COCKERMOUTH SCHOOL NEWS Let’s talk about… learning

One of the big shifts in the world of teaching over the last decade has been away from, well, teaching. Now that may sound counter-intuitive and, in fact, it is misleading. For years, via Ofsted/government frameworks, schools were encouraged to focus on the delivery of lessons by teachers. Such a focus has merits and has been helpful in encouraging teachers to consider things such as their pitch, tone, resources, planning and marking. However, the single most important aspect in anyone’s educational experience is what has been, and is being, learned. A teacher can have the best resources and plans in the world, but if the students haven’t engaged or understood that material, then little has been learned.

At Cockermouth School we are spending a lot of time unpicking learning and considering how we can all maximise the opportunities for students to learn. One of the most impactful ways of enhancing learning is for students to think explicitly about their own habits and their own learning; this is known as self-regulation and metacognition. Using these approaches, a group of Sixth Form students got together before Christmas to research, prepare, brand and deliver their own New Year’s resolutions campaign, entitled ‘Learning Resolutions 2019’. They led assemblies in every year group in January, got every student in school to commit to one of five resolutions (see image) and followed this up with a poster campaign across the school. They then invited Year 10 students to develop this work by visiting form groups in the mornings to listen to great ideas about how students of all ages are implementing their learning resolutions. Based on their findings, the Year 10s and 12s have now just finished delivering a second set of assemblies to their peers lower down the school.

We are very grateful to all the student leaders who have volunteered their time to engage their peers in such an important matter. Moreover, we look forward to the development of their ideas as the conversation about learning deepens amongst our student body.

Dr Michelle Henley Deputy Head

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China was the latest in a long list of international destinations for junior members of West Cumberland Orienteering Club (WCOC). Carys Thomas and Rosie Spencer were selected to join the British team at the International Youth Orienteering Camp in Nanjing for eight days over half-term. Alongside teams Europe and Asia, they took part in competitions and training, together with cultural activities including learning tai chi, visits to temples and museums and having a meal with a Chinese family.

WCOC juniors and coaching team on tour in Norway

WCOC juniors travelled with four coaches as part of the North-West Junior Squad to Norway for a ten-day tour, where they trained and took part in competitions in terrain which is very different to the fells and forests of the Lake District. Orienteering in Scandinavia is always a challenge and this trip gives juniors the chance to develop their skills.

Three of the older WCOC juniors were selected to represent Great Britain at the World Junior Orienteering Championships in Hungary, the

European Youth

Orienteering Championships in Bulgaria, a GB Squad Training Camp in Denmark and the Junior European Cup in Switzerland. Each of these involved competition and training at the very highest level – selection for these is an outstanding achievement and reflects the hard work put in by both the juniors involved and their club.

Earlier in the year, WCOC juniors also represented England at the Interland international competition in Holland, while others competed at the huge Tio Mila relay race in Sweden against teams from all the major orienteering nations.

All these experiences have been possible because of the excellent coaching structure, the opportunities for regular practise at local events every week of the year and the generous support and help with fundraising provided by WCOC. Rosie said: “I started orienteering with my primary school All Saints’ Cockermouth. Since then, I have had loads of fun, made great friends in the club, from across the country and now from around the world.”

Orienteering is a fantastic family-friendly outdoor sport which involves map reading and running. If you would like to get involved, WCOC runs regular weekend coaching and friendly informal events each Thursday evening throughout the year, where newcomers of all ages are very welcome.

To find out more, visit find WCOC on Facebook or Twitter, or contact us via email,

ISSUE 431 | 23 MAY 2019 | 36

Alastair Thomas, Matt Felbaum, Niamh Hunter and Daniel Spencer representing GB at the Junior World Orienteering Championships in Hungary.

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