School focus: Bradway Primary School

Council chairman Luke Thomas with the school's solar shelter
Council chairman Luke Thomas with the school's solar shelter
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Walking around Bradway Primary it's clear that pupils really enjoy being at the school

In one classroom, pupils are designing a play park as part of a project on keeping fit and healthy, while outside another class are filling containers with water as part of a lesson on capacity.

Lvella Barrett, eight, working outside with a water experiment

Lvella Barrett, eight, working outside with a water experiment

Headteacher Paul Stockley said: "A big part of the school is about learning through enjoyment, and the other is that everyone is good at something.

"It's really important to us that children leave our school feeling like they have been successful.

"The current education system is rather geared towards exams and achievement and doesn't necessarily include happy children and all the other things that go towards making successful adults.

"We focus on wanting children to leave feeling successful at something.

School council members Bryony Wilkinson, Barnaby Martin-Dean, Lottie McPartland, and Luke Thomas

School council members Bryony Wilkinson, Barnaby Martin-Dean, Lottie McPartland, and Luke Thomas

"We have a very broad curriculum with lots of different activities and clubs.

"The curriculum is based on themes that children enjoy.

"I think our children learn better when they are having fun."

The school's ethos couldn't be more clearer than out in the playground where a single decker bus has recently been installed.

Luke Barker, nine, and Katie Meadows, nine, with their healthy living food plates

Luke Barker, nine, and Katie Meadows, nine, with their healthy living food plates

Donated by Stagecoach, the bus features bean bags and toys and is a welcome addition to the school's learning spaces.

It is currently only open to pupils as part of a lunchtime club, but Mr Stockley said it will soon be available for lessons.

"Our new school bus is finally completed and we're really pleased with it.

"The idea come about because about five years ago I saw in the news that a school had got one and I thought it was a great idea.

Bradway Primary pupils with the school's learning bus

Bradway Primary pupils with the school's learning bus

"And then last year I heard about another school with one and a couple of parents were also asking about a bus and so we went with it."

One youngster, who had used the bus, said: "I like it because it has beanbags in and there is lots of space on it to play games and relax.

"They've also left a few of the old bus seats in at the back too which is cool."

Pupils at the school also enjoy regular residential trips, with one group of pupils recently returning from Whitby.

"We have residential trips from year three to year six," said Mr Stockley.

"I always try to go on these as they are a great way to see the children in a different way.

"It gives them these new skills. They are learning how to be independent and being away from family and being resourceful."

Parents are regularly invited into schools to take part in activities with their children.

The last event was part of the school's science week, which saw parents and children enjoy a picnic in the playground while taking part in a variety of science activities.

The playground is also home to a solar shelter, which was paid for using money raised by parents and generates around £1,700 of electricity every year, and the school's play pod, an Aladdin's cave of old equipment and materials that children can get creative with.

"It's all about having a school with a happy community," said Mr Stockley.

"We have phenomenal support from parents because they believe in our ethos. When I show parents around the school I never shy away from what we are about."

The school is also celebrating improved Sats results, but Mr Stockley is keen to stress the school is about more than just exams.

"With regards to our Sats results, we are very pleased with our attainment," he said.

"If we weren't doing well you may find yourself very quickly part of academisation. I see academisation as a choice.

"Doing well is important for lots of reasons. We are here for the children.

"We could just focus on exams but if that's all we do and gear ourselves towards that then I don't think we are giving our children the best education.

Pupils are given a platform in school to share their views and make improvements to things important to them.

The school's council is made up of four children for each year group from year two upwards.

Mr Stockley said: "They decided what projects they are due to raise money for around the school.

"They also discuss issues - the big ones are school meals, the state of the toilets and what they would like different in the playground.

"They raised money last year for new playground equipment and this year we are going to refurbish the infant playground."

Council treasurer Barnaby Martin-Dean said: "We've helped at events to raise money for the school through fundraising.

"Children can also raise things with us and we will bring them up at meetings."

Chairman Luke Thomas added: "We've helped improve the playground and get equipment installed."

Vice-chairman Lottie McPartland said: "We've also helped make changes to school meal choices.

"We told them what we disliked and how they could be improved."