Skegness headteacher taking stress out of tests

Headteacher Caroline Wellsted is building a foundation to take the stress out of learning and make it fun. ANL-160905-122605001
Headteacher Caroline Wellsted is building a foundation to take the stress out of learning and make it fun. ANL-160905-122605001

Pupils at a primary school in Skegness are finding a new inspiration to help them overcome the pressures of tests and prepare them for the big world.

A strong focus on making learning fun and ‘bringing the outside into school’ is being driven by The Richmond School’s new headteacher Caroline Wellsted, who took over in January after being deputy-head for 10 years.

It’s all about empowering children to tackle whatever they have to do

Caroline Wellsted, headteacher

On the day the Skegness Standard visited, Mrs Wellsted was on reception because of a shortage of staff that day – a typical example of her hands-on methods of getting involved with every aspect of the running of the school.

She said: “I love my job. It’s about making the most for the children. They only have one chance at learning and my aim is to be more creative with the curriculum so children are inspired to learn and are not feeling under pressure when taking tests.”

This week hundreds of pupils across the county will be taking Standard Assessment Tests (SATs), just days after parents throughout England staged a one-day strike keeping children off school.

Many parents believe tests are hard and unobtainable for some and sap the fun out of learning.

No children were kept away from The Richmond School, but Mrs Wellsted said it was too early to see the results of the changes she has introduced. She said: “Exams are a fact of life - all we can do is our best to prepare the children so they don’t worry.”

The learning environment is the first thing that strikes you about the school - at the moment there is a project on Skegness and so beaches have been created in the corners of classrooms.

Outside a stage has been built in time for The Richmond School Talent competition, there’s a nature trail and an outdoor learning area.

Each day begins with children running and walking a mile before class, making it not surprising the school is now county volleyball champions.

Mrs Wellsted said: “It’s all about empowering the children to tackle whatever they have to do.”

Two of the school’s 11-year-old library assistants were preparing for their SATs tests. Jessica Bingham said: “I don’t mind tests in the subjects I like. One day I’d like to be a teacher.”

Grace Lewis Bettison said: “I love how they (the teachers) take your ideas and lessons are really entertaining.”

Read more:

School raises £224 for the NSPCC