A day in the life

A visit to School 360

As you come into the school, you are greeted warmly by the receptionist who stops what she’s doing, smiles and asks you how you are.  She asks if it’s your first visit to the school, and when you say yes, she says she is going to arrange for some children to give you a quick tour of the school.

Three smiling children arrive at reception.  They talk confidently and excitedly about the school, as well as asking who you are and why you are visiting.

First, they take you to the playground, where you see a group of Year 1 children building a den from sticks and tarpaulin in the forest area.  The children are working independently and seem to have been building the structure for some time as it’s quite complex.  They chatter as they help each other, holding sticks, whilst others cut tape and string and fix them in place, agreeing what they need to do next to improve the den.  You ask them what they are building, and they tell you they are building a hide-out so that they can observe birds in the garden area and see what they like to do.  They will use this information to build a bird-friendly area on the other side of the playground, because they have read that bird populations in the city are dwindling.  The Year 1 teacher is working with small groups of children to help them produce a guide to UK birds, which includes pictures and descriptions.  He is sharing with them a page he made yesterday, and asking for their feedback, so that he can improve it and share it with them again tomorrow.

In another area, an adult is helping some Reception children saw wood and fix it together with nails, based on a plan the children have made for a toy box.  The adult asks the children what they want to achieve and intervenes when help is needed, otherwise just keeping an eye on the safe use of the tools.  The children explain that these toy boxes will be given to the new Reception children when they arrive after the summer, once they have been decorated with the new children’s favourite colours and story/TV characters, as a welcome gift.

You then move into a classroom, where the Year 2 children are exploring how sound waves work.  They are moving around the classroom in small groups, stopping at tables which are set up with different mini-experiments, for example a tuning fork and jug of water, a comb and tissue paper, a drum with rice on the top.  One child reads the instructions, another carries out the instructions and the third child asks the others what should be written in answer to the question: How can you see the sound? When they move to the next table, they swap roles.  The teacher observes the groups, supporting when asked, and giving time reminders.

In the corridors, you often pass small groups of children working either independently, or with an adult.  They smile as you pass, greeting you, turning back immediately to focus on their work.  When you meet a child near a door, they smile and hold the door for you to pass.  Adults also greet you with a smile, and say hello as you pass.

In the Maker Space, some Year 3 children are working in pairs to finalise their sculptures.  Each pair has designed a sculpture to honour a modern hero, some are realistic and some are abstract.  It’s a struggle to get the 3D version to match the 2D sketch, and the ideas the children discussed, but they persevere, asking the artist-in-residence for advice when things get really tricky.

In the Year 6 classroom, the children are working in groups of six on a project about the rights of child asylum seekers.  Each group explains that they have chosen their own approach to this common goal, with the aim of establishing a national campaign to support children in this situation.  One group is recording video clips of asylum seekers’ stories, to create a social media campaign.  Another is drafting letters to local politicians and celebrities,seeking their support.  Another is planning a fundraising event involving parents and the wider community.  The teacher circulates, asking if they are on track, what support they would like, and how they are working together.

On the rooftop playground, a group of children from various different classes are working with the school chef to look after the vegetable patch, pulling out weeds and picking any ripe vegetables.  The chef helps them decide which are ripe, and asks them questions about what kind of recipes they would like him to cook for them with what they have harvested.  Some of the children wash the vegetables carefully at the tap, and the chef lets them eat some of them raw, to see what they taste like.  The children are all brave enough to try things and talk articulately about what each vegetable tastes like.

On the other side, a Year 4 class are sitting in the outdoor classroom, listening to each other perform poetry they have written about protecting the environment.  After each performance, positive feedback is given from each child.  Then the children discuss in groups of six and agree one  piece of constructive feedback, which is shared with the performer, who thanks each group for their feedback and saying how they may use the feedback.  The teacher records the feedback for each child so that they can act on it later.
As you move towards the headteachers’ office for your meeting, you hear the whole school become quiet as it’s time for mindfulness.  One of the headteachers asks if you would mind waiting ten minutes while this takes place across the school, and offering you the chance to join in, if you would like.  On the oracy staircase, one Year 5 child leads the class in a structured meditation, before asking a few children in the class how that made them feel.

Finally, you are greeted with a smile by one of the headteachers, who thanks the children and reminds them to walk responsibly back to class.  Your meeting has begun.

A day in the life at School 360

Asha arrives at school on time, dressed in her School 360 uniform that she wears with pride. She is proud to be a part of her school community and loves to talk about it whenever she gets the chance.  

She steps off her scooter and wheels it through the school gates, towards the bicycle shed. She is greeted with kindness by her smiling head teachers who always say good morning and call her by her name.

As she approaches her classroom, Asha looks up at the sky and wonders if it might rain today.  She secretly hopes that it does, because then she’ll get to wear her dinosaur wellies when she plays outside! 

Asha says goodbye to her dad as he hands her her rucksack.  Even though he sometimes likes to carry it for her, she is showing  more and more responsibility each day as she packs her own bag and fills her own water bottle, planning ahead and feeling prepared.

Today, Asha is feeling excited to be at school but she knows it’s ok to sometimes feel worried or tired too because her teacher always gives them time to talk about how they feel and to explore how these feelings can change. 

“Come and look at this”, call Abdul and Sam.  They show Asha to the bug hotel that they had built together the day before, but the stick roof had collapsed and the leaves they used hadn’t attracted any bugs!  Asha and her friends use what they know to get to work on the next draft.  

The day has begun.

Throughout Asha’s day at school she is given plenty of opportunities to demonstrate the School 360 values.  Her tasks are challenging and she shows courage by attempting them all and not being afraid to make mistakes. She sees these ‘marvellous mistakes’ as an opportunity to learn.  

As she plays, Asha notices that the adults are as curious about her learning as she is.  They ask questions that really make her think in a way she hadn’t thought before.  Asha is curious about the way her friends think too and really enjoys group discussions.  Whenever Asha chairs a discussion, she makes sure that every voice is included. 

One of Asha’s favourite times of the day is lunchtime. On this particular day the chef shows them how he has used the basil they are growing on the rooftop garden! Asha likes that they get to serve one another and learn about the food they are eating.  The adults eat with them too and the conversation moves to their current project on how to attract more bees to pollinate their flowers. 

Asha has enjoyed many stories from around the world about the food that is grown and enjoyed.  She is looking forward to tasting some at the community event that some of the parents have been organising! 

There is a mindfulness session after lunch, and although Asha used to struggle with being still and focused, she has found that practicing mindfulness daily is what improves it, and that being present in the moment is a way to experience joy.

Joy is at the heart of Asha’s learning experience at School 360 and that’s why she loves to be here and gives her best. At hometime she reflects together with her class on what has gone well, what they could have done better and how.  They recognise each other for living the values and helping others to do the same.  

Asha is already looking forward to tomorrow.