School children from local primary Elmhurst Junior have been visiting Millfield to learn a variety of skills from the students. Year 11 students and Sixth Formers on the new Millfield Brilliance Award (MBA) initiative are teaching the children skills in art, drama and Chinese.
The Millfield Brilliance Award is a programme unique to Millfield, designed to enable students to build upon skills in four different areas of their personal development: Self, Wellbeing, Leadership and Global Awareness. MBA offers students the opportunity to volunteer their time, support, teaching and resources.
Elmhurst’s Year 5 pupils visit Millfield’s Fine Arts Centre weekly to practice their art skills with teacher and MBA lead, Gayle Bicknell. They have been working on a project inspired by British textile designer, William Morris, exploring plants and leaves through creating abstract, contemporary sponge prints.
An Elmhurst pupil said, "I enjoyed the older students helping us. It really helped us learn and do brilliant art and showed us how helping each other is good."
Head of English and Media at Millfield, James Baddock held a drama session with Year 6 pupils in the concert hall, exploring movement and space through a series of short exercises.
Languages teacher, Shuyi Li has been visiting Elmhurst weekly to host a Chinese Mandarin class with Year 5 children, with the lessons proving so popular that they've recently been increased to two per week. Millfield became Somerset’s first Confucius Classroom in 2019, a programme promoting Chinese learning to local schools and communities with annual funding and teacher support provided by the Chinese government. Children have been learning the language through singing, calligraphy, drawing and a variety of classroom activities.
Gemma Vian, Head of Design Technology at Elmhurst School, said, “All of the above has made our pupil’s learning meaningful, which is essential to quality learning and most importantly they have thoroughly enjoyed every minute and had fun.”
MBA lead, Gayle Bicknell, said, “It is wonderful to be welcoming Elmhurst children back to Millfield and we look to continue strengthening this relationship into the summer term and beyond. Seeing the development of the children’s work in such a small space of time is a joy to see.”
As part of the MBA, Millfield hosted the inaugural Brilliance Exchange, a ‘fresher’s fair’ style afternoon which included charity activities, a clothes exchange, food tasting sessions and live music to raise money for local charities. Students have set up other MBA projects including setting up a Pen Pal scheme with vulnerable adults and building overseas mentoring and environmental programmes.
Discover more about the Millfield Brilliance Award here.