Enrichment means providing pupils with a range of opportunities in addition to the classroom-based curriculum offer. The purpose of enrichment is to provide children with experiences they might not otherwise have, expand their interests and horizons and give them opportunities to develop skills in other areas.

Due to our pupils’ learning needs, (and the need to make the curriculum multi-sensory and practical), our child-centered approach and the priority we give to promoting the personal and individual development of our pupils, enriching activities are an often an integral part of the curriculum offer.

We link with a variety of local theatre, music and dance companies to create opportunities to see live theatre, participate in workshops and participate in one-off projects.  Opportunities we have provided our pupils with over the years have ranged from from visiting puppet shows, (Punch and Judy) musicals, (M & M’s the Jungle Book) and sensory theatre, (Oily Cart’s the Lost Feather) to adaptations of Shakespeare, (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth) pantomime, (the ‘Rock and Roll Panto’ at the New Wolsey) and sensory performances theatre, (the Green Children at the Avenue Theatre and Frozen Light’s ‘Home’) in a range of local theatres and pop-up drama spaces. 

We also ensure that our pupils have lots of opportunities to perform in theatre too. Older pupils participate annually in the Schools’ Celebration of Youth Music at Snape, and have taken part in the Youth Perform Festival at the New Wolsey Theatre and the Ormiston Showcase at Venture Academy. Our Christmas performances are an important feature of our school calendar. Pupils are encouraged to participate in other school-based and Trust-based opportunities such as talent shows, (Ormiston’s Got Talent) and assemblies. 

Opportunities to participate in workshops have included working with the Red Rose Chain to help them develop a sensory show 1001 Fireflies, the New Wolsey Theatre, exploring disability and a wide variety of musical workshops, projects with Aldeburgh Music.  The most recent projects have included a joint graffiti project with Ormiston Victory and a year-long music project where pupils teamed up with musicians from Northgate School and the Orchestra of Enlightenment, a 20 piece classical orchestra.

Visiting museums and galleries is very much part of how we understand our world and we make good use of the local museums and galleries across Suffolk.  Examples of places we have visited have included Ipswich School of Art, The Museum of East Anglian Life, (now the Suffolk Food Museum), Christchurch Mansion, Colchester Castle, Framlingham Castle, Sutton Hoo and West Stow.  We have even ventured as far as London to visit the Golden Hinde, the Globe Theatre and the Museum of London.  We have participated in art events such as Felixstowe Art on the Prom and the Suffolk Show and have even set up our own art galleries in school for our peers or our families. Our most recent was an exhibition about the sea.

Sport is very important to us and we love opportunities to participate in competitive sports especially.  Last year our table-cricket team won a place in the Nationals at Lords’ Cricket Ground where we came fourth overall.  Through Schools Games, we offer opportunities to take part in events such as the Panathlon, swimming galas and other fun sporting events.  We have a fantastic swimming pool at school and most pupils access a weekly swim session.  We select different groups of pupils to experience a term of sailing each summer with the Woolverstone Project.

Reestablishing educational visits beyond the local community has been a focus of ours since schools reopened after lockdown. We are gradually rebuilding staff skills and confidence in order to bring the range of educational visits back up to pre-pandemic levels. There are plenty of environments across Suffolk such as Rendlesham Forest or the seaside at Felixstowe for example, that we have visited many times before and provide a wealth of opportunities for our pupils.

We develop our pupils’ understanding of other cultures and countries outside of the UK through our curriculum topics such as Global Rhythms and a Carnival of Colour. Our pupils have listened to steel drums being played by visiting musicians for example. The opportunities we offer may also sit apart from the curriculum offer, such an extended project with some pupils on exploring a Gamelan with local musicians.  

We take part in a number of fundraising events throughout the year, many of which are organised by the pupils themselves. Although much of the money we raise often feeds into national or even international charities, the events themselves demonstrate how much fundraising is done at community level and how local communities rally together to do this.  Examples of projects we get involved with regularly include the MacMillan Coffee Morning, local food banks and shoe box appeals. We have strong links with our local church Whitton Church and pupils learn about much of the community-based work that goes on there from pop-up shops to the different ways they have tried to reach out to people who are lonely or isolated in the community. We always encourage our pupils to take advantage of one-off community events that crop up; some pupils recently joined local councillors to plant bulbs at the local shops for example.

Experience of the workplace is done in a variety of ways at Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy and will depend on the age and stage of the learner. Our Key Stage 4 pupils access blocks of work experience or ‘experience of work’ opportunities; we have strong links with local social enterprises such as Whitehouse Enterprises, Poppy’s Pantry or Recreate but also explore one-off placements with other companies depending on the abilities and interests of the pupil. Our older pupils have participated in careers days, e.g. backstage careers at the New Wolsey Theatre. Pupils are given the opportunity to develop their enterprise skills through life skills sessions and work-related skills are embedded into the curriculum as well as being specifically taught. Some pupils have recently run a very successful tuck shop. We are currently focusing on different uses of our Hive – a multi-functional life skills space which we have recently upgraded to include an outdoor canopy area, cafe style benches and functional kitchen space.

Younger pupils gain experience of work through enrichment visits; a range of personnel have visited the academy recently from police officers to ambulance drivers to the Coastguard. We also have links with local farmers and are currently building links with Felixstowe Port Authorities. For more information about how our pupils gain experience of work visit the ‘Careers Education’ page on this website.

Our holistic approach to learning means that character-building opportunities are fully embedded within the everyday curriculum.  Leadership skills are encouraged and developed through disability sport and many of our pupils have undertaken sports leadership qualifications. Pupils also have opportunities to develop their leadership skills through organising special events such as fundraising days and sports day. 

Pupils have plenty of opportunities to develop their character in creative ways too. We encourage all our pupils to participate in a range of performances, (see above) which can be challenging challenging for some but the impact of this has been seeing pupils who have felt awkward or self-conscious speaking out in front of others, playing lead roles or even singing solo to audiences of several hundred people!

Other skills such as problem-solving, team-work and building resilience are developed through enrichment activities such as STEMfest, a Trust-wide science competition in which pupils have competed against mainstreams peers and won several awards.

More recently, we have introduced the Duke of Edinburgh Award into school and a number of Year 10 pupils have taken part in a sleepover and other challenges that the award requires.

See above for ways in which our pupils make a positive contribution to their local communities. Pupils are also taught about how they can use democratic processes to bring about social change through involvement in the School Council and other Trust-wide student councils, social action projects such as the #IWill project disability-awareness-raising project some older pupils participated in or through getting involved with Suffolk County Council’s consultation for SEND provision.

Some opportunities offered in school have been with the expressed intention of encouraging enrollment in clubs and activities beyond school. For others, pupils have discovered a new interest and families have enquired about further involvement. We maintain close links with local providers and encourage families to join by inviting them into parents evenings, passing on promotional material and reporting back on pupil experience through Earwig. We know pupils have gone on to pursue a range of interests started at school from sailing to theatre and dance. Part of the rationale behind our ‘Experience of Work’ sessions in KS4 are to give pupils a taster of Post 16 opportunities they can be involved with on their days not in college. These taster sessions are often very successful in guiding families to alternative placements once our pupils leave school.

Learning outside of the classroom is central to our curriculum delivery and a priority of our current Academy Development Plan following the pandemic.   It offers opportunities for multi-sensory approaches to learning and helps pupils build their knowledge understanding through tangible experience.   

We have 2 fully accessible mini-buses and all teachers are supported to take their classes out on educational visits on a regular basis.  Many of our classes are too complex to take out in one go, so creative ways are needed to ensure everyone has access to as many opportunities as possible. 

Other enrichment activities have adapted to the changing needs of our pupils to ensure they still continue; the Woolverstone Project with whom we sail each summer have now invested a ‘wheely boat’ which enables all pupils, regardless of the complexity of their needs, an experience of sailing.  

Staff are fully trained to support pupils’ social, emotional, personal care and medical needs while off-site and a thorough risk assessment process is always undertaken. Certain categories of visit are subject to additional checks by OAT.