‘New academic year resolutions’
The start of the academic year feels a little like the start of a new calendar year resolutions included. Out with the old and in with the new and all that. So this new academic year at Knighton we’ve taken this literally as we embark on a different academic direction by introducing our new KED (Knowledge Enlightenment Discovery) Curriculum. Out with Common Entrance and in with a more progressive and enlightened curriculum; it feels 100% the right thing to do.
I’ve worked in independent prep school education for 24 years now in schools where Common Entrance has been the sacred cow and where countless children have had the slog in their final two years of preparing for the exams. I was guilty too of prepping those I taught in History how to pass their Common Entrance exam. We’d go over several exam questions, write model answers and assess continually. I can hear myself caveating work I set with, “you’ve got Common Entrance in a few months……” I’d wager a bet many of those I have taught still remember key details of the battle of Hastings, the Black Death and the Peasants’ Revolt; classic old favourite topics I covered more than once. And who didn’t compare Common Entrance results with other departments giving a silent fist pump when you finally out did the French Department (they have always done exceptionally well wherever I’ve worked!) with more As in History.
So what’s different now at Knighton you ask with the KED Curriculum? Well, the main point is, continuing the history theme, there is no History Common Entrance paper at the end of this year. That means many things: Teaching can continue throughout the year without the interruption of exams (even to the extent of ‘working’ right up to the end of the summer term in Year 8); there will be greater flexibility so topics can be explored in greater or lesser depth depending on engagement/interest; and, there will be greater freedom to develop lines of thought, discussion and opinion. That’s just in History. And I’m really on touching on what is possible in just one subject
Our theme at Knighton for this term is Discovery. According to the dictionary, discovery means ‘the process of finding information, a place, or an object, especially for the first time: the act of discovering something seen or learned for the first time: something discovered’. The whole of the first day of term was devoted to discovery activities with the older girls leading the way and doing a great job at helping the younger girls. On Saturday in church I talked to the girls about the power and potential of our amazing brains and how humans have harnessed their brain power to invent and discover some pretty amazing things. Having presented to them the top twenty inventions/discoveries of all time we voted for the top one. Electricity won the most votes over things like fire, the printing press, vaccinations, the wheel and more recently the computer.
I reckon we could take each one of the top twenty and spend the rest of the year studying them as part of our KED Curriculum. We might just do that by adding it into our planning for the year because we can.