Unique Experiences at Bury
Unique Experiences at Bury
One of the things that make us such a special place to learn is that we are able to offer a range of experiences that go beyond what is required by the National Curriculum. Many of these are rooted in our love for the local area and our wider community.
South Downs Ambassador School
We are privileged to be working alongside the South Downs National Park as an ambassador school which means that we promote and help to educate other schools about the South Downs. We are perfectly located to share our knowledge with other schools and it also means that our children are often the first to access new experiences and projects run by the National Park, such as taking part in the John Muir Award, National Outdoor Learning Award and the Heathlands Reunited project.
We have our own apiary and beehive and the children in Sparrowhawk class take part in the beekeeping. Producing and selling the honey makes up part of our DT curriculum for the children.
Converting the disused swimming pool into a large pond has really benefitted the children and means that all classes get the chance to pond dip throughout the year. This opportunity means that the children are well versed in our local native species. We are also be able to share this facility with other schools who want to extend their science provision.
Every week, every class spends an afternoon learning outside. These lessons are called Bury Rangers and include elements from across the curriculum and forest school skills. The children are taught either outside or in our outdoor classroom and cover a wide range of areas such as folk dance, poetry, story-telling, music, science, geography, maths and history. These sessions really are a highlight of the week.
In January 2020, we organised our first wassail to celebrate the new year and to make wishes for a fruitful harvest. The whole community attended and we intend to run this every year. We have since discovered that historically, the Bury Wassail was held at school too.
Every year we hold a whole school camp. This historic event has been held since the 1990s and is an integral part of our school calendar. Every child in school is invited and we either camp at school on the field or at Gumber Bothy on the South Downs. This makes the perfect introduction to residential experiences for our pupils.
The School Walk
This annual event on the last day of term sees us welcome the pupils and their families on a walk from Bignor Hill back to school. It is always a really special ending to the year and the view of school as we look down from the side of Bury Hill reminds us of what a special place we are in.
Every year, Buzzard class plan and walk a route from somewhere on the South Downs back to school. This tests their map reading skills as well as their team work and really seems to be a rite of passage. The link to our Explorers and South Downs topics is evident.
Every September we start the year with our Brilliant Bury topic. This unit has a different focus each year and is designed to help the children really understand their locality. We cover the buildings in the village, the churches, the history of the school and the war memorial on a rolling programme. In this unit we really get involved with village life, speaking to villagers and people connected with school and sharing our work at a special exhibition in October.
Our musical talents are showcased not just at the wassail but also when we sing at the village Christmas lunch in December. It is a highlight not only for the pupils but also for the villagers. We are also able to take part in the Big Sing with other local schools.
One of our teachers is also a ceramicist and this means that we are able to extend the children’s experiences far beyond the basics. The children have the opportunity every year to take part in ceramic art and also share these skills with the community. Recently the school and community made 144 tiles to help showcase our 175th anniversary as well as making ceramic poppies to remember those men from the village who died in war.
At Bury we have chosen to teach Latin rather than another foreign language. This has so many benefits for our pupils. Vocabulary is crucial to learning and by teaching Latin it means that our children are aware of many more root words and how words are linked to others. It also means that their conscious vocabulary choices are more specific. Learning Latin also benefits their learning in other areas such as geography, science and history as well as giving them a firm foundation for learning other foreign languages at secondary school.
We are very lucky to be able to work with local historian, Chris Hare, on a number of real history projects. The children have been taught interviewing and were integral to recording the oral history of the Downs. In 22/23, the children were involved in 'South Downs For All' and sharing their knowledge to a wider audience - see video below.