Pupils at St Leonards School in St Andrews started the spring term with a splash thanks to a week one ‘dook’ in the North Sea.
The children in years 4-6 braved the waves at one of the school’s termly dips off the East Sands beach in the university town, making for a refreshing beginning to the new year.
For some, the challenge marked their third dook, after which they become fully fledged members of the Polar Bear Club at St Leonards, the values of which mirror those of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile.
Simon Brian, who took up the post of Head of St Leonards in August 2021, said: ‘Our junior pupils are encouraged to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, and take risks within reason. IB learners are risk-takers, they are open-minded, balanced, principled, knowledgeable and reflective. They communicate clearly and with confidence, they think great thoughts, care for one another, and ask great questions.
‘The spring term dook was my second since joining St Leonards with my own family at the start of this academic year, and I – wisely or unwisely – decided to brave chilly North Sea waters along with pupils and some of our hardy members of teaching staff. A huge well done to our pupils for their efforts to embrace the very bracing conditions. I can safely say they coped better than their head, and the post-dook hot chocolates back at school were more than welcome!’
The termly dook is just one facet in a broad programme of outdoor learning on offer at St Leonards, with pupils making the most of the neighbouring beach most days of the week for fractions in the sand, investigations into forces, Chariots of Fire-inspired races and more.
That’s in addition to campouts in the school grounds, cooking, crafting and learning around the firepit in the outdoor classroom, growing vegetables and bee-friendly plants in the St Leonards Croft, and tending to the school’s own colonies – the first batch of St Leonards Honey was harvested during the autumn term.
Duncan Barrable, Head of Years 4-6, who leads the outdoor education programme in the Junior years, explained: ‘Outdoor learning has become something of a buzzword in schools, although it has long been part of the ethos at St Leonards.
‘Research shows that 81% of UK teachers would like to be able to take their classes outside more often, and with the benefits of time spent outdoors for mental health, play and social skills, concentration and more, we are proud that at St Leonards it is very much part and parcel of the school week.
“Getting outside whether as part of an academic lesson, for sport, play or adventure, is incredibly important for the development of young people, and it is fantastic that our teachers at St Leonards are on board with our approach to learning, both in and outside the classroom.’
St Leonards delivers the inspiring IB curriculum from Year 1 up to Year 13, spanning the Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, and finally the Career-related Programme or Diploma Programme in the Sixth Form. It is a global approach to teaching and learning, which has been widely praised by students, parents and university admissions officers at leading UK and international institutions.
Simon Brian continued: ‘We are incredibly proud to be an all-through IB World School, and St Leonards is a prime example.
‘It is a curriculum that is both academically rigorous and broad, keeping doors open for whatever the future may hold for our pupils. It encourages a sense of community spirit, community service, and creativity, through music, drama, art and beyond, that is unrivalled, not to mention the opportunities to excel – and indeed simply to have a go – at a huge range of sports. Am I an advocate of the International Baccalaureate? Absolutely no question about it.’
St Leonards is a leading, coeducational HMC and IB World School, situated in the heart of St Andrews, Scotland, offering an outstanding boarding and day education for boys and girls aged 5-18. Places are available for entry into most year groups, although early registration is encouraged, particularly at key entry points.
For more information, or to make an enquiry, contact the admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org