Neurodiversity – Year 8 Enrichment Programme

In assembly last week, we launched our brand-new enrichment programme for year 8 pupils. Earlier in the week, Mrs Alexander talked about neurodiversity in assembly, highlighting how all brains are different. This often means girls will do better when they have opportunities to learn and work in different ways – ways that suit their brains – and put their unique talents and gifts to use. The enrichment programme initiative seeks to do just that – develop the girls’ self-knowledge, self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-discipline by supporting them as they pursue projects beyond the classroom. It allows them to explore the things that really interest them beyond the curriculum and extends the learning experience of each individual pupil.

Our enrichment programme will deepen the girls’ knowledge and skills across all areas of learning. Classroom lessons are very structured, in order to cover the range of subjects required by the curriculum. Project learning allows pupils to broaden their horizons and develop a whole range of skills where they can drive the project – they decide the topic, the methods, and present their findings. It enables the girls to independently develop their study skills and investigate a wide range of sources as they research their topic.

Each pupil will have an opportunity to get involved in project learning, where they will research, write up, and present an idea of their choice, derived from a subject about which they are passionate. They will be required to demonstrate the ways in which they have deepened their critical thinking, problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills. While they will receive some support and guidance from a supervisor, the project will mainly come from the girls themselves. After the final delivery of their project, the pupils will be assessed and awarded a grade for their work.

Some year 8 pupils have tested the project learning programme in a pilot study. Here are some of their thoughts.

“My title was ‘Is Dyslexia a Barrier to Learning?”. Lots of the things I discovered link in with the neurodiversity talk Mrs Alexander gave this week. In the end, you realise that people with dyslexia just have a different brains, which demands a different approach to learning. It doesn’t mean you can’t learn.” Lucy

“I wanted to look at the quality of vegan food, so I conducted a scientific trial, spoke with vegan cooks, and recorded my research and results.” Maysie

“My interest was in how the brain develops, particularly in teenage years. I made a model of the brain and then researched the different functions of the brain, looking specifically at how hormones affect teenage brains.” Grace

“I was interested in the power of money in the economy – how does money work and why are bits of coin so popular? I wanted to research how money brings power and looked at how that power is then used.” Lilly

“My interest was in hypnotherapy. I researched its history and how it can be used. I think it is really beneficial to wellbeing and I wanted to find out more about this.” Hattie


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