Ashwell get a shed-load of outdoor learning equipment.
We were very pleased to award Ashwell Primary School a grant for outdoor science and English sheds and water play/learning equipment in order to create an outdoor learning space for their Year 1.
We are always looking for arguments of the benefits a bid will provide but even better than this is evidence that the projected benefits are likely to come into fruition. This might be from e.g. other schools, research or previous experience of staff or the school itself. Tracy Bowen (School Business Manager) provided the latter as part of her bid:
“Having already witnessed the benefit of the outdoor learning area in Early Years where we have seen children flourish, we know that these facilities will help our children to continue to make good progress in all areas of their learning.”
Galley Hill show great latitude for laptop use.
We were pleased to award Galley Hill a grant to buy two Dell Latitude laptops. As Gail Ringrose (computer technician) explained, whilst in school, the laptops will be used by SEND children…
“… to access online learning or computer programmes already purchased by the school to assist in their learning when they can't access the class teaching.
The award would help the children make progress with their learning targets, provide them with additional resources to develop their learning journey & keep them engaged when they might otherwise switch off or distract other children
We would allocate the laptops to a particular SEND child, to support their learning, for full weeks at a time. This would allow for the class teachers / TAs to plan accordingly for the week and ensure that we were following covid guidelines so that they are left untouched during the weekend. In addition to this, the laptops (along with all computing equipment currently used in school) would be wiped down before and after every use.”
In the event of a school lockdown, the laptops would be used by teachers. This is a difficult one to pass through our award criteria as our grants have to benefit children’s’ learning and motivation directly. However, Gail argued her case well…
“In addition, they will be used by teachers for use at home where they do not have anything in place already. Finally, they will be used either by teachers or pupils at home in the event of another lockdown to support children's remote learning.
We have recently received the DfE funding to set up our online learning platform. All teachers received training in the use of Microsoft Teams for remote learning on 16.09.20. Unfortunately, we do not yet have the full infrastructure to allow staff to set this from home in the event of a lockdown. The additional laptops will provide us with enough for all teachers to be able to run 'virtual classrooms' for their classes in the event of a lockdown, therefore directly benefiting a whole class of children to be able to have direct access to their teacher and teaching materials in this situation. In the event of a lockdown, the DfE will provide us with laptops for some of our most vulnerable pupils but these will only be of use to us if the staff are able to set online learning using our new platform in the first place. “
Kingsway give us food for thought in design and technology
We were delighted to award Kingsway Junior School (Watford) a grant for equipment to introduce the Cooking element of the primary design and technology curriculum. Amanda Akers (Teacher) wrote a very convincing bid which gave many benefits of being able to deliver this subject e.g.:
“Cooking and food can be taught through topics, be a topic itself, provide a focus for literacy, numeracy and link to growing. Learning cooking and food skills also prepares pupils for transition to secondary school where they will be taught more formal food technology with opportunities to further develop their skills.
Eating healthily is now more topical than ever. With the recent research highlighting obesity as a factor in struggling with viruses – its so important children learn healthy eating at an early age and can then educate their parents. This then links to exercise and PE so that children can understand the two go hand in hand with each other.”
Amanda went on to explain how other subjects can be reinforced and applied to cooking:
“Maths – measurement, money through helping the new PTA in sales and costings. Children to measure, make and then sell
Science – changing state / properties, healthy eating, teeth, digestion.
Learning about different cultures through food – lots of food tasting on countries that children are studying in Geography. Year 5 – Yucatan, Year 6 – Mexico (Mayans)”
Amanda also argued for the wider benefits of children being able to cook healthily outside of the school setting:
“…When children eat better, they are more alert in lessons and have energy throughout the day by eating a balanced diet, even as much as having breakfast. This would help to improve attainment and progression.
…To use the equipment to hold weekly cooking workshops for vulnerable children and PPG children to experience real life cooking that they may not access at home. They will be taught how to cook healthy and nutritious meals with the emphasis on using food that is easily assessable and cheap.”
Gade Valley build up to even more outdoor learning.
We were very pleased to give an award to Gade Valley Primary School (Hemel Hempstead) to help them set up a “Builder’s Yard” in their outdoor learning environment. The grant will be used to buy such exciting things as 75 hollow blocks and boards and a mini skip! Daniel Barron (Headteacher) explained the project:
“The money would purchase building resources that pupils could use in lessons, lunch times and focused group work to create scaled structures. We envisage that all pupils from EYFS, KS1 and KS2 would make use of the equipment and collaboratively use their creativity, motor skills, and resilience with their building projects. The resources would be housed in a purpose built shed in the famous CHAMP Village est. 2019.”
Gade Valley are obviously big fans of outdoor learning and Daniel went on to argue for the learning benefits of this addition to their outdoor environment:
“…develop their engineering skills to build the structures; develop their teamwork skills as for the more ambitious projects pupils would have to work collaboratively; develop their resilience as some projects could be challenging; develop their motor skills as they will have to lift and put pieces together; and develop their creativity to design structures.
The resource is very inclusive and would benefit all ranges of pupils in the school - SEN, higher ability and pupil premium.”
Moss Bury’s book bonanza machine.
We were very pleased to award Moss Bury Primary School an award to purchase a book vending machine. Emma Skinner (Teacher and Family Worker) explained the project:
“The books will be dispensed via a token and the children will be able to gain a token as a reward for various achievements…
…This project will focus on the promoting a love of reading for all of our children and it will be used as a reward for achievements in all areas to encourage all children to read for pleasure. There will be a focus on our children, who for various reasons, may not have a wide selection of books at home. This could include our pupil premium or vulnerable children.”
Moss Bury have used the lockdown period to revamp their library area and the machine will be an exciting addition to the space. Emma emphasised the benefits of reading in these tough times very clearly…
“When we return in September, we will be focusing on supporting the children's well being and trying to make sure that they have the most positive return to school that they can in the world that we find ourselves in. Books are a brilliant way of providing children with a way to use their imaginations and perhaps escape the ways of the 'new' world. We will also be able to provide books that support children's well being and help them emotionally…”
We are always impressed when schools have managed to find time to raise funds and resources themselves to help with larger projects. Moss Bury raised funds with photographs and selling Lego and…
“As a school we have already been in touch with local book publishers who have sent us books and we have recently run a sponsored read with Osborne books and we raised a huge amount of money for new books.”
The school also considered both renting and buying a machine and decided that the best value for money would be to buy and so avoid yearly costs which would have exceeded the cost of buying in a little over two years.
Highwood hit the training Suite spot.
EdufundUK are always keen to help fund highly effective training relevant to specific needs which will be used and embedded in teaching/learning straight away. We were, therefore, very pleased to award Highwood Primary a grant to fund comprehensive G-Suite for Education training for all their staff. Anjali Carter (Finance and Premises Manager) explained the need for the training:
“At Highwood, during Lockdown, we provided comprehensive remote home learning through G-Suite for Education, however our knowledge was limited due to the fact is was self-taught over 1 day. These limitations proved frustrating to a motivated staff whose desire was to exceed curriculum and well-being requirements. Having taken advantage of the government's digital education platform grant, we feel it vital to undergo high quality professional training in G-Suite. The comprehensive nature of the training will enable the teachers to widen their expertise and improve their knowledge.
With this knowledge, the teachers will be able to effectively teach all our students in school and also to those remotely (who may still be shielding). It becomes of extra importance if our school would be subject to a local lockdown. Support staff (including SEND staff) are also included in this training and will learn how to enhance the effective learning of all our children.”
We do appreciate being told what training will involve and Anjali sent us the quote from Primary IT Support which broke the training down into:
- Google for Education
- Google Classroom
- Google Docs
- Google Forms
- Google Slides
- Google Meet
When assessing the learning/motivation/wellbeing advantages of an application, the number of staff and pupils benefiting is important and Highwood’s project certainly ticked this box:
“In addition to all the teachers, this training will be deliverable to all support staff and in addition to any member of the school's work force. The intention is that with such in depth and comprehensive training, all 442 of our school children will benefit from high quality effective learning tools whether in school or remotely.”
Finally, by becoming familiar with the elements of G-Suite, the children will benefit for years to come:
“Equally as important is preparing our children for secondary school and beyond. We believe that by embedding sound computing and technological skills, we prepare them well for their chosen paths.”