Rotherham school offers 'amazing' enrichment activities for all students

Wath Academy students taking part in the school production of Oliver!Wath Academy students taking part in the school production of Oliver!
Wath Academy students taking part in the school production of Oliver!
ROCK climbing, rugby, and robotics – a Rotherham Academy has incorporated weekly 'enrichment activities' into the timetable for all students after discovering fewer than two-fifths of pupils were previously able to access them.

Since September 2023, all Wath Academy students have had the opportunity to participate in 100 minutes of free enrichment activity every Wednesday afternoon within the school day in one of more than 70 activities which also include baking, canoeing, and special effects make-up – an opportunity that is often only afforded to private schools.

Over the year students get to choose an activity each term, giving them exposure to a wide range of experiences.

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Previously Wath Academy, part of Maltby Learning Trust, was faced with just 37.5 per cent of students accessing after-school enrichment activities.

Principal Liam Ransome said: “With sessions from public speaking to chess, drama society to golf, and landscape gardening to rock climbing, we wanted to find a way to ensure 100 per cent of our students could access these activities within the weekly curriculum.

“We’d previously had a strong after-school enrichment offer, but our data showed that less than 40 per cent of students were accessing these sessions, and these figures were reduced in lower-income families, and even lower for our SEND students.

“Research showed us that barriers to attending after-school enrichment included needing to catch a bus, having the responsibility for picking up siblings, and also a false perception around cost or sustainability prevented some from talking part.

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“We strongly believe that enrichment sessions are a vital part of the learning experience for students, and we wanted to ensure that this opportunity was available for every student.

“The new Wednesday afternoon enrichment for all is still complemented by our daily after-school enrichment offer, ensuring our students have access to a wide and enhanced range of experiences and opportunities.”

Parents' feedback on social media has included: “Definitely positive memories made! Absolutely amazing range of opportunities, something to suit everyone!”

Student comments have ranged from “I’m now a member of a gym, after doing enrichment” to “I’m going to be in the school production of Oliver – I wouldn’t have done this without Wednesday enrichment.”

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