Lovely to see so many of you at Parent’s evening and thank you for being so supportive of your children and teachers.
I thought I’d try to clarify what S.O.L.E is because I know the children keep talking to you about it and wanted to give you an insight into what it is and why we promote it here at Hazeldown.
S.O.L.E stands for SELF ORGANISED LEARNING ENVIRONMENT. This means we set up our learning, predominantly in our afternoon sessions but not always, in a way which promotes children having ownership of their learning, as much or more so than their teachers.
We are trying to grow young people who can manage their own time, be independent decision makers and function productively alone, in groups and in a mixture of both. SOLE allows us to grow this mentality.
During SOLE we basically set out the legal parts of the National Curriculum (which really is quite small now) and then we bring it to life in interesting and creative ways.
For example we recently taught all the legal Design and Technology and Literacy aspects for one term through making books in Year 6. But the key outcome is that we didn’t specify any sizes, colours, themes, pages or place any constraints on the children. We just taught them the skills necessary to produce a book from scratch and set them a time frame. They had hundreds of choices they had to make and we expect them to make them independently and reach a successful outcome. We teach the vital skills and coach them when they hit a tricky spot but we never tell them what to do. They need to determine what they do and be responsible for their actions and outcomes and boy do they rise to the occasion!!!
Children are calculating the time they have and making ‘to do’ lists and timetables for themselves to be successful, they are choosing which materials to use (not being told) they are choosing to work together or separately, which skills workshops to attend and which they do not need. They are growing into the space the teachers have vacated. This is such a positive step. Teachers endlessly talking at the front of a class, acting as the font of all knowledge is non productive, not up to date and not happening here! Child led learning with video tutorials, teacher workshops and shared learning opportunities is what lifted our school into “Good” in the eyes of OFSTED and it will continue to grow, pushing us onto “Outstanding”
I hope this goes someway to explaining SOLE but you are all most welcome to visit and see it it action in our school.
Enjoy the sunshine, enjoy the day.