At John F. Kennedy, we pride ourselves in the wide range of music opportunities we offer to our pupils.  We believe that it’s an essential part of every child’s education - all children are entitled to play instruments, compose and listen to music in school, every week.

Alongside our music curriculum, we enhance the music through a number of wider curricular opportunities.

Children sing every week in assemblies, and are taught songs for specific events through the year.  At Christmas and in the summer, children prepare performances in which they have to sing or play instruments. Year six perform their leavers' production, in July, for the wider school and their parents/ carers. We have put on a performance of Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (2022); Oliver Twist (2023) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2024).

All children have the opportunity to learn an instrument with their year 2 class during their time at school – led by a specialist music teacher.  Children also have the opportunity to continue and develop their learning in Key Stage 2 with visiting instrumental tutors who deliver lessons in violin, cello, guitar, clarinet, flute, saxophone, cornet, tenor horn, baritone and trombone.  Performances are given regularly to encourage children to perform their instruments in front of their peers and parents. 

The school also runs a Key Stage 2 choir, which performs throughout the year at events in the local area, including being regular finalists in the Sunderland City Sings competition, held at Sunderland Empire Theatre.

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At John F Kennedy, we understand the importance in providing our children with the chance to take part in residentials.  These take place within Key Stage 2 across years 4 – 6. 

Within these visits, we aim to provide all our pupils with a range of activities, that not only enhance the curriculum, but to also provide opportunities to a wide range of experiences to share with their friends.

During the 2023-2024 academic year, the following residentials took place:

  • Year 4 – Richmond (One night stay)
  • Year 5 – York City Break (Two nights stay)
  • Year 6 – Derwent Hill Outdoor Centre (Two nights stay)

Forest School

We use Forest School to provide a quality range of new experiences in the natural environment to give children creative and fun opportunities where they can access risk and challenge. We want children to learn through their play in the outdoors, to develop skills such as independence and resilience, allowing them to embed these skills in their everyday life.

Typical activities in forest school include:

  • Den building
  • Making sculptures and art with natural materials
  • Tool work e.g. shoves, loppers, bow saw, knives
  • Cooking on the open fire
  • Climbing
  • Tying knots
  • Whittling
  • Team games
  • Imaginary play

Risk Assessment

The Forest School programme will support young children to develop responsibility for themselves and others. It will even encourage early risk management strategies that will ensure that young children start to consider the impact of their actions on themselves and on others.

During any Forest school session, the safety and well-being of children and adults is paramount. There is always a qualified first aider on site during a forest school session and appropriate first aid kits are kept at the site base and are also carried by all first aiders. The emergency action plan is shared with all involved adults prior to any forest school session. All forest school leaders carry walkie talkies and are aware of any mobile spots in the forest or site in which they are working.

Wider Forest School Opportunities

There may be occasions where children have the opportunity to take place in forest school sessions off-site. This will further develop the skills they have learned at school and apply them in a real context. At times, within the year, there will be opportunities for parent/ carers to join their child in a forest school session and take part in a range of activities. In the past, we have held Halloween sessions and Father’s Day sessions which were very popular and well attended.


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Football Teams
We offer pupils the opportunity to represent the school by being part of the school football team. We have two teams: one is for all pupils in years 5 and 6 to be part of the school team, and the other is for girls in years 5 and 6. They have also had the opportunity to take part in a coaching session with a coach from a local football club.

Sports Leaders
Some of our year 5 children have recently taken part in Young Sports Leaders training. They participated in a range of activities which helped them to develop their leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. They listened and watched demonstrations carefully and followed instructions with confidence. They are now applying their new skills, when helping other pupils in school, during sports activities, break times and lunch times.

Teach Active
As a school, we like to provide opportunities for pupils to learn outside the classroom – including teach active sessions in English and maths. In one session, they were each given a card containing a decimal number and instructed to move around an area in a certain way e.g. side steps, star jumps, hopping. When their teacher put up their hand, they needed to find a partner so they could compare and order their fractions from smallest to largest and largest to smallest. They all enjoyed themselves and showed great knowledge and understanding!

Skipping Festival
Year 4 had a fantastic day at a Skipping Festival at the The Beacon of Light, Sunderland. Everyone had so much fun taking part in solo, partner and group skipping challenges. They showed good sporting attitude as well as determination to succeed. Each of them should be proud of their efforts!

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Mental Health

At John F Kennedy Primary School, we are committed to supporting the positive mental health and wellbeing of all pupils and staff in our school. We recognise that a child’s mental health is essential to have a positive impact on their social and emotional wellbeing and academic progress. We work with parents, carers and their families as well as outside agencies, to ensure we have an inclusive and welcoming environment, within our school and community.

We aim to promote positive mental health and wellbeing by adopting a whole school approach, where everyone feels valued and listened to, treating each other with respect and kindness, to develop good personal relationships. Through regular personal, social and health education (PSHE) sessions and assemblies, we teach our pupils the key principles and values to support good mental health and wellbeing. Targeted approaches and personalised learning, help support more vulnerable pupils, through interventions, adjustments and enhancements to the curriculum.

We have a school sensory room which is a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment which provides vulnerable pupils with personalised sensory input. This helps them to calm and focus themselves so that they are better prepared for learning and interacting with others. Pupils also have access to quiet spaces and sensory resources within their classroom and shared areas.

The school has also employed the services of a wellbeing and mindfulness coach. Children who have been identified by parents or staff as requiring further support can access a weekly block of activities, delivered over 6 weeks, for up to 30 minutes at a time. The activities are varied and geared to their needs and interests. Below you can see some of the resources used to support the children.

We access support from outside agencies, such as; Autism Outreach Team (AOT), Children and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS), Children and Young People Service (CYPS), the school nurse, who deliver interventions and provision for whole classes, small groups and individuals. We have recently employed the services of an Early Help worker, one day a week, who will support the school to access and deliver support to children and their families as soon as a problem or issue has been identified.

Please contact the school SENDCo for further information on support or to access other services from outside agencies.