Talbot Heath, Bournemouth’s leading independent school for girls aged 3-18, is ‘thinking big’ as it embarks on the exciting next phase of the school’s development. As the school grows and expands, its vision looking ahead is future-focussed and pupil-centred.
While the recent initiatives of the Department for Education, are resulting in a narrower curriculum for pupils, favouring an emphasis on core subjects, examination preparation and rote learning across much of the country, Talbot Heath is fully committed to offering an education that is broad and places great value on the creative arts. The UK has always led in creative fields; its inventors, architects, musicians and designers have blazed a trail where others have followed. Their combination of intellectual rigour and artistic virtuosity has led to innovation and brilliance. Talbot Heath is wholly committed to ensuring that creativity and design thinking is incorporated into every aspect of pupils’ learning, from the age of 3 to 18.
The CBI has emphasised the skills that they believe will be essential for young people if they are to succeed in the future; creativity, adaptability, digital proficiency, the ability to problem solve, to work collaboratively while being able to think independently. These skills seem at odds with a system of education that is a series of exam related hoops through which young people have to jump. The best schools and education systems globally have realised that education must prepare young people for a future that will be vastly different to the present; 50% of the jobs that our current school pupils will have in the future do not currently exist.
That is why Talbot Heath is introducing a new approach to education with the aim of preparing its young people for a rapidly changing world and workplace. While retaining the academic rigour and standards for which Talbot Heath is known, the school will be introducing a whole school interdisciplinary approach to learning. Children from the age of 3 to 18, will learn to draw strands of knowledge together from all fields, in order to develop a deep understanding of the interconnectedness of knowledge. Across all age ranges and subject areas, pupils will have the opportunity to tackle tasks in an interdisciplinary way. The study of Roman architecture will offer the chance to explore the mathematical and scientific principles behind structures. Girls will be able to design and construct, developing essential drawing skills, as well as digital design skills. Historians will be able to appreciate the transformative nature of the combustion engine, artists will comprehend the mathematical patterns that underpin so much of the natural world, geographers will understand the scientific forces behind volcanoes and plate tectonics.
Universities around the globe are introducing interdisciplinary faculties. One only has to look at the ground-breaking work being undertaken by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to see how the acquisition and application of knowledge is changing. While depth of knowledge is critical, appreciation of the multi-faceted nature of problem solving and development is just as important.
Talbot Heath will be working collaboratively with AUB, BU and Southampton University to offer curriculum programmes that extend pupil knowledge, such as computer animation, design thinking, architecture and robotics. Local companies who specialise in technology will also be supporting with expertise.
Many believe that the future will be powered by STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Maths). Our extensive new flexible learning centre, dedicated to interdisciplinary learning with a creative focus, will be the heart of our vision for the future. The centre will include a large auditorium, gallery space, graphic design, robotics, technology, textiles, art, drama and food studios, as well as flexible learning spaces for the use of pupils of all ages. In addition the school is building a covered pool and sports facility as part of this inspirational new complex.
Talbot Heath is ‘thinking big’ and encouraging its students to do the same. This is an exciting time for Bournemouth; a wealth of creative and technological opportunities lie at the heart of the development of the area. Talbot Heath’s vision for the future will ensure that the school is at the very forefront of education, blazing a trail for others to follow.