We are a school where learning is at the heart of everything we do. Learning requires a growth mindset and requires that staff take the lead in modelling this. Innovation means we are continually looking to improve but not in unplanned ways.
We know who we are and what we can offer. We would never claim to be the best for everyone, but we do claim to be the best for our students and our purpose. We are perfect for students and families wanting to be part of a smaller, close community:
- We are a good choice for people who value building trust within a school community through open dialogue and supportive relationships.
- We are ideal for students longing for flexibility, choice and different academic pathways and options.
- And we are a good choice for students happy to be part of a smaller school community that is still diverse and includes many backgrounds and nationalities.
We believe in implementing evidence-based approaches to teaching and learning over time and employing action research approaches whereby each student and teacher is involved in a plan–do–review–cycle. We use this approach to focus on the development of meta-cognitive skills in our school.
We help each other through challenges and celebrate achievements together. Our group of teaching staff are highly qualified international educators who have chosen to work with us because they agree with our values. It is this stability and sustained commitment which is so unusual in an international setting, and which really allows for an authentic experience of care.
We put emphasis on cross disciplinary work and metacognition. Each year departments follow their syllabus requirements and make links with overarching themes, such as ‘growth’. Students produce creative pieces often using art, design, and film to situate their curriculum-based learning into a wider and more creative context. All teachers focus on weaving cognitive and metacognitive strategies into their classes.
Action research school which values a growth mindset
We are aware that for authentic learning to transpire a culture of learning is required. This does require a commitment to a growth mindset from our staff and students. What this means is that we take the perspective that there is always something to be learned, which means mistakes are viewed as helpful rather than something to be avoided. More formally we have embarked on two holistic school initiatives. Metacognitive strategies across the curriculum and art across the curriculum. Teachers work within and across departments to critically reflect on their practice, team teach, peer observe, coach, co-plan and share resources
Metacognition within and across all subjects
Metacognition includes self-regulation and motivation, which relates to developing the students’ ability to learn independently and develop their own toolkit of evidence-based learning strategies. All of our teachers are not only subject teachers but learning coaches who introduce evidence-based methods of learning into every class.
Art across the curriculum
In September 2020 we began developing a trans-disciplinary approach to Art. As a pilot project, we launched ‘layering the curriculum with art’ which involved students making 3D designs, art and literature to represent their understanding of abstract academic concepts. Student and teacher feedback was overwhelmingly positive and so we are excited to continue to layer our curriculum with art and design for the foreseeable future. More information in our blog.
Another area we are keen on developing, is our partnership with other schools and institutions from the state and private sector. This has already begun with a developing relationship with the Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz teacher training department where we are embarking on a partnership where we hope to learn from one another to further improve our practice.
We have a peer tutoring and mentoring programme through which senior students provide tutoring to IGCSE and year 7/8 students in order to improve their own understanding of a topic as well as provide a valuable voluntary service as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award.