The importance of interdisciplinary learning
- Credit: Archant
Headteacher, Angharad Holloway, named as one of the most innovative and influential thinkers in the UK at the independent schools’ sector i25 awards, says children deserve a future-focused approach to their education.
Encouraging its pupils to “think big,” the independent school for girls aged three to 18 is known for its high teaching standards and long history of exceptional, academic achievements.
Set in acres of woodland, and offering boarding as well as a day school, its tennis and swimming academies compete nationally and many of its school leavers achieve A levels that take them on to the country’s most prestigious universities.
“Our aim is to inspire, challenge and prepare our pupils for the future,” says Mrs Holloway.
“We believe in Einstein’s quote that ‘logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere.’”
From primary school, through secondary school and on to sixth form, pupils in Britain should learn to tackle the challenges of the future and keep pace with technological change, stresses Mrs Holloway.
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“Interdisciplinary learning and science and technology are woven throughout the curriculum here,” she explains.
“All pupils are given the chance to study subjects such as design thinking, material science, engineering and ethics – they learn coding, robotics, electronics and app design.
“They learn computer-aided design (CAD), where their own drawings can be “toured” via virtual reality headsets.”
She adds: “They are taught to be creative, adaptable and resilient – and to be able to problem solve.”
The independent school’s educational philosophy has been crystallised through the creation of its STEAM hub.
This state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary space to support science, technology, engineering, arts and maths, comprises a 600-seat auditorium, various studios, an indoor pool and a café.
“We believe the future will be powered by STEAM – and that the A is a critical element as creativity will distinguish humans from the number-crunching computers of the future,” says Mrs Holloway.
“Pupils need to appreciate that creativity, imagination, cooperation and determination are crucial when finding solutions, and that these attributes are what make us different and unique from the capabilities of artificial intelligence and robots.”
She adds: “Being adaptable is another key skill, as demonstrated in our seamless switch to remote learning as we approached lockdown.
“Pupils from Kindergarten all the way to Sixth Form still produced and submitted high standards of work across all subjects, from home.”