The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

The Optimus blog

The blog that inspires leaders in the UK education sector

Lizzie Gait

Adventure Learning at Netley Abbey Infant School

I recently had the good fortune to visit Headteacher Jon Le Fevre at Netley Abbey Infant School, a large infant school on the south coast of England – a long trip from our office in North London but well worth the journey! I love visiting schools in the primary phase as my overriding image of them stems from my own experience of primary education – one which becomes ever more blurry with time! Jon took me on a short tour of the school; it was great to see Netley Abbey’s corridors covered in a colourful array of displays and posters, much of which has been designed by the pupils themselves.

Netley Abbey in the community

Most striking about Netley Abbey Infant School is the incredibly close relationship that the school has with the community. The school – along with 4 others in the local area – is signed up to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Headteacher has developed and summarised these to be more accessible to the pupils and the community. In brief they are:

  • The Right to be a Confident Communicator
  • The Right to Learn
  • The Right to Improve our Health
  • The Right to be Part of the Community

Not only do the children themselves sign up to adhere to these values, but staff members, parents and key members of the community are also asked to actively promote them across the whole neighbourhood. Personally, my favourite aspect to this scheme is that members of the community commit to issuing blue tokens to children seen to be behaving responsibly. So for example if the child is well behaved during a haircut, the barber will issue a token! Once a jarful of tokens is collected, the children receive a whole-school reward as recognition for their good behaviour.

Netley Abbey’s Learning Adventures

Another defining feature of Netley Abbey – one which it is clear Headteacher Jon Le Fevre is passionate about – is the curriculum.net and lee “Our school curriculum is based around Adventure Learning, where the teachers guide their pupils through the learning adventure. During each learning adventure, children work towards developing their learning skills alongside learning the curriculum content.” “Net” and “Lee” – their lovely adventure dolls – represent the team of learning characters who help them along the way. This team includes the Resilient Rhino, the Emotions Elephant and the Team Tigers amongst others. I really like the creative but structured curriculum style which helps pupils to really engage with their own learning, whilst allowing the flexibility for pupils to focus on the topics which are of most interest to them.

Time for the off...

I had a really enjoyable and informative experience at Netley Abbey Infant School, and thoroughly enjoyed hearing all about their innovative approaches – I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from them.

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