Offley Trains in Resilience to Reap Rewards.
We were very interested in Offley Endowed Primary School’s (Hitchin) bid to train all their staff in a Resilience for Rewards program. As headteacher, Paul Edwards wrote:
“This is a 12 month commitment that begins with a whole school INSET and then becomes fabric of the school moving forward. It is intended that the impact of the programme will help sustain and promote learning at the school in all subjects and I am confident that it will help reduce stress, improve concentration in all lessons and lead to successful lessons, learners and outcomes. It will give the children many opportunities to be resilient, happy and make excellent progress. It will also engage teachers and support staff to be pro-active in their ability to teach the children techniques to put them in the optimal frame of mind to learn.
The training is just the start. I want it to be sustainable and also acknowledge that there are accountability systems built in for all school stakeholders. The programme will instil rituals and daily habits within my staff, creating significant upshift in results. Our Year 6 teacher trialled some of the techniques last year and I was particularly impressed how it helped our more vulnerable groups of children. It helped improve their self-esteem and the progress they made was exceptional. It also had a huge impact on the autistic children at my school to such an extent that I feel it a necessity to roll it out to the whole school.”
EdufundUK are particularly keen to fund teacher training for specific projects/skills as we feel this gives us the greatest longevity payback – benefitting all children and staff (through pyramid/in-school training) who the trained staff member has charge of for the rest of his/her career. The fact that the whole school will train together will help kickstart the initiative and consistency, mutual support and enthusiasm will massively benefit. Another strength of the bid was the positive experience from a trial of the techniques in last year’s Year 6 and the school’s commitment to pay the extra costs from its own training budget.
Holtsmere Go Back to Nature!
Edufund UK are delighted to award Holtsmere End Infant and Nursery School (Hemel Hempstead) a primary award to buy a large “Wigwam Warrior” bell tent and ten all-weather suits.
Holtsmere have already invested heavily in training one of their staff up to a Forest School Level 3 Lead Practitioner and preparing a path and ground in their woodland area. Our award will now enable them to follow the Forest Schools curriculum with each child taking part in a six week programme every year. Holtsmere also run a Nurture Group for children with anger issues, speech difficulties, social difficulties and other challenges which will also have access to the Forest School facilities. As headteacher, Nicola O’Connell put it:
Many of our children live in flats and do not have direct access to the outdoors. We are fortunate that our school is surrounded by trees, of which there are many species. This would allow the children to experience a different type of learning in a calm, peaceful and natural setting.
2nd Bid - Arts
We were very pleased to pass Holtsmere End Infant and Nursery School’s application for a collection of Forest School equipment. This bid followed their earlier successful application to us for a Forest School shelter (see above). We shall be funding a whole host of outdoor goodies such as loppers, wheelbarrows, a tarpaulin and all-in-one suits.
Nicola O’Connell (Headteacher), waited until the shelter was in place and a staff member trained in First Aid before applying so the equipment could be straight away (present circumstances permitting). We are very keen on outdoor learning – as Nicola explained, there are so many benefits:
All of the children will benefit from learning new skills outdoors. They will experience things that they may not have the opportunity to do outside of school. These opportunities may spark an interest and love of outdoors and increase their self-esteem and confidence especially if they overcome fears and difficulties when completing tasks.
In the current situation, now more than ever, children need to build up their resilience and have appropriate opportunities to do so.
Holtsmere End’s bid was a good example of a school spreading their yearly £1,000 maximum allowance across terms for when they can actually realise the benefits of each project.
Tonwell hit the right tone and K'Nect with a second bid!
We are very pleased to award Tonwell St. Mary’s Primary a Arts Primary Award for a cacophony of musical instruments including percussion sets, a Yamaha keyboard, glockenspiels, a Rainbow Range instrument set and notation whiteboards.
Tonwell are a tiny school of 42 pupils and have a very small budget which makes large, non-core purchases like this very difficult to afford. All children will have access to the instruments during their music/performing arts lessons and also after school in their wraparound provision. The award should really help the pupils who are underachieving in music at the moment due to lack of equipment and we wish them well… perhaps we should have included some ear-defenders for the teachers!
I should have done a before and after photo... This is the after. Our music resources were minimal and poor quality before. The Edufund money has paid for 95% of what you see in the photo.
Our school is so grateful for the funding of this equipment. As a small school, we would never be able to prioritise music on this scale from our main budget or even from our fundraising. The donation will make a significant difference to the delivery of our music curriculum for now and for the future.
Thank you to everyone involved with Edufund. It is really going to make a difference at our school.
Tonwell St Mary’s K’Nect with a second bid
Hannah Robinson-Moore, Science Coordinator at Tonwell St Mary’s, took full advantage of our open invitation to primary schools to make further bids if they haven’t used up their £1000 maximum in the academic year. We were very pleased to award Hannah a grant to buy various sets of K’Nex equipment including Simple Machines: Levers and Pulleys, Gears and Bridges. Hannah made a good case for their second application:
Last year the children in KS2 took part in a K'Nex challenge. Unfortunately, they were not able to get the most out of the sessions because of their lack of experience with practical STEM resources. The teachers recognised the potential of K'Nex in engaging the children in meaningful, exciting STEM learning experiences, so this year we would like to invest in K'Nex supplies, not only for the K'Nex challenge, but also for science and maths lessons and the children's topic learning, such as Roman bridges and Ancient Greek catapults.
Gade Valley Tread the Boards!
We are delighted to award Gade Valley Primary School an award to set up an outdoor theatre in their very exciting “outdoor theatre project”. This will include staging, backdrops and benches etc.
The theatre will not only enhance performing arts throughout the school, including afterschool clubs, but also help speaking, listening and social skills. The older children will also develop their leadership skills by leading rehearsals etc for the younger ones.
We Pick Pixmore for their Massive Writing Project
We were very pleased to award Pixmore School (Stevenage) a Primary Award to support their fabulous, multi-school creative writing project. The award will buy over a hundred books and give a contribution towards trophies and venue hire for their celebration evening. As Sarah Inman (Deputy Head) writes:
The writing project began as a partnership last year between 5 junior schools and the impact it had on the pupils, families and staff involved was enormous. The project was based around a book and staff created 3 weeks of engaging, creative lessons which resulted in the children producing some amazing writing, displays and models.
As part of the project, we held a competition between the schools where children could showcase their work and were nominated for best writer in their year group (the Chairs of Governors selected the winners). They were then recognised at an awards evening, complete with trophies, which aimed to celebrate the children’s endeavour, progress and skills in writing.
We were very impressed with the scale of this project – this year it has been expanded to include 9-10 schools – and the resulting huge number of pupils who will benefit. A real strength of the bid was the reported success of the previous years in progress made by the children, moderation and collaboration benefits for staff as well as the motivation and excitement generated for everyone involved.
Let’s give Sarah the last word:
In the first year of running the project for my own school, we saw 45%+ of each cohort making progress in the 3 weeks of the project alone. For many that showed accelerated progress by the end of the spring term as they were able to continue to put their enthusiasm and enjoyment for writing and vocabulary into other units beyond the initial project.
Icknield Walk Go Potty!
We were delighted to award Icknield Walk Primary School (Royston) a Primary Award to fund their project to give every child an opportunity to work with our local ceramic artists to make a piece of pottery and decorate it and have it fired in the kiln. The piece of pottery will be linked to a piece of topic work in class and the type of work will allow a progression of skills over the age range, so each year group will have a different focus. Also, during each of the sessions the teachers will also be given a piece of clay to produce their own object - this will enable the teachers to have some INSET on how to make a clay piece, so they can use their skills to teach children in the future.
We were very impressed by the number of children this project will benefit and the tie in with each year group’s current topic to reinforce and enliven learning. Our important longevity box was also ticked by the training/experience Icknield Walk’s staff will receive. In addition to this, the school have committed to repeat the exercise for two year-groups each year to reinforce the skills and repeat the excitement and motivation creating and keeping a piece of fired pottery will doubtless bring.