Supplementing the boys’ class-based learning is a broader programme of enrichment designed to nurture and stimulate their developing intellect.
As well as the ambitious and diverse range of trips and visits undertaken by every year group, our assembly programme attracts inspiring visitors from all walks of life. Recent talks have included a climber of Mount Everest and adventurer, a novelist, a master in Tae Kwando and the world’s fastest blind man, Steve Cunningham. Guests spend a great deal of time answering questions from the boys. Each of our Year 8 boys is also encouraged to deliver an assembly on a subject of his choice and these are highly popular amongst the younger boys as well as informative. Topics have included speed, dinosaurs, space and evolution. There is a public speaking competition amongst the Year 7 boys which is presented in assembly and voted for by peers, based on their PPE studies. This year’s winner was a pupil who had analysed Ghandi’s “Quit India” speeches in Hindi and English.
School Council plays a very important part of life at Solefield and representatives from all years meet regularly to present the views of their peers and to make important decisions regarding the running of the school. They recently wrote the Code of Conduct for pupils, staff, parents, Governors and visitors and organised a highly successful Green Week, during which each house sponsored an endangered animal. They really do represent and give a voice to the pupils.
Boys in all year groups are given the chance to attend subject-based academic clubs (e.g. Italian, extra classes for talented Mathematicians, Latin, Spanish, German, Debating, LAMDA and General Knowledge, amongst others). There are annual inter-house competitions in Spelling, Poetry Recital (Years 2 and upwards), General Knowledge and Debating. Many of these teams take part in a range of competitions outside school.
Several boys are invited to attend extra sessions to stretch and extend them still further, after consultation with staff and their parents. In Years 7 and 8, there is a flourishing scholarship programme and boys younger than this are invited to attend Challengers’ Club, meeting regularly to discuss and complete a variety of the stimulating academic activities. Boys as young as 5 have presented a topic of their choice to the rest of the group. Boys from Challengers’ Club and others have enjoyed a number of exciting and enriching extra-curricular trips and visits. This year, groups from Solefield won numerous national academic competitions such as the K’nex Challenge (DT and Engineering), 3 boys reached the top 3% of applicants in the BBC 500 Word Short Story Competition and a team of Year 4 boys won the Hazelwood Maths Challenge. A team of Year 4 and 5 pupils won the Hillview Language Challenge for French. A team of boys from Year 8 captured their residential trip on film and edited this before presenting it to the rest of the school in assembly.
Boys from Year 6 and upwards study Politics, Philosophy and Ethics once a week, allowing for further intellectual stimulation as well as nurturing an interest in the world around them and debating skills. Some boys opt to study Latin as part of the curriculum in Years 7 whilst others enjoy Supported Study Sessions to deepen their understanding of CE subjects.
We also aim to extend and enrich our lessons on an almost daily basis. Whether it is enjoying a Sikh lunch in our own Langar, reading a book to younger pupils written just for them or coming to school dressed as an Egyptian or endangered animal, learning at Solefield is exciting and adventurous. In November, we shall be having our first ever “Enrichment Week” where we shall the take the theme of India and, as well as having visitors presented Indian-themed dance workshops, art, traditional stories and henna tattoos, we shall incorporate the theme into our lessons. Green Week saw over 70 boys voluntarily presenting projects about the environment and projects will also be submitted as part of Enrichment Week.
Boys from Year 5 upwards go on residential trips as we believe that school should help boys to develop socially as well as academically and a great deal of our learning happens outside of the classroom.
Drama, Music and Sport play an essential part of life at Solefield. All boys from Reception to Year 5 take part in the Christmas play. All pupils in Years 6 and 7 participate in the school play and Year 8 prepare a special gala at the end of the year for all staff and parents.