All that enhances academic study, enriches and adds to it, is highly prized. By creating memorable complementary curricular experiences, subjects are brought to life and a boy is able to contextualise what has been learned in the classroom. Skills are developed and improved and, most importantly, curiosity is fostered. Here at Durston, education is not just provided in the classroom.
Learning ‘hands-on’ is vital to an enhanced education. Outside the classroom, there are many opportunities for this, one such being workshops. Visitors are invited to school, bringing their specialist knowledge and experience, inspiring the boys to engage and to think differently. It is often just the sound of a different person’s voice that can capture the attention. Props and dramatic representations can enliven the message, whether it be about life in Medieval England, imminent life on Mars, designing motor-racing cars or constructing pyramids of Ancient Egypt – all done within the confines of Ealing.
Themed days and themed weeks are a wonderful way to open minds and to help boys learn through discovery. Each year we hold STEM Week, when the entire school is involved in a variety of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematical activities, testing problem-solving skills, applying new concepts to the outdoors and to real-life scenarios. Our Literary Festival, over four days, encourages a literary awareness in the boys, with visiting poets, novelists and theatre groups complementing the work of the English Department: reading initiatives, writing bees and preparation of all boys for the annual Verse-Speaking Competition, held on the last day of the festival, all take place. In the Autumn Term, we turn our attention to Anti-Bullying. A number of days is set aside to focus on the issue of bullying and ways of exposing and tackling it. Through a range of assemblies, workshops and specially tailored lessons, our boys are reminded of the dangers of bullying and the importance of developing strategies to avoid being a victim.
Not everything we do takes place in school. The world outside school has much to teach us. With a London location, there is a plethora of places to visit, which provide inspiration for growing minds. Boys are taken on Outings to museums, galleries, theatres, castles, battlefields, woodlands, rivers, ancient ruins, as well as places of religious significance. All pupils will have been well prepared and the Outings meticulously organised. Places seen, data collected, information gathered, experiments carried out and pictures studied can be integrated into lessons on return to the classroom. A boy’s educational experience is the richer for it.
Once a year, in the Summer Term, Trips Week takes place. All boys from Years 4 – 8 attend a residential trip, spending at least two nights away from home. Trips, inspired by the curriculum, can help boys discover much about themselves, their friends and the world around them, experiences that can go on to form some of the happiest school memories. A stay away from home is always an adventure; for some a visit to a stately home or flying down a zip-wire is something new and exciting. Team building activities, England’s history, the beauty of the Welsh countryside and the culture and language of France all deepen a boy’s natural curiosity and ignite the spark that says, ‘I want to know more…’