Developing Key Skills & Outdoor Learning
Using Key Skills
Every opportunity is given to engage pupils, foster curiosity through planned questioning and shared sustained thinking. Key skills are developed in order to broaden and build on learning across a range of subjects and areas of learning .In Year 6, for example, a personal finance week is held to provide an opportunity for children to develop basic understanding of the finance linked to personal economic wellbeing. Children in years 5 and 6 have to formally apply for positions of responsibility within the academy and consider the attributes they would bring to each position. This gives them the experience of using literacy skills to participate in a recruitment activity. Following recent curriculum development each class develops an enterprise activity each term. Through this children are able to develop their skills of teamworking, planning, communication, problem solving and evaluation. Recent enterprises include an Egyptian Museum, an Indian restaurant and Year 6 parents meal. Twice a year a fund raising event is held across the academy. This not only gives an opportunity in raising funds but for each cohort to use basic skills in a real life setting by planning, organising, marketing and budgeting. ‘Focus Weeks’ are held 3 times a year which enrich the curriculum and help develop the community.
In order to further the curriculum a strong focus has been on developing lunchtimes and develop positive behaviours. This was a focus for the 2010/11 development plan. Additional lunch staff have been appointed and a wide range of child led activities such as den making, crafts and Karaoke have been introduced. This has allowed the staff to become facilitators allowing the children to make decisions and assess risks independently. This project has been led by our High Level Teaching Assistant, Miss Danielle, who is currently undertaking a degree in play work. The Play Leader and the Deputy Principal have trained lunchtime staff on play theory and additional resources have been purchased. The effectiveness of developing play and applying the application of play theory and practice at lunchtime has ensured positive lunchtime experiences for the overwhelming majority of children. In November 2011 Gawthorpe Academy became the first school in the country to be awarded the ‘Quality in Play Mark’.
Out of classroom learning strongly supports learners' enjoyment, achievement and in turn teaches children to work with each other. Each year learners in Years 5 & 6 have the opportunity to take part in a residential visit to Whitby. The focus of this visit is promoting enjoyment through team building activities and challenges. In order to further develop learners' engagement, many learners have the opportunity to work on an outdoor experience project including den building and fire lighting.