We are very pleased to give a double award to St Mary's - one for STEM and one for Effective Learning. The school had to work hard for the awards as their original applications lacked some specific details about the items being requested, the need for them and their precise benefits. However, after supplying us with the requested details, it was clear that both projects were very worthwhile and fitted our criteria well.
The STEM award will buy St Mary's a Draper variable speed metalwork lathe which they desperately need for the students on their new BTEC engineering course. Their existing lathe is only useable with wood so the new one will not only ensure the full range of experience in the BTEC, but open the doors for a T level course in the near future. The STEM award also included a new oscilloscope and software to replace their outdated equipment. The new, multifunctional apparatus will link to their network and is far easier to use as well as being much closer to equipment their young physicists will use at university and in the real world.
St Mary's Effective also put in an Effective Learning bid for a type of project we haven't received before - a high quality video camera and playback system to support coaching and mentoring for teachers and other classroom staff. The school will record lessons, without the pressure of having a human observer in the room, and then the recordings can be used as a clear basis for discussing strengths and areas for improvement in teaching and learning etc. We thought this was a fantastic way to make learning more effective, with the lessons learned helping not only the recorded staff but all other teachers and classroom assistants. The training benefits will help all staff involved and their pupils for the remainder of their careers and so gained a big tick in our longevity criteria box.