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NEWS


Children who learn thinking skills could improve their GCSE results by a whole grade


their ideas with ‘maps’ which help children to create, understand, problem-solve and persist with tasks rather than merely regurgitate answers. Research author Dr Dave Walters, of the


Attending a Thinking School can improve pupils’ GCSE results by as much as a grade, according to new research. And under the new Progress 8 accountability


measure, which aims to capture the progress a pupil makes from the end of primary school to the end of key stage 4, schools can expect to see their scores increase by a grade. Thinking Schools teach students to visualise


Cognitive Education Development Unit at Exeter University, believes the research establishes Thinking Schools as game-changers in school improvement. Dr Walters, who is also Deputy Head of a


secondary school in South West England, says his findings demonstrate that in secondaries that have adopted a Thinking School approach over a three-year period, growth equates to a whole grade’s progress for students at GCSE.


This is relative to what they were expected to get, compared with those with the same starting point attending schools that haven’t adopted the same approach. Working on the same principle, this equates to a grade’s worth of progress in SATs tests which pupils take in their final year at primary school. On average, a school with a Progress 8 score


of zero (the national average) would, by adopting this approach, move up to a score of 1, which puts them firmly in Ofsted’s ‘outstanding’ category for student outcomes, points out Dr Walters.


uwww.exeter.ac.uk


Grandparents go ‘Back to School’ at Beech Hall


Beech Hall School has welcomed local grandparents to join their grandchildren, for a special celebration day held in their honour. The older generation attended the Tytherington-based school with their


younger family members, to celebrate Grandparents’ Day with a range of activities. Visitors were treated to a nutritious and filling breakfast with their loved


ones, fuelling them for the exciting and educational day ahead. The grandparents were then invited into a joyous assembly where the


cohort came together to share memories and sing hymns. Grandparents told stories from their school days whilst their grandchildren discussed what they love most about their grandparents. Reliving their childhood, the guests continued their school journey by


joining their grandchildren in the classroom to provide support and guidance during lessons. Headmaster James Allen commented: “Grandparents are incredibly


supportive of their grandchildren and it was an honour to welcome them into school to celebrate this. It was a special family event thoroughly enjoyed by all. “At Beech Hall School we understand the importance of parents,


guardians and grandparents being involved in the children’s learning which is why we hold a variety of family-orientated events throughout the year, our family swim on a Friday is a popular one!”


uwww.beechhallschool.org


Wakefield student wins 2018 National Theatre New Views playwriting competition


17-year-old Alice Schofield from CAPA College in Wakefield, has won the National Theatre’s annual playwriting competition for 14 – 19-year-olds, New Views. Alice’s play, If We Were Older, was


chosen from over 300 entries and will be performed by professional actors at the National Theatre during its New Views Festival in July, alongside rehearsed readings of nine other shortlisted plays in the Dorfman Theatre. If We Were Older was selected from a


shortlist of ten plays by a panel of judges including NT Senior Dramaturg Nina Steiger, playwright James Graham (This House, Quiz), actor Michael Balogun (currently appearing in Rufus Norris’


production of Macbeth at the National Theatre) and NT Connections Dramaturg Ola Animashawun. This year’s shortlisted plays sensitively explore a broad range of


contemporary issues including immigration, sexuality, gender and mental health. Ranging from monologues to multi-media-infused ensemble pieces, each play introduces a fresh, new and exciting voice. Alice said "I have always loved watching and performing in theatre pieces,


and New Views has given me the opportunity to appreciate theatre from a completely different angle. Through the process of learning about playwriting, I have been able to explore my own creativity and develop a completely new set of skills. The fact that my play is going to be staged at the National Theatre still feels totally surreal, and although I still feel like I'm dreaming, I couldn't be more thankful to have been given this opportunity of a lifetime." James Graham, playwright and judge on this year’s panel, said, “There are


so many challenges facing young people's access to the arts right now, so thank God something like NT's New Views exists. Its encouragement and mentoring of school age students to have the confidence to write a play is so important. I was taken aback by the talent and imagination, it was such a privilege to read a selection of them. Alice’s winning play is a really inspiring and moving exploration of sexuality and identity across the generations. It will be exciting to watch her, and the other writers, develop into the playwrights of tomorrow.”


uwww.nationaltheatre.org.uk June 2018 www.education-today.co.uk 5


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