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Saturday, 07 November 2009
State primary school pupils have been given a chance to shine at Bolton School, one of the North's leading independent schools. The Shine: Serious Fun on Saturdays programme launched on 7 November and, over the course of eleven weeks, Year 5 children from the local area will benefit from the School's specialist teachers and state-of-the-art facilities. The weekly sessions, aimed at pupils who would not normally be given exposure to such expertise, are designed to challenge and stretch gifted pupils and, longer term, to raise their aspirations.
Headmaster of the Boys' Division, Philip Britton, said: "We are very excited about the Shine initiative. We are always looking for ways of engaging with the local community and sharing our expertise and facilities with bright children across the Bolton borough. We aim to bring the best out of each child as well as helping smooth their transition from primary to secondary school. The opening day has been a great success, the children have really enjoyed themselves and our Sixth Formers have done an excellent job in guiding and assisting the pupils with their learning. For them, it is a good opportunity to undertake community service which is an integral part of their education here at Bolton School."
Pranjal Arya, a 16 year old Sixth Former said: "It's been a really interesting and fun morning, watching young children from a whole range of backgrounds, each undertaking their tasks in their own unique way. All the children have been very attentive and I hope over the course of the programme we can help develop their abilities."
The sessions span the whole curriculum, and are designed to be serious with a focus on learning, but also fun! Forty pupils registered for the programme and on the first morning they split into two groups - one group working in the Sir Harry Kroto Chemistry Building and the other group undertaking some simple aptitude tests which would provide benchmark statistics - the hope being that by the end of the programme in February 2010, pupils have made progress.
Tawseen and Louis of St Thomas's Primary School enthused: "It's been great so far - we've been doing Chemistry and it was interesting to see how different things burned - magnesium was the best."
Over the course of programme, other sessions will be taught by teachers from both the Boys' and Girls' Divisions and will include traditional subjects such as maths, history, design technology and the sciences as well as more unusual offerings such as Russian and Japanese, psychology, classics and martial arts! At the end of the programme, prizes and certificates will be awarded at a "Celebration Dinner" for pupils and their families.
Fifty per cent of the funding for the project has come from Shine and Bolton School is only the second school outside of London to be funded to host the scheme. The other half of the funding comes from the school itself, and although the funding from Shine will cease after the initial 3 years, the intention is to continue to run the scheme through school funding alone.
Shine is an organisation that funds and develops educational initiatives which encourage children and young people to raise their achievement levels. The first Serious Fun on Saturdays programme began in 2003, and since then three-year grants have been approved for a further eleven schemes. Shine is currently partnering with nine leading independent schools to provide Serious Fun on Saturdays programmes for around 400 students a year from over 80 state schools in London and Manchester. Patrons of Shine include the Prime Minister's wife Sarah Brown, David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson.
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