The Oak-Tree Challenge Scheme – A Unique Initiative at the Oak-Tree Group

Pupils who attend the Oak-Tree Group of Schools have the unique opportunity to take part in the Oak-Tree Challenge, a scheme that was set up by the schools directly. The scheme is designed to challenge pupils, in both the Juniors and the Seniors, from Year 4 upwards. It provides incentive to participate in the huge variety of activities both inside and outside school. The aim is to encourage pupils to try new skills, including practical skills that are not part of the curriculum. There are also tasks that are based around helping others by providing a service, and also develop both team and leadership skills.

The aims behind running such a scheme at the Oak-Tree Schools are:

  • To recognise all the skills and interests of pupils – not just academic, sporting or musical achievements.
  • To encourage pupils to try new skills and challenges, including practical skills that are not part of the curriculum.
  • To encourage children to think about others and offer help through providing a service in school or out of school.
  • To develop leadership and teamwork skills.

The main elements of the scheme are as follows;

  • The scheme runs throughout the year from the first day of term in September until the end of June.
  • It is for pupils in Years 4, 5 and 6 at Oaklands and Coopersale Hall, and for pupils from Years 4 to 9 at Braeside and Normanhurst.
  • Each year the requirements become more challenging.
  • Each pupil can achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold award, depending on their enthusiasm, self-motivation and commitment to a skill or variety of activities during the years.
  • The scheme is designed to be achievable for every child, albeit with some additional work.

The Oak-Tree Scheme is voluntary and pupil-initiated. Some challenges are achievable in school time, others are designed to be undertaken out of school with parental support.  Throughout the nine challenges there is a mixture of skills and activities being assessed, including voluntary work and independent study.

For each stage there is a requirement for self-reflection that is intended to become more detailed as the children get older. Pupils can only progress to each next award once the previous one has been completed.

Evidence of the successful completion of challenges will be recorded in a logbook that must be kept up-to-date and completed by the pupils themselves. The supervising teacher, parent or other adult should countersign the relevant journal entry to verify the contents.

Bronze and Silver Awards are presented in the final assemblies at the end of each academic year, and Gold Award certificates are presented at each Speech Day and Prize Giving. All pupils who gain an award also receive a pin badge to wear on their lapel. The Awards are entered onto the pupils’ permanent records and may be referred to in future references.

The Oak-Tree Challenge encompasses many important skills that will be required for future schooling and, more importantly, adult life.