Victoria Park Academy is not your average primary school. In 2007, the school was failing and in the bottom one per cent of schools in England. Through the determination, creativity and resourcefulness of its pupils and teachers, The Academy is now a huge success story, and was awarded ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2011.
Following the NICER curriculum, Victoria Park Academy has embedded social entrepreneurship and core “Changemaker skills”, such as empathy, teamwork and creativity, throughout its curriculum. Encouraging the children to be independent and to take ownership of their learning is at the centre of the Academy’s ethos. Talking to three Year 6 pupils, they confidently explained the Academy’s “confusion to clarity” approach to learning.
The pupils are encouraged to adopt a healthy perspective of ‘failure’, and build resilience and problem-solving skills. One initiative is ‘The Pit’. At the beginning of a class the students will be given a problem and challenged to figure it out by themselves — effectively ‘thrown into the pit’. When asked whether this approach to learning was intimidating, the pupils said not. “It makes you prouder of your work because you’ve done it by yourself,” they explained.