With Wrotham School having the motto of ‘Learn to think, strive to know’ it is of upmost importance that pupils are taught how to do this. Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL) is designed to help pupils gather the necessary skills to ‘learn to think’ before they can ‘strive to know’. The EBL course, in year seven, is designed to stretch, stimulate and foster skills that pupils can take throughout their studies at Wrotham School.
EBL in year seven consists of the four traditional subjects of: History, Religious Education, Geography and Citizenship. These are combined to create project based situations that allow the core elements of these four subjects to be covered in year seven. Therefore, subject content is not compromised despite the lack of timetabled individual lessons in year seven. EBL should be viewed as picking the best elements from the four subjects and combining them in a cross-curricular manner that enables the core learning and thinking skills to be developed.
A core principle of what is trying to be installed from year seven is the ability of a pupil to work on their own and not require ‘spoon feeding’ as they get close to external examinations. As Mr Day once said “we teach EBL as teachers are not the one holding the pencil in the exam”. EBL teachers strive to promote personal learning and thinking skills that ultimately aim at students taking responsibility for their own education. In EBL we are looking to foster the core skills of; independent enquirer, creative thinker, reflective learner, team worker, self manager and effective participant. This conclusive list is what we believe every student at the school should be endeavouring to develop in order to achieve the best academic grades they possibly can.
We do not spend all of this time and energy on EBL in year seven just to watch this all wasted in the upper school. The skills they gather in the first year at Wrotham School are designed to be carried forward and used in all of their subjects throughout their academic career. Further to this, in year eight and year nine some subjects explore common links which are designed to continue pupils EBL throughout key stage three. In year eight ICT and Technology explore the common theme of construction and design for a trophy business. This unit combines the practical and planning process that people in the real world must explore before making a product. This is built upon in year nine with Music, Art and Drama (or as it is otherwise known the MAD department!). In year nine pupils will explore the three different topics of ‘Surrealism’, ‘Urban’ and ‘Carnival’ in their individual lessons but will be linked together for commonly assessed performance.
EBL is a new department that has been set up against an OFSTED action point from the last inspection. As such the staff who teach this subject fully realise the aims and methodology that must be practiced to permit Wrotham becoming an ‘outstanding’ secondary school. We are always open to suggestions and comments that will help us achieve our goal of creating independent learners.