St Giles Spencer Academy

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Learning Beyond the Classroom

Here at St Giles we value the benefits of using a range of learning experiences and spaces. As well as 'Learning Beyond the Classroom' being outdoor experiences, it is also accessing a range of purposeful, quality learning spaces which support and develop pupils learning as an extension of the classroom. Detailed below are a few examples of what we have on site here at St Giles.

The Learning Kitchen

At St Giles we have a purpose built learning kitchen which our pupils have regular access to. We value cooking as part of our curriculum and believe it is a crucial life skill. Our pupils are developing a love for learning through our cooking curriculum and enjoy taking part in weekly sessions where they learn about where our food comes from, food safety and hygiene, nutrition, healthy eating, exploring food and textures and following recipes. Baking and cooking offers a range of learning opportunities for children, primarily developing their social, communication and life skills and below is a list of how cooking helps with:   

Confidence – the ‘I made that!’ feeling boosts self – esteem and gives a sense of achievement

Concentration – cooking is hands-on and there’s a visible change at every step which can encourage concentration

Independence – being able to choose and prepare nutritious food are important for independence and well-being. Children learn life time skills such as counting, weighing, measuring and tracking time through cooking.

Communication and teamwork – through cooking children learn to express their ideas, listen to others and cooperate to achieve new goals

Curriculum subjects coming to life – cooking and nutrition activities are great for demonstrating essential maths, science and communication concepts in practice

Building relationships – enjoying food together can start friendships within the group and beyond

Food fears – helping to prepare your own food and explore textures and tastes can help children to overcome food fears and build food confidence

Coordination and fine-motor skills – cooking skills such as: stirring, rubbing in, rolling, grating, spreading etc. all develop coordination and dexterity in a fun and creative way

Teaching cooking to children also provides an opportunity to teach them about nutrition and healthy eating which allows them to make smarter food choices.

Immersion Room 

Our pupils have access to our immersion room where they can take part in sensory circuits. The initial aim of the sensory circuits programme is to facilitate sensory processing and effective sensory integration, allowing children to be in the optimum state of alertness, ready for learning.

Longer term benefits can include: 

  • Improvements in self-esteem
  • Development of physical skills
  • Differences in focus and attention and improved ability to settle down
  • Improved communication skills 

Dark and Sensory Room 

At St Giles we have a sensory room and a dark room which are accessible to all pupils. The rooms are designed to create a stimulating yet calming atmosphere which combines a range of stimuli to help individuals develop and engage their senses. Some of the equipment that our pupils can explore in these rooms include lights, sounds, an interactive floor, bubble tube, tactile boards, UV lights and much more.


There are a whole host of benefits, some of these include:

  • Sensory Stimulation – by encouraging the user to engage and explore the environment then it can have positive effects on their ability to react and interact with the larger world around them
  • Enhance Learning through Play – following on from this, sensory stimulation can engage different areas of the brain, helping children absorb and retain more information and better meeting the needs of the individual
  • Improve Balance, Movement and Spatial Orientation - Sensory rooms can help develop users’ visual processing abilities as well as their fine and gross motor skills, facilitating day-to-day living.
  • Tackle Problems With Behaviour - Sensory environments can be highly absorbing, providing a moment of comfort and calm for overactive and distressed individuals, and helping inactive individuals to feel better engaged.