Sharing joy and knowledge from an ordinary life

Barrowford School Staff and Pupils- Educating Ruby: the Barrowford School Way

This was not the session I intended to end up in. I tried three before this that were all full. I suspect Summerhouse Education had been a little too greedy for the number of tickets sold in comparison to the capacity of the rooms available.

This session had primary school children sharing the approach their school have taken to the 7 Cs.


  • This year 6 learner has a leadership and management focus in the learner council
  • We get to choose what we learn
  • We have subject champions (?)
  • We have home learning not homework- we choose whether we do it or not- we tell our teachers what we’ve learnt at home and then what we might like to learn in next lessons


  • This year 6 learner is the school lead on teaching & learning in the learner council
  • They communicate to teachers when they need stretching


  • This student’s role is behaviour and safety in the learner council
  • We do restorative work with peers


  • This student’s role was quality of teaching in the learner council
  • Everyone can make mistakes
  • We are encouraged to have our own thoughts and ideas
  • We can show our learning in different ways


  • This student’s learning is achievement of pupils in the learner council
  • We have learning menus
  • Value of belonging in a team


  • Learning menu gives choice of what we learn and when we learn it
  • Our staff are passionate not only about their teaching but lives outside of school
  • They help to build our passions in after-school and during-school clubs

Confidence is the result!

Whiteboard- learning menu on the board- and the piece of learning is added to it

There are choices on the board- negotiables and non-negotiables

You have to complete this part by… but you can do tasks in whatever order you like.

Q. Which C was most difficult?

Communication was the most difficult.

When new students join the class from other schools, you can see how they struggle with communication and sharing how they feel.

Commitment was difficult as you want to stick to it and if you realise you’re not enjoying it then you can choose to change but it’s thinking about the impact it would have on other team members if you did make this kind of decision.

Q. About celebrating struggle and challenge

A student had said in class, ‘I didn’t get subtraction’ and I’ve never seen the teacher so happy!

We are reward free because one learner might have done just as much learning as another but just struggled more. Achievement looks different for each learner- you can’t measure everything as not everyone learns the same thing every day or every week.

If someone makes the wrong choice, we don’t punish them as it’s all just learning and mistakes. We talk about what’s happened and we make it right instead. They don’t have traffic lights or measuring for that reason.

I was bowled over by the confidence and abilities of these learners: they were very clear evidence of the effect this values focus has had on their learning. They are clearly still on a journey but they did keep correcting themselves when they said ‘work’ and changed it to ‘learning.’ I was ever so slightly saddened that this experience wasn’t being replicated for the learners who had recently left the primary school to enter secondary school.

My writing commitment: I’m learning to honour my thoughts. I’m learning that my words can be shared before I’ve connected all the dots or learned everything there is to know. My writing can be a snapshot of a single moment in continually-evolving time.

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