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Rotherham Academy timetables weekly Enrichment for all

A Rotherham Academy has timetabled Enrichment activities for all students, every week on a Wednesday afternoon; an offer often only afforded to private schools.

Starting in September 2023, on a Wednesday afternoon, following lunch, all Wath Academy students get the opportunity to participate every week, in one of over seventy Enrichment activities, ranging from Rugby to Baking, Robotics to Canoeing, and Special Effects Make-up to the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Over the year students get to choose an Enrichment activity each term, giving them exposure to a wide range of experiences, further developing their character, and creating positive school memories which will last a lifetime.

Wath Academy, part of Maltby Learning Trust, was faced with just 37.5% of students accessing after school Enrichment activities prior to September 2023. The Principal, Liam Ransome, along with the leadership team, wanted to find a way to ensure that all students could access these sessions and the new curriculum and timetable was the perfect solution.

Mr Ransome said, “We firmly believe that Enrichment activities can be transformational for our students as we recognise the significant impact that discovering new passions and opportunities can have on a young person. With sessions from Public Speaking to Chess, Drama Society to Golf, and Landscape Gardening to Rock Climbing, we wanted to find a way to ensure 100% of our students could access these activities within the weekly curriculum.

“We’d previously had a strong after school Enrichment offer, but our data showed that less than 40% of students were accessing these sessions, and these figures were reduced in lower-income families, and even lower for our SEND students.

“Research showed us that barriers to attending after school Enrichment included needing to catch a bus, having the responsibility for picking up siblings, and also a false perception around cost or sustainability that prevented some from taking part.

“We strongly believe that Enrichment sessions are a vital part of the learning experience for students, and we wanted to ensure that this opportunity was available for every student. So, we developed a totally new timetable, which has now been in place since September 2023, this includes 100 minutes of free Enrichment activity every Wednesday afternoon within the school day. The feedback we have had from students, parents, and staff has been amazing.

“The new Wednesday afternoon Enrichment for all, is still complimented by our daily after school Enrichment offer, ensuring our students have access to a wide and enhanced range of experiences and opportunities.

Parents' feedback on social media has included: ‘Amazing range of Enrichment activities and experiences, well done Wath’ and “Definitely positive memories made! Amazing range of opportunities, something to suit everyone!

Student comments on the changes include: ‘Wednesday is my favourite day of the week’, ‘I’m now a member of a gym, after doing Enrichment’, and ‘I’m going to be in the school production of Oliver, I wouldn’t have done this without Wednesday Enrichment’.

“The new timetable has been a huge success and I’m really pleased that we have found a way to build Enrichment into the school day meaning that all the barriers have been removed. We now know that 100% of our students are engaging in Enrichment sessions in which they are developing new passions, skills and friendships,” added Mr Ransome.