A Croydon-based company, Fit 2 Learn, is applying the lessons learned in Olympic-level sports science to ensure that all children can get the most from their education.
Fit 2 Learn is challenging the idea that learning difficulties are a life-long condition. “If you sort out the basic developmental issues and fill in the gaps in learning, most people are able to go on to learn anything they want,” Charlotte Davies, a director of the company, said.
“For too long in this country we have had a short-term, non-scientific approach to learning. We need long-term strategies that ensure that children are ready to go on to secondary school as independent, able learners.”
Fit 2 Learn looks at a wide range of ways in which a child develops in order to identify any areas which are not fully developed. Then they use games and physical exercises to help the child fill in the gaps in their development and learning.
They are already piloting their work in schools in Croydon and Sutton. “We would suggest that any child that is not achieving level five in Key Stage 2 tests has some barrier to learning – for Croydon in 2013 that was more than 3,000 pupils in just the one year group. We have to have a more able population if we are to fulfill the ambitions for Croydon,” Davies said.
The work involves looking at areas such as:
• How well does a child control their muscles and use both their left and right sides of their body together
• How well a child’s eyes move together. Some 80 per cent of learning in a secondary school is done visually, so if the eyes are not working together, then learning can become a real challenge. Most people have little idea whether their eyes work together properly.
This Friday, June 20, Fit 2 Learn, together with members of the teaching staff from the pilot schools, are staging a seminar on their school screening and what they have observed to date.
The work of Fit 2 Learn has been well supported by the community from the start, from a wide range of groups from Praise House Church, which hosted an early presentation; to Croydon South Rotary, who are looking for ways to offer financial and non-financial support; academic and research support from Bedford University and Munich University; and to the more than £25,000 which the company raised in a social enterprise bond to fund the pilot studies.
“Key to all of our community support has been the appreciation that a large number of the youngsters involved in the Croydon riots of 2011 had learning difficulties,” Davies said.
Working with Fit 2 Learn is a young apprentice Jack Kew, who is also working with the anti-youth crime charity, Lives Not Knives, to document the experiences of young people undertaking apprenticeships.
Coming to Croydon
- Norwood Society Talk: The Concrete Church, June 19
- David Lean Cinema: Suzanne, June 19
- Airport House swing dance free event, June 21
- Classic Car Show at Purley Rotary Fields, June 22
- David Lean Cinema: Feet from Stardom, June 23
- Crystal Palace Overground Festival, June 26-29
- David Lean Cinema: The Lunchbox, June 26
- Warnings to the Curious, Spread Eagle Theatre, June 27
- St Peter’s Village Fayre, South Croydon, June 28
- South Norwood Allotments open day, June 28
- Fragile, Spread Eagle Theatre, July 24-26
- Coast to Capital business briefing, July 4
- CODA’s Midsummer Night’s Dream at Wandle Park, Jul 30-Aug 2
- Elm Tree Cottage garden open day, Aug 10
- Norwood Society Talk: War Memorials, Sep 18
- Norwood Society Talk: From Fire Station to Theatre, Oct 16
- Norwood Society Talk: Lambeth’s Archives, Nov 20
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Every primary school head should attend this as a matter of course if the results are as impressive as are claimed. Also all the CEOs of the incoming hi-tech companies need to get on board to encourage the development of a high skill workforce. As for the political leadership, well past performance doesn’t augur well…..
I’m someone who’s been through the process that Fit2Learn is offering and I’ve got to say that it’s like a miracle.
At six I was struggling with the basics at school, and then at 13 I was so ahead that I was able to jump a year. It’s definitely the best thing I ever did and I passionately believe every child should go through this process with Fit2Learn
If that worked for you Bart fair enough but I have to say at 6 I couldn’t read and struggled with the basics too but then something happened, gradual learning, slight maturing, change of family circumstances, different teachers, let’s call it life and what do you know, then I was one of the more able ones in my year group. Children learn at different rates and being individuals they respond differently to different teachers and different subjects and ways of learning.
I acknowledge that there may be underachievement in yr 6 but Im not convinced that this has anything to do with whether ‘eyes are working’ or not. Obsession with levels tends to determine the way in which are children are taught; in a not so well lead school a headteacher might focus only on securing top levels -ticking the boxes that give a superficial impression of all being well in a school. It’s the kind of poor practice that leads teachers to say ‘your child is already where they need to be at the end of the year’ which really is a most terribly damning statement. Where does learning begin and end?
Personally I would prefer if teachers got to know their pupils as individuals (most still do) and work to engage their class and coordinate learning together so that they each develop and grow at their own rate and make progress together. It works best in community schools where teachers work collaboratively, in partnership with families where possible and where a rich and varied curriculum is delivered giving every child the opportunity to enjoy learning.
A determined focus on levels themselves can disengage any learner and this can be difficult to overcome. As children leave primary it is important for them to be numerate and literate with the an appetite for and experience in all areas of the curriculum no matter what level they have achieved.
…and Charlotte, if you are following this, what do you mean by ‘80% of learning in secondary school is done visually’ ?
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