Community Foundation Funding: How Whickham School enhanced student learning

28th February 2024

Schools North East partnered with the Community Foundation to make a staggering £100,000 of funding available for schools wishing to develop their cultural, sporting or careers provision for disadvantaged and looked-after children. Funding of up to £4,000 was available per bid for schools across Tyne and Wear.


This project meant so much to us all here at Schools North East, and we were delighted to organise such a powerful opportunity for some of our local schools.


We recently caught up with Whickham School to learn more about how they used this fantastic funding opportunity to better their pupil outcomes.


The impact of the project

The primary aim was to enhance learning experiences for students by providing them with hands-on, immersive activities that go beyond traditional classroom instruction. As we always say here at Schools North East, learning doesn’t begin and end in the classroom, so this was a brilliant idea.


With this unique funding opportunity, Whickham School wanted to enhance students’ cultural capital, and who could argue with that?


The wide range of exciting activities included a visit to Warkworth, where Year 7 students conducted field studies in religion, history and geography; a visit to Honister Slate Mine, where Year 8 students pushed themselves out of the comfort zone with caving, zip-wiring and other adventurous activities; and a visit to the Centre for Life where Year 9 students took part in heart and lung dissection to strengthen their scientific studies.


The project also encouraged collaboration among students by engaging them in group projects or activities that required teamwork, communication, and problem-solving – all incredibly valuable skills that they can take with them into adulthood.


These tasks included Robotics and coding workshops, physical activities on giant inflatables and retro sports, and a challenging team-building woodland walk through Derwent Country Park.


As well as the above, the project fostered creativity by providing opportunities for students to explore their innovative thinking through project-based tasks or creative workshops. Here’s what else the students were fortunate enough to develop:


  • Critical thinking
  • Diverse cultural experiences
  • Better wellbeing
  • Life-long learning
  • Enhanced confidence

Project highlights

It seems as though the entire project was bursting at the seams with positivity, but when asked to pick out a few highlights, here’s what the school said:


“The entire school community, students, and staff were engaged in a diverse range of enriching experiences for two days at the end of the academic year.


“All students, regardless of background or financial situation, were able to participate as we were able to subsidise some of the costs to parents and carers through the funding.


“Feedback was extremely positive, engagement was high and students and staff hugely enjoyed the enrichment activities.”


Sounds like a very triumphant project to us! We’re delighted that Whickham School was able to do so much – and change so many lives – with their funding.


Whickham School is a Schools North East Partner School. If you’d like to find out more about our Partner Programme, click here.

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