In 2020, Castle Douglas Primary School incorporated our Hi5 Award into their learning centre provision. We met with Mr Whan, the Principal Teacher of the Learning Centre, Mrs DeSilva, the teacher running the Thursday Hi5 programme and Head Teacher, Susan Davies, to talk about their school’s experience with Hi5.
Mr Whan explained how “as a staff, we agreed that we needed a more structured provision in the learning centre to support children to develop their skills for life.”
“We recognise that we need to provide these opportunities to develop life skills but we’re sometimes too constrained by the standard curriculum.”
“The reason that we bought into the Hi5 is that we felt that it allowed us the freedom and flexibility to follow the children’s interests as well as providing opportunities to develop their soft skills, opportunities to apply learning from the core curriculum.”
Headteacher, Susan Davies explained that “for us, the Hi5 awards are a way of recognising attainment and achievement in a different format. We’ve got a lot of children in our school who don’t necessarily reach the benchmarks in terms of their academic progress and could very easily be turned off school… the Hi5 is a way of giving them the opportunity to achieve in a different way and also to learn new skills for their life.”
She told us that “post-pandemic, it’s not just about having a framework to work with other people but a framework to be more confident about expressing yourself and stepping into something that’s unfamiliar.”
Mrs DeSilva added that “post-pandemic… there is a real need for… an alternative way of accessing the curriculum because potentially some of these children didn’t access as much as we would have wanted them to.”
She emphasised, particularly for those children with additional support needs, that small-group settings provided essential nurturing environments for their learning and their confidence. Her Hi5 sessions ranged from cooking and crafts to exploring in nature and handling money: “it’s a really good opportunity for all of our kids to mix together no matter what their abilities and support needs… they learn from each other and work together as a team.”