What a feeling! Representatives from Year 6 have had the pleasure of visiting Oxford University for ‘Graduation Day’ of the Student Leadership Programme 2023.  Held at St Anne’s College, the day was an excellent opportunity for children to commemorate all their hard work and determination over the last term and the positive impact their project has had upon our school and wider community.

A leader from each house team – Grappenhall, Helmsdale, Ashdown and Dursley – set off with their presentations to proudly show off the fantastic work they have been doing as part of the Dirt Is Good initiative, with each project focusing on improving the environment and sustainability of our school site.

Project 1: Planting new hedging in our new Forest School area.

Project 2: Improving food sustainability by planting apple trees, raspberry bushes and rhubarb which can used by the kitchen and for cookery lessons.

Project 3: Encouraging small mammals into the area by creating log piles and a hedgehog house and monitoring any noticeable impact this may have.

Project 4: Creating a wild-flower garden to attract insects, bees and butterflies.

The children managed to acquire some funds from our school parent association (Thank you, BPSA!) to carry out their projects. They wrote letters to both them and our Site Team explaining what they needed money for and asking for help to prepare the areas:

Dear Site Team

… ‘We are writing this message to you because we need your services. We are Y6 Grappenhall and we are planting fruit trees. We are hoping to plant our trees near the little pond where the art room is… as a team, we do not know how to plant trees and have realised that this is in your area of expertise – we hope that you can help us with our mission….’

Each house went on to decide what they wanted to buy, and how and where their project would take place.  They then spent an enjoyable afternoon organising their resources, planting and building, and are now monitoring each area to see the fruits of their labour!

As part of the ‘graduation’ event, children first had an introduction to the University of Oxford and heard about university life whilst touring the campus. They then took part in a sample Classics lecture where they explored aspects of the ancient world such as heroes, myths and philosophy, and discussed how we identify Greek gods and goddesses using mythology symbols.

In the afternoon, all children took to the stage before an audience of 70 of their peers and confidently spoke about what inspired them to carry out their project and the benefits it has brought. To celebrate their achievements, the children were presented with framed certificates.