School aims to develop the ‘X-Factor’

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Kingswood College recently launched their Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Project

As we look deeper into the demands and expectations of the post school environment it is increasingly becoming apparent that education needs to develop new competencies and skills which will provide our current generation of learners with a solid platform with which to cultivate their talents and abilities.

Over the past six months the College has invested a considerable amount of time and energy into interrogating the delivery and content of the curriculum. They recognise that not only do they have to provide a quality, comprehensive and rigorous academic programme but equally they need to be cultivating the competencies of their pupils to succeed in the world that they will inhabit.

“Innovate or die” is not simply the slogan for the 21st Century; it is the vital truth. Writing a column in the Guardian newspaper in 2016, Tham Meng, writes that creativity and innovation will become the most powerful competitive advantage that you can equip yourself with in seeking business and employment advantages in the next 20 years. His article goes on to say that the world is not simply looking for academic accolade but also for people “with fizz” to create new ideas and who will apply newer and more innovative applications for problem solving.

Apple in their reflections on the success of Silicon Valley said, “Here’s to the crazy ones”.

In reality, it was not the “crazy ones” who led the digital revolution but rather it was the acceptance that innovation comes with creating the right spaces for people to use their imagination. It is about nurturing creative talent and not confining it to the provisions of a restrictive curriculum. Innovation and the creation of innovative spaces helps drive and promote independent and ground breaking thinking. So in developing the ICE programme, at Kingswood, the school is looking to inject a new energy into the curriculum where they encourage our pupils to think bigger, become bolder and be more willing to take risk in developing a more imaginative mind set supported by ground-breaking teaching and learning spaces.

In driving the ICE concept they are looking at the five characteristics which identify highly innovative schools. These include the willingness to embrace change without compromising the excellence of your academic programme. Innovation requires that a sound academic programme makes provision for new spaces in which learners are empowered to interrogate and investigate information more critically. Innovation allows for mistakes.

The greatest thinkers have all experienced failure and it is this failure that spurred them onto seeking new solutions to old problems. Innovation leads to greater transparency which means embracing a growth mindset in the way we approach our teaching and learning. Innovative schools use technology in the right way. It is a tool to reinforce learning and is not a distraction to the work of the classroom space. Finally, innovative schools recognise their responsibility to their local community and environment – they do not become a “bubble” in isolation from what is happening around them.

“As we unpack and develop this ICE space, we want to develop skills in young Kingswoodians, which gives them the capacity to think on their feet, to be creative in the moment and to embrace the notion of lifelong learning,” the school said in a statement. “They need to sift through the mountain of information that is available to them and so make decisions that are rational, relevant and inspired.

“It is about more than what the curriculum currently offers but rather looks to develop the skills of every individual – it about developing every pupil’s ‘X factor’.

“We are, I believe, entering a new and exciting academic and innovative territory. A space which meets the demands and expectations of the post school environment and where our school-leaving students will be equipped with the relevant skills set that would position them to promote leadership in creativity and innovation.

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