The following is a report written by some of our year 6 children, a number of years ago. However, it is still relevant today. The university continues to be a highlight of our curriculum offer for very many of our KS2 children. We respond to their developing interests and current trends to make sure what we offer is relevant and exciting to our children, giving them the opportunity to spend an extended period developing their skills and knowledge in an area they would not otherwise have opportunity to. We are always happy to take ideas and suggestions from parents about new courses and are delighted to accept offers of help.
It’s a Friday afternoon and there’s an extra buzz of excitement in Key Stage 2 at Knutsford Primary Academy. Read on to find out why…..
If you are curious about what happens at Knutsford University then be prepared to be amazed. Imagine surviving outdoors with limited resources, or baking like Mary Berry. Knutsford University equips us with life skills we may need in the future as we also get the opportunity to attend talks from linguists about foreign languages and cultures. In order to maintain our physical fitness we can take up football, rugby, dance, golf or judo with the added benefits of improving our hand and eye coordination. We can enjoy art, paper crafts or gardening. There is usually a history course on offer too. One year 6 boy stated when interviewed that he thought it was good because he learned things he would not usually do until secondary school, such as on the coding course.
Another year 6 pupil comments, “My favourite activity must be the ocarina. I love music and it is super fun! It’s also the people I work with that make it so good.”
There are no class boundaries for University afternoons so Knutsford pupils integrate with members from other classes in a structured environment. As another Y6 pupil commented – “Knutsford University is great because you can make friends from Year 3 to Year 6.” One of the boys explained further that “it’s a chance to make friends with older and younger children and the older children can help the younger children learn.”
For four weeks each term on Friday afternoons when the classroom doors open, the corridors fill with the chitter chatter and laughter of excited children as they enthusiastically scurry to the various locations where the activities are held. The teachers also enjoy sharing their special talents and interests: “Every single classroom you walk into there are happy smiling children having fun. There has never been a teacher who has given a negative report either; everyone looks forwards to Fridays!” Parents and volunteers also run and help with courses which makes the selection even bigger and means some of the groups can be quite small.
A child in year 6 expanded further by stating that all the teachers have their own special talent and they share these talents to help each child find a new hobby. She added that anyone can help with a University course; Jo is a parent who has been running a course and was interviewed by Charlotte saying, “Goalball is a very good hobby, anyone can play it whether they are blind or not. However if you are not blind, you are required to wear a blindfold over your eyes.” Jo continued that Goalball requires a ball with a bell inside and you use your hearing to find the ball.
To decide who does each course the Deputy Principal makes a PowerPoint to show everyone what their options are. Each slide has a detailed description telling the children what they will achieve by the last week. They are then given an options sheet with all the course names so they can make their choices which they think they will enjoy, numbered 1 to 4. Next the students are sorted as fairly as possible as there are limited spaces in each course. Everyone is given one of their choices. We also have quotes from parents’ perspectives – “It is great to see the children doing things at school that I never got to do. They are very lucky!”
The making of friendships with people of all ages, learning from each other and lots of different courses to choose from is what makes Knutsford University so great. As one of the house captains commented – “Knutsford is the perfect place to be on Friday afternoons because everyone is smiling.”