Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between the old and new learning journeys?
Course structure: old core curriculum units were divided into 3 separate streams of Non-Fiction, Fiction, or Film, and split into 6 session of 90 minutes each. New units are split into 4 sessions of 1 hour each. As students are generally tired after school, the 1-hour session length and theme/topic-based approach is more conducive to them reaping the full benefits of the programme. Should parents wish to sign students up for units following the old structure, this can be arranged on Saturdays or as intensive courses over holiday breaks.
The new topic-based structure will consistently engage learners whilst giving them new topics to look forward to each month. It is more skill-based, rather than text-based. At the same time the Book Explorer programme provides more opportunities for students to practice extended, independent reading and creative thinking skills, before accessing the core curriculum.
Scheduling: The new structure simplifies the scheduling process, whilst also offering more choice on which day to attend class.
How does the new GROWHOUSE learning journey work?
The new curriculum takes a through-train approach, allowing students to sign up for programmes according to recommended age groups, e.g. 5-6 years, 7-8 years, etc.. Whereas the previous core curriculum gave students the choice of signing up for Fiction, Film, or Non-Fiction units (depending on specific interests and/or learning needs), the new learning journey incorporates the Book Explorer programme with a theme-based programme (Discovery / Pioneer / Expedition / Ascend), in turn giving students a more well-rounded and varied learning experience which at once develops critical and creative thinking skills, as well as a love of reading.
Small group-learning continues to be one of the cornerstones of the LGT methodology and approach to teaching critical thinking. It provides opportunities for learning that are difficult to establish in large group settings. Small groups are particularly useful in ensuring learners:
– take part in discussion
– have opportunities for feedback and reflection
– consolidate learning
– clarify understanding
– explore ideas and concepts both deeply and widely.
What will the students learn from the programme?
The students will be working in small groups to analyse, discuss, evaluate, reason and apply their knowledge and understanding of books and film to a broad range of contexts. This will develop their reading, writing and spoken language skills, as well as their ability to think critically.
The small group interaction, the depth and breadth of discussion, and the level of critical thinking that is built into all courses will also develop the students’ emotional awareness, creativity, independence, self-esteem and confidence.
Not only do the programmes develop the students individually, it also helps them develop skills that they will later need to tackle their higher education and to form the foundation for life-long learning.
How will the students benefit from this programme?
The students will benefit from being taught in small groups which will encourage and nurture their personal, social, emotional and academic skills. The out of hour’s provision will provide the students with opportunities to learn with different teachers and peers, enhancing learning in school.
The course programme is centred on the latest research from London Gifted and Talented with all the materials being designed specifically for this programme and linked to the NEW age-related expectations set out in the UK National Curriculum. The students will be assessed using cutting-edge research and assessment resources, which have been developed by a National Teaching School Alliance in the UK. This assessment information will be shared and discussed with the students throughout their programme so they will be aware of their achievement and progress and reports will be emailed to parents every three sessions, detailing their child’s individual progress with pictures of their work.
How does it help with the students’ schoolwork?
Developing reading, writing and spoken language skills will bring its obvious advantages to a student’s schoolwork.
Cultivating critical thinking skills will help a student become more empowered to take ownership of their learning behaviour and education. This is because, as learners AND as individuals, they will become more independent, empathetic, self-directed, strategic and pro-active – amongst much more! Developing critical thinking skills will therefore help to develop students personally, socially, emotionally, as well as academically which will impact positively on their schoolwork.
Do the students obtain anything else from this programme?
A London Gifted and Talented Certificate of Attainment will be given out to students who complete all 18 sessions. There will also be certificates handed out to students after each unit.
Will feedback be provided on students?
Yes. Parents will receive two printed reports that can be emailed out to them for every unit – one will be after three sessions as this will be the mid-point review. The second will be at the end of the unit. The reports will set out the UK National Curriculum objectives and will also contain comments regarding the student’s learning behaviour, achievements and areas to develop.
How long and how much is the course?
Is it necessary to purchase all the materials?
It is not necessary to purchase all the material as extracts of the books will be provided but we do recommend students to read through the books as every book is a new adventure.
What do the students need to bring to each lesson?
It would be most ideal if the students could bring their own basic stationaries such as pencils, pens and erasers. If the lessons require the students to bring another additional items to class, they will be notified or it will be prepared for them in advance.
Is the programme selective?
The programme is designed to engage, challenge and stretch ALL learners in order to realize their true potential. The high expectations placed on the students will be a vital component to raising their aspirations.
Will there be homework?
Yes. Homework will not be lengthy like at school, and will vary according to the programmes and the student’s age. Homework may consist of reading, blogging, writing activities, research, and thinking and reflection activities – all to complement the class activities. The homework given will be things that the students would want to do rather than feeling that they have to do it.
Should the students read the books before going to class?
It depends on the programme and unit. If the students are required to read texts before the units/lessons, we will notify them with good time to prepare thoroughly. There are many extracts used, which will not require pre-reading, but when a course is centred on a single text it is normally expected that the student will read (or watch) that text. Some of the books are short enough to be read aloud in the class.
What if the class is on a public holiday?
If classes are on statutory public holidays, classes will not be held and will be postponed to the following week. If the holiday is not a statutory holiday, classes will be held as normal.
What if I a student will not be able to attend one of the classes?
If a student is unable to attend their designated class, they may attend another session of the same stage within the same week. All classes for a particular stage will have the same content within a given week. If none of the classes during that week can be attended, no make-up class will be provided.
If a student is expected to miss a class, we would be grateful to receive advance notice, for appropriate class preparation.
What are the qualifications of the teachers?
All our teachers are Native English speakers, with relevant background in Literature, Films, Drama, Humanities and passion for learning, teaching and community service. They all receive exclusive training from London Gifted and Talented to provide inspiring and rewarding learning experience to the students.
I heard from my friend that “Teacher X” is better, can I change to Teacher X’s class?
The approaches and materials for every class and every session has been prepared in advance with a high degree of quality control. Similarly, the quality of the teaching and the learning is closely monitored. Nevertheless, a student’s level of enjoyment and progress in the programme will be naturally linked to the personality and expertise of the teacher. We would like to reassure parents that we have recruited teachers of the highest calibre to ensure the student’s experiences are of the highest quality. Our teachers are fully qualified and experienced who will take time to get to know the students, not only as a learner but also as an individual. For any further concerns, please discuss these with the teacher straight away so that we may work to immediately improve the student’s experiences.
Would I be able to sit in some lesson to see my child’s progress?
Taster sessions may be held in the school holidays where parents will be able to participate in short lessons with their young children before choosing to sign up to a programme. However, once children have joined programmes, parents will not be able to sit in on sessions as in our experience this often detrimentally impacts on the child’s level of participation in class activities.