by Melanie Saunders, HPL Associate Director
"I was surprised by how clear-minded and knowledgeable they are."
Carlo Rovelli was very impressed with the students at Sydenham School when he visited in October, and no wonder. This is a highly reflective school where creative staff are really using the High Performance Learning framework to shape their students into the kind of confident, independent learners who can inspire, "the world's most inspiring physics teacher.".
The school has a history of pedagogy-led leadership where "lesson study" supports staff research into their own practice and professional development. This approach has been adapted to focus on introducing HPL's Advanced Cognitive Performance Characteristics (ACPs) and Values, Attitudes and Attributes (VAAs) into lessons and assessing the response of students. The school is currently encouraging staff to plan their lessons around playing with the ACPs and VAAs before moving on to map their coverage across the curriculum in a more formal way.
Rovelli has spoken about "beauty in mathematics" and this is certainly evident at Sydenham where I had the privilege to hear from maths teacher Seliat Agboola about the approach she has taken to expanding challenge and enquiry in mathematics. Her "learning pits" require children to exercise resilience and perseverance in tackling a mathematical challenge with no obvious solution. A range of different cognitive approaches are promoted which students must employ in order to climb out of the pit.
It was truly inspiring to see HPL in action at this HPL Pioneer School. Like Rovelli, I'm impressed.