20 Sep University of London educators praise Woodstock prior to possible partnership
Three assessors from the Institute of Education, part of the University of London in the UK, visited Woodstock last week to discuss the possiblity of setting up a postgraduate learning programme for both academic and support staff.
The assessors observed about 35 classes at Woodstock across 16 different subjects, met with students and staff, and visited dorms and the Hanifl Centre, in order to build up as wide a picture as possible of the school.
The visit was designed to help them propose a bespoke postgraduate programme to best meet the school’s needs, which could be an MA or internationally recognised PGCE, accredited by the University of London.
It is hoped that such a programme will help to improve professional development and increase staff retention at Woodstock.
Feeding back to staff during a question-and-answer session, Andy Ash, one of the visiting assessors, was full of praise for Woodstock.
He said that the school had a clear vision supported by the Principal and Board, while the school’s location was “unique”, and something he saw as a great resource to provide “learning beyond the classroom”.
The visitors also praised the excellent staff-student ratio, which they averaged at around 14:1, and regarded the school’s diversity and residential nature as two other major strengths.
Talking about the students, Mr Ash said: “What a lovely group of kids! Aren’t they fantastic? Really energetic, really enthusiastic, really thoughtful, both young and old… that was the thing that struck me… and they’re not apprehensive about speaking out in front of other pupils, even Year 7 students.”
Mr Ash also flagged up some possible areas for improvement for teaching staff, such as differentiation in the classroom in terms of meeting the individual needs of students with varying degrees of language and learning skills.
Woodstock Principal Dr Long, who had invited the three educators to the school, said that he is “confident and excited about what lies ahead” once the programme is finalised.
By mid-November a road-map should be in place for the future of the programme, which could be up and running by September 2013.