Veritas Primary Academy opened as a brand new primary academy in September 2015 and has since established itself as a ‘good’ school with Outstanding aspects of personal development and nurture. At Veritas Primary Academy our vision is one of aspiration, enrichment and opportunity. We wantVeritas to be a place where children make happy memories and where they aspire to be the best they can and through learning opportunities and high-quality enrichment.
All staff received a full day’s training on how to deliver the program and understanding the benefits of CJ’s. Mini missions used as part of the sports day events across all key stages
Each class has a 45 minute-1hr session each per week as part of the curriculum.
Each classroom displays the seven characters from the CJ’s program and class teachers refer to these across the curriculum so that children are able to identify that these characteristics are useful in all areas of life.
Reflection: children complete several pieces of work throughout the term to enable them to consolidate their learning about the explorer/adventurer/topic. They also spend time discussing what characteristics they have improved on, any difficulties they have had, they are also encouraged to look ahead and identify a characteristic they would like to improve on during the next term.
There are a lot of reasons why we thought the programme was a good fit for our school. We have a large number of military children who attend our school so the programme was right on point for something a lot of our children could relate to. For those who don’t have immediate connections to the military, being close to the base means we see a lot of military personnel and vehicles in and around Stafford; it is a part of our local community make-up. Additionally, we have a lot of mobility within our school. The CoJo’s programme meant this is an area the children aren’t behind in or have missed learning in. They can jump straight in and have a go, building relationships and confidence from day 1.
Finally, the RESPECT programme fits with our school values and encourages children to be more adventurous, take risks and spend quality time outside of the classroom. At Veritas we chose to use the programme to enable children to develop their social skills, interpersonal relationships and to help shape them into determined young people, ready to face the challenges of the modern world. We have increasingly noticed a lot of young people with social, emotional and mental health issues or generally lacking in resilience and could really see how the programme could contribute to building this up in children in a fun and meaningful way. As a school, we aim to improve the self-awareness of our pupils and cultivate a mindset that contributes to them looking at themselves and others from a different perspective. We feel Commando Joe’s helps develop cultural, physical, spiritual, moral and social wellbeing across the whole school and extends each child’s understanding of British Values.
The children have weekly sessions in which they complete missions based on the adventures of a specified explorer/hero/heroine, children learn about different parts of the world, overcome problems, use critical thinking and work in collaboration with each other. Commando Joe’s is widely celebrated in school, in our social media and Pudsey even met our CoJo bear during our Children In Need appeal week activities.
The pupils at Veritas look forward to their lessons each week, they take responsibility for setting up and packing away the equipment safely. The children’s ability to work together to solve problems has improved, their communication skills have advanced and they are able to recognise what makes a good team leader. We have seen those children who do not feel they are good at PE flourish and become more confident not only in CJ’sbut in other areas of the school as well.
At the end of our first year these are just a few statements that the children said:
“I think Commando Joe’s is really good because it has helped me work with people that I wouldn’t normally choose. I don’t really like PE because I am not very good at it, but now I am doing much better and I am much more positive about myself.” Year 6 girl
“I like CommandoJoe’s because you have to use your imagination, I found this hard, but it’s much easier now.” Year 5 boy
“I really liked learning about Steve Backshall, the missions were lots of fun and I think it helped me learn about wildlife.” Year 1 boy
“I used to be shy and didn’t really like doing CommandoJoe’s but now I really like it and it has helped me become more confident.” Year 3 girl
“I don’t really like getting dirty, but when we doCommando Joe’s it doesn’t matter.” Year 2 girl
We’d like to thank Veritas Primary Academy for providing information for our case study.