We want to evolve our assessments to reflect the skills the children are learning rather than test their recall of the content. For example: Are they able to pick out the 5 most important facts in a paragraph? Can they summarise information onto a Thinking Map? Can they design a good question? Can they translate written information into a diagram/ graph/ picture? Can they do the reverse process? Can they collate different sources of information into one piece? Some things will still have to be rote learned – times tables, spelling, formats for layouts etc. And, as they move higher up the grades, knowledge and understanding of the content is going to become more important. Class-based activities will be their formal assessment in certain subjects. There will still be formal tests, especially in subjects such as Maths.