Around 60 primary pupils participated in three hands-on activities under the guidance of Sixth Form students in a collaborative day of fun and exploration.
Children from The Mease Spencer Academy and Hilton Spencer Academy participated in a day of activities with John Port Spencer Academy Sixth Form students for Oceania Discovery Day, an opportunity to explore new environments and collaborate with young people outside of their regular cohort.
The day was organised primarily through Susan Sharp, Executive Director of Post-16 for the Trust, and Becky Lowndes, Head of Sixth Form at John Port, as part of an ongoing push to grow and celebrate the Trust’s One Spencer vision. The Mease sent 30 Year 3 pupils and Hilton Spencer sent 30 Year 5 students.
Aside from the goal of creating a fun outing for participants, the programme was designed to provide exposure to new environments for specialised functions at the secondary school many of them will likely attend. It also allowed the children an opportunity to collaborate with pupils of a different age group, which was particularly valuable to The Mease’s Year 3 pupils, as they are currently the oldest cohort at their still-new school.
The programme was supported by Sixth Form students at John Port, who are variously involved in leadership positions or the subjects pertaining to the activities, led by Head Student Skyla Gines. At the conclusion of the day, the sixth formers nominated children from their groups to be recognised for their exemplary behaviour and contributions based on the criteria of communication, teamwork and creativity.
Upon arrival, the children into three mixed-age groups—named for indigenous animals to Australia and wider Oceania—to participate in an art project, drama production and cooking activity inspired by the history and culture of Oceania. The pupils’ favourite activities—when indeed they could narrow it down from “all of them”—varied across all three options.
Eleanor from Hilton Spencer Academy said the drama performance was her favourite: “We got to work together, and sometimes people don’t like to speak a lot, they’re shy, so it was good to hear everyone.”
Bethany, a pupil at The Mease Spencer Academy, enjoyed the independence of cooking. “I liked that we got to do it by ourselves,” she said.
Uday from Hilton Spencer said, “Art was fun because we got to do lots of new things.”
The Sixth Form students were unanimously impressed with the younger children’s behaviour and attitudes, expressing admiration for their confidence and willingness to try everything. Femy remarked, “It was great how exciting everyone found it and how everyone participated.”
The day was a huge success. Gary Staddon, Principal at Hilton Spencer Academy, summarised, “The children benefitted hugely from the collaborative nature of the day and working with both younger and older students. They came back full of excitement and stories about the day—which had been so well organised by all involved.”
Principal of The Mease Spencer Academy Julia Hart added, “Our children came back absolutely buzzing from John Port this afternoon! [Oceania Discovery Day] absolutely did what it said on the tin—a beautiful One Spencer day!”
Mrs Lowndes said, “It was our pleasure to welcome student from The Mease and Hilton into our academy, they were so polite and eager to learn. Our Sixth Form students loved working with the younger children during the day and were impressed by their listening, teamwork and communication skills.”
Ms Sharp said, “Our first One Spencer Day was designed to encourage students to communicate and work with others more effectively, whilst also having a fun time. It exceeded my expectations and all the students’ confidence grew over the course of the day as they embraced every opportunity with a smile. The Sixth Formers organised all the events, demonstrating what brilliant leaders they have become. I was so proud of everyone involved!”