School ditches timetable for new experiences

DOWNEND School gave pupils a week off regular lessons to given them new activities and experiences to bring learning to life.

The school’s annual enrichment week in July saw the usual timetable suspended and replaced with trips, projects and performances.

Year 7 students had a three-day residential trip to Devon with adventure activities including paddleboarding, surfing at Croyde Bay, a water adventure course and team building activities as part of their community-themed week.

They also had a historical walk around Downend, made collages themed around school values and put on their own performances of Roald Dahl’s Matilda.

Year 8s had a two-day humanities trip to London, taking in the Imperial War Museum, Florence Nightingale Museum, Science Museum and Old Operating Theatre Museum.

They also had a Thames river cruise and a guided tour of the 2012 Olympics site.

Back at school they worked on art, photography and design & technology projects and had a sports day with individual and team based challenges.

Year 9 pupils focused on science, technology, engineering and maths, with interactive hands-on science activities including launching rockets and discovering the chemistry of colour.

During the week 100 Year 9 students completed their bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award assessed expedition in Cheddar, while a number of Year 10 pupils completed their silver expedition.

The Year 10 enrichment programme had a life skills theme and included virtual work experience supported by companies including Barclays Bank, Vodafone, Pret and Airbus, CV writing and mock job interviews, lessons on money management and first aid with the air ambulance.

They also had an “immersive day” on their GCSE text ‘An Inspector Calls’, including a virtual escape room, murder mystery and drama workshop.

Year 12 pupils had a residential trip to London, work experience, volunteering and support to help prepare for life after school.

School community council chair Emma Jukes said: “It was a brilliant week that showcased practical learning, working together and providing experiences that will undoubtedly stay with pupils and teachers forever.”