According to headteacher Edison David, if you ask his pupils what they have done over half-term, they are likely to reply: “We went to Tesco.”
The knowledge that some children have few opportunities outside of school has galvanised Vauxhall Primary to put in place a formidable array of enrichment activities.
There are 21 after-school clubs: most charge a nominal £1 and the rest are free.
But the south London school has also built up a wide range of partnerships with outside organisations.
There is a long-standing relationship with the Southbank Centre, home of the Royal Festival Hall and the Hayward Gallery, and the school is a regular port of call for visiting artists and performers. Pupils stage an annual concert at the centre.
The Royal Ballet is also a frequent visitor, while the school hosts volunteers from professional services firm Deloitte. Year 5 spend a week at a farm in Gloucestershire through the Farms for City Children charity, founded by author Michael Morpurgo, while Year 6s spend a week with IntoUniversity, a scheme aiming to raise aspirations among children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Drama is well-represented. Years 4, 5 and 6 stage original plays at a children’s theatre, while Years 5 and 6 perform abridged Shakespeare plays at another nearby theatre.
There are also regular trips. It’s only the second full week of term and Year 2 have already been to the London Aquarium.
“We know there are lots of obstacles for our families, because we know our families so well,” says Year 2 teacher Natalie Graham. “We don’t just want to send out to secondary school children who are perfect in maths and know their times tables. We want to send out well-rounded children who know there is a bigger world than Vauxhall.”