Sheffield school celebrates global links - focus on Pye Bank Primary

Pupils show off their freshly-baked batch of Caribbean dumplings, known as festivals
Pupils show off their freshly-baked batch of Caribbean dumplings, known as festivals
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Walking through Pye Bank Primary School, in Burngreave, during my visit, is like taking a whirlwind world tour.

Pupils have been celebrating diversity week and I encounter the sights, sounds and smells of nations from across the globe during my stroll round the different classrooms.

Youngsters demonstrate the rain sticks they made from old loo rolls

Youngsters demonstrate the rain sticks they made from old loo rolls

This celebration of different cultures is not just a once-a-week affair at the Church of England school in Andover Street, headteacher Mo Andrews tells me.

Pye Bank's slogan is 'learning together - learning to be together', and embracing different cultures is particularly important at a school where around 90 per cent of children are from ethnic minorities.

"We see our community as a real strength," says Mo.

"Our children show real respect to each other and their different cultures and religions, and everyone gets along really well. They have a real curiosity about each other's faiths, which is great."

Saif Abdullah puts the finishing touches to his model dinosaur 'Brute'

Saif Abdullah puts the finishing touches to his model dinosaur 'Brute'

In the school hall - or Lavender Fields as it is dubbed - a visiting theatre group is taking a rapt group of youngsters on an international voyage of discovery.

Down the corridor, youngsters in year two show me their mosaic featuring the 28 countries represented by pupils in that class and their families.

Muneera Al-Agouri and Miriam Alareimi, both six, tell me how their families are from Libya and Oman respectively.

Today they have been learning more about their classmates' countries of origins.

Pupils show their delight as they play the parachute game

Pupils show their delight as they play the parachute game

"We've been learning about Australia and how it takes 24 hours to get from here to there," say Muneera and Miriam.

Year four pupils in the Awesome All-Stars class (they chose their own names, apparently) explain how they've been busy exploring Judaism that afternoon.

Little hands shoot up as they are asked to expand on what they've learned, and I'm told in rapid-fire how Jews believe in an eternal god and the religion is over 4,000 years old.

The Awesome All-Stars (too good a name to use once) had spent that morning learning about English culture by reading folktale The Pedlar of Swaffham before crafting treasure inspired by the timeless story.

Pupils at Pye Bank Primary School have been learning about countries across the world

Pupils at Pye Bank Primary School have been learning about countries across the world

Elsewhere, youngsters have been getting to know about Africa and the Caribbean - making rain sticks from old loo rolls and rice, and baking Jamaican dumplings known as 'festivals'.

Later in the week, youngsters are due to mark the Muslim festival Ramadan with an assembly featuring Islamic and Christian prayers.

The school is also big on sport and art.

Double Olympic champion boxer Nicola Adams recently visited, and Mo explains how staff are keen to get pupils to try sports at which they might not otherwise get the chance to test their talents.

The focus on sports is paying off, with Pye Bank recently named PE School of the Year by the Arches School Sport Partnership, and the girls team winning the football league for their area.

The filthy weather means outdoor sports are off when I visit, but we do drop in on youngsters playing the parachute game.

A youngster shows his work to a teacher at Pye Bank Primary

A youngster shows his work to a teacher at Pye Bank Primary

Between them they hold aloft a huge sheet of coloured fabric, taking turns to run underneath - an activity designed, I'm told, to develop their teamwork.

As for art, I meet a trio of budding sculptors huddled deep in concentration over their latest masterpieces.

Saif Abdullah, aged 10, is using the same modelling clay as the team behind Wallace and Gromit to create a fearsome looking dinosaur called Brute - inspired, he tells me by his love of reptiles.

Muawiyah Khan, also 10, and Ahmed Mahmood, aged nine, are using traditional clay to craft working whistles in the shape of birds, with the former not prepared to let a recently broken arm stop him expressing his creativity.

Pye Bank can trace its history back nearly two centuries but has existed in its current incarnation for 15 years, since the amalgamation of Pye Bank Infants and Pye Bank Holy Trinity Juniors.

The school, whose old boys include former Met Police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and flamboyant businessman Peter Stringfellow, has been at its present site since 2004.

It expanded last year to two-form entry and now has 458 children on its roll, including 50 in the nursery.

It was recently judged 'good' for its overall effectiveness as a church school by the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS).

Although it was rated 'requires improvement' in an earlier report this year by Ofsted, it was judged 'good' in two of the five categories in which it was assessed then.

To end my visit I drop in on a school assembly where children explain what they have been learning about the world that week.

As youngsters take the stage to talk about Greece's celebrated cuisine, I'm left longing for tea-time but equally impressed by their hunger to explore new cultures.

Happy pupils at Pye Bank Primary School

Happy pupils at Pye Bank Primary School