A primary school teacher in Southampton has even created a replica yacht for her students and plans to Skype the race teams

I then started to look at how we could incorporate the Volvo into our everyday school work. So I started to base every day maths lessons round the race. This has had a huge impact on the children’s learning and motivation.

I have designed various problem solving aspects, to suit different key objectives from the National Curriculum and as soon as the children know it is a day for Volvo maths, every child is motivated and engaged ready to learn. Maths lessons have sometimes carried on for nearly 2 hours, because the children just don’t want to stop!

I have a range of abilities in my class and giving them different options has seen the children really challenging themselves to try more difficult tasks and develop their numeracy skills.

To see their total engagement and focus has been incredible. But it has also developed their speaking and listening language skills. Some of my children, for whom English is not their first language, are able to communicate with other children, by talking about the boats, the race and this has helped them to become more integrated into the class.

Jo’s top tips for getting children engaged in the Volvo:

  • Make it as real as you can for the children – use video links, the internet etc for them to experience what is going on.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask people for help. I have contacted so many companies and sailing organisations.
  • Make links to everyday lessons in class, to engage the children.
  • Don’t be afraid to take risks. Taking 30 children on a race yacht is a risk, but knowing how much they will enjoy it, makes it so worth it!!
  • Make use of local resources.
  • Get on the Virtual Regatta.
  • Get the parents involved.
  • Make as many links to the curriculum as you can. This way the children become totally emerged into it rather than just something you do every now and then.
  • Enjoy it and have fun!

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