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BET Features

Welcome to BET Features - a series of articles highlighting some of the unique strengths and areas of excellence across the Trust. From innovative curriculum approaches to cutting-edge facilities and extra-curricular programmes, BET Features provides an in-depth look at what makes our schools truly outstanding places of learning. Explore these inspiring stories with us…

BET Featured School: Marnel Junior School Enriches Learning Through Extraordinary Experiences

Marnel Logo Colour with Strapline

Bourne Education Trust believes extraordinary learning experiences extend far beyond textbooks and tests and for this reason we are delighted to spotlight Marnel Junior School, where a holistic educational approach goes far beyond the classroom walls.

Under the leadership of Headteacher, Tijhs Jordan, Marnel has fully embraced this approach. "As educators, we know that enrichment like trips, clubs, and outdoor play are essential," Tijhs explains. "These experiences inspire curiosity, creativity and a lifelong love of learning in our students."

Opal logoOne of the school's proudest achievements is their involvement with the Outdoor Play and Learning (OPAL) programme. OPAL has transformed Marnel's grounds into an imaginative landscape where children can play in the expansive sandpit, experiment in the mud kitchen, construct dens, climb, shoot hoops, craft bracelets, dance to music surrounded by nature and engage in various other activities.

The benefits of this play philosophy are vast. Physically, pupils meet up to 40% of their recommended daily activity levels and importantly, with these options readily accessible, barriers that typically hinder children - such as the fear of asking to join a game or feeling limited in choices - are effectively eliminated. Children build negotiation abilities, learn conflict resolution, take positive risks and forge meaningful friendships - all while having an absolute blast. Cognitively and academically, OPAL play also increases focus and attention when students return to lessons, improving behaviour, concentration, and engagement.

Complementing OPAL, the leadership team at Marnel have created a calendar of exciting trips, events and clubs to enrich learning. From the Gilbert White river exploration to the immersive ‘Open the Box’ historical workshops, the school makes sure that all trips link to learning and opportunities that most of their children have not had.

Extra-curricular clubs offer opportunities for students to explore their interests and talents beyond the academic curriculum, with the school resolute in its belief that all staff led clubs are run free of charge to allow as many children as possible to attend.

With next steps in mind, careers guidance takes centre stage during ‘Futures Week’, ensuring students understand post-school possibilities through a packed programme of inspirational visitors discussing their professions, culminating in a Dragons' Den-style panel where pupils pitch ideas, developing invaluable skills.

Looking beyond their students, Marnel also actively engages parents through workshops on key topics such as mental health, equity, diversity, and inclusion - underscoring its commitment to the entire community.

Alex Russell, BET CEO said: “Marnel Junior School truly epitomises Bourne Education Trust's belief that delivering an extraordinary education means going beyond traditional academics. When a robust curriculum is combined with enriching experiences like those offered at Marnel, there is no doubt children can reach their limitless potential.”

Marnel pupils playing with pom poms

Marnel pupils playing basketball

Marnel pupils playing on tyres

Marnel pupils playing with building blocks

Marnel pupil in sandpit

Marnel pupil in mud kitchen

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