“One of my favourite things ever are Leadership Days, especially when we do cooking or art. My favourite one was making Temari Balls” Sophie, Y6 Leaver 2014
This article, written for the Cambridgeshire Learning Together magazine a couple of years ago, explains how leadership days work at Mayfield. The days are now held on Thursdays but the approach is identical.
Taking the Lead at Mayfield
Mayfield Primary School Cambridge has been running Leadership Days for three years now as a means to enrich the curriculum through enjoyable activities. Headteacher Jaspaul Hill explained to the editor how it works.
Leadership days take place on Fridays with each year group having such a day twice a term. There are two classes per year group and on the day, one teacher has all 60 children, supported by three teaching assistants, enabling four groups of 15 to work on the projects which comprise the day. The other teacher focuses on his or her particular leadership role within the school, undertaking an activity with a high-ability group in their specialist area. My visit happened to be on a Friday and the teacher concerned was a geography specialist, she was leading a session on the very topical subject of volcanic ash.
Jas took me round the school to see what the four groups of 15 were doing. The focus for the day was on Design and Technology and Food Technology with each group taking turns at each of four activities. At the time of my visit group one was preparing Anglo Saxon soup (in fact, they’d just finished – it was delicious). Group two were constructing the bases for cars, with group three designing the superstructures for the cars, to be built in due course. The final group was creating jungle paintings drawing inspiration from the famous Rousseau painting of a tiger in the undergrowth.
At the whole school assemblies on Fridays, the classes involved in the previous Leadership Day share what they did with the rest of the school. Jas told me that this can be quite spontaneous; that morning it was Year 2’s turn to feedback and four children readily volunteered to speak (very confidently) about what had happened a full week before. I had the pleasure of visitng a Year 2 group myself and their enthusiasm and enjoyment certainly shone through. They said they liked “the really fun activities” and having “different classes with different teachers” Some said they’d especially enjoyed the recent Victorian Day when they dressed up in period costume, used slates to write on and learned about the very different disciplinary regime in those days! (“if you did anything wrong, you got smacked”)
Jas feels that the Days are a great success, not just because they are so obviously relished by the children. The teachers very much appreciate being freed up to concentrate on their leadership role and keep on top of their game – its quality time for them as well. Definitely a win-win approach.
Here is a video made by Y2 on a recent Leadership Day: