Mr Weighill, Deputy Head Teacher and Year 6 Teacher
How does the KS2 curriculum at West Lodge ensure children are prepared for the next stage of their education?
For me, West Lodge truly is a unique school. It successfully combines a natural ability to balance both the core subjects (such as English and Maths) and specialist lessons (such Art, MFL and Music) into a “normal” week. Alongside our class teaching, the curriculum is constantly enriched by other activities such as public speaking, current affairs, sporting activities and themed weeks. Children of different abilities are given an element of choice and challenge to further and extend their own learning up until Year 6, whilst the transition to Year 7 is a smooth one due to protected time dedicated to this process.
How does West Lodge ensure students have a smooth transition to secondary school?
As part of our PSHE curriculum, children in Year 6 will have a variety of lessons exploring transition to secondary school in the summer term. Furthermore, alumni pupils in Year 7 are invited and encouraged to come and return to West Lodge to provide Q&A sessions with our current Year 6s. These prove to be invaluable, as well as a proactive approach to speaking with the schools that our children go to. The number of teenagers who still return to our school for a variety of work experiences demonstrates how successful this process is.
What leadership opportunities does West Lodge provide to children?
Throughout their time at West Lodge, children are regularly provided with opportunities to lead. Each class votes for both School Councillors and Eco Councillors, who then lead their peers in related issues. Whilst in regular weekly scheduled problem-solving activities, children are able to demonstrate their leadership skills in these collaborative tasks. As the children move up the school, naturally expectations increase and as children enter Year 6, they are given multiple opportunities to demonstrate their increasing responsibility, whether it be as House Captain, Sports Captain or Head Pupil to name but a few, Year 6 children embrace the challenge of leading their younger peers through their education. West Lodge also takes pride in children leading tours for prospective parents as they know their school best!
What has been your favourite West Lodge moment to date?
I honestly have multiple favourite moments since I joined West Lodge in 2016. Most children would say I love our week at Osmington Bay for our school residential in May almost as much as them. But actually, as Year 6 teacher, my favourite time of year (and also the busiest) is the last few weeks of the summer term. It is the celebration of the journey the children have had at West Lodge comparing the four year olds that join us to eight years later, when they are eleven and about to leave and are ready to move on to secondary school. It gives my job not only great satisfaction, but immense pride.