The Wider Curriculum
Our curriculum is enhanced by numerous activities and many are arranged to promote our strong ethos of caring and community. All enrich the learning experiences of the pupils at our school:
Visits and Visitors
We believe that outside visits and visitors to the school greatly benefit the learning experience for the children, bringing learning to life and adding variety and diversity to their school days. Visits may be arranged specifically to support the planned curriculum such as The Verulamium Museum in St. Albans, The Victorian School in Hitchin, or they may be planned as a one-off learning experience such as Our recent trip to Ironbridge in Telford, or our younger children’s visit to Mead Open Farm. In line with our Literacy curriculum, we recently visited the Roald Dahl museum.
As a whole school this year we have visited the Veolia Education Centre where the children learn about the care of the environment and conservation of water. We regularly visit a range of Places of Worship to support our Religious Education curriculum.
Some of our visitors to the school within the last year were John Harris, ‘Greatest Storyteller in the World’, Impeyan Zoo that brought a range of animals including chinchillas, meercats and snakes to the school, Animal Ark where we were visited by a range of farm animals such as pigs, lambs, and a visit from a real life Astronaut.
We also recently hatched our own chicks and watched their development in their early days, before they went to start their new life on the farm of one of our pupils.
We actively seek out opportunities such as these to support our aim to give children a true love of learning so without doubt there will be new and exciting treats in store within the coming year!
From their earliest days with us, pupils grow to feel confident speaking and performing in front varying audiences beginning from their small, non-theatening class groups, to involving themselves in our lively interactive whole school assemblies, to larger audiences of parents and friends and then to outside audiences as in the Bedfordshire Festival of Dramatic Arts. Some of the specific activities which help build children’s confidence are:
- English Speaking Board pupils have weekly classes after school and take external examinations annually and achieve remarkably high levels.
- LAMDA – this is a new class that has been introduced since Easter – pupils work individually to develop their presentation and acting skills.
- Pupils run their own clubs and each week respresentatives of the clubs make presentations in assembly regarding their work.
- Bedfordshire Festival of Music and Dramatic Arts – A number of children participate in the Poetry Reading and Sight Reading Class every year. This year (2011) with 7 participants we received 8 medals.
- Choir presentations in and around Dunstable – the choir is invited to numerous events around Dunstable including the large NSPCC concert at Christmas.
- Arts evening – all children in the school present a variety of drama, prose, poetry and music to an audience of parents and other guests.
- Christmas Play – all children participate in a large production, generally in the form of a music play, again to an audience of parents and guests.
- All children from Year 1 have a week creative arts afternoon.
We benefit from working within a highly supportive, close working team within the school, thus the children are led by example when learning to work effectively as a team. We have worked hard to foster a caring, nurturing environment and as such all children happily forge relationships across the range of ages whilst working and playing together and also during more formal activities such as games, drama, charity events, Sports’ Day, etc.
We hold regular activities both curricular and extra-curricular where pupils work in teams learning to lead, take responsibility, respect each others skills and opinions. children work in mixed age-group teams on games and exercises and tasks. During our technology afternoon, pupils work in teams to develop ICT, Design and Technology and Food Technolody skills. Last year, on a day trip to Ashridge Park, pupils worked in mixed aged teams in a den-building competition. Also, our residential ‘camp’ for Key Stage 2 is a superb team building opportunity and we watch our pupils literally blossom and flourish over the course of the ‘camp’.
Involvement of the wider community
- Pupils sponsor a young girl in an orphanage in Lesotho,Africa. This money pays for her education. Two of the organisers of this charity visit the school and inform pupils of the charity’s work. Pupils are all very aware of the young girl and can talk confidently about her life.
- Harvest Festival – children bring in gifts that are gathered together and after a Harvest service are given to the Noah project – a group that give the food to the homeless.
- NSPCC Concert – the choir sing at this festival every Christmas to raise money for the NSPCC.
- Children in Need – all children participate in money raising activities.
- Red Nose Day – all children participate in money raising activities.
- Over 75’s Salvation Army group – pupils visit this group and talk to the pensioners. Sometimes they present songs and poetry as well.
- Friars lodge is a local care home – the children visit and talk to the ‘old folk’.
- Toy sales – children give toys for a sale to raise money.
- Library Reading Challenge – a representative from the library visits the school to introduce a reading challenge over the Summer holiday. A high number of children take up this challenge.
- Asda visit – children visit the local store in line with their healthy eating classes.
- Basic First Aid Course – children learn to be aware of the wellbeing of others.