Greenfields literally plug a perceived gap.
We were very pleased to award Greenfields a grant for a huge range of books. The collection ranged from specific topic-based collections, to whole-class guided reading sets and great fiction, non-fiction and poetry titles from carefully curated reading passport lists.
We do like to hear about a specific, identified need for a bid and Kate Day (Headteacher) showed Greenfields’ needs clearly in her application:
“We have just revised our KS1 and EYFS phonics scheme and now need to focus on KS2 reading and enjoying reading. Our data shows that we are particularly weak in promoting and enthusing boys to read. Several staff now have this as a performance target. We have written age specific targets for all children but on reviewing our book offerings we have realized that boys books are not particularly engaging and our girls books lack in positive female role models. Our school is not very diverse either so one another thing we would like to do is purchase some texts which support widening our diversity understanding.”
Kate also told us how the books would be used and gave us examples of who and how the books would help:
“We have introduced 3o'clock reads in every class for this purpose - but now need engaging, enthusiastic texts which inspire the children to read. As we are developing our reading and phonics, we have realized that the cost of specialist books is huge and currently we only have one copy of each. Being able to have more would mean we can send more home and children will have more opportunities to read.
This would also support not just out class teachers but our phonics assistant who teaches in all classes N-3, our nursery nurses and our community by spreading the message of diversity and BLM through our children.
More opportunities to read, more choice in books, more willingness to try a text, more engagement in reading and wanting to read, all lead to better reading skills, better access in class and attainment results leading to better life chances in the future.”
Brookmans Park’s Lenovo Laptops Lift Lockdown Learning.
We were pleased to award Brookmans Park Primary School an award for three Lenovo laptops.
Understandably, we have a lot of applications for laptops in these difficult times. Whilst we appreciate the need, each bid still has to explain how the laptops will be used, who will use them, what benefit using a laptop will bring and the longevity of the benefit. Andrea Pollington (Assistant Head) produced a strong application which covered all these points well.
Who will use the laptops:
“…to support our catch-up groups across the school. Since lockdown we have worked hard to try to close the gap particularly with our vulnerable children, who did not have access to learning at home.
We are running daily small booster groups in maths, writing and reading throughout the school and we would really benefit from at least three more laptops for children to share and become familiar with accessing online learning independently.”
How will they be used:
“We have introduced MYMaths and google classroom as well the continued use of 'Timetables Rockstars', all of which are helping these children to catch up. These computers would also be used if a family has to self-isolate at home for 14 days so they can continue their learning. We have at least ten families that have no access to online learning without these extra computers, as the laptops we already have need to be utilised during the school day.”
What are the longer-term benefits:
“Long term these laptops will support booster groups and intervention groups in all areas of the curriculum and will be utilised by all children across the school.”
How will using laptops help learning:
“Lockdown and self isolation have proved very difficult for so many families and the use of these laptops will help and encourage children to re-engage with their learning in their homes. It will give them access to google classroom and MyMaths, so that if they have to isolate they will not fall further behind. At school it will allow them to participate in booster groups, pre teaching and wellbeing interventions. We are very aware as a school that Mental Health underpins everything we do and being able to fully participate and not be hindered in their learning opportunities will boost their wellbeing.”
Hertingfordbury Cowper provide a stable atmosphere!
We were very pleased to award Hertingfordbury Cowper C of E Primary School a grant to bring a live animal, Ark Farm nativity event into their school.
One-off trips and events, whilst exciting and motivational, are very hard to get through our depth, breadth and longevity of learning criteria so Lorraine Gauld (Headteacher) had to really go into detail about the learning benefits of the visit.
Lorraine explained how the visit would tie into a wide range of learning across the school:
“The visit by Ark farm would link to the 'Understanding the World' for the Nursery and Reception children, whereby their would be able to make sense of their physical world as well as being able to explore, observe and find about about a range of different animals. Also to the KS1 Science curriculum for Year 1 being 'Animals' and our Year 1 class are studying a topic called 'All creatures Great and Small' and also for our Year 2 class who also have 'Animals' as part of their Science curriculum but also go on to learn about 'Living Things and their Habitats' to have a greater understanding of different animal groups, where they live and the food they eat in their topic unit called 'Staying Alive'.
Then in the afternoon, this experience will then turn to one with an RE focus for the whole school, we will be using the animals as part of a living nativity to learn and retell the Christmas story. This will be directly linked to the RE curriculum of the school as we link the different parts to Bible passages, prayers and songs. Children will also be using this experience back in class to develop their own narratives of the Christmas story (including a range of genre, prayer, poetry and recount) as well as greater depth levels of study further up in KS2 as they analyse the different accounts in the gospels of the Christmas Story. Again, not only will this be an innovative way for the children to access their RE curriculum, it will be a learning experience have a lasting impact on their memory of such a visit but will make the story come to life for the children. We will also be able to promote our music and drama curriculum through this living nativity with children acting out parts themselves and older children providing the music - giving them an opportunity to perform in front of an audience.”
Lorraine then went on to explain more reasons why the visit would enhance learning in these areas:
“Being able to have the animals in school, and for more than one class (which would usually be the case with a class trip) means the children will have hands-on experience with their learning, enhancing their learning in one of the most valuable ways as we learn best when we 'do'. All of the sessions will include 'question and answer sessions' giving the children opportunities to use their own enquiry skills to lead their own learning from the experience.
…A key focus of the current curriculum is 'knowing more and remembering more', these hands-on sessions will give that key to giving the children the real experience of learning about animals, their habitats, life-cycle, what they eat etc... in front of their eyes.”
As well as the visit being the focus and inspiration for so many areas of learning, the school are also going to film the nativity for parents to enjoy. This can also act as a lasting resource for future years and so helps tick our longevity of benefit box.
To further strengthen her bid, Lorrain also highlighted the wellbeing benefits of the visit:
“We feel not only will this benefit the outlined curriculum areas but will also go a long way to promoting positive well-being for both our children and staff in what would usually be a time of great celebrations, concerts and performances.”
I’ll leave Lorrain with the last word:
“What better way to enhance the progress of the children than being able to live their learning.”
"...just to let you know that our visit from Ark Farm went ahead as planned on Tuesday 15th December - thank you for the funding. The children enjoyed and learnt a great deal from the workshops in the morning and then our Living Nativity in the afternoon was truly magical. We have put together a little video of that on our school website and I had so many lovely emails from the parents giving their thanks for the memories this would have created for their children, for being able to feel part of a Nativity even though they couldn't be at school and also being able to think outside of the box to think of a way for our children to enjoy the Christmas celebrations. The children have already carried on with this learning experience, writing recounts, etc... this term."
There is a lovely highlights video of the nativity on Hertinfordbury Cowper's website.
Hertingfordbury Cowper build back better with blended learning.
We were pleased to give a second award to Hertingfordbury Cowper C/E School to take them to their £1,000 limit for this academic year. This grant covered the majority of 2 iPads, cases and Lightspeed apps for their Year 4 class.
We have been happy to help with many much-needed I.T. based bids centring around home/remote learning during the COVID19 pandemic and in each one, we have looked carefully at the longevity of the project e.g. what benefits with the equipment/training/software bring after the children return to school. Lorraine Gauld (Headteacher) addressed this very well in her bid:
“ …we are increasing our IT resources to be able to promote continuous learning between the class and home. As a school, we have bought into the online learning platform 'Seesaw' and want children to see this as a learning tool in school as much as when they may have to learn at home.
… we also do envisage that 'Seesaw' will continue to be a part of learning provision even when there is no need for any remote learning provision. We also have a small number of children with specific educational needs within each class and the iPads would add to their provision giving them access to recording tools, online dictionaries and thesauruses, dictation apps. Seesaw also has the capability to record the children (voice and visual), e.g. reading a piece of their own writing, practising their sentences in French; a QR code can then be printed and then put into the children's exercise books. When the QR code is scanned it will bring you immediately to the recording - a piece of living learning.
Long term, the class iPads will also mean the children are able to have instant access in their class to online resources to promote independent learning, e.g. independent research, Times Table Rockstars, etc.”
Lorraine also pointed out the benefit of this blended system of learning for engaging with parents…
“Children will be able to respond to activities in Seesaw independently in class, upload photographs of their own learning (which has the added benefits of then being able to be shared at home, to continue those learning discussions and ensure we have our strong partnerships with our parents which is so tricky when they are not currently allowed onsite).
… another link to be able to see their child's learning and interact with this at home to extend the learning opportunities further.”
Clore Shalom flip-classrooms and grow minds.
We were pleased to award Clore Shalom School an award for two laptops to enhance the learning and motivation of vulnerable pupils at the school. Lorraine Field (Office Manager) gave some strong arguments for how the laptops would enhance learning and motivation including a flipped classroom use:
"During class time, the laptops would be useful to support vulnerable pupils with pre-teaching topics they may not be familiar with e.g. during a topic on the Mayans, to show pictures to those pupils who may not have had the opportunities to go abroad and see ancient civilisations, or for a topic on healthy eating, for those children who are not given varied and balanced meals to be able to access pictures/videos/information etc.
Word banks would be created and used on programmed, such as Clicker and Widget, with access to dictionaries and thesauruses to help those children, particularly reluctant readers, who do not yet have a vast vocabulary and will encourage them to use keywords they are less familiar with as they will have access to the spellings, definitions and synonyms.
They will be used to support children with their home learning, which is now being done on an online platform. There will be opportunities for children to access and complete their homework using these laptops in school in a supportive environment i.e. in a lunch time session, where they are unable to access this at home.”
Lorraine went on to argue how access to various interactive programs would also help:
“We also find that children who are reluctant to learn times tables and practise handwriting and spellings, and have little support with this at home and little motivation, will be more motivated to do so by using online resources such as Times Tables Rockstars, Purple Mash Spellings and Letter Join. We have found that there is a high take up of access to these programmes for some of our pupils in school, but less so for our vulnerable pupils. Again, to ensure equality for all, we plan on making these laptops available throughout the day during break and lunch times for the vulnerable children to be able to come and access these to further their learning by practising more in these areas.”
Lorraine also brought in growth-mindset benefits of the vulnerable children being able to use I.T:
“The children we have in mind who would benefit from using these laptops during class time would be children who don't always feel ready to commit to paper what they want to say and are scared to take risks and get things wrong. Therefore, to be able to complete some of their writing on a laptop, where they are able to delete and make changes will enable them to feel safe to take further challenges. The idea is that they develop this skill first using laptops and can then transfer it to their books, with a deeper knowledge and ability that it is ok to make mistakes as this is how we learn best.”
St. John’s square away a great sounding joint bid.
We were pleased to award St. John’s Catholic School (Baldock) an award for two simultaneous projects – one for English and one for outdoor learning (Maths). Suzanne Meadows (English Lead) and Pippa Harvey (Maths Lead) made a joint application:
“We would like to add to our current reading scheme as we need more decodable reading books. We also need more books for our whole class Guided reading sessions. We would like these to link to topics as well as teachers choice.
We would also like to paint a 100 square and a place value chart on our playground to allow for outdoor learning and visual learning so the children can actually 'be the counters'”
Suzanne explained the benefits of the Collins Big Cat phonics book sets she had chosen:
“These reading scheme books link in with the letters and sounds that we teach in early years and ks1 and will help the children through the use of decoding to read words taught in their phonics phases. These are now a requirement when Ofsted conduct their reading deep dives. We want all children to achieve in their reading as well as enjoy their reading. These books will also help the LA children who struggle with their spellings/reading and can be used for interventions with TAs and teachers. “
And Pippa told us how the large painted squares would enhance learning and motivation and also gave us an idea of their longevity:
“The hundred square and place value charts will enhance the children's learning because they can physically move and see how digits change e.g. moving 2 places to the right for division etc. The hundred square will aid those children who need to physically see and move to understand how to add, subtract, multiply on a hundred square. We expect the paint to last 2 years and we are hoping in the future to purchase our own paint and machine for the upkeep of this.”
St Margret cover Klimt and Kandinsky with Kapow!
We were pleased to grant St Margret Clitherow School (Stevenage) an award for a Kapow Art and Design Scheme and supporting art materials. Carmela Puccio (Headteacher) gave us a good idea of the benefits of using the Kapow scheme:
“The Kapow scheme has enabled teachers to develop their confidence in teaching art and DT. They have detailed lesson plans, resources and then videos for the teachers to watch prior to delivering the lesson. Using the scheme has meant that the children are exposed to a greater variety of art techniques.
...There are lessons on weaving, optical illusions, sculptures, Zentangle printing and patterns, still life and lego printing. They can also complete artist studies.
Kapow has cross curricular links so teachers are able to link learning for their children.”
The scheme has an annual subscription which the school were renewing for the first time. This means they had direct experience of the benefits, but subscriptions always raise a question of longevity and sustainability for us. However, Carmela dealt with this issue by viewing this year’s subscription as a training resource for her staff:
“Due to lockdown we were unable to complete the whole year of lessons and that's why we need to purchase it again for the full year of work. The aim is to only purchase it for the full year as teachers should then be able to deliver without it.”
St. Margaret Clitherow are on a slippery slope!
We are also pleased to award St. Margaret Clitherow a second grant to make full use of their £1000 yearly maximum. This one was for Newton Meters and reversible slope surface boards to help with forces experiments. As Carmela Puccio (Headteacher) explained:
“The resources will support the science topics in the juniors focusing on forces, which is covered in each year group. We will use them in lockdown with the critical worker children that we currently have in school when they cover the relevant topic.”