Edufunduk are very pleased to announce we have awarded Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead the £10,000 Major Award in Effective Learning. The prize money will be used to set up a wildlife pond, observation tank and dipping platform on their site.
The huge benefits of outdoor learning were key to this winning application for Effective Learning. Tracy Doyle (Finance Director) coordinated an excellent bid which drew on research that showed learning outside can reduce stress, boost creativity and problem solving skills and greatly increase engagement and motivation. For SEN children, other research has shown contact with nature can reduce symptoms of ADHD.
The pond facility will be used for practical science lessons and environmental studies of natural British plants and wildlife as well as a general open-air study area.
We were very impressed with the range of pupils who will be learning more effectively in this outdoor area. Longdean School has above average FSM pupils and houses one of Herts LA's specialist teaching bases for Speech and Language Difficulties. They have close links with 5 primary schools (inc. two adjoining their site) who will be able to put such initiatives as "Thinking, Doing, Talking Science" into effect and and ties with groups such as Scouts and Cubs will ensure community use as well. To quote some of the research Tracy used:
‘Pupils in schools that were offered TDTS [Thinking, Doing, Talking Science] made three months’ additional progress in science compared with children receiving standard provision. Exploratory analysis suggested that the intervention had a greater impact on pupils eligible for free school meals, pupils with low prior attainment, and girls. Pupils who received TDTS also reported an increase in positive attitudes to science and science lessons.’ (Source, EEF)
Advice from other bodies such as the Boxmoor Trust and a secured donation of trees from The Woodland Trust also added weight to their application and shows outdoor learning around the pond area is only the beginning of a proposed Eco Hub for outdoor learning on the school's extensive grounds.
We wish them every success with effective learning around the pond and hope for a little rain to help fill it up!