Portsmouth High School | Curriculum is the best of both worlds

Our Explorers’ Curriculum is the best of both worlds

I am writing this whilst observing a group of twenty-three girls working hard and having a great time at the beach. They are learning about flora and fauna, survival skills and the principles of longshore drift. Every one of them is fully engaged and throwing themselves wholeheartedly into the tasks. Factor in that it is a cold, windy day in early December and it tells you something about the hardiness of our girls and staff.

The Beach Schools initiative is in its early iteration at Dovercourt, with more of the girls set to be experiencing lessons at the shore as the year progresses. We now have two staff fully trained as practitioners, Mrs West and Miss Cunningham. It is their enthusiasm and expertise that is driving this extra impetus into outdoor learning. As part of the Explorers Curriculum this is just one element that helps to develop the girls’ skills as learners, rather than in a narrow diet prescribed by subjects. The mixture of what might be termed as traditional subject based approach and innovative practice really does give us the best of both worlds.

In my assembly on Monday I discussed school rules with the girls. I am not a great advocate of too many rules as this just creates more opportunities for conflict within our environment. Upon investigation and through questioning the girls realised that many of what they deem are rules are just good ways to behave, with nothing hard and fast governing them.

As ever, they responded thoughtfully and with maturity, regardless of their age. It was then most gratifying to revisit the topics with Reception class the following morning to discover that they recalled and were enthusiastic to discuss the topics covered. One girl even brought up an assembly I had done near the beginning of term on the subject of kindness.