Written by Alex, Primary SCITT trainee
The first week of January saw the remnants of Christmas draw to a close and the new calendar year take full force, starting with our primary enhancement fortnight. In the world of primary, no two days are the same, this remained true of our enhancement fortnight which saw us undertake 4 different learning opportunities across 6 days.
Day one took us to Churchtown Primary School to participate in a writing conference that was being held on the staff INSET day. It is always a pleasure to have enhancement afternoons at Churchtown and all the staff and students are extremely welcoming. The writing conference allowed us to be more than just visitors at the school and allowed us to witness the behind the scenes of the well-oiled machine that is Churchtown Primary School. It was extremely beneficial to see the engagement between professionals regarding the best way to deliver the writing element of the English curriculum.
For the second day, we had the opportunity to visit Tarleton Academy and observe Year 7 and 8 lessons being taught. This was very insightful as it allowed us to see where our primary pupils progress to and what we are preparing them for. Whilst I enjoyed my day at secondary school, the visit did confirm to me that me that primary teaching is definitely the right path for me.
Day three and four, perhaps my favourite days of the enhancement fortnight, opened our eyes to the world of special education at Elm Tree Community Primary School. We started the day off with a briefing and a tour of the school before being dropped off at the classes we would spend the morning with. The biggest difference between Elm Tree and mainstream primary schools was the class size, there was a maximum of 10 pupils to a class, this was supported by 3 members of staff in addition to the teacher. The relationships between the pupils and staff thrived as a result of the smaller classes and allowed for meaningful learning to take place. The resources and interventions available at Elm Tree were incomprehensible to someone who had only experienced mainstream primary, there were calming fish tanks round every corner, thrive sessions and rebound therapy (trampolining).
As our enhancement fortnight came to an end, we ventured back to Churchtown Primary School for two days to immerse ourselves in the world of EYFS. Forest school day was a firm favourite for the pupils and primary trainees alike; we put our wellies and coats on and marched to the back field to get the fire started. Whilst the hot chocolate came to the boil, we performed the Hokey Cokey to cause vibrations in the ground and then counted how many worms had come to the surface. We had a discussion with the EYFS lead practitioner about the importance of forest school and the lessons it teaches children about safety and risk assessment.
The enhancement placements were thoroughly enjoyed by all and provided unique opportunities to experience alternative educational settings outside of mainstream primary schools.