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16 June 2020

Maintaining academic rigour

Maintaining academic rigour

At the Hampshire School Chelsea, one of our school development objectives, is ensuring a continued focus on academic rigour. Moving into an online learning environment, how do we still know if we are providing ample rigour for our pupils? Do we need to adapt certain strategies to ensure we are still maintaining our academic rigour for online learning or do we continue with the same approach?

Academic rigour involves children becoming active learners – being involved in their learning, monitoring and reflecting on their own work to independently identify their strengths and weaknesses in a meaningful context. Rigour necessitates the deepening of higher order thinking skills- being able to analyse, reason and evaluate. Children master new material and apply it in different contexts. 

There is no doubt that aspects of online learning and education in the classroom are very different. There are varying levels of patience, motivation and organisation required, from both the teacher and the pupil. However the preparation and planning underpinning  teaching online is the same, if not more so, whilst conceiving new and engaging ideas. The marking and feedback is still given in online lessons (some would claim more so too) and work is marked with comments, which children read and respond to. Children are given problem solving questions to answer, discuss and reason and the level of expectation on pupils remains high. Online learning does not change that. There may have been a period of adjustment whilst everyone was having to adapt, learn and change to be able to work with the new world of online teaching and learning, but that experience in itself pushed pupils out of their comfort zones in many ways. The children were forced to think, perform and grow to a level that they were not at previously. They have been taught and developed skills, deepened their understanding and thinking power to achieve at a higher level and continue to achieve at a high level. Teachers have guided pupils through this process, maintaining a high level of expectations and academic rigour, and will continue to do so for both those children learning online and those who are now back in the classroom. There is no doubt about that – maintaining a high academic rigour will always be one of The Hampshire School Chelsea’s priorities.

Ms Katherine McDonald

Director of Studies


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The Hampshire School Chelsea

15 Manresa Road, Chelsea
London, SW3 6NB

Tel: +44[0] 207 352 7077