What is Session Zero?
Session Zero is what schools often refer to as ‘form’ or ‘registration’ but, at Smithills School, it is where something extraordinary happens.
Session Zero is an opportunity for a form to come together to learn about personal development or real world issues, engage in debate and work towards a collaborative, unique, pupil-led work submission. In the past these have been raps, videos, posters, acts of charity work, and some rather amazing work.
There is also an element of competition to Session Zero, with forms being awarded trophies and prizes for gaining marks based on their submissions of work.
Pupils start every day with Session Zero and demonstrate progress in Session Zero in discussion as well as by handing in collaborative work once a month, on their set theme.
Session Zero also gives pupils the opportunity to consider their behaviour and attendance. They will constantly reflect on this and create a ‘moving on, signposts and arrows’ document, in July, to consider their successes and areas for development, to prepare them for the challenges of the next year.
Each year group, from 7-10, has a unique but interlinked curriculum, which is appropriate and challenging to the needs of their year group and helps to ensure they are ready to participate in the wider world.
Session 0 is delivered over 4 years to pupils containing non-statutory PSHEE, RHSE – including monetary themes, careers, mental health and wellbeing as embedded themes.
The Year 11 curriculum is focussed on preparing students for their upcoming examinations, ensuring they have the right examination-ready skills, careers advice and guidance for their next steps and mental health and wellbeing support.
The curriculum is updated regularly with current issues, quizzes and campaigns that impact the lives of learners and reflect our young people. We deal with the very real issues of food poverty, the rising cost of living, gambling, knife crime and the environment. We have embedded revision skills and teamwork throughout the curriculum so that pupils are more confident when preparing for examinations and are ready to work in a competitive market when they leave school.
Through discussion, debate and real-world examples, framed within clear boundaries, pupils can engage with challenging and topical issues whilst remaining well-mannered and respectful. Learning about the wider world, and the challenges faced within our own country and beyond, should better prepare our pupils for the modern world.
Some of the curriculum themes have been given to pupils to lead on and create lessons around. This is a continuing process over time, as we continually review and update the curriculum and its themes to ensure it meets the needs of our pupils in an ever changing world. Students have the option of participating in assemblies, giving pupils ownership of the development of their own learning. This is overseen by the SMSC coordinator, Head of Year and Session 0 Tutor to develop their Student Leadership skills.