Sarah Chandler, Head of Maths at Oakfield Prep, explains the benefits of the school’s Year 6 Diploma

At Oakfield, we are so proud of our Year 6 children and all their hard work for the 11+, resulting in such fantastic achievements in gaining places at their chosen senior schools. They are now ready for new challenges and looking forward to the next stage of their education. In order to keep the momentum of such quality learning alive, we developed the Oakfield Diploma. This is a busy and varied programme of activities under the umbrella of our school values. It is designed to care, challenge and inspire our Year 6 leavers. 

As teachers we always want to develop ideas and introduce activities that will encourage our children to learn new things and build confidence and belief in themselves. In the Summer Term of Year 6, Oakfield children have even greater freedom to do this, thanks to the Diploma. This involves eight different strands of learning to encourage the skills of leadership, cooperation, creativity, confidence and responsibility. It supplements the Year 6 core curriculum once the 11+ examinations are over and leads to children being awarded the Diploma at the end of the term. 

The strands include academic, sporting, citizenship, life skills, well-being, peer mentoring, community service and performance challenges. Activities and projects range from writing a book to preparing an art project for an exhibition to planning and running a business venture. Citizenship, life skills and community tasks include learning about government (including trips to City Hall and the Houses of Parliament), mentoring younger pupils, assisting at a food bank and completing a first aid course.  

Throughout the term all these projects dovetail together, bringing out fantastic qualities of leadership, organisation and care from the children. There is room for all talents and each activity requires leaders and followers. It is always wonderful to see children find a new skill or interest as a result of the opportunities they were given as part of the Diploma.

As well as inspiring the children, we have also found enormous support among parents. They have volunteered as speakers, experts or just willing supporters to help provide these activities. All this enhances the experience for the children and the wonderful community spirit and family atmosphere Oakfield is known for.

At the time of writing, there is a play being rehearsed, plus songs to be learned, businesses to plan, strategies to be developed, books to be written, puzzles to be solved and a whole host of other activities. Will they get it all done by July? Of course! When children have choice, independence and a vested interest in their learning, just about anything is possible.

Further reading: How to choose the right boarding school