What are you looking for?

Enrichment for the most able or for all?

Enrichment for the most able or for all?

Ask any teacher what “enrichment” means to them and you will get a plethora of different answers. However, there are some key strands that are likely to permeate these responses, most importantly the need to keep challenging students to go beyond their classroom learning and, secondly, the centrality of setting aspirational targets for all.

In my view, enrichment should be about pushing students of all abilities to think outside the box and to aspire to do and know more, whether that is in an academic classroom, on a sports field or in a music or art room.  I passionately believe that a school without the types of activities that enable students to experiment and flourish outside of the classroom and narrow confines of an exam board curriculum, is missing one of its key responsibilities.  All children want to learn, they just have different ways of showing it. It is our role as educators to assist them on their journeys of self-discovery, and to nurture in them a genuine sense that learning does not end with exam certificates and admission to higher educational institutions. Rather that learning is a lifetime journey. Therefore access to a wide range of rich extension activities and programmes at school is an integral part of our role in equipping students for embarking and continuing on their exciting journeys of discovery.

As such, enrichment programmes should be as inclusive as possible as the experiences and multi-disciplinary challenges that are included in such schemes have a filter-down effect, positively enhancing the educational (and life) experiences of all students.  So it is not just about focusing on the “most able”, however that term might be defined.  The top academics and scholars in a school are, of course, an enormous asset and a rich resource, but so too are all of its students, whatever their perceived academic ability. After all, it is not just about what you have “got”, but also it is about your capacity to use it.  We are here to help all of our students “use it”.

Val Burnett
Head of Academic Enrichment