Do sets work in Preps? We think not – The Lyceum School

Independent schools are in an incredibly fortunate position, in that we are able to determine our own curriculum and learning style, based on what we believe is going to most benefit our pupils.

At The Lyceum School, we always aim to encourage children to establish a real thirst for knowledge and a zest for learning. As such, our educational style is tailored to inspire, motivate and engage students, whilst also allowing them to develop at their own pace.

We understand that all children are individuals with their own specific needs and challenges, so we aim to create a learning environment that recognises these needs, and is tailored as much as possible to each individual pupil.

Not everyone will enter school with the same abilities – some will progress at much quicker rates than others, likewise international students may still be getting to grips with using English as a first language. It is therefore vital that we recognize these mixed-ability levels and adjust our lessons and teaching style to give all students the opportunity to succeed and progress.

Sets are not the answer

For many schools, this means separating students into sets – however, at our school, this is something we actively avoid. We believe in starting every student on an even playing-field where they are given fair and equal opportunities. Likewise, we believe that shared learning has mutual benefits for children of all levels, and that our curriculum has been shaped so each student can get the very best out of it. Firstly our class sizes are kept to a minimum and are supported with teaching assistants, meaning the pupil-to-teacher ratio affords plenty of one-on-one time, and children all receive the right amount of attention. Each class has a dedicated assistant to support any students with mild learning difficulties through lessons, without ostracizing them from the rest of their group.

Equality and acceptance

In addition, our curriculum is centered on topic-based, hands-on learning, which we feel allows students to get under the skin of the subjects we teach. For instance, we regularly hold lessons outside the classroom in museums, galleries theaters and parks so students can engage with different and stimulating environments. This method means that, rather than learning through static lesson plans with some children struggle to keep up with, instead students can learn through physical experiences that resonate at a much deeper level.  Finally, the school operates a partially open plan, free-flowing system with no divisions between different classes and year groups. This enables students to form a dialogue with each other and share information, meaning not only are they learning from their teachers, but from their peer as well. Ultimately, in addition to an outstanding education, we want to ensure all our pupils learn a sense of equality and acceptance. Indeed, mixed-ability learning helps instill these qualities from the moment our students walk through our doors on their very first day.


Article taken from Independent School Parent 2017

3rd October 2017

Lyceum School
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