Name: Willow Tree Community Primary School
Location: Harrogate
Headteacher: Dr Helen Davey

About Willow Tree Primary School

Willow Tree Primary School has a creative approach to learning which focuses on making sure that each and every one of our pupils feels valued and is given the opportunity to achieve and celebrate personal success.

The ethos of our school is rooted in our motto, ‘Learning, Laughter and Friendship’. We are committed to educating the whole child and we want our children to become resilient, confident learners, who encourage others and pride themselves on achieving the very best they can.

As a large primary school, we place great importance on children from nursery to Year 6 feeling like they are part of one big school family.

A Co-operative way of learning

Throughout our school from Early Years to Y6 we use a learning strategy called Kagan Co-operative Learning which allows children to actively participate in their learning in a collaborative brain friendly way. Rather than ask one student for an answer, our teachers use a variety of methods to ensure that ALL students are participating in and most importantly enjoying their learning.

Kagan techniques encourage children to work as a team whilst taking more accountability for their own learning, focussing on interaction and equal participation. 

This approach supports the development of social skills alongside ensuring they are able to absorb their learning and builds strong foundations for the skills that are key to a successful working life in the future.

Willow Tree Primary School

Over the past three years, since introducing Kagan, visitors to our school have often commented on how engaged all children are in their learning and the confidence with which they can explain what and how they have learnt things. Here are some of the Y6 children’s views on learning before and after the introduction of Kagan:

“Before Kagan, not everyone got a chance to talk and share their opinion. Without it, people didn’t get a chance to work together. With Kagan everyone gets a chance to talk and get support from a partner when they need it. Now everyone can work together, and we can work with people we wouldn’t work with normally.”

“Before Kagan I felt nervous to put my hand up and talk in Class discussions. Now after Kagan I want to talk and share my answers because my Kagan team help me to improve my answers.”

“I enjoy being able working lots of with different people in my class when we change Kagan teams and getting ideas and support from other people is really helpful.”

You can find out more about how we use Kagan techniques as part of everyday learning at Willow Tree from 7am every morning with Nick Hancock. Listen here.

Read more local stories from Your Harrogate here.