The 2020/21 academic year has, of course, seen a global crisis and this has had a profound impact on everyone’s lives, and especially those of our children and young people. At Wollaston School, we have spent the year aiming to provide the very best education possible, in the safest way possible. We have learnt to work within restrictive systems of control whilst ensuring that every student has been supported to achieve their educational potential. This operation has required great effort and sacrifice from the entire school community; our students, our staff and our parents have all worked together in partnership to ensure that despite the uncertainty and the various iterations of lockdown, Wollaston School has been able to keep calm and carry on, both with in-school education and remotely where this has been required.
As we look towards the future and September 2021, we are relishing the opportunity to return to our mission of excellence in education and achieving the very best academic and pastoral outcomes – providing an inspiring and progressive curriculum, exemplary leadership and personal development opportunities, all within an ethos of positivity, mutual respect, friendship and kindness.
In order to ensure that our new Year 7 students are able to make a flying start to their Wollaston School careers, we have taken advantage of Government funding to run a highly successful Summer School programme.
This has been open to all current Year 6 students who are joining us in September and we have been delighted that 200 children have participated and been able to experience an exciting range of educational activities, centred around a circus theme – hosted from the Big Top Tent located in our large school playing field.
At a time in which so much of life has been curtailed, we wanted to give our new students the experiences of freedom, joy, collaboration and challenge which we know that so many have missed over the last 18 months.
The summer school was designed to build confidence and develop a growth mindset, by encouraging students (and staff!) to recognise that is only by bravery, resilience and the occasional failure that we learn new skills. Understanding this, and developing an approach which is courageous, determined and improvement-focused is, of course, the best way to achieve both academic and personal success.
By inviting external providers into school to teach a range of circus themed activities: rope walking, balloon modelling and balancing tricks, we have given our students the experience of difficult and challenging skills, many of which look impossible at first sight! The expectation is, of course, that first attempts will lead to failure, but with purposeful practice and hard work, incredible results can be achieved. We have enjoyed seeing the emergence of jugglers, unicycle riders, acrobats and balloon modellers – all through adopting positive approaches to learning.
Wollaston School teaching staff have also helped students apply these approaches to more traditional classroom-based subjects, demonstrating that the same resilience and growth mindset can help to develop expertise and success in subjects which may initially seem difficult to master.
Our Summer School culminated in parents and carers visiting the school to see the skills the students had been learning and also having the opportunity to have a go themselves. All of this as well as a Pop-Up Drive in Cinema screening of The Greatest Showman for families to enjoy.
We would like to thank our Year 6 students and their parents, our partner primary schools, our Wollaston School Student Ambassadors and Leaders, our circus leaders and our amazing staff for making such an ambitious Summer School event an inspiring reality.
This was the perfect way to conclude the summer term and we look forward to delivering further inspiring educational experiences to students in all year groups when we return in September.
Wollaston School is a member of the Nene Valley Partnership – a small multi-academy trust committed to achieving excellence in education for the children and local communities whom we serve.
If you would like to find out more about the Nene Valley Partnership, contact James Birkett, CEO, on firstname.lastname@example.org