Posted on: July 19, 2017

Exciting and enriching experiences – Activities Week 2017

Following a successful two-day activity programme last year, students in years 7, 8 and 9 have enjoyed a diverse and enriching week of activities again this year.

Activity options were submitted by staff who had been inspired by lifelong learning and love of a particular hobby, pastime or positive previous experience.

Students opted from a range of activities from Harry Potter to Outdoor Adventure, Awesome Activities to Musical Theatre. During the week, students took part in both on and offsite activities. Trips included an overnight stay in London, two theatre trips, a visit to Harry Potter Studios and surfing in Cromer to name but a few.

Paige Sutton, Enrichment Co-ordinator, said: “Students showed enthusiasm, problem solving, teamwork and communication skills throughout the week. Many students had to take risks and experienced new and exciting opportunities. Students commented that they had tried new activities they were keen to continue, and that it had been a very exciting week. Evaluations from this year’s activities week are now being analysed in preparing for planning next year’s bigger and better week!”

One parent stated: “So proud. My daughter’s had a wonderful week. Well done Ormiston Denes for giving the children such amazing opportunities.”

Another parent said: “I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much my son enjoyed Activities Week. He chose Outdoor Adventures and has had an absolutely wonderful time. What a fantastic experience for the children to try so many different activities. Please pass on my thanks to all of the staff who went with the group. I hope they enjoyed the week as much as my son. Once again, thank you and well done to everyone on a very well organised week.”

Of particular note were the activities that the Art Department organised. These involved visits to Sparrow’s Nest Park in order to produce rubbings from interesting surfaces which later would form the basis of frottage work. Day two involved a visit to The Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia where students attended Paul Nash and Rana Begum exhibitions. The following day, UEA artists Kaitlin Ferguson and Ian Brownlie lead workshops both offsite and in school. On Day 4 students produced work inspired by British sculptor Andy Goldsworthy, whose site-specific sculpture and land art is situated in natural and urban settings. The final day saw our young artists involved in giant weaving; the results of inspiration gained from art that they had observed in the Sainsbury Centre.

Having explored the Paul Nash and Rana Begum exhibitions, the week’s artwork culminated in a pop-up weekend exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, where work by school students was on display to the public. The exhibition was also part of Young Norfolk Arts Festival.

Jo Westgate, Head of Art, said: “45 students from Years 7 to 9 were involved in a range of different art activities over the course of the week. During the week students visited and explored the Sainsbury Centre permanent collection and visiting exhibitions, working alongside two current practicing artists. This was a fantastic opportunity, kindly funded by the UEA, for our students to experience contemporary art practice. This is the second year our students have been involved in the Young Norfolk Arts Festival with student work exhibited in the gallery space.”

The Harry Potter Experience was also very popular. 46 students signed up and were asked to come with an open mind and a willingness to try something completely ‘potty’.

The week kicked off with a potions lesson, wand design and Quidditch uniform design, followed by Muggle Quidditch. (Congratulations to Ravenclaw, the first ever winners!) and Defence Against the Dark Arts where the wands and wizards proved themselves capable of repelling a Dementor attack. After a trip to the Studios, the week culminated with the Care of Magical Creatures Team (Norfolk Wild Encounters) teaching the students how to handle and care for a variety of birds of prey.

“The success of this week is entirely down to the staff and students who got involved and fully immersed themselves in the madness (and excitement) of the week! Great fun was had by all who took part!” – Miss Deborah Dack, Teacher of English. (Harry Potter Experience lead)

Enrichment at Ormiston Denes is about enhancing opportunities for our students to develop themselves beyond what is required of them by the national curriculum, and motivate them to enjoy new forms of learning. We have since surveyed our students. 85% rated the week as good, excellent or amazing, and 80% said they tried a new activity.

A selection of photographs from the academy’s Activity Week is available to view on their Facebook page.

Press coverage: Lowestoft Journal edition Friday, 28 July 2017