“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”
Sir Winston Churchill
Cultivating a growth mindset
‘Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…’ Debbie Millman
A ‘can do’ attitude and growth mindset are in our DNA. They are embedded in every aspect of school life from our curriculum, classroom, staffroom and sports fields to the playground and outside school activities.
If you were to say ‘I can’t do that’ to one of our pupils they would inevitably bellow back ‘I can’t do that YET.’ This mantra is often repeated at assemblies and has become a shorthand for understanding that resilience and perseverance pay off, which in turn feeds a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval.
At Bassett House critical thinking and reasoning form an important part of our curriculum. Critical thinking is the ability to think clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. It includes the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking, something we feel develops our children’s communication skills and confidence. The children have the opportunity to think creatively, expand their vocabulary and express their opinions and thoughts with accuracy and enquiry.
We believe that there are numerous benefits from mastering critical thinking skills, such as better control of the children’s own learning and empathy for other points of view. Critical thinking has been named ‘the art of thinking about thinking’ and is thought to improve each child’s own thinking. At Bassett House, we endeavour to create a learning environment that both supports and also promotes reasoning skills and critical thinking within the classroom and beyond.
Helping every child to fly
At Bassett House, we want every child to reach his or her full potential. Learning support is given to those children who need extra help. Whenever a learning difficulty is suspected or detected, we work in partnership with the child’s parents to explore the nature of the challenge and to put in place a programme of tailored support, such as one-to-one sessions, extra support in class and differentiated tasks. Our goal is always to ensure that every child can make good progress and achieve success. In short, we help them to fly.
English as an additional language (EAL)
We actively embrace linguistic and cultural diversity with our dedicated EAL programme, created to support children whose first language is not English.
Wherever possible, new children are buddied up with an older child who speaks their native tongue and can help them to integrate and communicate with their classmates.
We celebrate and share a Language of the Month: those who speak the chosen language have the opportunity to stand up in assembly and be proud representatives of their language and culture.
Information on each EAL child is continually monitored to assess their progress. This is used by the EAL co-ordinator to inform personalised provision, enabling the child to gain greater fluency in English.
As French is our most widely spoken second language, native-French-speaking children have a dedicated breakfast club: the clue is in the name – Le Club Croissant!
Bassett Bear and the Tree of Mastery
Throughout the school you will see our Tree of Mastery. This features our school mascot Bassett Bear facing a challenge, engaging with it, persevering when the going gets tough then successfully reaching the top of the tree having mastered the challenge.
Our children are taught to recognise that learning can be a struggle, even for the brightest minds, and that this is a natural part of life. It means they can tackle new tasks without fear of failure, giving them the confidence to persevere.
Following in the footsteps of Bassett Bear they understand the need to be resilient, determined and inventive to overcome difficulties. They know, without a doubt, that reaching the top of the Tree of Mastery rarely comes without sustained effort; the sweet taste of success beckons!
We show our children that we too are willing to climb the Tree of Mastery.Many of our teachers have taken up new challenges as diverse as learning to play the oboe, cooking Indian food and yoga. Importantly they openly share their trials and tribulations with the children (often much to their amusement).
‘In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.’ Carol Dweck
Praising attainment alone can lead to children becoming approval-seekers and risk-averse out of fear of failure.
Too often effort is the unsung hero. At Bassett House effort is rewarded first and attainment second.
Recognition and praise of effort, on the other hand, foster a ‘have-a-go’ culture which is how children learn and develop a healthy relationship with achievement.
Bassett’s approach relies on our teachers being perfectly in tune with the child, paying detailed attention to their every effort. Our pupils are given individual and meaningful feedback rather than a smattering of non-specific ‘well dones’.
Prime accolades in the school are the Growth Mindset Prizes for Endeavour, Perseverance and Resilience. These are awarded to the children who have demonstrated outstanding effort in all areas of school life, academic and social. The only criterion is that each child has successfully overcome several personal challenges.