Why external education gets top marks


Extending children’s learning beyond the classroom can be hugely beneficial which is why Sackville School in Hildenborough ensures it is a core part of its curriculum. Head Teacher John Hewitt explains more . . .

As a mixed ability school, Sackville offers an education which stimulates and challenges all of its students. Key to this are the opportunities we provide outside of the traditional learning environment of the classroom such as educational expeditions and theatre visits and when it comes to exam results we can see these inspiring trips really work.

Earlier this month, some of our students travelled to Belgium to visit a number of historic battlefields. Our Year 9 GCSE history students had been studying World War 1 so the visit to places such as Ypres in Belgium and the Somme in France helped to really bring home the impact of warfare, both on the lives of the people it affected as well as on the landscape.

Laying a wreath at the Menin Gate in Ypres during the moving Last Post ceremony is a memory which will always stay with the students who witnessed it.

In addition to visiting these two famous sites, this year the itinerary was extended to include two other historic battlegrounds: Agincourt and Waterloo. The reason for this is because we believe that nothing can bring history alive like seeing the actual places where these well-documented historical events took place.

Another recent trip our students enjoyed was to The Gielgud Theatre in London where they saw The Curious Coincidence of Maths in the Day Time, an inspirational and interactive maths lecture. The show explored concepts from the bestselling novel and play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, by Mark Haddon, as well as some mathematical problems, using the set of the West End production.

One of our Year 10 students, Nicholas Munro, commented in the essay he wrote about it: “The many mathematical references and details in the book offer the basis for what was a highly enjoyable and accessible set of short explanations and demonstrations delivered by some accomplished speakers.

“All of them had clearly spent a wealth of time and effort tweaking their presentations to be pitched at an ideal level for the mostly pre-GCSE students in the audience.” Nicholas’ writing skills recently won him first prize in the 12-14 category at the West Kent Mind Awards.

Of course nothing can replace quality teaching on a daily basis but as Nicholas’ words and accolade prove, it is also important to widen students’ horizons by supplementing and enhancing the curriculum with a programme of educational trips.

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