At St Andrew’s Cathedral School we are preparing our students to be future-ready, because interdisciplinary skills and critical and innovative thinking will be required to solve the complex problems that our world faces. We want to ensure our students are prepared and can effectively contribute to this unknown future, with valuable and versatile skills that stand the test of time.
Our aim is to embed elements of critical and creative problem-solving skill development into all areas of the school, adapting the current curricula to help students apply deep understandings of key disciplinary concepts and principles to interdisciplinary real-world problems. We also aim for students to develop an attitude of adaptability, life-long learners who are open to change.
Our innovation and enterprise learning programmes are embedded into the curriculum and are also offered as optional co-curricular projects.
Our students have access to a great range of digital technologies and expertise to support their innovative and entrepreneurial activities. These include hardware such as Surface Pros, 3D printers, laser cutters, VEX Robotics, Micro:bit, and specialist staff. Students who can combine their subject knowledge and use digital technologies to help solve problems will be well prepared for life beyond school where they will be highly valued as they can apply key disciplinary concepts and principles to interconnected, complex problems while also being open to change and willing to learn.
Held on Friday afternoons, MakerSpace is for students passionate about design – a creative outlet where students can work on any project they imagine, from design to computer programming. Students can also participate in guided projects and competitions throughout the year. MakerSpace is held in our Design Centre, giving students access to a great range of digital technologies and expert staff.
In the curriculum – Middle Years Programme: Personal project
A major aim of our Middle Years Programme (Years 7-10) is to develop critical thinkers who successfully integrate disciplinary perspectives to understand complex issues and ideas.
The Personal Project is a requirement of the MYP and is a major self-directed research project each student in Year 9 undertakes over a nine-month period, in order to develop and demonstrate some of their learning across the curriculum. It showcases the work students have completed throughout their Middle Years schooling – focusing on the way they approach learning and their range of learner skills (ATLs). (ATLs or Approaches to Learning are the human skills which set us apart from robots and artificial intelligence.) The ATLs are embedded in the curriculum and pastoral programmes and drive achievement of learning goals.
The Personal Project is similar in concept to the genius hour and passion projects. There is much research supporting the concept of freedom of creative expression to develop learning. The Personal Project ties together the school’s work in interdisciplinary approaches to learning.
The work of Kuhlthau (1991) researching student inquiry through directed research tasks has uncovered an opportunity for teachers to assist students to develop, through targeted intervention, the skills needed to respond to the uncertainty of an ever-changing world. The students articulate their experiences at various stages of the process, which enables the teacher to support and guide the next stages of learning. This helps students build and develop the traits of resilience, risk-taking and open mindedness.
Each year, Years 5-12 students are invited to participate in StartUp, a semester-long intensive co-curricular programme, which sees small groups of students learn about the process of being an entrepreneur. Partnering with experts in the entrepreneurial and start-up space, students receive hands-on guidance in the step-by-step development of their idea. At the end of the programme, a Finale event takes place, where finalists pitch their idea to a panel of external judges who examine the process undertaken by each team. Awards are presented to those teams whose ideas have advanced dramatically from the initial idea and have demonstrated the skills and passion needed to be a successful entrepreneur.
This hands-on programme helps establish a culture of enterprise at the School and develops an entrepreneurial spirit in students who are willing to be courageous and learn how to take guided steps towards developing their ideas with innovative solutions.
Problem-solving, entrepreneurialism and leadership are all skills embedded in the StartUp programme, equipping students with unique skills that can be utilised throughout their time at St Andrew’s Cathedral School and beyond.
StartUp has three divisions, based on year groups – Juniors (Years 5-6), Intermediate (Years 7-9) and Senior (Years 10-12). Each division learns skills appropriate to their age and stage of development and ensures students can continue to grow their depth of knowledge and entrepreneurial skills, year after year.