Pupils take unique initiative to equip them with skills for life

Pupils take unique initiative to equip them with skills for life

27th October 2014


SCHOOLCHILDREN have risen to the challenge tackling everything from war games to Spanish football in a unique initiative to equip them with skills for life.

More than 400 students from Years 7, 8 and 9 at Haughton Academy, Darlington, are opting for a host of activities normally not seen on the curriculum.

Every Wednesday from 1pm to 2pm they take part in challenges ranging from building sets for war games, Aboriginal art and making cosmetics from natural products, to playing five-a-side football only speaking Spanish, working with the elderly and learning to play the ukulele.

In sport, students can choose hockey, rugby, boxing and fitness, Pilates and golf. Art and craft options sees them create Banksy-style and graffiti wall art using themes that have affected students’ lives.

Staff are continually developing and adapting the activities depending on student take-up and responses.

Introduced by principal Rachel Ireland and managed by head of art Vickie Gorton, the scheme has already had a huge impact on student learning.

Miss Ireland said: “The idea was a collective one from all staff who looked at what skills, beyond the curriculum, they would like students to develop. It is a way of developing the 6Rs – resilience, reasoning, reflection, responsibility, respect, resourcefulness – and I’m delighted with the response from staff and students.”
Mrs Gorton added: “Staff and students have really embraced Challenge and absolutely love it.

“There has been amazing interaction between different age groups and abilities and also staff who are so passionate about the activity they have brought to the scheme.”

She said children were already showing greater resilience by tackling activities that were really difficult and not giving up despite the challenge.

She had seen them grow in confidence and self-esteem, witnessed great examples of teamwork, improved concentration, mentoring, interdependence and independent working.

Staff and students compile reports on the Challenge initiative for parents boosting literacy skills and options such as the Great Haughton Bake Off, which involves calculating and measuring ingredients, is successfully showing children the relevancy of maths.

“The war games shop in town has been inundated with ours students buying materials for the set building, so that has helped the local economy,” Mrs Gorton said.

“The elderly people love being visited by our students, who are fascinated and amused by their life-stories and the natural beauty option has real enterprise potential as they produce a range of cosmetics.

“The activities are constantly refreshed, monitored and developed and the feedback has been fantastic.”

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