‘Going for Gold’ is a focus on the Learning Conduct of all students at Millthorpe School. We want students at Millthorpe to aim high and succeed, not just in terms of GCSE grades, but in everything they do, both in school and for the rest of their lives. This starts by being clear to students that ‘you get out what you put in’.
We looked back at how students performed during their five years at Millthorpe. We found those students that had displayed consistently ‘Excellent’ effort exceeded their GCSE targets, while those that were consistently ‘Good’ mostly met their targets. This was, of course, of no surprise! However, those students reported as having a ‘Satisfactory’ attitude to learning, achieved below what they were capable of. This needed addressing, as it is clearly not satisfactory if students are not fulfilling their true potential.
Therefore, we removed ‘Satisfactory’ and we worked to develop a Learning Conduct system that rewards students for displaying behaviours for learning that lead to successful outcomes. If students have the attitudes and characteristics at Gold standard, they will excel at Millthorpe and be prepared to be succeed in whatever journey lies ahead for them after Secondary School.
Millthorpe’s Learning Conduct grades describe a Gold learner in the following ways:
Highly motivated and engaged, where their effort is consistent and sustained.
We know that teachers will do all they can to plan the most inspiring and exciting lessons, but the reality is that unless learners want to learn and are engaged in every part of every lesson, they will not learn as well as they could. We want our students to know that the idea of success being a result of some sort of raw talent or gift you were born with is a myth; success, in whatever field, is a result of hard work and effort.
Contribution in class is active and sustained.
We want our students to have great attendance. There is a clear link between high levels of attendance and achievement at school. However, just turning up to each lesson will not yield success. The best learning happens when we are actively engaged in the process; when we are curious and inquisitive. If you consider how much we learn from birth to being old enough for school, the rate of learning is exponential, and it has mostly occurred because we ask questions of the world around us. This doesn’t just mean we want students to ask and answer questions in class. We want our learners to think deeply and to ask questions about what they are learning because we know that if they immerse themselves in the process of learning, they will flourish.
Always responds well to challenge and perseveres when work is difficult.
By the time children come to Millthorpe, they know that you can’t always succeed. We want them to know that you can’t always succeed first time! Learning something new is difficult and students will make mistakes. Consider learning to play a musical instrument or the first time you rode a bike. Learning a subject in a classroom is no different. We expect our students to be challenged in their lessons and we expect that they will not always know the right answer or how to solve the problem. We want our students to accept the challenge of new learning and, with the support of an expert teacher, persevere to develop the knowledge and skills to meet these challenges and eventually succeed.
Will take active steps to find out more without prompting.
We don’t want our students waiting for someone to give them the answer. This doesn’t happen in life, so we don’t want our students to develop a sense of ‘learned helplessness’ while they wait for the teacher to tell them the right answer in school. All the teachers at Millthorpe will plan resources and strategies that encourage students to problem solve and apply their prior learning to solve new challenges. Students are encouraged to ask questions and further their learning in a variety of ways. We want our students to be thirsty for knowledge and always seeking to learn and develop both in and outside of the classroom.
Is always motivated to respond positively to feedback and improve work.
As adults, we know that there will be times where things just don’t go our way. Similarly, every student will, at some point, put in the maximum effort to create a perfectly polished piece of work, and yet be disappointed by the outcome. We want students to accept failure as an integral part in the learning process, but only if they are willing to do something about it. We have built our assessment and feedback policy around learning from mistakes, listening to advice, and responding to feedback. We want our students to be lifelong learners, who understand that learning never stops; that we are always learning and improving, and that the biggest successes can come from our response to setbacks and failures.
Both oral and written work are always the best that the student can produce, including meeting deadlines and completing homework to the highest standard.
We want our students to know that their best is always good enough; that whatever they do in life, they can be proud if they gave it their best effort. This is what we expect from their learning in the classroom and their approach to homework. We want every child to take a pride in their work and their learning. All teachers at Millthorpe will reward effort and we have built our reward systems to ensure that the students who display Gold Learning Conduct get the credit they deserve. Not every student can be top of the class, but every student can try their very best.
Works highly effectively independently and with peers.
The ability to work under your own initiative and as part of team is something asked for on nearly every job advert I have seen from apprenticeship jobs to senior positions. This is an important life skill for our students to develop if they are to be successful. Modern technology has led to young people being rarely out of communication in some form with their peers and family, but they have not always developed the skills to communicate effectively. Moreover, this has led to some young people, who are accustomed to receiving instant reactions and responses. Teachers at Millthorpe plan their lessons to involve a variety of activities. This will sometimes involve students working highly independently with a focus on their own task, while other times taking a role within a group of peers. Every student will have their own strengths and preferred methods of working, but it is important that students develop the skills, confidence and emotional intelligence to be able to work effectively with others, but also have the self-assurance so they are able to work and focus in isolation.
School is much more than teaching students for exams; it’s about preparing young people, so they are ready and able to take the next steps and play their full part in the world. Millthorpe doesn’t just want its students to get great GCSEs, it wants them Going for Gold!