At present at Long Sutton Primary we are going through a period of distinct change as we have taken on the challenge of undertaking curriculum and system change in a short period of time.
We are currently looking at the introduction of Universal Infant Free School Meals (having lost our dinner provider for next year), an imminent OFSTED (having lost two members of our Senior Leadership Team in the last week of resignations to promoted posts), the new Curriculum, the change in SEN Code of Practice, the development of ICT and our school grounds alongside the plethora of other things one looks at on a weekly basis in a large Primary school.
Our key focus is on ensuring that our pupils are making good or better progress as a result of improved teaching and this has led to us turning to a research led approach. At the same time, we have also looked at what type of school we want to be and used the Â book,Â Inspirational Teachers, Inspirational Learners by Will RyanÂ as a stimulus for discussion at our start of year INSET day. Will’s challenge is to think about the attitudes that we should have as teachers and school leaders towards our children and our expectations for them.
What is it that inspirational teachers do differently? In short, they plan for their pupils to be inspirational – Will Ryan
In the light of these discussion we planned themed events which would unite the school for a day or a week. We decided that each phase team would take on an event or theme to plan for the rest of the school with enterprise as part of what the children did. The first activity was a fairly safe and standard Christmas Fayre stall idea where each Year group (we are two form entry) would make something to sell at the Christmas Fayre. This saw children making stuffed penguin, cakes, biscuits, soap and flannel Reindeer and Nursery creating chocolate brownie ingredients in a jar. In the summer term we have a World Cup theme as well as a Carnival day in July.
The Spring term themed week took place during the last week of term on the theme of Chocolate. This was the topic for Year 3/4 during Term 4 whilst the Year 5 children undertook a topic on Mexico. It all made sense that the children would make their own chocolates and sell them to the parents. Then we found this video
We were inspired by the idea of random acts of kindness and so looked at what we could do to copy the lead of Andy Cope. We decided to work towards a day of kindness in our town. We are the only school in a town of a population of approximately 6,000 and on Fridays there is a brilliant street market which pulls in many locals not only for shopping but also as a social event. We also challenged the children in assembly to carry out random acts of kindness at home.
In the last week of term, all classes made a huge collection of handmade chocolates, cookies and biscuits which we grouped together. On the Friday the Year 3/4 classes went into Long Sutton giving out our wares for free. It was one of the most wonderful things I have been involved in as we met with so many parents and grandparents who had come into town to be given a chocolate by their child. We visited virtually every shop and bank in the town spreading our acts of kindness. The children went into the church hall during their coffee morning to give everyone a free cookie to have with their drinks. It also meant that several children were able to go to their mum or dad’s shop to hand out free gifts.
It was great to hear to our children approaching people with their script of
Sorry to stop you, can I offer you a free chocolate? It is our random act of kindness day and we would like to give you this for free
The children even visited the builders at our local Co-op supermarket refurbishing the store.
The upshot was that we were in town for approximately two hours and gave out more than three hundred free snacks and then another two hundred were put outside school for those parents picking up at theÂ end of the day. Â Also, as for the random acts of kindness we had children who made their parents dinner, cups of tea, gave them hugs and kisses and tried to be generally more kind to them. As an advert for the school it was a priceless event, as a way of developing the confidence of some of Lower Key Stage Two children approaching adults in a safe environment it worked well and as an end to a theme curriculum week it was just brilliant.
I am sure that there are those who decry this as fluffy nonsense but during the week the children were able to combine a large amount of their curriculum to the mathematics of cookery, literacy was based around researching their recipes, writing instructions and non-chronological reports as well as the Design Technology element of cookery lessons. This all combined in a whole school enterprise week considering cost, planning, team work and presentation.
Many thanks to Andy Cope and his team for the inspiration. We are already looking at what we can do for our next adventure.