Julia Jones, the Headteacher, and her committed team at Barons Court Primary School and Nursery have embedded a unique, inspiring learning environment across all pupil age groups to promote active, real life learning experiences both indoors and out.

Children are supported through the nurturing learning environment to become independent, resourceful and confident learners, driven by their own curiosity about the wider world around them.

The school environment is light-filled and enhanced beautifully, with flexible learning spaces and opportunities to learn both indoors and out. Children demonstrate a real love of learning whether engaging in learning experiences at the beach, through forest skill sessions or wider afield.

The school has achieved the national silver award from the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom – and all children regularly participate in beach lessons, fire and den building activities and have the opportunity to experience residentials annually with the excitement of sleeping in a tent! The children feel a great sense of pride in their environment – and academic outcomes for children throughout the school are enhanced due to the exciting and engaging curriculum.

Investing in children also means involving families too, and putting the school at the heart of the whole community is something that all staff at Barons Court are committed to. The school works hard to engage with parents, and to encourage them to contribute ideas to enhance the school further, this is made easier by the fact that the school is open during the summer holidays and even at weekends, so learning never stops for children and their families. During school holidays the school library welcomes families to the ‘Sunshine and Stories’ project with approximately 100 families taking part in storytelling and author visits.

A special feature of the school is the Community Learning and Information Centre (CLIC) which offers a large range of family learning opportunities in partnership with Southend Adult Community College and the Pre-School Learning Alliance.  This term, CLIC is launching a new initiative, being delivered through by A Better Start Southend – a small group of dads are going to take part in a new programme called FRED (Fathers Reading Every Day) run by the Fatherhood Institute.

The aim of FRED is to get more dads reading to their children regularly, by challenging them to read together every day for a month – long enough to get the reading habit established.

Why? Well fathers and father-figures (stepfathers, grandfathers and uncles, for example) have really important and unique impacts on children’s educational outcomes. In schools elsewhere, FRED has been shown to help children do better not just at reading, but at writing and even maths too.

High numbers of Barons Court dads have already taken part in FRED, and the school has big plans for developing the programme in future and building the involvement of dads and father-figures into their children’s learning even more. You can find out more about FRED here.



Article published February 2017

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