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Home > News and Events > Head’s Blog November 2018: Best Subject

Head’s Blog November 2018: Best Subject

9 Nov 18

Ask anyone about education and they have an opinion on what should be taught and why. Quite rightly; we all went to school and we were all affected by the experience. Where we differ though is deciding what was the best / worst / most enjoyable / most important experience. History versus Geography seems to be a hot topic in my house!

However, at prep school level it is not the individual academic subjects that are so important; that comes later as exams start to play an ever increasing part in the educational experience. At this stage each subject works alongside the skills of socialisation, emotional intelligence, problem solving and resilience. No one area is more important than another as, if we ignore learning about appropriate behaviour, manners and compassion, we cannot ask the children to ‘top up’ and take an extra module at 16.

We have worked hard at Woodbridge to integrate the L@W (Learning at Woodbridge) into the curriculum so that it is overt and obvious and the children are aware that that they are learning key skills. The skills themselves are the essence of what makes a good prep school. However there is so much more on offer that also supports this key developmental area.

Engineering at The Abbey was integrated into the curriculum for Years 5 and 6 from September 2017 and the bespoke syllabus was written specifically by a member of staff with a background in engineering. Dividing the classes allows us to teach pupils in class sizes of up to 10 and ensures that the pupils all have the opportunities to develop their practical skills. Within the curriculum we cover a variety of engineering principles and branches including:
Mechanical engineering – manufacturing, automotive and aerospace; Chemical engineering – materials and process; Electrical engineering – robotics and computing; Civil engineering – environmental and water resources.

Each project is given a brief, not a list of instructions, and the children have to problem solve, work together and test their creations to arrive at the optimal conclusion. The box cart project develops the pupils’ study into forces and Newton’s laws of motion from Year 5 and their study on invention through the Victorian era and the links to mathematics and science are obvious.
Pupils design chassis, axels, brackets, steering and braking systems in teams. They make their own material and tool choices and problem solve their way to a finished product. Engineering encourages children to experiment, make mistakes – evaluate those mistakes and overcome them.
It is these skills, together and with equal importance alongside all other subjects, which will prepare our children for the future.

Our children need to be able to use their considerable knowledge, apply it to situations but also be adaptable and resilient as they move forward in life. Every subject therefore has a part to play ensuring that knowledge is deep, connections are made and problems solved. Alongside this we want our children to be wholesome, kind and engaging individuals who will every opportunity in the future to make the right decision for themselves as they move into adulthood.

So… what is the most important subject to teach at school and why?

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