The idea with our wide-ranging co-curricular programme is to provide something that every child can take part in, to give them a chance to express themselves in ways that aren’t possible in the classroom, and most of all to encourage them to have a go. This gives every child the chance to shine and discover new talents and strengths.
The co-curricular program is where the Beachborough philosophy of Growth Mindset, inclusivity and endeavour really comes into play. The huge range of activities on offer includes: modern dance, battle re-enactment, computer programming, trampolining, philosophy, and dodgeball – there really is something for everyone. Extra activities take place before and after lessons, or at break times and are taught by our teachers and a range of external professionals.
Francis Drake Awards
A few years ago, we created the Francis Drake Awards to celebrate participation in co-curricular activities, school events and the Francis Drake/Discovery lectures, in addition to good behaviour, general effort and involvement. The idea was to build upon the Beachborough values of inclusivity and resilience by creating a scheme where all aspects of a child’s school life could count towards something, and be rewarded. From Form III upwards, all children participate by collecting points towards the awards, which are similar to Duke of Edinburgh. These points can be earned in four categories:
- Personal Endeavour/Challenges – for effort in lessons, completing challenges, doing well in specific topics or pieces of work, showing commitment to activities.
- Services – any act of willing helpfulness to the school community like helping teachers, preparing for matches, supporting younger children.
- Collaboration – attending concerts and school events, participating in matches, co-curricular activities and clubs.
- Skills and Knowledge – attending Francis Drake lectures (forms V-VIII) or Discovery lectures (forms III and IV), getting involved with school life, progressing with activities.
- The Francis Drake and Discovery lectures are given by parents and other interesting speakers on an eclectic range of topics designed to inspire the children and spark their curiosity about the world.
Every child can achieve their Francis Drake Awards – all they need is effort and enthusiasm. They work towards bronze, silver and gold awards that are organised over a two-year period. Everyone starts again from scratch at the beginning of each school year so it doesn’t matter if they didn’t get the award the year before. It is definitely not a competition! Just a fun way of encouraging children to get involved and developing their interests.
They are given a log at the beginning of the school year where they record their achievements and get their tutor to sign them. There are special awards ceremonies and children are presented with badges by old Beachburians who are invited to come in and share their experiences and successes.
Big Cats Challenge
The Francis Drake program is unique to Beachborough and has been so successful that we have created a new junior version, called the Big Cats Challenge, for PP2. This is linked to three themes: Celebrating Good times, New Beginnings and Going for Goals, and helps children with the transition into Form III and gets them ready to start their Francis Drake Awards. Form VIII pupils act as mentors, spending time with the younger ones and showing them how to make the most of this brilliant scheme.
We take children out on regular trips to inspire and inform the topics they are learning in the classroom. Many of these are day trips and they start in Reception with an outing to the Heritage Motor Museum.
As the children move up through the school, we start to introduce residential trips, very gently at first, with a one-night stay at Woodrow High House for PP2 children in the summer term. Forms III and IV spend three fun-filled days at the PGL Liddington Adventure centre in September, while Form V set off to London and sleep in bunk beds on HMS Belfast for two nights, in between visiting museums and eating pizza.
Form VI go a little further afield, to northern Spain, for four nights where they enjoy visits to the Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spanish lessons in a local school, playing on the beach and munching churros. The fun continues in Form VII, with a trip to Normandy. The children set off at the crack of dawn on Monday morning for a week packed with experiences: baking baguettes, tasting goat’s cheese, practising their French and a whirlwind tour of local history from the Bayeux tapestry to the Normandy landings beaches, via Mont Saint Michel, before arriving home again late on Friday evening. In Form VIII the trip is saved until the end of the school year so that pupils can go away and have one last hurrah all together before they say goodbye to Beachborough and move onto the next stage of their lives.
Many of these trips are included in the school fees, those that aren’t can be paid for slowly in instalments. There are also extra trips on offer that focus on specific activities, for example, the bi-annual Music Tour and various sports tours.