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Farlingaye tips

* Run a continuing professional development programme with learning and teaching at its heart. Be prepared to adapt and even drop approaches that don't work. De Bono's "thinking hats" was featured in sessions during the study conference in 2004. While it was useful as part of an actual lesson, it proved a flop without context.

* Ensure students do not become "closed off" from different styles of learning once they feel they have worked out their preferred style. "At Farlingaye, students know they have to cultivate all three of the VAK styles, not least because exams are predominantly testing their facility for visual learning."

* Make students feel special and clever. At the Year 10 conference day, students found themselves being treated like true delegates in rooms boasting tablecloths, water, special pads and pencils, and mints. The opening session involved carrying out a learning style audit based on an Alistair Smith questionnaire. "At the end of this, all students feel they possess at least one kind of intelligence," points out Sarah Bainton. "This is a very positive foundation on which to build future success." Groups then divided up into carousel sessions.

* Hold a Year 11 residential. Farlingaye students get a two-day intensive revision course in Ipswich in March. They come fully briefed about their strengths and weaknesses and get tailor-made sessions based on their expected grades.

* Introduce good Mind-Mapping software. Farlingaye students are familiar with MindManager ( and now have inspiration on their network www.synapseadaptive.cominspirationDefault.htm


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