Personal Development and Enrichment
Our curriculum is designed to extend beyond the academic; it is designed for our community and wider society. We encourage tolerance, empathy and environmental awareness. We want our Pupils to communicate confidently in our ever-changing world. We focus on developing pupils’ moral, spiritual, social and cultural understanding so that they are well-prepared for life in modern Britain. We carefully plan the essential knowledge that pupils need to become educated citizens in an ever-changing world. We aim to introduce them to the best that has been thought and said and intend to stimulate an appreciation of human creativity and achievement.
Our PSHE and RSE curriculum helps pupils to understand how to keep themselves safe. Pupils can explore and debate issues which affect our local community and wider society. We want pupils to be aspirational and make good choices. We want them to understand what they need to do to reach and succeed in the careers to which they aspire.
Pupils know more and more about how to keep physically and mentally healthy, eat healthily and maintain an active lifestyle. We help our pupils to be active by providing many different opportunities during and after school.
Our academy provides an inclusive environment where all learners enjoy their education. We planned our curriculum and learning opportunities so all pupils have access to a broad and balanced curriculum.
Visits are routinely planned to link to curriculum areas to enhance and enrich the learning journey. In addition to the planned half-termly visits, teachers will plan additional experiences and enrichment activities to enhance the learning.
At Willow Green we operate a house system to promote a family ethos amongst the children, creating a sense of belonging and value amongst their peers across the academy. The house system also promotes and rewards the exceptional behaviour of children around the academy. Dojo points will be awarded for children’s behaviour, as well as through sports competitions, curriculum quizzes and also other inter-house competitions. All children within the academy are part of one of 5 houses:
Children can earn dojo points throughout the day for behaviour which demonstrates effort and commitment to the ASPIRE ethos. Achievement, Safety, Pride, Independence, Responsibility and Engagement.
At Willow Green, we believe in giving children the experiences that builds upon our ASPIRE ethos. Over the year we open our doors and welcome many inspirational visitors who give the children a chance to really see what is possible in life. We celebrate cultures, diversity and difference by exploring festivals, events and celebrations throughout the year. As part of our educational programme we explore local businesses, landmarks, people and experiences that can support a greater depth of knowledge promoting hands on learning.
Votes for Schools provides children at Willow Green Academy the opportunity to take part in weekly impartial discussions on a challenging current issue. Pupils vote and comment and we ensure their voices are heard and make an impact. Pupils then can compare their viewpoints with pupils and schools across the country, giving them a real sense of identity and purpose.
At Willow Green we understand the importance of high-quality provision at lunchtimes. These times are the perfect opportunity for our pupils to develop friendships, independence, compassion and compromise. They also give great opportunities for pupils to explore their interests and learn new skills. We pride ourselves on the variety of lunchtime provision we offer at Willow Green and see the positive impact this has on our pupils. The element of our personal development offer links closely to our ASPIRE strands, particularly: Independence, Responsibility and Engagement.
What is Jigsaw and how does it work?
Jigsaw is a whole-school approach and embodies a positive philosophy and creative teaching and learning activities to nurture children’s development. Jigsaw brings together PSHE Education, compulsory Relationships and Health Education, emotional literacy, mindfulness, social skills and spiritual development.
It is designed as a whole school approach, with all year groups working on the same theme (Puzzle) at the same time at their own level. There are six Puzzles (half-term units of work) and each year group is taught one lesson per week. All lessons are delivered in an age- and stage-appropriate way so that they meet children’s needs.
At Willow Green Academy, we are proud to be a Thrive school. But what is Thrive? Thrive is a special way of working with children that helps to develop their social and emotional wellbeing, enabling them to engage with life and learning. It supports them in becoming more self-assured, capable and adaptable. It can also address any troubling behaviours providing a firm foundation for academic attainment.
Positive relationships with dedicated staff are at the heart of Thrive. We use these relationships, together with play and creative activities, to give children key experiences at each different stage of their development. Repetition of these activities supports their development, helping them to: Thrive.
This is a whole school approach with all staff having involvement in the identification, profiling and support of our children’s mental and emotional wellbeing. We have a dedicated Thrive practitioner (Mrs Iveson) within the academy who carries out tailored 1:1 and group support for our children. It is through these sessions that developmental gaps are identified and addressed building resilience.
We have a Thrive room within the academy which has been developed and resourced to ensure it is has been filled with the all the equipment staff and children need to interact, create and regulate. Children can read, paint and construct at their own pace. While this space is used to facilitate Thrive sessions, the space is also open to all children, and staff to support mental and emotional wellbeing, relationships and development throughout the school day including lunchtimes.
We want to see every child Thrive!
At Willow Green Academy, we pride ourselves in giving children experiences that will develop fundamental life skills. It is for that reason, that we offer our children Classroom Kitchen sessions. These sessions give our children the opportunity to cook a variety of different healthy foods whilst teaching them life-long cooking skills, that build and progress through each year group. Every child, in Key Stage 1 and 2, have access to these sessions once per half term. As well as getting the chance to cook the array of different recipes, they also learn the nutritional values of the different foods whilst also exposing them to ingredients they wouldn’t usually try at home.
At Willow Green we feel it is important that our children have access to wider opportunities and experiences to help build their confidence, communication and problem-solving skills to set them up to be successful citizens in society. Throughout their time in the academy, the children have access to Forest School sessions for a half term each year, which is led by an external Forest School teacher, who runs the sessions in our outdoor Forest School area. This year, we have also developed our Early Years nature area which provides similar opportunities for our younger learners to explore and experience high-quality outdoor learning.
Forest School is a long-term outdoor education process that is holistic and learner-led. It allows children to develop themselves through healthy engagement with risk, problem-solving and self-discovery, all within a natural environment in a hands-on and thoughtful manner. The academy also runs after school Forest School Club for children to access throughout the year if they so wish.