Key to our success as a learning community is our aim to ensure that every girl realises her academic potential to the full. Our team of expert teachers understand the importance of developing strategies and skills that helps each students grow in intellectual confidence, build resilience and develop the ability to reflect in order to reach their true potential.
We do not believe in labels, we believe that each student must learn how to appreciate and value their individuality and be proud of their all of their achievements.
Recent educational research shows that labelling can be limiting and does not lead to better, more successful learners; indeed, it can have the opposite impact. Those that are told they are gifted are often poorly motivated and under-perform as they do not recognise the need to try very hard (because they see themselves as gifted) or avoid tasks that are challenging for fear of the risk of failing and not fulfilling their label. Equally, others, not identified, feel ‘deflated’ and not motivated because they have failed to reach the prescribed criteria of being gifted.
Our philosophy at Bedford Girls’ School is therefore not to seek, identify and label students as Gifted and Talented. We recognise each girl as an individual learner and we work to engage our students in meta-cognitive processes, to help them truly understand where they are doing well and where they need to improve. We want our students to understand that through commitment, engagement and practise they can all master new skills.
We build in time for self and peer-reflection so that our students truly explore which strategies work for them and which do not. We challenge each of our students to take independent risks both inside and outside of the classrooms, to step out of their comfort zones, we encourage failure; through trying and failing can you learn to improve.
We provide an inquiry-led curriculum with a focus on high order questioning to ensure students can be challenged and extended in the classroom, all the time. Our Challenge and Extend Policy highlights how we achieve this.
We appreciate that even within an academically selective environment, learning is not a linear pathway, and girls may need more specifically tailored support in subject areas or at certain times. Some girls have specific learning difficulties and need support. Again, we do not label girls but instead offer them the help they need through our Head of Learning Support who, together with academic staff helps identify needs, offer one to one support to help develop strategies that will help each individual learner.
Throughout the year, we support all students with study skills programmes to aid revision and learning techniques. Whilst all subject areas offer additional lunchtime and afterschool support classes in the lead up to public examinations.