We believe strongly in the importance of educating the whole child. This means helping them to develop our learning behaviours, explore their own hobbies and interests and, ultimately, to grow into respectful, resilient and independent members of the community. This is why our curriculum is enriched with a range of other activities and opportunities, including those outlined below.
Children in key stages 1 and 2 attend four assemblies each week, while on the fifth day they take part in ‘Class Discussion Time’ to discuss topical events and issues they raise themselves. Assemblies cover a wide range of topics, including elements of PSHE, our school values and learning behaviours, British values, children’s rights, cultural and religious festivals, and celebrating and sharing achievements. This brings our school together as a community and helps children to reflect on major themes and events.
Special Days involve children enjoying an adapted curriculum that is designed to focus on particular aspects of their personal development. These include: ‘Empathy Day’, ‘Collaboration Day’, ‘Happy Day’, ‘Health Day’ and ‘Sports Day’.
We also plan activities for and take part in other annual events such as Children in Need, World Book Day and Anti-Bullying Week.
We are very lucky to have our very own forest in our school grounds. Children visit the Woodlands to learn about and experience the natural world. We are currently developing the use of our Woodlands, and will be exploring a wider range of activities for the children to take part in to make the most of this fantastic resource.
We aim for our Woodlands provision to take children out of their comfort zone, excite them and help them develop resilience.
We are proud to say that we have received the Silver Award for being a Green Tree School.
Trips & Visitors
We want children at Stepney Park to have the widest possible range of experiences as they move through our school, particularly given the enormous wealth of opportunities that London has to offer. Our children visit the world-class museums and galleries available in the capital and receive visitors and workshops as part of the curriculum to help develop their cultural capital.
We have developed a programme of trips and visits across each year group that we believe offers a fantastic breadth of experience. Importantly, our starting point for developing this programme was to consider the best things for children to do and see in London. As such, though many of our trips link to what is being studied in school, others are offered purely to build children's cultural capital and to expose them to what London has to offer.
Our current programme of trips includes the following:
Residential trips, which include overnight stays, are planned to help children become more independent and to take them out of their comfort zone. Children who attend residential trips have opportunities to develop resilience and build stronger relationships with each other.
Developing Talents & Interests
As children move through their time at Stepney Park, we aim to support them in trying as wide a range of activities as possible and to offer them opportunities to develop the talents and interests they find as a result. The opportunities we offer include:
- A wide range of after school clubs. These include music production, sewing, arts & crafts, board games, Henna art, yoga, ICT, chess and a wide range of sports too.
- Music. While all children across the school enjoy a rich music curriculum with weekly opportunities to listen to and discuss music as well as learning to play music instruments, some children also choose to pursue music through small group tuition. At present, we offer small group tuition in flute, violin and cello, and there is also a school choir.
- Competitions. Children from Stepney Park compete against other schools in a range sporting competitions, but also in chess, a Spelling Bee and a maths league.
- Talent Show. We have an annual Stepney Park Talent Show where children have sung, danced, played musical instruments, performed magic, hula hooped, performed gymnastics and more besides. We view this as a way of celebrating children's talents and showing how much we value achievements beyond our taught curriculum.
Why we teach chess
At Stepney Park, we strive to improve all our pupils' life skills. In particular, we want to develop their:
Problem-solving and decision-making skills
Critical and creative thinking skills
Communication and interpersonal skills
Chess teaches all of the above through play. In addition, the game helps children to think logically and solve problems; it develops sportsmanship and resilience and it teaches children to plan ahead and take responsibility for their actions. For these reasons, chess has become an important part of programme of curriculum enrichment.
Chess lessons within the curriculum
By the end of Year 4, all children will have received 30 chess lessons in class from a specialist chess teacher from the charity ‘Chess in Schools’. These lessons are very popular with all the children: they introduce them gradually to the rules and strategy of chess, as well as giving them plenty of time to play and practise.
This club is open to all children who can already play chess and it has been a popular choice this year, particularly with the older children. As well as playing matches, the specialist teacher sets fun challenges and teaches a range of different strategies, for example different types of openings. In addition, the children learn some unusual and enjoyable variation games.
Stepney Chess League
Our school currently hosts the Stepney Chess League. This is a competition between local schools that takes place each half term. Six children from each school compete against each other and in July, the team at the top of the league wins an impressive trophy which they keep for one year. It has been very popular with the children this year.
We take part in the annual ChessFest in central London to further raise the profile of chess in our school. Here they have the chance to play against a Grandmaster, play in a tournament, participate in a chess lesson and play team matches on a giant chessboard. The event is organised by Chess in Schools and is hugely enjoyable.
Over their time at Stepney Park, children have a number of opportunities to take part in performances of various kinds and scales. In particular:
- Nativity. Children in reception put on an annual nativity play for their parents.
- Eid. As part of our Eid celebrations, year 1 put on an Eid celebration for parents and our school community.
- Spring Performance. Children in year 3 put on an annual Spring Performance.
- Leavers' Show. Children in year 6 put on a show for their parents and the school community to mark the end of their time in primary school.
In addition to these larger performances, there are also many other opportunities to perform built into our curriculum. For example, children give end of term music performances to other classes and we have an annual poetry slam where children perform a range of poetry.