“I love being in the Rainey Hall because it has loads of space to run around in.” Will
We may have a history dating back to 1317, but our facilities are 21st century.
Let’s start with the Rainey Hall, an ultramodern sports hall that also serves as an occasional assembly venue. But mostly it’s the setting for a variety of sports and clubs – after school, as well as during – ranging from gymnastics, badminton and yoga to netball, hockey and cricket net practice. It’s roomy enough for a basketball tournament and there’s even a viewing gallery so supporters can cheer the children on.
There’s plenty of outdoor space for our pupils to enjoy as well.
Along with a large playground, tennis and netball courts and an Astro-turf, there’s a sports field for football and rugby in the winter and athletics in the summer. We have cricket nets and a long jump run too.
Our outside learning programme and Forest School status means that our grounds often double as a classroom, helping children to understand and appreciate the natural world – that’s why we’ve recently added teaching and environmental gardens and a dipping pond. The grounds are also a great place to have fun with your friends, whether you want to tackle the adventure challenge course, enjoy an after-hours barbecue or build a den (we supply cushions and blankets).
The fun continues indoors, with the opportunity to take to the stage in our 130-seat theatre.
We put on plays and concerts, as well as many other events, including visits by the Young Shakespeare Company and Freshwater Theatre. In Year 6, children can learn to use the sound and lighting rig, so everyone can get involved.
Then there’s our information technology suite – it’s furnished with Apple Macs and iBooks and was opened by none other than the head of Apple UK. Whether you want to make a movie, learn how to program a Lego NXT robot – we’ve got six of them – or create a newspaper in just one day, we have the technology to make it happen. We also have class sets of iPads so technology is never tied to a desk and we can make best use of all the tools available to us.
But there are some traditions we’ll never give up. Our light-filled classrooms are designed to allow children of all ages to learn in comfort and we have a library crammed with books, as well as CDs. Along with an enormous range of fiction – colour-coded according to reading level – we have encyclopaedias, dictionaries, audio story books, poetry and music tapes, children’s newspapers, magazines, posters, leaflets and regular displays of children’s work.
As well as borrowing books, children can learn library skills, such as barcoding and scanning, and enjoy a wonderful mixture of activities in this central hub. The library serves as a bookshop, book club, speech and drama club, a venue for visiting writers and a place where parents can share a book with their children before and after school. But above all it’s a quiet space to sit and read.
Like Dame B’s itself, it’s a perfect marriage of tradition and innovation.