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Richard Wernham & Julia West Centre for Learning

It’s not exceptional for a good school to offer “extra help” to students daunted by a particular topic or subject. Even the brightest students may face challenges in their learning. What’s exceptional is the approach of the world-renowned Wernham & West Centre for Learning (CFL), which supports all boys and faculty as they explore best practices in learning and teaching — geared to each unique student’s strengths.

At the Prep, your son receives lessons in time management as well as study and organizational strategies so that, for example, test-taking inspires confidence and not anxiety. Prep boys create and maintain a “growth portfolio” which includes samples of their progress that they present to parents and advisers. At this age, the overarching goal is to create a sense of confidence in boys around learning.

In Intermediate Division, the part of the brain responsible for organizing (the prefrontal cortex) is developing rapidly. The centre takes advantage of this precarious time to instill lifelong organizing skills that will help boys manage workloads over their lifetime.

In Senior Division, the focus is on building a sense of independence in learning. Attention is dedicated to note-taking, deep reading and critical literacy skills. Boys can access support, including exam preparation.

The “reading buddies” program pairs Upper School with Prep students and is a valuable way to foster mentoring skills in Upper boys.

Centre staff also meet with teachers to offer learning support, whether it’s the student who needs a bit of catch-up in a particular subject or an elite athlete who needs some make-up time to accommodate a sports schedule.

Learning doesn’t stop with students. As leaders in innovation and boys’ learning, teachers also discuss and strive to incorporate the latest studies and insights in boys’ learning.

The CFL is one of UCC’s exceptional offerings, a benchmark-setting hub at the heart of the school with a mandate to share its learning with educators internationally. Learning skills for a lifetime of achievement begins here.


Kathryn Barnes, Director, Wernham West Centre for Learning; Coordinator Intermediate Division

Kathryn Barnes

Kathryn Barnes is the Director of the Wernham West Centre for Learning. After graduating with her Bachelor’s of Education, Kathryn went on to teach Science and Physical & Health Education at two Independent Schools in the greater Toronto area.

Early on in her career she identified that she has a passion for supporting students, helping them understand themselves better as learners and teaching them to become self-advocates.

This led her to pursue courses in the area of special education and her Master’s of Education from OISE, with a focus on leadership and program administration.

This fall, Kathryn will also join the OISE team as a facilitator in their Continuing and Professional Learning department, delivering courses in Special Education.

Kathryn has a broad range of expertise and leadership with student development initiatives and hands-on experience building relationships with faculty, students and parents school wide.  She understands the importance of helping teachers develop inclusive teaching practices and for all boys to develop their own tool-kit for learning.