Learning Powers - Forres Sandle Manor

Learning Powers

Academic learning isn’t just about passing exams in the key subjects. At FSM we believe that for a child to succeed they also have to engage (and recognise) other skills they have. These skills will not only make them ready for their next steps after FSM, but employers often deem these just as important as academic qualifications.

We’re proud to be a partner in the Pre-Senior Baccalaureate (PSB) Skills programme.

How PSB works at Forres Sandle Manor

Children develop the four principal skills – ‘learning powers’ – of collaboration, communication, independence and cognition – which are represented as a Learning Powers Wheel with each power given a different colour. The Learning Powers Wheel also shows the 16 other complimentary ‘learning powers’ the children develop in pre-prep (inner ring), Years 3-5 (middle ring) and Years 6-8 (outer ring).

The Wheel is displayed in various locations around FSM to act as a reminder to children as they complete their school day.

Children are encouraged to recognise their own use of and development of these ‘learning powers’. In Pre-Prep ‘Learning Friends’ are used to help make the connections. In the Middle School, class teachers help the children to decide on how they are performing in each area. Children from Year 6 are encouraged to begin writing in the calendar section of their journals where they’ve completed activities which encompass the PSB Skills. Upon discussion with their teacher, children are given a colour sticker to place next to the comment, so that they can see how they’re building skill in all four areas – or where they need to place more focus in their development.

Our tutoring system is pivotal in supporting our children’s ability to reflect and assess their own progress of these ‘learning powers’. Tutors coach children in developing these skills and they are also awarded House Points for using them.

Deputy Head, Mr Peak, says: “At FSM we want to ‘fire up’ enthusiasm and curiosity for learning as well as encourage academic achievement. We’re keen to ensure that the ability to collaborate and work as a team is at the core of everything they do. We look to develop a flexible and adaptable intelligence that is able to foster independent application. We want to cultivate excellent communicators and inspire a love of learning.”

Learning Powers in Action

Whether in everyday lessons, on the sports field, in activities or in school events, FSM children are developing these learning powers all the time.

You can turn to any page in our school calendar and you will find so many examples of events and opportunities for children at FSM to gain recognition for their use of the PSB Skills. From Y7 Leadership Day to performances (both musical and dramatic) to taking part in team STEM challenges and representing the school on the sports field or in a national competition. 

Pupil Profile for Senior School Submissions

When children reach Year 7, they embark on a two year PSB programme which assesses these skills more formally to provide their senior schools with a pupil profile. The profile encompasses the development of the learning skills and attitudes over their last two years, as well as the record of their academic attainment.

Senior schools who endorse the PSB include:

Forres Sandle Manor PSB Lead: Mr Charlie Atherton

Find out more about the PSB Programme at: http://www.psbacc.org/about

Some Quotes from Senior Schools Responding to Our Project Work

“It is a good practice for working out what ‘real history’ is like e.g. an enquiry question which requires both source analysis and an argument based on knowledge. This is perhaps more useful than Common Entrance which splits the two up into very and short and prescriptive questions. The typed feedback sheets at the end must be very time consuming for the teacher but certainly useful for the students as comments focus on all the key skills required for an extensive piece of history writing. In fact, it was very similar to what I am currently undertaking with the A level coursework.” Sherborne Girls School

“Might I reassure you that they look to me far more rigorous than a CE exam!” Dauntsey’s

“What you are doing already which has a direct correlation with our approach in Year 9 (for us, the Third Form) and at IGCSE and indeed into A Level.” Cheltenham

“Overall, we felt that your approach probably does have a greater outcome for students compared to the Common Entrance history examination because it incorporates a wide range of historical skills, including setting out and supporting an argument which is key to most questions at GCSE and A Level. One of the main problems with CE is that many candidates were writing very descriptive answers. The enquiry question for this project does seem to steer students towards a more analytical answer.” Sherborne Girls School