Jerome Bruner, the renowned American psychologist, stated that the primary objective of any act of learning, over and above the pleasure it may give, is that it should serve us in the future.

However, the future for those currently studying at Bradfield is increasingly uncertain. On leaving school our pupils will be propelled into a constantly shifting social, political and technological landscape where they will be confronted by frequent changes in their personal and professional lives.

What happens in the classroom is our core business.

Contemporary trends in development demand that we not only furnish pupils with the knowledge and understanding that they need to be successful in external examinations, but that they also acquire the skills and habits of mind that will allow them to flourish in the rapidly changing world that lies beyond Bradfield.

Whilst we are unable to accurately predict what the world will look like in five, ten or fifty years time, we aspire to support the development of powerful, lifelong learners who will graduate from Bradfield equipped and ready to go to work on the world.

Developing learning skills

To achieve this aim the College seeks to develop the following six ‘Education for Life’ attributes in all pupils; confidence, open-mindedness, resilience, inquiry, communication and innovation. These attributes permeate College life; pupils are provided with the opportunity to develop these key characteristics across the diverse range of learning experiences available to them at Bradfield.

Learning is not solely confined to the classroom as many powerful learning experiences take place across the co-curricular and pastoral spheres. However, what happens in the classroom is our core business and provides an exciting opportunity for us to challenge both ourselves and the pupils who we have the pleasure of teaching to actively engage with the broad academic programme offered at Bradfield.

As part of the exciting and diverse Divisions curriculum all Faulkner’s (Year 9) pupils receive a sequence of ‘rotation’ lessons across the course of the academic year focusing on the development of their learning skills which they are then able to apply across the range of academic disciplines that comprise the Faulkner’s curriculum.

To measure the improvement in their learning skills, pupils complete two self-report surveys at the start and end of the rotation, the data from which is then analysed to quantify the development in pupils’ learning skills. This provides a pioneering narrative through which the planning, development and delivery of both the learning skills sessions and the curriculum more broadly are reinforced.

The teaching and learning environment

In terms of the teaching and learning environment at the College, my vision is ‘To develop and promote Bradfield’s reputation as one of the leading schools in the country, renowned for the quality of its teaching and learning environment’.

In contemporary education, there is a significant shift towards evidence-informed practice, where the findings of educational research are used to positively inform our pedagogical approach in the classroom.

How can we prepare ourselves and our children for a world of such unprecedented transformations and radical uncertainties?

Yuval Noah Harari

It is clear that the College is rich with a hugely talented and committed body of teachers who care deeply about what they do, giving outstanding support to pupils’ academic, pastoral and co-curricular experiences.

The challenge moving forward is to deliver a dynamic programme of Continual Professional Development (CPD) opportunities which allows teachers to further advance their classroom practice, enhancing the quality of the teaching and learning environment fostered across the College.

Creating opportunities for colleagues to learn from each other through mutual observation, in addition to the curation of a Teaching and Learning Research Group, has the potential to yield a significant impact on the quality of the teaching and learning environment.

The Bradfield Teaching and Learning Blog serves to share the latest evidence-informed approaches with colleagues, providing a collaborative forum where staff can access, engage with and contribute to the sharing of a diverse range of effective and impactful teaching strategies.

I have been struck by colleagues’ relentless support of pupils’ academic, pastoral and co-curricular journeys together with the generosity of spirit that is so tangible across the College community. Bradfield is a remarkable place that is committed to preparing pupils so that they can flourish and thrive in the constantly shifting sands of contemporary society.