School House Enrichment
In addition to the traditional curriculum, these initial years at Blundell’s are important ones for the pupils to develop their own skills and approach to learning. It is also a time to think about skills which will make pupils “work ready”. The world of work may seem a long way off, but now is the time to start developing these skills and we have recently introduced some new project and event initiatives so that our School House pupils do so. We are also looking to take advantage of external links we can build with other organisations to bring other perspectives to our pupils.
Details of some of these initiatives which have happened or are happening this academic year are given below:
This is a team project run by the EDT (Engineering Development Trust). At Blundell’s this year it has been a Year 8 initiative. Pupils work in a team of six with a teacher and a partner company engineer on a STEM based project. This is an optional project and can be chosen as a summer term activity. It involves a launch event, this year at the Flybe Training Academy in Exeter, where the pupils meet their engineer and choose a project. They then work on the project for approximately 10 weeks, write a formal report detailing their design and process and give a presentation to a panel of judges from industry. This project is excellent for developing communication and team work skills as well as project management. The final report could be used as part of a portfolio for FE and HE interviews as appropriate.
Companies who are working with Blundell’s this year and on similar projects previously are:
Many thanks to the engineers and representatives of these companies who have given freely of their time and expertise making this a unique experience for our pupils. The project has also allowed the Maths, Physics and DT departments to work together with our three pupil teams.
For more information on Go4SET go to: http://www.etrust.org.uk/go4set.cfm
CREST – Bronze Award
This is a 10 hour individual science project. This year we have run this through the Scholars Programme and also as an optional activity in the Spring term for Year 7 & Year 8 pupils. Pupils can choose a topic or come up with their own idea to research or develop. Projects this year have included a solar powered car, development of a fizzy drink and new brand of toothpaste and chocolate bar! The pupils choose to make their project communication, practical or research based. They write a final report or give a presentation, keeping a log book of their processes throughout the project. The first group of pupils will gain their Bronze CREST awards at the end of the summer term.
CREST awards are run through the British Science Association who note on their website that “UCAS endorse CREST Awards for inclusion in students’ personal statements – they’re well regarded, high-quality and a tangible recognition of success.” So whilst our pupils are enjoying their CREST projects in Year 7 or 8 they are also helping to develop their own portfolio for the future. Our aim is to encourage more pupils to complete a CREST project in the next academic year.
For more information on CREST go to: http://www.britishscienceassociation.org/crest
BBC School Report
This has been a whole year group initiative for Year 8 and was the second year Blundell’s has been involved. During the Spring term the pupils have formal sessions on reporting supported by the BBC website, these sessions include how to find, gather, write and broadcast the news. Pupils then worked in small groups within their tutor group to write stories of their own choice to a tight deadline, most of them being published on the school website. 18 pupils were then selected to act as reporters for the day on BBC School News day on 21st March. They spent the day writing and broadcasting, working to a real time deadline of 4pm the same day with wonderful support from the IT department. Their stories can be seen on the school website.
Cross Curricular Events & Projects
These have been set up this year to give further examples to the School House pupils of how subjects are linked. The aim is to stimulate a deeper understanding of topics covered in an exciting fusion of subjects and to foster an intellectual curiosity extending beyond the curriculum. They are also used as an opportunity to let the pupils work in mixed ability groups and work with pupils who would not normally be in their lessons. We aim to build more of these cross curricular opportunities into the SH curriculum.
Art/Maths Year 7
Year 7 had studied Transformations in Maths which proved a perfect starting point to reflect, translate, rotate and enlarge a variety of shapes to make large scale patterned drawings in the gym. Shadow shapes of aeroplanes were then projected on to the drawings and cut out to make huge planes to be suspended in the Maths block.
Psychology/Maths Year 8
The year group were introduced to the concept of memory with a lecture from Mrs Weaver, they then worked on an experiment to test their memory for words and digits. Initially they had stated a hypothesis about what they would discover. The group gathered back together to feed back their results and conclusions to Mrs Weaver. They then worked with the data in the next few Maths lessons to display their findings and to prove or disprove their original hypothesis about memory.
Other projects this year include:
- Art/RS/Latin Year 8
- Maths/ICT Year 7 & 8
Year 8 Lecture Programme
During Thursday lesson 6a the whole of year 8 have gathered for a lecture in the Chemistry lecture theatre. The lecturers and lectures have given the pupils a huge range of information and insight. From year 12 or 13 pupils telling them about Work Experience placements and Summer holiday expeditions to Heads of Department and subject enthusiasts telling them about their subject they have all been very worthwhile. The great variety of subjects has meant that most of the pupils have found something to be excited and interested in. This year’s Autumn term programme is given below to give a flavour of the lectures given:
|“Be the best you can be!”
Mrs Sherwood, Academic Deputy Head.
|“You will do wonderful things!”
Mr Thane, Headmaster.
Sixth Formers: Eliot Clark-James, Tristan Free
|“An African Adventure”
Maddie Simonson, Holly Davis OBs
|“The work of the Charity Committee”
Mr Roffe Silvester, Head of Charity Committee.
|“Work Experience & EES Project”
Sixth Formers: Tom Golden, Jon Reid and Nick Ladd
|“Weird Stuff in Psychology”
Mrs Weaver, Head of Psychology.
|“US Race Relations & The Heavyweight World Championships”
PART 1 Mr Marsden, Head of History.
|“US Race Relations & The Heavyweight World Championships”
PART 2 Mr Marsden
|“Disgusting Diseases of the Organs”
The Biology Society; (for years 7 & 8 in Ondaatje)
Currently the pupils in School House have exams in November and then again in June of Years 7 & Year 8. Often, pupils are sitting exams in such a wide variety of subjects for the first time in Year 7. We have therefore developed a programme of support for them through assemblies and lectures on revision & study skills and also through sessions in their small tutor groups with their tutors. Subject teachers also give topic checklists as the exams approach to help the pupils make sure they have revised all topics which could be tested and the PSHCE lessons also cover study skills at this age group. A “Revision Passport” is issued through tutors thanks to our Learning Support department, which gives lots of suggested ways to revise and “Study Skills” (a study skills handbook for pupils aged 11-13) by Elizabeth Holtom is used extensively as a resource. The pupils start with some work on ways in which we learn, exploring which are their own preferred styles, before looking at different ways to revise.