Teaching & Learning

At Thornden we have 8 periods each day, 6 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. However, a large majority of lessons are organised in “double” periods of 75 minutes in length. We are continuing to keep our curriculum under review, so there may be changes over the next few years.

Lower School

The curriculum consists of English, Maths, Science, Technology, ICT, Modern Foreign Languages, History, Geography, Art, Music, Dance, Drama, PE and RS. Please note that ICT and Citizenship are also taught through a number of subject areas.

Upper School

In Years 10 and 11, all students follow a common core of examination courses in English, Mathematics and Science. There are also additional core courses Physical Education and Personal, Social and Health Education (which includes Religious Studies and Citizenship).

In addition to this students can choose optional courses covering Modern Foreign Languages, Humanities, and two free choices.

Thornden is committed to providing both a broad and balanced curriculum for all students, whilst retaining a real degree of choice. One major advantage of Thornden’s situation as a fairly large school is that we are able to offer a substantial variety of courses.

 

Effective Learning Strategies

Contrary to widespread belief, there is no evidence to support the view that people have different learning styles (such as kinaesthetic, auditory and visual). People may however have learning preferences. Recent research from cognitive science suggests the use of several learning strategies that can benefit all learners. These strategies, which include ‘retrieval practice’, ‘spaced practice’, ‘interleaving’, ‘dual coding’, ‘elaboration’ and ‘concrete examples’, are the learning / revision strategies we model and train students to use at Thornden. The one which we have a particular focus on is retrieval practice. Retrieval practice involves forcing the learner to remember certain pieces of knowledge from their long term memory. In lessons, this could involve several questions at the start of a lesson to review the learning from last lesson, last week or last month. It could involve a ‘brain dump’ activity whereby a student writes down everything they can remember about a key concept or topic, before looking back over their notes. Spacing out the retrieval practice is also effective in supporting learning. Although it sounds counter-intuitive, leaving sufficient time to forget before reviewing material actually supports the long term retention of knowledge.

More detail about these effective learning strategies can be found at: