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Read posts from our pupils and teachers to find out a bit more about what life is like at a Stephen Perse Foundation school.

If you only want to read blog posts from one school, you can visit their individual blog: Pre-Prep, Dame Bradbury's, Junior School, Senior School, 6th Form.

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Showing items for tag Our Vision

  • Publishing free iBooks

    Published 19/01/15

    Will schools in the future be publishing houses? On the face of it this assertion is preposterous. Publishing in its traditional form is potentially a huge undertaking with a myriad of issues involved in the publication of a book.

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  • Schools must be the instrument of change

    Published 12/12/14
    I have decided that I live my educational life in silos. The reform of examination qualifications is flexing its muscles in one silo; the debate about promoting character in schools is periodically erupting in another silo; and the relentless progress of digital learning marches on in apparent isolation from qualifications and character in its uniquely twenty first century silo. At what point will we join the dots?
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  • Living in an age of ubiquitous connectivity

    Published 24/11/14
    Marty Cooper, the inventor of the mobile phone, has observed that we are living in an age of ubiquitous access to people. We are living in an age of connectivity.
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  • Why I am worried by Gove’s reforms of the qualifications’ framework

    Published 14/06/14
    It all seemed so straightforward at the beginning. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education, announced early in his term of office a root and branch reform of the qualifications’ framework all in the name of driving up standards.
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  • Digital learning – transforming the relationship between the learner & their learning spaces

    Published 12/06/14
    When we made the decision to equip our students with iPads, either for class use for our younger users or 1:1 for students in the senior school and sixth form, we knew we were unlocking a host of opportunities. Some were easily identified, others have gradually revealed themselves through an iterative process.
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  • Lessons in resilience: Ostrich plus bubble-wrap equals?

    Published 03/06/14
    What do you get if you cross an ostrich with bubble-wrap (with no cruelty to animals)? It sounds a twisted joke – yet, faced with an alarming catalogue of ‘pressures on young people today’ (from drugs to cyber-bullying), it can be only too tempting for adults to adopt the ‘ostrich approach’ or the ‘bubble-wrap method’
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  • The Stephen Perse Foundation Curriculum

    Published 03/06/14
    Dr Helen Stringer explains our approach to the curriculum at the Stephen Perse Foundation. Our approach is based on a holistic view, not one controlled by specific assessment targets.
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  • Map reading for the future: guidance in schools

    Published 22/04/14
    Journey into Wonderland? It’s a cliché that one of the purposes of education is to prepare children for the adult world. But that’s not as straightforward as it sounds, since we don’t know what we’re preparing them for.
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  • Only connect – the true value of citizenship

    Published 22/04/14
    I would be ashamed to disclose how old I was before I realised that Denis Healey was a real person.
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  • Learning in an iPad 1:1 school – thinking differently

    Published 01/04/14
    Being an iPad 1:1 school makes us think differently about learning.
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  • Being an iPad 1:1 School

    Published 02/03/14
    Back in 2011 there was chatter in our school about the potential of the iPad as a tool for learning. This ranged from a full scale, full steam ahead approach to rolling out the iPad, to full blown, full on hostility to a device which was but a passing phase in the fast changing world of technology. Introducing the iPad into our school was certainly not a “no brainer”.
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  • iTunes U = The new opportunity for learning

    Published 25/02/14

    There is no equivalent to the iTunes U app.

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  • Monty Python: the gurus of pastoral care?

    Published 24/02/14
    My teacher-training mentor used to say that 95% of what happens in the classroom is nothing to do with what happens in the classroom. This was before I’d heard the expression ‘88% of statistics are made up on the spot’, so I believed it.
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  • A transformed curriculum approach for Juniors

    Published 23/02/14

    From setting off rockets as part of a study of outer space to debating who should have the Elgin Marbles, baking bread over an open fire to crewing a Tudor ship - all things are possible within the Junior School curriculum.

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  • Cambridge is our Campus

    Published 11/02/14

    No school can attempt to replicate the facilities of an entire city, especially when that city happens to be Cambridge, world-famous in so many spheres. Visitors entering our school for the first time frequently comment on its TARDIS-like nature: our insignificant front door and surrounding wall don’t even hint at the space within.

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  • Redefining the school library for the 21st century

    Published 27/01/14
    The school library appears to be in its death throes - killed by those modern-day harbingers, of destruction or progress according to your viewpoint, Google, Kindle and Wikipedia.
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  • Quaquaversal, Cabinet of Curiosities and the school library

    Published 19/01/14
    Quaquaversal. Yes, that’s right. Quaquaversal. I heard this word for the first time at the opening of our reconceived school library. Why? Because our guest speaker, Dr Robert Macfarlane, Fellow of Emmanuel College Cambridge, saw this concept as central to our new library inspired by the spirit of the Renaissance Cabinet of Curiosities.
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  • Living a life worth living – the importance of guidance in schools

    Published 13/01/14

    I had a conversation recently with an American scientist about the importance of offering young people an insight into the burgeoning field of bioscience. Why? In the States students do not learn about biological science until they reach the equivalent of our sixth form when arguably they have already determined their area of study for Higher Education. And for her this area of science is so important because it addresses global health issues such as malaria and HIV/AIDS – young people should be inspired to pursue a career in this critical area of scientific research.

    In pursuit of this aim she and others established the BioQuest Academy 10 years ago to offer an outreach opportunity for students. Situated in Seattle, this not for profit enterprise has provided extraordinary laboratory experience to young people in the States and across the world. Such immersion in cutting edge bioscience has now a proven track record of inspiring young people to study the subject at a higher level. Yet by its very nature this wonderful opportunity is limited to those students able to take advantage of it.

    How to offer guidance in schools for a future awash with opportunities – many as yet unknown – is a real challenge in any country. Indeed, Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education, struggled to address this issue when questioned by the Commons Education Select Committee last month. Having axed Connexions as a guidance provider, there is now no clear framework to support guidance in schools. Yet to be fair, even with Connexions, schools were struggling to connect with the future.

    The challenge to offer quality guidance is huge. However, if the focus of a school is inspiring students to aspire aligned with developing the capacity for independent thought, the groundwork is being done. It is interesting to observe that the Shadow Education Minister, Tristram Hunt, believes that the league table, target driven culture developed by the previous government resulted in a lack of aspiration in schools. Schools became so focused on the examination process they arguably lost sight of their broader educational purpose. In such circumstances the metric is everything – you can measure a grade, you can’t measure inspiration.

    Yet there are those in the wider world who are keen to open the minds of young people to the possibilities out there. Within our school community we have drawn on the expertise and knowledge of parents, alumni and friends of the school. With our now well-established Inspire Me programme, we offer our students an insight into the lives of individuals at different stages of their career. As with the BioQuest initiative, we know anecdotally that this programme is making a difference. Indeed I should like to take the opportunity to record formally my thanks to Cambridge entrepreneur Sherry Coutu who has created an excellent network of like-minded people tasked with visiting schools to share their experiences. Building on the success of Silicon Valley Comes to UK – certainly transformative in our school – Sherry oversaw the setting up of a database of volunteers all prepared to give generously of their time. @Founders4School is a fantastic resource which I thoroughly recommend.

    However, the rub is finding time in a hectic school schedule to offer such guidance. The level of prescription is such that ironically the very reason why young people attend school is lost – their future. Of course offering inspiration is not enough – guidance needs to create the link between aspiration and the learner profile of a student. And effective guidance will come at a cost because individuals rarely fit neatly into boxes.

    The debate around education and qualifications is literally academic unless it is linked with the future lives of our young people. Rather than viewing them as potential worker bees contributing to our economy, let’s see them as the individuals they are and seek to inspire them to live a life worth living.

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