Amazing Futures : How Do We Prepare Our Students

Employers are always looking out for employees who posses essential skills such as communication, presentation and leadership skills. They cherish these skills as it will make their company grow, and these skills will make employees adapt better to a new environment.

At Tenby Schools Setia Eco Park, we believe that the skills required to be successful in the workforce start at school. These skills can be acquired through many learning platforms that are available in the school.

In this blog piece, Mr. Jeff Ison, Head of International Secondary, answers some questions on how we prepare our students for an amazing future.

How does the curriculum prepare our students for an amazing future?

At Tenby International School, our curriculum provides the foundations for young people to go on and achieve whatever they aspire to in life.  We provide amazing experiences inside our classrooms and beyond as our holistic approach to education is based on the idea that young people not only need attainment grades but also the skills and attributes necessary to succeed in an ever changing world.  Our academic curriculum provides a breadth and variety of subject knowledge and skills which means young people are exposed to 19 different subject areas until the age of 14 and then specialise, but continue to have the breadth of at least 11 subjects up to the age of 16.  Our highly successful Sixth Form College then allows students to choose subjects without streaming in order to be able to apply to their degree of choice in any corner of the world.  100% of our students have been successful in university applications.

We have a longstanding track record of outstanding results at IGCSE and A level which prepare our students for amazing futures.  Our curriculum is not purely focused on attainment in exams, it also provides opportunities to develop a range of skills such as creativity, innovation and adaptability with an emphasis on participation and learning at every turn.  There are many examples of this at Tenby whether it be presenting Eco-friendly inventions at a Science Fair, debating about current affairs, exhibiting new ideas and pieces of art in professional style exhibitions or planning and running their very own film premier using skills they have learnt in English.  These new experiences inside the traditional subject areas allow students to recognise their strengths and the skills they need to be successful beyond their school life.

Young people at Tenby are given opportunities from an early age to be leaders, work in teams and develop a community minded spirit.  As young as 11 they are school councillors and charity event organisers.  As they progress through the school, they can become prefects, eco leaders, international mindedness leaders and House captains.  These positions create an independence, confidence and resilience in our young people that mean they are prepared to go out in the world and take advantage of the doors that are opened on the back of their academic success.  Our curriculum includes Personal, Social and Health Education where students learn how to be ready to take opportunities after Sixth Form and beyond whilst also learning how to manage risks they may come across in their lives and prevent themselves being in situations of risk.

We also have space in our school curriculum for students to have experiences which are directly linked to and prepare them for their futures.  In Years 10 and 12 students take part in work experience.  Young people independently find placements developing their effective communication and resourcefulness and then go into workplaces to learn about professions and what they might need to follow different career paths.  They reflect on this process and review what their learning then needs to involve to follow a pathway of their choice.  At Sixth Form we expose young people to many different universities through our direct links.  They are prepared by experts in university admissions at universities especially in UK explicitly Oxbridge, Australia, USA and Malaysia. 

We have plans to make our Key Stage 3 curriculum even more creative in the coming year, including allowing students more independence in areas they are learning and focusing on skills which will allow them to become successful global citizens making a  difference to the community and world around them.

How does the approach to learning help students grow?

Our approach to teaching and learning supports our curriculum in making the experiences mentioned above successful.  We have an overarching focus on learning in all that we do.  This means that every stakeholder including teachers consider ourselves learners and are constantly striving to improve the quality of learning that is happening at our school.  This approach permeates down into our students and means that there is a large focus on reflection and target setting.  The feedback given by teachers provides three things each time it is given.  A strength to celebrate how young people are moving forward; a target, to reinforce aspirations and look forward; and then a reflection, where students review their learning and contemplate how they will reach their future targets.  This learning approach means students are always looking to keep making progress whilst still feel rewarded and recognised for the amazing learning they are achieving.

Learning has three aspects: Knowledge, Skills and UnderstandingKnowledge is ‘on or off’ and can be learnt by repeated experiences.  Skills take more time and practice and have a continuum of success through beginning, developing and mastering.  Understanding is more personal and can take a long time to really sink in.  Using these three types of learning to review how students are making progress and plan our teaching staff at Tenby make sure that learners are making rapid progress in all areas and that they are also working towards what is really important and that is an understanding of why they are learning and how they can keep getting better. We use the term ‘Good Struggle’ to represent the positive challenge that learning contains.  Students use the term to refer to when they make mistakes, reflect, and then make improvements.  This is a central feature of our learning approach and means that as a community we are always learning.

How do we embed our values for learning into our young people and community?

At the heart of the vision for Tenby International Secondary School is the idea that we should be making lifelong learners.  We embed these values by staying true to the learning focus at all times and in all parts of our amazing community.  Our parents are invited to learning sessions and take part in events which involve discussing how learning happens.  It is not only the young people that need to hold dear the values of learning but all our community in order for it to be successful. 

We have a Tenby Learner profile with ten attributes to be a successful learner:

These attributes are interwoven into our daily life and the amazing experiences students enjoy so that they become embedded and support them in following their pathway of choice.  There is not an exhaustive list of skills needed to be successful in todays world but these attributes represent the values that Tenby students have and develop as they go through the school.

By providing a focus on learning and the desire and ability to continue learning throughout their lives Tenby prepares students for the amazing future they deserve.

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