Grayrigg CE School - Start Small Think Big

The Oaks Class - aged 7-11 (key-stage 2)

The Big Brothers and Sisters of our School

The Oaks children work with Mrs Cooper (head teacher) for most of their lessons, although they also have the pleasure of working with Mrs Neal for their Humanities, Art, DT and Music. The aim in the Oaks is to inspire the children. They are the school leaders and lead on the school’s Christian values.

In Oaks the values are:

Year 3: Endurance and Hope

Year 4: Compassion and Respect

Year 5: Justice and Peace

Year 6: Courage and Humility

In the Oaks we encourage children to take a lead on their learning and try to avoid too much teacher talk. The aim is to give children ownership of their learning, to engage them and help them see learning as an adventure. The teacher is the guide. This doesn’t mean we let them choose what they want to do but we encourage them to work things out for themselves. For example: When exploring long multiplication, they were given completed calculations to work out how they had been answered, with the teacher there to guide, scaffold and avoid misconceptions. Giving the children opportunities to explore mathematical concepts for example, can lead to them working beyond their years. We encourage the children to see their mistakes as opportunities to learn.

Our aim is inspiring the children beyond the classroom. We look for opportunities to work with people who may inspire them. We work to move beyond a simple question and answer session when working with these experts but try to involve them in our learning, for example…

As part of the work about the respiratory system, the children were joined by Dr Forrest, a veterinarian who talked about the similarities in the organs of all mammals. This session culminated in an optional activity of dissecting lambs lungs - it was inspirational to see the children tracking down the trachea, bronchi, all the way to the alveoli. Previously she completed work with the children about the circulatory system.

We also started our work about DNA by taking our older pupils to work with forensic detectives from Cumbria Constabulary, the year 5 and 6 then organised a forensic day for the year 3 and 4 pupils.

Other areas where experts have been used is the work with Men in Sheds. As part of the DT curriculum, years 4 and 5 visit Men in Sheds each year where they work with skilled experts in the woodwork shop. In year 6 they then apply the skills they have learnt at “the shed” to create their own up cycling project.

The weekly outdoor session with Miss Littlewood encourage resilience, risk assessing, thinking creatively, critically and reflectively. In their work the children use tools, create structures, build fires to cook food and much more. They also explore different local environments through these sessions which climax in a wild camp at the end of year six - where they build dens to sleep in, cook their own dinner and breakfast.

Whilst our stunning rural setting provides many advantages, we also encourage the children to look beyond what they know. Over the four years they spend in the Oaks class the children are given the opportunity to participate in two residential visits to cities. These visits take place early in the academic year. They are then used to inspire learning throughout the year. Visits have included York and London