Christ Church C of E Primary School

Research has shown that the gap in attainment during primary school between the richest and poorest pupils grows very quickly, accounting for 12% of the attainment gap at age 11, and suggests that policies that aim to change pupils’ attitudes and behaviours during primary school could be effective in reducing the growth in that gap.

WE ARE VERY PROUD OF WHAT WE ACHIEVE HERE IN THE FACE OF SOME PRETTY CHALLENGING CIRCUMSTANCES AND ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE ONGOING PARTNERSHIP WITH THE OUTWARD BOUND TRUST AND THE WAY IT HAS SUPPORTED US IN DELIVERING THAT ‘EXTRA SOMETHING ELSE’ THAT MEANS THE CHILDREN LEAVING US DO SO WITH MUCH BETTER PROSPECTS THAN WHEN THEY JOINED US Jakki Rogers, Head Teacher

We have worked in partnership with Christ Church C of E Primary School for three years to deliver a programme for all pupils in Year 6. The programme is progressive in nature, taking pupils on three residential courses during the year in order to develop key skills for learning. The first course gets pupils hooked on the experience and enables teachers to assess pupils’ learning needs; the second excites them and is an opportunity to review and evaluate the skills already learnt; the third is a chance to become “fluent” in the skills they’ve developed over the duration of the programme.

What does this “fluency” look like? Headteacher Jakki Rogers says “taking responsibility for belongings, being on time for sessions, and collaborating with others”, so that when they move into secondary school the following year, they have the confidence and independence to embrace new challenges.

One of the most noticeable changes that Ms Rogers observes in pupils during the course is in the language they use towards each other; it becomes more positive, “less whiney and confrontational” and they are able to show more empathy and maturity in their interaction with others. But she notes that this tends to dissipate as they return to school, and that repeated exposure to Outward Bound also helps pupils to become more fluent in these skills.

Over time, they’ve realised how important it is to embed the programme in their pedagogy and curriculum, and Ms. Rogers describes how the three courses are essential to creating the change they aspire to for their pupils. She now knows which experiences the pupils need to have early on in the programme so that they can make the most of the final expedition course at Loch Eil, which has the potential to be “mind-blowing” for pupils whose daily experience is of high-rise flats in south London.

Christ Church C of E Primary School achieves significant results for its pupils, who achieve more than expected against national curriculum standards. Whilst it’s not possible to isolate the impact that the Outward Bound programme has, it is a key – and growing – element of the school’s curriculum.