Creative Thinkers

As a rule I wouldn’t generally describe out pupil body as rule bound. Don’t get me wrong- they understand their right from wrong and are unfailingly great company and always mean well. However they don’t just follow the instructions on the box- their natural creativity means they generally break out of any boxes provided and come up with something entirely unexpected- hence the success of the scrap store in school lunchtimes: the scrap store being, ‘present given to child at christmas-child then plays with the cardboard box that the present came in instead,’ taken to its natural extreme and it thrives here at Minchinhampton. Hence the success in recent years of our K’Nex challengers- a 1st and now a 2nd place in as many years, when you consider the numbers in the competition, is rather impressive and speaks volumes about our pupils’ capacity for creativity- as of course do the many and varied ways in which our pupils respond to being given topic and values homework; the wonderful initiatives our school committees come up with and their beautiful artwork . At every available opportunity our children grab the initiative and take the law into their own hands. We, for our part, ride the wave as best we can- providing a significant range of extra-curricular opportunities for them; giving them autonomy in the classroom and freedom at lunchtimes and letting go the reins on learning whenever we can and dare. I spend my days awash with children’s work which never ceases to surprise and charm me and with endless ideas and requests from the children. Sometimes I feel my head going under -heaven knows, the rest of the school community, whether it be staff or parents, governors or the PTA, are no better- they are simply grown up versions of these ridiculously proactive, busy-minded children- but it is all undeniably pleasurable. We are presently reviewing our school rules and behaviour in school and, as part of this, I will soon be sending you back a survey about behaviour. Our primary concern here is to ensure the children’s learning behaviours deliver, for them, the very best learning. It’s an interesting conundrum this one- given the children’s creativity is a key driver as well as an invaluable engine for this school, what is the best approach for getting the very best traction with their learning? We’re doing just fine of course -this is always going to be about fine tuning and I will be very interested in your feedback as we look to go forward.