Inspire | Challenge | Achieve
The word ‘inspiration’ is often cited in educational literature, but what does this actually look like in a classroom context?
At Sinclair House School, ‘inspiration’ translates to truly exciting pupils by capturing, nurturing and directing their curiosity – within different facets of school life and across all aspects of learning.
Having a curriculum that is balanced and intellectually stimulating is an obvious starting point to motivating pupils. However, providing opportunities for them to engage with different parts of the curriculum and to direct their own learning are equally important.
Enabling children to pursue topics in ways that converge with their own interests is what sparks inspired thinking and develops creativity. This produces a classroom context that is fun and dynamic, but also responsive, and reflective of children’s interests.
At SHS, we believe that learning is not an ‘activity’ confined to a classroom; instead we view it as continuous journey, comprised of experiences that build integrity and purpose, shape values, and influence how children interact in future life.
We think that providing children with strong and inspiring role models is an important part of their learning journey, and a range of inspirational guests and visitors meet with pupils at events celebrating different aspects of school life. Sometimes these focus on pastoral themes (eg. ‘What does Kindness look like?’) and others they are designed to inspire curiosity around different subjects such as Science, Literacy or Enterprise Week.
This week Key Stage 2 pupils worked on an Olympian Circuit with Olympic Long Jumper Ezekiel Ewulo!
Not only do these opportunities develop individual pupils’ academic aspirations, they help to inspire children to think about the importance of character, and encourage them to think about who as well as what they want to be.
‘We must not be afraid of Challenging children’
The word ‘challenge’ still holds negative connotations for some parents who translate this into ‘making things much more difficult’ for their child. Semantically, however, the word is empowering; a challenge presents an opportunity for growth and success.
Academically, it is vital to challenge pupils to take steps forward and stretch their ability – as and when they are ready. But children must also be challenged across other parts of school life to enable social and emotional growth.
Whether on the sports field, on the stage or in the science lab, ‘challenges’ (as well as mistakes and set-backs) provide important experiences that can develop autonomy and teach children to be resourceful, persistent, resilient and innovative.
Challenges, as well as mistakes and set-backs, provide important experiences that can develop autonomy and teach children to be resourceful, persistent, resilient and innovative
The fabric of pastoral care across the school is important here; the precursor to challenge is security and confidence – when children feel emotionally secure they are less afraid to take intellectual risks and are better able to benefit from the upside of failure.
At Sinclair House School, our system of embedded emotional support builds competence and independence, but also helps children to gain autonomy, shared values and confidence which create a positive sense of self.
This is key to developing pupils’ ability to deal with challenges, but also to instilling the self-awareness to challenge others’ values and beliefs, as well as their own self-perceptions about the limits of their abilities.
Inspire + Challenge = Achieve
An inspirational environment that challenges pupils organically leads to a culture of achievement – academically and in all areas of school life. At Sinclair House, we focus on creating positive attitudes to learning that emphasise perseverance, encourage reflection, and build on pupil’s natural curiosity.
Children join us with very different talents, needs, and aspirations, but each and every one has the potential for success within them. We work to ensure that when they leave us, they are proud of who they are, as well as what they will become.