International Partnership Forged between Wycombe Abbey and Oaks Christian School, USA

Wycombe Abbey and Oaks Christian School in Los Angeles, USA have reached across the pond to form an international partnership to support and encourage educational collaboration and the exchange of ideas. This partnership is a result of discussions within Wycombe Abbey’s Staff Development Committee. 

Oaks Christian hosted a team from Wycombe Abbey at their Westlake campus this October during a weeklong visit that included classroom observations, meetings with pupils and attendance at events such as a football game, chapel and even their all-school disaster drill.

With Associate Head of School for Academics, Dr Matt Northrop, and Academic Dean Christi Grindstaff facilitating, Head of English, Sam Lenton and Housemistress and Teacher of Mathematics, Avani Hurribunce, visited areas across the school such as Art, Mathematics, History, STEM, the Theatre, the Institutes of Engineering, Global Leadership and Arts and Innovation.

‘I immediately noticed the camaraderie and community amongst the staff body, which is transferred into the classroom,’ said Avani. ‘At OCS you are looking at the future-ready pupil, taking their skill set to survive in a global workplace and at the same time seeing the core values underpinning the Christian ethos. Teachers have a clear endpoint as to what they want for their pupils. At OCS there was a clear growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset.’

Northrop’s hope for the partnership is to mutually strengthen and benefit both schools. ‘We believe that schools should always be growing and learning in a way that benefits the mission and the community. This isn’t an “individual sport.” Schools shouldn’t be silos. Our hope with this new partnership with Wycombe Abbey is to learn from one another,’ he said. ‘For them to learn and grow as they see our strengths and for us to grow and learn from their strengths. We both have distinct strengths that we believe will make both schools stronger to the benefit of our students and staff.’

The Wycombe Abbey team spent time with institute heads to understand how they partner with industry experts, conduct master classes and develop opportunities and curriculum for pupils. ‘The institutes were one of the interesting flagship elements and this concept was unfamiliar to us. We wanted to know fundamentally how that worked. This also tied into some of our own strategic development as our school looks to build an Innovation and Design Centre.’ Sam Lenton shared.

After spending a week in the OCS community some of the key takeaway words were ‘inspiration’ and ‘future-focused’.

‘It has been inspiring to see how Oaks Christian operates. It has been a time of great encouragement about what is being done and for us to consider ways in which we can make education adaptable for the future world we are going into,’ Lenton shared. ‘It is amazing to see a place that is using that as a driving force in its educational development. That leads to reflection: what principles can we take from that into the English school system?’

This initial visit is just the beginning: Oak Christian hopes to send a team to Wycombe Abbey in the spring for interaction and observation, gaining a broader global perspective from an international school and digging deep into their pedagogy and educational rigour.

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