Malvern Way play a blinder for Continuous Education
We were happy to be able to grant Malvern Way an award for three iPads. Computers primarily intended for teacher use are difficult to pass through our criteria. Whilst we fully appreciate that so much administration and preparation is done using ICT, we have to be convinced that the children are directly benefitting from the purchase. Emma Cole (Headteacher) made a strong case which drew on effective learning and adapting to the current COVID19 difficulties as well as explaining the children will also have some use of the equipment.
“We are bidding for 3 Ipads to support the introduction of continuous provision across our 3 Year 1 classrooms. We believe that the opportunity to continue to learn through a play based approach based on the beliefs of good early years practice is vital in supporting children in their return to school following the extended absence. As books are not used regularly learning is assessed and monitored online using a programme e.g. Seesaw or 2Simple (2build a profile) this will require a designated Ipad for each classroom. The Ipad will initially be used by staff for monitoring and assessing learning but will also give the children the opportunity to capture their own learning.”
Sarah argued strongly for the need to introduce Continuous Provision in Year 1:
“Malvern Way School will be introducing Continuous Provision (learning through play) in Year 1 following the abrupt end to the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This cohort of children will have missed more than a third of their Early Years experience and it is our intention to ensure the children return to a curriculum which is familiar to them to promote the best outcomes for all. By offering Continuous provision to our Year 1 children we believe this will support their well being as they return to a school routine. Allowing children access to Continuous Provision and giving them the opportunity to play will not only allow them to consolidate learning that has been taking place elsewhere but also allow them the opportunity to explore new concepts in a format that is familiar to them.
It is a growing belief that young children learn best through play and exploration with the opportunity to experience real life events that are linked to their learning. These play-based experiences enable the children to consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding and enable them to be become independent and resilient learners. Continuous provision supports and encourages our children and staff to have a lifelong love of learning.
We firmly believe that the development of basic skills will be enhanced through this approach and for many children who will not have accessed home learning this will be a more appropriate return to school. This will have a particular impact on children with SEND and also boys (who are more likely to have immature fine motor skills).”
St. Nicholas strike a “suite” deal.
We were pleased to fund three new PCs for St. Nicholas’s ongoing update of their ICT suite. Like many schools, St. Nicholas has some aging hardware which causes a number of problems as Sue Brinded (Office Manager) explained:
“A whole class can use the ICT suite with 2 children at each PC, but 4 of our PCs are virtually unusable which makes whole class learning a lot harder as 3 children then have to share a PC. This is causing huge frustration amongst the teachers and pupils alike but in particular with our special needs’ and disadvantaged children who need instant access to resources to prevent them becoming disengaged with the learning process.
We would hope the disadvantaged children would respond well to having newer hardware and would be motivated to work hard and engage better with their learning without the constant crashing of sites which is currently happening.”
When used well, ICT aids effective learning and we fully support the use of ICT to enhance learning across the curriculum. Sue went on to explain how important their ICT suite is to the school:
“The PCs are used by our lunch club which is for the children who struggle at lunchtimes and need to have quiet time away from their peers. They are also used by our after school club to enable children to do their homework. We also run a coding club to develop skills additional to those learned in the classroom. Following the recent lockdown, we are aware that many families did not have access to laptops or PCs so these children will need to catch up and will be given time to fill in some of the gaps that they missed over the last 6 months.
PCs are not just used for computing but all other subjects as well, so it is vital that we have hardware fit for purpose to deliver the missing curriculum to those children as well as for the rest of the school”
Broxbourne hammer home the importance of music education
Broxbourne CE school shopped around to find both a class set of ukuleles and a class set of glockenspiels for just under our maximum allowance and we were very happy to grant the award. Paul Miller (Headteacher) gave strong arguments for the wellbeing benefits of the application:
“Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are having to change the format of our weekly music lessons. Children's well-being has been significantly adversely affected by recent long periods of isolation and their well-being will need be at the heart of their education as we welcome them back to school from September. Music lessons are an opportunity for all children to express themselves and benefit from the therapeutic and restorative effect that music can have on their well-being. Able and less able alike frequently find a sense of calm as well as enjoyment for participating in music lessons. Singing has always been a high profile activity in our music lessons. Government guidance advocates that, due to the Pandemic, class groups should not sing together and so we are having to re-think how we can best use our valuable music lessons to gain optimum uplifting and invigorating benefits for our children's mental health and well-being…
Frequently we find that children who are not so successful in other areas of the curriculum are able to appreciate and excel in music and gain confidence which supports their development as they grow.”
The instruments are certainly going to be get full use…
“We hope to be able to offer an orchestra after school club for between 2 and 4 separate KS2 year groups... and will further enhance the children's musical enjoyment as well as increase the children's confidence and cooperation as they learn to perform together, albeit that performances will need to be online for the foreseeable future.”
Icknield Walk buy 30 ukuleles outright - no strings attached!
We were very pleased to award Icknield Walk First School a grant to buy 30 ukuleles. As we are all too aware, the current pandemic affects all areas of our school life and this includes music tuition as Jane Sherwood (Headteacher) explained in her application:
“We used to teach recorder to the year 2 children and then they would be able to join recorder club and play for assembly and concerts. However, we are not allowed to use recorders during COVID-19 (too much blowing!). We still want the children to be able to perform together musically and to learn music skills through playing together.”
For Jane’s school, the ukulele was an excellent choice of ensemble instrument for many reasons:
“The music teacher is able to teach Ukulele and is happy to train the classroom staff too. The ukulele is fairly easy to pick up and get a good outcome from so this is a good option.
They will have a sense of performance and achievement fairly quickly as it is quite an easy instrument to access. This will not only help their music learning but will give them a sense of being together again and part of a team (which they will need after the lockdown time). They will have the opportunity to perform for their parents and for assembly; recorded during COVID-19 but hopefully live once we are allowed to all be together again.”
Oak View children develop language whilst playing house.
We are very pleased to award Oak View Primary and Nursery School an award to buy a giant playhouse for their outdoor learning area. It is open-sided to make it more COVID19 secure and will bring many benefits to the children as Susan Wombwell (Deputy Headteacher) explained:
“As a school we value our outdoor spaces and recognise the importance they play in accelerating the children’s learning. At the current time, the need to provide an enhanced outdoor area is crucial. We need to enable children who find social distancing difficult to have distinct areas which will encourage safe collaboration and socialising which they have missed during time out of school due to Covid 19. Many of our children will have spent much of the lock down in a flat without access to a garden and as a school we want them to have as many opportunities to explore and be creative with the resources we provide.”
Susan explained that use of the playhouse will have a particular focus at Oak View…
“We wish to create a setting which will be alive with the chatter of small voices questioning and discovering. It is vital that we create an area which will promote the development of language through stimulating experiences which encourage engagement and the use of language.
Children start our school with a wide range of different language experiences. Some of our parents are able to build a rich language experience for their children but for a variety of reasons many of our parents may not be in a position to achieve this. The area will support the Nurture children, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children both during lesson times and break times. The opportunities it provides will encourage active, practical and collaborative learning which will foster the language development necessary for the children to fulfil their potential and enjoy life to its full.”
Tonwell St. Mary’s "ponder" no more how to improve their outdoor area
We were very pleased to award a grant to Tonwell St Mary’s school to develop their outdoor learning area. In her application (which arrived approximately 4 minutes after we opened the form for this year!), Sarah Bridgman (Headteacher) clearly explained the problem with their existing area:
“Currently, 90% of children are able to access Forest School for one hour per week. This is because there are some areas that are deemed unsafe, so we need at least two members of staff available to oversee each visit. We also have a small number of children with disabilities who are unable to access the Forest School for more than 10-15 minutes as there is no seating available for them. The disused pond is broken and dangerous - it half fills with water, is in the middle of the space and has hidden steep sides… with no seating… broken fencing and limited resources.”
And then her proposed solution:
“The money we are applying for would enable us to install seating, fix the fence, redevelop the pond area, build raised beds and purchase equipment and resources to enable all children in the school to take part in the redevelopment and upkeep of the area.”
We at EdufundUK are very keen on outdoor learning for its health, motivational and effective learning benefits. We were also very impressed by Sarah’s plans to involve the children themselves in the renovation and upkeep which will give them a sense of pride and ownership in the area.