Enriching Student Experiences

Wednesday 21 March 2018

The Ark Boulton Pledge is our commitment to the students of the academy to ensure they have a broad and enriching experience that goes beyond the standard offer of the traditional curriculum.  We believe this is important as these experiences will help to shape young people’s aspirations, build cultural capital, develop character and good relationships as well as give students an equality of opportunity so that they can go onto compete for the best university places with other young people from across the country.  Pledge day activities are offered to students as part of our wider curriculum offer and we value educating the whole child in terms of developing a wealth of experience, an appreciation of themselves in terms of the wider world, building character and fostering a sense of adventure.

This term, Year 7 visited historic Warwick Castle gaining a deeper insight as to how the past was shaped right on our doorstep.  Students learned first-hand about the development of castles and their importance in defining the political landscape since the Norman invasion.  Along the way there were plenty of opportunities for laughter as well.

Year 8 set off to learn more about the diverse nature of the community of which they are a part of by visiting places of worship.  As part of a walking tour students visited St Johns’ Church where they took part in activities to gain a better appreciation of this historic building right in the midst of our local area.  Students also visited the Guru Nanak Gurdwara on the Stratford Road and had the opportunity to gain an insight into the beliefs and customs of other faith groups.  In both cases the questions asked by students showed thoughtfulness and insight.  Our students exemplified, as they always do, that they are excellent ambassadors for the academy and their community by demonstrating respect and appreciation towards the representatives from both faith groups.

The snow has just gone and there was still a chill in the air but this didn’t deter Year 9 from donning their PE uniform and outdoor kit for a day of challenges at the Ackers Adventure Centre.  Coming back a little muddy but with glowing complexions, wide smiles (and no doubt tired) students took part in a range of activities designed to test them individually and as a part of a team.  Archery, climbing, skiing and orienteering pushed students out of their comfort zone as they gained a deeper realisation that communication, co-operation and compassion are indispensable qualities and which strengthen us as individuals and as part of a community.

Key Stage 4 students had the full use of the academy site for the day. Ask any English specialist and they will tell you that Shakespeare was written to be seen, not just read so Year 10 and Year 11 students had the opportunity to dive deeply into Macbeth as a theatre company visited for the day.  Having read the play as part of the GCSE English curriculum students gained a deeper appreciation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies.  Following on from watching the dramatisation students then took part in workshops led by their English teachers to captialise on the experience and strengthen their ability to critically analyse the text in terms of dramatic effect, stage direction and the motivation of the characters – invaluable skills and knowledge to support them in their preparations for GCSE examinations.

Plans for the next Pledge day in the summer term are already underway and we look forward to seeing how well our students rise to the challenges of competition on the sporting field.