The world of work is changing rapidly and the way we work is also changing – organisations are less hierarchical, more agile and more decentralised. There is greater demand for thinking critically and creatively, working well with others and viewing everything through a global lens.
At d’Overbroeck’s, we aim to help students develop the skills they need for the next stage of their education and careers. Our use of first name terms between staff and students reflects a belief that we are working together towards the same goals. This is the collaborative approach adopted by many organisations, particularly in the knowledge economy. We work in small classes; this encourages discussion and teamwork. We want students to feel comfortable asking questions, working with others, listening to others and sharing ideas.
We believe in active learning. We all learn best when applying our understanding, not just memorising things. Through a range of activities, paired work, or problem-solving tasks, students learn how to use the knowledge they have. What does it mean? How can it be used in another context? We want students to be able to work through unusual situations and learn to deal with the unfamiliar. We help them not only solve problems but define what it is that needs solving – they learn to frame the issues themselves. This approach influences the tasks we set, the way we teach and the feedback we give, which also helps in identifying their strengths and areas for improvement.
In the Sixth Form, our Plus Programme allows students to study beyond A level and undertake further reading, discussion and research which prepares them for university. In addition, our mix of our own Year 11 plus students joining us from other UK schools and abroad allows everyone to benefit from different global perspectives.
And lastly, we aim to help students become mentally tough so they are open to feedback, so they are not defensive about where they need to improve, so they don’t give up when they don’t immediately succeed, so they are not worried about making mistakes, so they have the self-confidence to persevere and succeed. Through an approach that encourages, supports, listens, and respects others’ views we are building resilience: the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. There is nothing a d’Overbroeck’s student can’t do, only things they can’t do yet.