A rewarding education
The Dalton Plan at Ascham
A unique and rewarding academic framework, guiding girls to develop an extraordinary skillset, ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century.
The power of the Plan
The unique teaching and learning framework of the Dalton Plan is proven to guide girls’ intellectual and personal growth, enriching their School years and life beyond.
Since its introduction to Ascham by Margaret Bailey in 1922, The Dalton Plan has set us apart as a unique and widely-admired approach to girls’ education.
From the early days of its initial implementation and its necessary evolution as teaching and learning methods changed through the 20th Century, the Dalton Plan continues to shape girls’ learning and development. Now, more than ever, its influence is making a valuable difference to a girl’s education.
It provides a robust platform on which girls learn to build respectful connections, develop a strong sense of responsibility and self-management, shape their decision making and build confidence, and become self-directed, intrinsically-motivated individuals.
Our girls draw on the four key principles of The Dalton Plan to manage their academic and personal development successfully:
Our students develop the independence to make decisions for themselves and the motivation to complete tasks autonomously. Such independence means our students are prepared for lifelong learning and developing vital skills and knowledge beyond school.
Our students learn respectful relationships and teamwork, working collectively for the success of the group. When the group is thriving, we are all thriving.
Our students take responsibility for their personal, social and intellectual decisions, giving them self-efficacy and active involvement in the activities that shape them.
Reflecting on feedback gives our students the confidence to consider what they know and where to next. They are taught to ask questions and commit to a continuous cycle of development.
This approach integrates with our School values and unique wellbeing framework, Vi et Animo, providing a firm foundation so girls feel well in themselves and flourish in their activities. In developing this positive outlook, girls become more resilient and academically ‘buoyant’—more able to cope with setbacks and challenges, and so enjoy School life more completely.
The academic buoyancy of every student is dependent on consistent feedback, which is an integral part of the Dalton Plan.
Being clear on where she stands academically removes confusion, provides a stable learning environment and ensures she has a greater chance of meeting her academic goals, which in turn enhances her wellbeing.
Three essential pillars
Academically, the Dalton Plan is structured around three core pillars: Assignments, Lessons and Studies, each providing a separate but related approach to learning development.
Girls have access to the whole unit of study for every subject ahead of time with assignment tasks set out in advance and due each Tuesday.
Weekly or fortnightly assignments are completed during Studies and for homework. The time spent on Assignments is monitored to ensure girls use their time effectively at school.
Tackling an Assignment introduces the importance of planning and time management and allows excellent understanding of a topic’s goals and the ability for girls to work at their own pace. Assignments have options and differentiated tasks so girls are working at their individual level while being challenged by the curriculum.
The Lesson is prepared, delivered and led by the teacher.
Lessons are stimulating experiences for girls, delivered by specialist teachers who cover the elements required to complete the Assignment and explore additional curriculum requirements.
Girls have about two thirds of the number of timetabled lessons that are taught in a conventional school, with the remaining times set aside for the Study.
The Study is student-led—she chooses the time and she sets the agenda with a teacher of her choosing. As a result, she enjoys an exceptional amount of one-on-one time each week to resolve queries and develop her understanding. Girls reflect on their previous assignments and ask questions about the next.
This is the core of the Dalton Plan and through it girls learn how to be responsible for their own learning: organising time, planning, asking questions in the language of that subject, debating and testing ideas, and ultimately, developing their individual language of learning.
The Dalton Plan is invaluable for girls of all ages and abilities, from those who can use the Study to extend their existing knowledge and interests, to those who need particular support and more time to understand and practise key skills and receive feedback on Assignments.
We introduce some of the concepts of the Dalton Plan right from Prep, gradually building on the scope of activities until girls are ready to undertake the Plan in full as they begin Senior School.
Those who join Ascham as Senior School students aren’t at any disadvantage as the Plan is formally introduced, explored and integrated from Year 7.
DALTON IN ACTION
Generations of Ascham girls have been inspired by the unique classroom learning and individual development fostered by the Dalton Plan. They have learned to stretch themselves, to strive for their best and to stumble along the way, applying effort to meet the demands of the curriculum and in whatever pursuits they follow.
Marina Olsen (1995), recalls how the Dalton Plan helped develop a collaborative approach to her learning and subsequent professional life.
Freya, Year 12 student and Head of Dalton, gives us an insight into how the Dalton Plan inspires deeper learning and supports wider activities.
Jeff Morabito, Head of Visual Arts, Design and Technology at Ascham, shares his passion for teaching under the Dalton Plan.
Success and the future
2022 sees us celebrate 100 Years of Dalton and the academic, professional and personal successes it has brought for generations of Ascham girls.
Find out more about how Dalton has shaped Ascham over the last century and its relevancy now more than ever…