SAIL stands for Student Agency In Learning.

Student agency is about students taking ownership of their learning. It is about them realising that they are at the centre of their learning, that education is not something that is done to them.

To put it simply, student agency gives students a voice – and often choice – in how they learn.

We have joined other secondary schools in the Whole Education Network to design a curriculum which is child-centred and focused on ensuring all learners meet their full potential in life.

The inspiration for SAIL comes from the Kunskapsskolan Education (KED) programme. Set up in Sweden more than a decade ago, it equips every young person with the tools and strategies they need to progress and be lifelong learners. The project is providing opportunities for schools to collaborate globally as well as nationally, and to build a learning community amongst students as well as teachers.

How is SAIL different?

  • Learning is transparent. In every lesson there is a learning goal; sometimes the learning goal may take more than one lesson to achieve. Alongside the learning goal are success factors at bronze, silver, gold and platinum levels. The success factors show the students exactly what they must do in order to achieve the learning goal.
  • Independence is nurtured and encouraged. Base coaches have replaced tutors. Base coach time (what used to be tutor time) takes place each morning for 30 minutes. This time is structured – for example, planning and reflection takes place on Mondays and Fridays. This time is used by the students to organise what they need to do, when they will do it and what help or resources they need. In addition to base coach time, each base group has two general workshop lessons and a humanities workshop per week. Workshops are for completing independent work. Every student has academic coaching sessions. These take place weekly, with their base coach or a 6th form coach. These sessions are conversations about learning: for example the coach will ask about the student’s planning, what deadlines they have coming up, whether they need any help. Goal-setting forms an important part of coaching. For example, early in year 7, students set their ‘ultimate goal’ – this is what they plan to do when they leave school. Thinking about the future, finding out what they need to do in order to achieve their goal and relating this back to every day in the classroom is highly motivating.
  • Teaching is collaborative.Subjects are divided into STEPs and THEMEs. The STEP subjects are MFL, maths, English and science. STEP subjects have to be taught and learned in a specific order to make sense. THEME subjects are everything else - geography, history, RS, art, music and DT. The THEME subjects are linked by a theme: the first of these is ‘Who Are We?’, which is about identity, both of the individual and collectively. There are four themes in the year, each lasting 9 or 10 weeks. Teachers plan each theme collaboratively so that the curriculum has coherence..