Enrichment & Extra Curricular
Education at Beacon Academy is about much more than academic achievement. Our excellent programme of enrichment activities and experiences is designed to complement the academic curriculum, promote employability, and help students broaden their horizons, develop independence and interpersonal skills. These skills have benefits well beyond the classroom.
We offer a wide range of activities to all students from all year groups, encouraging them to pursue and develop their interests and abilities, to gain valuable learning experiences outside of their studies and form long-lasting friendships with students from other year groups.
Students are given regular opportunities to visit some amazing places as part of our enrichment programme. From day trips to museums, galleries, exhibitions, theatres and universities, to longer residential trips both in the UK and abroad including France, Germany, Ypres, New York and the Gambia.
We run a full programme of extra-curricular sports and athletics at various times throughout the year. All year groups are encouraged to participate in a wide range of team and individual sports, including boys’ and girls’ football, netball, hockey, rugby, basketball, tennis, trampolining, fitness, gymnastics, dance and the traditional Sussex game of stoolball. Indoor football and basketball clubs are on offer during lunch.
Our students compete against local schools, and in national tournaments. Beacon Academy has an all-female and male dance company that compete nationally. Our Beacon Curling team are National Champions, with team members regularly selected to play for England in the Junior World Championships.
The annual Beacon Academy 10km Sponsored Walk takes place in September, and is an event in which the whole school can participate. All students and staff enjoy rising to the challenge to raise funds for school resources and local, student-nominated charities.
Founded in 2013, our thriving Beacon Curling Club has grown tremendously in popularity and continues to progress from strength to strength. Curling is a Winter Olympic sport, and is fantastically inclusive, promoting teamwork and allowing people of all ages and abilities to participate and excel.
Beacon Curling has mixed teams that regularly compete against each other and against other schools. At the beginning of the school year, Year 7 students are invited to a taster day and can sign up to join the team. Taking advantage of our close proximity to England’s only curling rink, team members practice weekly during the season and enjoy strong links with the England Curling Association (ECA). Our dedicated curling coach is coach for the England team, as well as a professional player and president of the local curling club.
Beacon Curling teams travel to Scotland to compete in the English Schools Curling Championships in March and are the current National Champions.
Our students also have further opportunities beyond representing their school, with members taking part in the Kent and Sussex Junior Curling Club. Some are even selected to travel to Italy and Finland to play for England in the Junior World Championships. Some of our students that have now moved on to higher education and work are still playing for England Curling.
Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM)
Beacon Academy is proud to be part of the Royal Academy of Engineering Connecting STEM Teachers project, taking a leading role in East Sussex and Kent.
At LEGO Robotics after school club students take part in the Tomorrow’s Engineers EEP Robotics Challenge, a curriculum-linked programme that sees students working together in teams to solve real-world engineering, technology and computing challenges within a time limit. Using the LEGO® MINDSTORMS® equipment and software, students learn how to build, program and control autonomous LEGO robots to complete a series of short, exciting aviation missions. Students must also create and give a presentation on competition day on a science based topic. The competition is run by Tomorrow’s Engineers with support from the RAF Youth Engagement Team and this year will be focused towards the RAF Centenary celebrations. Last year’s competition was created alongside NASA and involved Space-based challenges. Beacon Academy won the South East regional heats and went to the national final where we came 15th out of approximately 250 schools.
Geography students visit the coastal towns of Newhaven and Seaford in Year 8 to investigate the role of coastal management in shaping our coastline. We visit Birling Gap and Eastbourne as part of our Year 10 GCSE course and in Year 12 Geography and Geology students take a residential trip to Dorset.
In the near future we plan to run a Fossil Club or Mineral Club for those students interested in Geology.
History offers Year 9 students a day trip to Ypres to explore the trenches of World War I and to experience a reenactment of the 1914 Christmas truce.
Latin Club runs after school and is designed to enable students in Years 8, 9 and 10 to work towards a GCSE equivalent in Latin.
Modern Foreign Languages
Every September in celebration of the European Day of Languages, KS3 hold a European Bake Off, and our Year 7 students are invited to a European Breakfast hosted by Years 10, 11 and 12.
The department runs a number of regular residential trips to France and Germany, working alongside different departments to enhance the curriculum. In Year 8 students can combine their study of history, geography and modern languages with residential visits to the historic town of Boppard, in the Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and to Normandy to discover Mont St. Michel, Honfleur, Bayeux and the British War Cemetary. In Years 9 and 10 students can develop their studies in Art or History with visits to Paris and Berlin.
In Year 12 students organise work experience trips to Europe with Halsbury Travel. Sixth Form students are also encouraged to apply for and are succesfully awarded with work experience and study placements to Germany organised and funded by Pädagogischer Austauschdienst, an organisation promoting international exchange and cooperation in the school sector.
Students are encouraged to use and practise their foreign language skills regularly at a variety of school time clubs and catch up sessions. KS3 Duolingo Language Club and Year 11 catch up sessions run weekly throughout the year.
Graphics and Photography students visit Kew Gardens in Year 10. This trip informs a Graphics project on Botanical Illustration and a Photography project on Pattern.
In Year 12, A-level Photography students visit Hastings.
Our students are selected to participate in the prestigious Farley Arts Trust Awards, a showcase celebrating the creative achievements of young people across schools and colleges in East Sussex. This year, five Beacon Academy students were selected for the exhibition and scooped two awards, presented by special guest David Dimbleby.
Art and Design Technology Keep Up club is on offer for Year 11 students on Thursdays after school.
Beacon Performing Arts
Our Creative and Performing Arts programme offers a full calendar of clubs, events and competitions throughout the year. We place great value on the creative arts as a vehicle to teach personal learning and thinking skills such as communication, confidence, teamwork, creative thinking and problem-solving whilst providing Beacon students an opportunity to stretch beyond the curriculum.
Our newly renovated stage, top of the range professional lighting rig, mirror-lined studio with barre and fully-sprung wooden floor offer the ideal setting in which the students can develop their creativity and perform. Students are encouraged to use the space, with regular Open Studio sessions for rehearsal, catch up and choreography. Dance is popular at Beacon, and there are dance clubs that run every term for all year groups. We have all-female and male dance companies that compete at national level, a Youth Theatre and Backstage Club, Choir, Chamber Orchestra, Music Tech and a variety of instrumental music clubs.
Some highlights of the year:
- Christmas Carol Concert - a wonderful festive celebration at All Saints Church with performances from our Choir, Drama group, Steel Pan group, orchestral arrangements and a performance from our Year 11 band.
- Rock Challenge – students compete in the UK heats of this international competition. Students create and are involved in their own production from conceptualisation through to the live performance.
- Spring Dance Festival – Beacon creates performance opportunities for local primary schools at this popular event, showcasing work from the community, KS3 – KS5 Beacon students and the Beacon Dance Companies.
- Creative Arts Day - throughout this event our Year 7 and 8 students experience an array of activities led by industry professionals including workshops in Dance, Drama, Music and Crafts. Students attend workshops and classes with The Brighton School of Contemporary Theatre Training (BRICTT), Stagecoach and Universal Dance to explore all aspects of performance and backstage craft.
- BeaconFest – a fantastic summer event and an opportunity for musicians to perform for their peers, families and community members in a fun, festival setting.
- Choreography Days at University of Brighton and Trinity Laban Conservatoire – GCSE and A-Level students attend technical and creative classes and careers talks promoting higher education.
- Joss Arnott – Having led master classes with a range of year groups, Joss has invited Beacon Students to open his Contemporary Dance tour in collaboration with two other outstanding schools in the county.
Our Diversity Club at Beacon Academy meets regularly each week and we celebrate difference! . The club has been running for three years now and is very well-established, with the initiative receiving the prestigious Speaker’s School Council Award in 2016. We welcome students, staff and their friends from across the LGBTQ spectrum; equally we welcome students and staff of all ethnicities. We are an open, accepting group of people who are proud to champion diversity at Beacon. It is a relaxed, happy group. All the staff and students wearing a rainbow badge at Beacon Academy are able to provide more information and support about the club.
A number of student support services across different subject areas run throughout the year. Students can attend regular keep up sessions, joining specialist intervention and support programmes designed to assist with learning and revision:
• Core 5 is an IT Literacy programme. Students with lower literacy skills complete this in Years 7, 8 and 9 at tutor time.
• All are welcome to our after school study support session after school on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
• Year 11 students attend a coordinated Keep Up session after school.
• Speech and Language intervention runs at tutor time. This is run on a 1:1 or small group basis.
• We also run Worry Buster which is a programme for anxious and worried students in Years 7, 8 and 9. This is run in small groups at break time.
• We also run Maths and Reading support interventions at tutor time for specific students from all year groups.
Enrichment at Beacon Sixth Form
For over twenty-five years, students from Beacon Academy Sixth Form have been visiting villages in the Gambia.
“Students involved in this annual trip describe it as ‘life-changing’” Ofsted
The Gambia is one of the poorest countries in Africa and each year fifty or more Beacon Sixth Form students spend one week of their time helping ten rural communities develop and move towards self-sufficiency. Many of these villages receive no other visitors from outside of Africa during the year.
The students have a first-hand experience of life in African villages which no tourist would ever be able to replicate. In preparation for the trip they raise large amounts of money – last year in excess of £50,000.
During the trip itself, the students research life in the villages and then democratically distribute the funds they have raised amongst some really worthwhile projects. In recent years they have supported such things as school buildings in Banjul, Bumari, Kolior, Generi, Tendaba and Brufut, water infrastructure in Woorakang, health care in the Kwinella region, and agricultural projects in Bambako and Nema Kuta.
The trip greatly benefits the people in these village communities, but our students also benefit enormously from this as a learning experience, enhancing their practical, organisational and decision-making skills.
Our Sixth Form students are further prepared for the transition to higher education and work with UCAS visits, a Wealden Careers Fair and an Enterprise Day. Last year we staged a successful Brexit debate where two of our students debated local politicians.
Discover our Gambia blog created by students