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Keep­ing young­sters en­gaged once the ex­ams have passed can be a challenge. Fred de Falbe has some ideas to stave off bore­dom

EDP Norfolk - - FROM THE HEADMASTER’S OFFICE - Fred de Falbe, Head­mas­ter, Bee­ston Hall School This col­umn is spon­sored by Bee­ston Hall School, West Run­ton, NR27 9NQ bee­ston­

As the lazy Au­gust days take hold, I am re­minded of a pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cle I wrote in praise of bore­dom and in­ac­tiv­ity – a re­sponse to the trend for tightly con­trolled hol­i­day sched­ules for chil­dren, driven by the stereo­typ­i­cal Tiger Mothers, who are in­tent on a royal flush of A levels or an Oxbridge place for their off­spring.

I re­call, on the sug­ges­tion that chil­dren should be able to ‘tinker with bro­ken Hoovers’ – which is what we en­cour­aged our own chil­dren to do, be­ing con­tacted by the Dyson Foundation and up­braided in the most ge­nial fashion for re­fer­ring to vac­uum clean­ers as Hoovers.

They kindly sent us Challenge Packs and teacher re­sources in a ges­ture of good­will and gen­eros­ity.

They are bril­liant and pro­vide scaf­fold­ing and struc­ture to let the ideas run wild – just as school can do, re­ally. Hoover has disappeare­d into a vor­tex of tech takeovers; how long will it be be­fore Dyson, with its bil­lion­pound busi­ness, be­comes a tran­si­tive verb ap­plied to floors?

So, tin­ker­ing as a re­sult of bore­dom is a good thing. What if there is no challenge pack or bro­ken vac­uum? What then?

One of the chal­lenges all schools have is the post-exam drift – pos­si­bly the very bore­dom

talked of above. The Bee­ston leavers’ pro­gramme we run puts paid to that, with a huge range of ac­tiv­i­ties from bushcraft (a week in the wild un­der can­vas), to a Dragon’s Den style ac­tiv­ity, to mu­seum vis­its. The new­est ad­di­tion to this is the DIY BBCstyle re­port.

The chil­dren, in teams of five, were given a crash course in news film­ing (all cut­aways and close ups), a mi­cro­phone and cam­era and, of course, some re­cent copies of the Eastern Daily Press to re­search sto­ries. And that was it.

The chil­dren were given a crash course in news film­ing (all cut­aways and close ups), a mi­cro­phone and cam­era

Within min­utes they were on the phone, ar­rang­ing vis­its and in­ter­views, set­ting up meet­ings to film the West Run­ton house fire, the Sheringham sink­hole and other top­i­cal nuggets.

The re­sults: in­de­pen­dent new­shounds mak­ing their own creative ways in the world, with­out the stric­ture of the curriculum. And at Bee­ston this starts young: here is a Year 1 child in­ter­view­ing the gi­ant (of Beanstalk fame – in fact our wild­look­ing Latin teacher!) as part of her lit­er­acy pro­gramme. If school gives the lead to in­de­pen­dent en­deav­our, how­ever wild, def­i­nitely do try this at home!

ABOVE: Interview time for the gi­ant from the beanstalk BELOW: The Sheringham sink­hole

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