Why children shine at Stonar
PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 April 2014
At Stonar, each child’s learning is supported in a highly individual and unique way. Many schools claim this, but few can really deliver.
Learning support at Stonar is not a department it is a whole school approach. Whether a pupil is gifted in a particular academic area, requires specialist support or just needs to find their inner confidence and motivation, Stonar believes that they have unique learning needs that should be supported.
The whole school ethos is to help individual pupils unlock their strengths and build self-confidence. For some this may be through academic grades but for others it may be an artistic, sporting or extra-curricular talent. For many, it’s about developing a sense of self-worth, a feeling that they are valued for who they are and what they can contribute.
For effective individual support to work, teachers must really know the pupils: not just who they are but their learning styles and their motivations; their strengths and their fears. To do this, class sizes need to be small (averaging 15 at Stonar), the relationships must be strong and an involvement in all aspects of the pupils’ school lives is essential.
The first ingredient is to ensure that the pupil feels at ease at school and comfortable in their own skin. This is about belonging and being valued. If a child is happy and relaxed then their mind is more likely to open to new possibilities. At Stonar we want people to feel they can be who they really are and not have to put on the masks that so many young people learn to hide behind during their school days.
The second factor is recognising a pupil’s strengths and building on them. Helping them understand their own learning style and then finding that their teachers will understand these too and give them the attention they require, helps to build their own sense of self-belief and confidence. They can then adopt a positive attitude to their studies without the fear of failure that hampers so many young learners.
The final thing is to provide them with the opportunity to shine in a safe environment where their talents and efforts will be recognised and celebrated. In a relatively small community like Stonar, every individual counts whether taking part in a House music competition or the hockey team. They discover that they matter and develop a sense of self-worth.
It is then no surprise that they exceed expectations both academically and personally and leave the school equipped to be successful and contented adults. We don’t take this for granted; our parent and pupils tell us that it is so.
This article appeared in the Spring issue of the A+ Education Guide South West. Click here to see the whole magazine.