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Life for children at Sunninghill is always busy! Children have a fully packed day with academic, creative and sporting lessons. Additionally, they have the opportunity to participate in an exciting co-curricular programme consisting of a wide range of clubs and enrichment activities.

The clubs and enrichment activities are also a chance for teachers to share their passions. My colleagues have amazing skills in a range of activities and we are very fortunate to be able to share them with the children.

The purpose of the programme is to extend their learning. It gives children the opportunity to study concepts with greater depth, breadth and complexity, while also helping them to find and pursue their own areas of interest and strengths. Or just try something new!

Enrichment takes place on a Friday afternoon. Academic lessons have finished for the week and there is a different type of energy around the school. Children from Forms 1-8 are allocated an activity which enriches their learning. It gives them the chance to increase their skills and interests and also enhances their confidence and personal attributes.

Form 7 pupils have been skiing in the first half of spring. Gradually skills increased and pupils moved up onto higher parts of the slope. Their observation skills are increasing, watching their peers in front of them before deciding how to go past them. They are being taught more advanced techniques as they progress and as they hone their skills they become more confident at their parallel turns for example. What has been most pleasing is that a group in Form 7 now regularly go skiing together at Warmwell. They have developed a new interest and have found an activity they can do together with their friends.

Form 4 have been taking part in a Design Technology project. They were exposed to a completely new area of DT and are learning vital skills for when they start DT as part of their curriculum in Senior Prep at Sunninghill. By mastering basics such as measuring, cutting and safety techniques they will be well equipped. Children would also have developed their concentration, team working and increasingly important problem-solving skills.

Pupils in Form 1 and 3 have been taking part in skiing lessons at Warmwell. For many it has been the first time on the slopes which can be a frightening experience. The improvements they have made after only two sessions have been phenomenal. They are growing in confidence as their snow plough is steadily developing. Pupils are developing their resilience, determination and courage which in turn helps develop coordination, balance and strength. I am immensely proud that this is the first time Form 1 have been skiing since my time at Sunninghill and that all pupils in Forms 1-8 have had the opportunity to be introduced to the sport.

The Form 8 pupils have been taking part in the ‘Flying Start Challenge’ and bouldering. ‘Flying Start’ is a STEM competition where pupils work in groups to design and build a glider. They are supported by engineers from ‘Leonardo’ in Yeovil. Engineers have been teaching our Form 8’s about flight dynamics. I wish them the best of luck in the regional final this afternoon! This challenge has encouraged them to develop their team working skills, collaborate with each other and express creativity through using basic engineering techniques.

The Form 2 and form 5 pupils have been bouldering at the Rockburn Climbing Centre in Bridport. Climbing up a wall which is 5m high without a harness can be daunting especially in the first week and it continues to amaze me how quickly pupils adapt to the situation and conquer each challenge they face. Climbing is a great way to develop body strength and to enhance confidence. With so many different climbing routes on offer each child achieves success which is fantastic!

We are so fortunate to live in such am amazing part of Dorset where so many brilliant activities are on offer. The enrichment programme enables us to expose our pupils to these activities and build strong links within the community. It fills me with great joy when pupils take part in these activities out of school after experiencing them at Sunninghill for the first time.

I am already looking forward to the activities in the Summer Term! The Form 8 Lions Lair enterprise competition and sailing will be back on the menu!

It is particularly pleasing that many children from Reception through to Form 8 are taking part in the clubs. We offer creative, musical, academic and sporting activities throughout the term. We currently run 51 clubs and activities every week which take place during break, lunch or after school. 79% of pupils are currently taking part in at least one club. Many participate in multiple clubs a week. A special highlight has been kickboxing which is run by ‘Samurai Kickboxing’. Pupils regularly go on to take the sport up outside of school and proudly tell me about achieving new belts!

We encourage pupils to give things a go and the variety of clubs is outstanding with chess, dance, frisbee, gardening, choirs, string group, just to name a few. Sailing and swimming will be added next term.

I would like to thank all of the wonderful external providers for enthusing and inspiring our pupils to take up a new interest and for helping them to develop. Thank you to staff who are always willing to go the extra mile.

Mr. Willemse
Co-Curricular Coordinator and Head of PE & Games

Kevin Willemse

Author Kevin Willemse

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