The Grange Academy have author, Pippa, pop in.
We are very pleased to award the Grange Academy (Letchworth) an award for an author visit from Pippa Goodhart (Winnie the Witch, Flow). The visit will form part of the transition arrangements, combining the Grange’s Y3 with Y2 from their feeder infant school.
As deputy headteacher, Nicky Murphy, explained:
“We have run a number of transition initiatives before but this year want to focus on writing and decided that an author visit/workshop would act as fantastic inspiration to engage the pupils. Following the visit, the two schools will be completing cross-phase writing which will involve joint planning, assessment and moderation.”
The Grange is in an area considered to have a high deprivation factor and they have high percentages of PP and SEN children in their two Y3 classes. For this reason in particular, the school strives to expose children to wider life experiences they may not otherwise enjoy.
Nicky further strengthened her bid by explaining other benefits of an author visit:
“Author visits can be hugely inspirational to help motivate our young writers who might be otherwise disengaged with the subject. When we have undertaken similar visits in the past, it has also helped to boost the number of pupils wanting to read as they want to try out the books written by the visiting author. Within the new Ofsted framework there is a huge emphasis on early reading and we believe by inviting in real life authors this can only benefit this priority.”
Applecroft maintain their P.C. status
Applecroft Primary School (Welwyn Garden City) have been successful in their application for 5 new PCs to enable the school to better deliver the IT curriculum and successfully run their upgraded version of Windows.
As Odette Coe, Finance and Business Manager put it:
“Having new PC's will enable the IT curriculum to be taught effectively and efficiently. Children will be more engaged and enthusiastic as programmes will not crash and it won't take them an eternity to complete a task.”
If you are thinking of making a similar bid, please be aware that, as a small charity, we can rarely afford to fund the simple upgrade or replacement of core equipment. Successful applications are usually tied into a specific project to improve learning effectiveness (inc. motivation) and/or extend the school’s current offering of subjects and activities.
St Nicholas scheme to enhance reading
We are very pleased to award St Nicholas Primary School (Stevenage) a grant to introduce a new reading scheme, including graded reading books and teacher handbooks.
Many children will benefit from this project, as Sue Brinded, Office Manager, explained in her bid:
Not only just the whole school (up to 230 children) but also special groups of children including 34 children with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and 77 children with English as an additional language (EAL). This scheme would also benefit 47 children who are Pupil Premium (PP). These children would be split by class so not all taught at the same time but across the school week.
It was obvious from the bid that St Nicholas evaluated the reading scheme carefully before reaching their decision. Some of the (many) advantages they described are:
- The scheme is attractively produced and would enable children to access topic and areas of life they may not otherwise experience.
- This scheme is designed to promote thoughtful responses through its emotional fiction with realistic settings and which will develop children’s comprehension skills. This will be particularly helpful for those SEN children who can struggle with emotional issues.
- The books are finely levelled, making it easy to match every child to stories with the right depth and complexity for them, and helping them to progress.
- Inside cover notes to help children deepen their understanding and support their reading comprehension.
- This scheme supplements our existing scheme and plugs key gaps. Notes help teachers and parents to focus and develop key reading skills.
- Children love to see progress and this scheme allows them to move up through the levels whilst also gaining greater depth within each level.
- We know that these stories are also enjoyed by adults so we expect to see more parents reading with their children and will initiate this by inviting parents in to read with their child.
St. Nicholas further strengthened their bid by securing additional funding for INSET to ensure the school squeezes out the maximum benefit from the scheme.
Bromet show the sense of outdoor learning
We are pleased to award Bromet Primary School (Watford) a grant to enhance their outside learning area. As Ann Turner, Outdoor Learning Coordinator explained, the project will:
“…not just repair our outside learning area but also to add a much needed outside sensory area which the children would definitely benefit from. We intend to add a shelter, (decking), wind spinners, sun catcher, mirrors, a water feature, flowers; this will result in a safe relaxed natural outside environment.”
All the children at the school will benefit from the project…
“All the children in our school have the opportunity to participate in outside learning but there is a great focus the more vulnerable children, those with additional needs who struggle with the confinement of the classroom, children who would benefit from being outside… We have an after/before school club and a summer school club who will also benefit in using the outside learning, with an age range from 4 - 11 years of age.”
Ann augmented her bid with an impassioned argument…
“Playing with sand, water, mud, trees, stones and rocks, climbing natural and man-made heights to gain another perspective should be in every child's education. Human relationships with animals and other creatures can be among our most valuable and soul-searching experiences.”
Little Reddings show their steel
Little Reddings (Bushey) have successfully bid for a 15 player, Jumbie Class Pack of steel pan drums and playing guides by world-music specialist, Andy Gleadhill.
As Carly Rissen, Headteacher, explained:
"Using the same approach that has so successfully helped hundreds of generalist teachers to introduce African Drumming, Indonesian Gamelan, Brazilian Samba and other World Music styles in classrooms all over the UK, Andy Gleadhill’s Caribbean Steel Pan Book will show our teachers basic techniques and warm-up exercises which cover all the elements of music.
The session guidance within will help us progress rapidly through 10 weekly lessons, to the point that the class can perform a range of Steel Pan pieces confidently.
The Percussion Buddies book will show us how to develop percussion accompaniments for almost any piece, whether drumming, choral, ukulele or any other ensemble.”
Carly also strengthened her bid by explaining the wide range of learners who will benefit:
Children within Music lessons, Children's University clubs and our school orchestra will learn a different instrument. Our BME children will feel a sense of pride and inclusion within our curriculum. Music lessons will be fun and ensure depth of learning that will create real musicians. Children and young people at the other two schools within our Trust will have access to these resources too.
Leverstock Green dash to secure ten robots.
We were very pleased to award Leverstock Green (Hemel Hempstead) an IT award to buy five Dash and Dot robots, specifically designed for both KS1 and KS2 primary education.
As Sophie Azzopard, School Business Manager, explained:
"Dash is a ready assembled robot that has many features - it can drive around, move its head, detect objects, identify which direction a sound is coming from, record and playback sounds and communicate with Dot robots as programmed by the children.
Dot is Dash's companion. While Dot doesn't have wheels to move, it has lots of sensors and can interact with Dash as well as being used as a standalone device. Dot can hear sound, light up any colour you like, know when and how it is being moved and communicate with Dash.
Children will use challenge cards to learn the fundamentals of coding - sequences, loops, events, conditionals, functions and variables.”
The robots will benefit all classes as well as the school’s lunchtime coding club where pupil premium children will be specifically targeted. Also, the mixed age, after-school club will also have access to the robots.
Sophie strengthened her application further by pointing out:
“Although the resources are specifically focused on teaching coding, the activities using Dot & Dash will also have a positive benefit on pupils' ability to solve problems, apply logic and develop critical thinking. In turn, we anticipate this will benefit their learning in other areas of the curriculum…” and in the after-school club… “children will have the opportunity to develop their skills in multi-age groups, thus also improving communication skills”