The school’s ground-breaking facilities and teaching methods encourage critical thinking, curiosity and collaboration.
Kensington Prep encourages independent and questioning thinking. Winning this award is a great endorsement of our ground-breaking facilities, which have transformed classrooms into powerful new learning spaces. The new facilities are designed to promote critical thinking, curiosity and collaborative thinking – essential ingredients to help equip young pupils for success in our fast-changing world.
The school’s innovative £2.7m Creating Spaces for Growing Minds programme particularly impressed the judges making the award. The new facilities now provide spacious classroom breakout spaces, a high-tech Explore Floor with multi-screens and moveable furniture, a recording studio and an eco-greenhouse.
Teachers were concerned that pupils weren’t developing sufficient skills to succeed in this fast-paced world: they were risk averse, liked being spoon-fed and were people pleasers. But the real skills they need in an unpredictable future were different: flexibility, willingness to take risks, ability to work collaboratively and at a deeper level, resilience, reflectiveness and more.
We wanted to strike a careful balance between developing the grit and resilience of our girls while retaining their childhood.
We didn’t want to lose young children’s natural curiosity – in fact quite the reverse – we wanted to develop the investigative learning of the Early Years throughout the school
The Explore Floor is perfect for project/immersion work. At the flick of a switch the room can be converted into an immersive experience such as London along the Thames, or a scene from a St Lucia rainforest. The spaces have enabled a new Year Six entrepreneurial project where pupils are challenged to design and deliver a unique event or experience with the aim of raising funds for charity. The Explore Floor has multi screens, a floor projector and colourful lighting.
The role of the teacher has also evolved. The school trained teachers to be coaches and new technology was also introduced, encouraging pupils’ independence and IT confidence. The online learning platform Firefly is now used throughout the school by pupils, teachers and parents.
The school’s transformation was the result of much research, looking at the latest thinking from educational experts such as John Hattie, Erica McWilliam, Jane Simister, Carol Dweck and others. The pupils’ learning centres on the four areas of critical thinking, persistence, inquisitiveness and collaboration.
There has been a significant impact on the girls’ learning experience allowing much more independence, collaborative learning and problem solving in small groups. The pupils’ say they feel they have more creative freedom too and parents are delighted with the school’s forward-thinking approach.