How primary school pupils can benefit from academic enrichment programmes

Posted on: 04 Feb 2020
Posted by: Mark Nicholson

Mark Nicholson, head of partnerships at Hampton School, discusses how a new learning programme taught by Hampton’s subject specialist teachers provides additional academic stretch and challenge to Year 5 pupils from local primary schools.

For over two decades, Hampton School has been committed to partnership projects with local schools in the firm belief that schools are at their best when they operate in collaboration and close association with one another. The principal goal of any educationalist is to help every child thrive and prosper, and we believe that cross-sector collaboration between schools is a mutually enriching pathway from which all benefit. In 2018-19, Hampton’s partnership programme involved more than 1900 pupils from 70 local maintained schools taking part in a vast array of activities, including academic enrichment, music and drama events and sporting opportunities.

The first Saturday of the 2020 spring term saw the launch of an exciting new Lion Learning programme, our latest partnership project. Over the year ahead, 46 girls and boys from eight local primary schools will have regular lessons in English, maths, science and philosophy, taught by members of the Hampton Common Room. The programme also has a specific focus on developing academic vocabulary, a key factor in helping children thrive inside and outside school.

We have built upon more than 20 years’ experience of running Saturday courses for local children to design the programme, which will stretch able pupils beyond the usual curricula through a range of fun, exciting and thought-provoking activities. Our young Lion Learners will also be supported by mentors from Hampton’s Lower Sixth, who will work with them in lessons and help to deliver the bespoke scheme supporting the development of academic vocabulary.

Working with head teachers and their colleagues at our local primary schools has been integral to the development of Lion Learning. Not only did they help to identify those children who they felt would most benefit from this programme, and open up initial communication with their families, but they were also able to offer advice on other factors that would assist the families involved. This included the provision of transport to Lion Learning sessions and offering ways of collecting homework across the eight different schools in a manner that would not disadvantage families without home computer access.

One of the schools taking part in the Lion Learning programme this year is Reach Academy in Feltham. Jon Hutchinson, their assistant head, has spoken very eloquently about the advantages of partnership initiatives such as Lion Learning:

As teachers, we would love to provide every child with a really personalised programme of study, support and challenge, but a normal classroom means that you’ve got lots and lots of children to think about - there is a broad range of different needs and challenges. What Lion Learning is going to do is give children that extra bit of individual attention and really push, stretch, and challenge them. These pupils are thirsty for knowledge and Lion Learning is going to give them that extra time of really personalised, individual support from specialist teachers with incredible resources.

As with some other programmes run by independent schools, Lion Learning is offered to local families without charge. In common with teachers worldwide, our goal is to help children fulfil their potential, and if independent and state partners can work together to achieve this for any child, we should do so. Saturday schools such as ours aim to prepare pupils for successful transition into Key Stage 3 whether in a maintained or independent school setting. Igniting a spark for learning at any age is a gift that keeps on giving and results in multiple benefits for any young person in the years ahead.

To find out more about the Lion Learning programme visit:

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About Mark Nicholson

Mark Nicholson is head of partnerships at Hampton School.