Hutton school delighted to win top award for ‘academic excellence and innovation’

PUBLISHED: 12:00 30 November 2018

Mr O'Keefe and Mrs Hobbs from Woodlands School Hutton Manor with pupils holding up the award.

Mr O'Keefe and Mrs Hobbs from Woodlands School Hutton Manor with pupils holding up the award.

Woodlands School Hutton Manor

A primary school has won a top prize at this year’s prestigious Independent Schools Association (ISA) Awards.

Sixtopia students meet MP Alex Burghart. Picture: Woodlands School Hutton ManorSixtopia students meet MP Alex Burghart. Picture: Woodlands School Hutton Manor

Woodlands School Hutton Manor, Rayleigh Road, Hutton, fought off tough competition from around the UK to win the award for academic excellence and innovation.

In choosing a winner, the ISA Award judges look for evidence of academic excellence and innovation, demonstrated through outstanding outcomes for pupils, inspection ratings and feedback, and examples of innovation in teaching where a positive impact on pupils is clear.

The ISA Awards judging panel commented: “Woodlands School Hutton Manor showed great innovation, helping make academic learning fun and applicable to real life through current affairs.

“In their submission the school demonstrated examples of how this had excited the pupils and helped engage everybody”.

Contributing to Woodlands School’s win was the innovative class project created by Year 6 teacher David O’ Keefe, through which his class declared themselves an independent nation – complete with laws, currency, and border control.

The Year 6 children at Woodlands School became members of a nation called “Sixtopia” within their classroom, shaping their own society, laws and system of government throughout the course of the year.

The project was originally designed by Mr O’ Keefe to aid the study and understanding of Trade and Economics.

But when he saw how engaged his pupils became, he developed the idea further to cover more areas of the curriculum, exploring trade agreements, human rights, immigration, religion, the pros and cons of Brexit, and much more with his pupils.

The “nation” was even visited by the school’s MP Mr Alex Burghart last term, who crossed Sixtopia’s borders and met with the nation’s president, vice president, and citizens.

Mr Burghart questioned the children about Sixtopia, and answered their questions about his role in Parliament in turn.

During his visit, Mr Burghart said: “I have visited most schools in my constituency but I have never seen anything like Sixtopia.”

Head Teacher of Woodlands School Paula Hobbs said: “Our teaching staff consistently and enthusiastically work hard to provide the best education for our pupils.

“Every day, I observe the positive impact this has on the children – whether that be our Year 6’s gaining 100per cent placement at the secondary school of their choice, or an individual pupil having the confidence to look their local MP in the eye and question them on social justice issues.

2This award is the perfect recognition of the wonderful and worthwhile job we do here at Woodlands.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this achievement and of the teaching team behind this tremendous success.”

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