Teaching & Learning


UCL Academy opens doors to UCL teaching staff

15 March 2017

UCL staff who teach, supervise and support learning gained valuable insights into UK secondary school education at a recent open morning at UCL Academy.

UCL Academy

UCL Academy, located at Swiss Cottage, is a non-selective mixed state school in our home borough of Camden and is sponsored solely by UCL.

At the open morning UCL Academy teaching staff ran sessions on collaborative learning; an introduction to GCSE and A level assessment; support for newly qualified teachers; and supporting students with English as an additional language. Participants were also taken on a ‘learning walk’, where they observed lessons during a tour of the school.

Colleagues attended the day for a variety of reasons: to inform their teaching of first year undergraduates; to understand the UK education system; to identify potential ways of collaborating with the UCL Academy; to explore different pedagogies.

Dr Nick Grindle, leader of UCL Arena Two, the professional development strand for lecturers and teaching fellows, said: ‘The emphasis on collaborative learning made a strong impression. Everyone knows about the trials and challenges of working in groups, and the Academy's emphasis on the difference between group, co-operative, and collaborative learning was striking and something from which everyone in UCL can learn.’

Raphaela Armbruster, Admissions Tutor in UCL Centre for Languages and International Education, said: ‘I was very impressed with the architecture of the school and the way spaces are designed to support the teaching and learning strategies. I particularly enjoyed the 'Super Studio,' a forum-like place which absolutely exemplifies collaborative work.'

Dr Amanda Cain, Senior Teaching Fellow in Structural and Molecular Biology said: ‘It was interesting to see the type and format of feedback that is given at secondary level as it is quite different to what the students see in our courses. I plan to reformat some of what we do in light of what I've seen so students are more aware of the feedback they are being given.’

Working with UCL Academy help us to understand more about the secondary and further education sectors and to explore areas of mutual interest such as curriculum, policy and transition so that UCL can continue to adapt and develop its approaches to teaching and learning and meet the needs of its students. 

The open day is the first in a series of similar events for UCL staff being organised by the Office of the Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs) in collaboration with UCL Academy and other education partners.