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.”
Central Primary get a Suite all-in-one deal.
We were pleased to be able to pass a teacher’s classroom-based PC through our criteria for Central Primary School. Javier Perulero (Computing Lead and KS2 teacher) explained the need for the all-in-one PC:
“The PC would provide the class with a high quality teaching as the tool Google G-Suite for Education will be used. Having a PC with which the teacher can set tasks, show slides on the smart board and deliver a dynamic and meaningful lesson provides our children with the best opportunity to learn in the classroom. If we are unable to update the PC, the teacher will not be able to deliver lessons through the use of G-Suite for Education which means tasks are not as meaningful and diverse…”
In addition, the classroom PC would enable the teacher to access online-learning platforms and resources. As Javier explained:
“These uncertain times called for remote education so that our children's learning would not be negatively affected by a second lock down. However, this tool requires more modern computers with is something we are struggling with some of the teachers devices.”
Passing applications for teacher PCs/laptops through our criteria is difficult because we have to be convinced that all our awards are substantially and directly helping pupils' learning and motivation or wellbeing. However, Javier made a good case for this equipment as the PC will be primarily used to directly deliver more "dynamic and meaningful" lessons to a class and will be enable the teacher to utilise G-Suite for Education which s/he cannot do with the current equipment.
Pixmore’s Pizza Challenge receives dough from EdufundUK.
Pixmore Junior School won an award to set up an innovative project to re-engage children and parents with reading. Sarah Inman (Deputy Head) explained:
“The Pizza Reading Challenge will run for the whole autumn term and will involve children taking part in a range of reading tasks and challenges (both at home and school) which will earn points for their classes. There will be competitions, optional extra challenges, mystery toppings worth more points and whole class treasure hunts along the way to earn extra points for their class. At the end of the term, the class with the most points will win a Pizza Party where we will buy in some pizzas from a local restaurant.
Each child will have a 'menu' of tasks to complete, which parents and teachers will sign when a child has completed. Each signed task will earn them a pizza topping which is worth points
… There will be an optional pizza-themed book report challenge over the half term holiday and then a one week speed-challenge for the whole class to complete to earn points.
Any and all reading counts!”
We are always impressed when there is staff training involved in a project, especially in techniques/ resources with proven results. This is certainly the case with Sarah’s project:
“As part of our training for staff, I will deliver a training session on reading fluency (based on a Reading Fluency project we were part of two years ago in which we successfully accelerated pupil progress in order for 6/9 pupils in the trial to achieve the expected standard in Yr6 SATs) and reciprocal reading techniques to best address gaps in reading and accelerate progress for our children.”
Sarah also strengthened her bid by explaining how parents would be brought into the scheme:
“I will also be recording a video for parents on how to read with their children which will model and include reading fluency and reciprocal techniques, which will appear on the school website and Facebook page to support parents throughout the whole year with reading at home.”
Competition/Challenge type projects, particularly short-term ones, are often difficult for us to pass through our criteria because of concerns about the longevity of the learning/motivation benefit after the prize-giving. Sarah’s project addressed these issues as it is a longer term project and the vast majority of the funds requested were for two sets of Rapid Reader Scheme books which will continue to be used after the challenge is finished (and no doubt used in future challenges).
St Andrew’s use laptops to help with the COVID catchup.
We were happy to award St Andrews CE Primary School a grant for three pupil laptops. In a sign of our current times, Lynda Bysouth (School Business Manager) explained that the laptops would enable:
“small group teaching of children who have fallen behind during the COVID-19 lockdown. These laptops will be able to go home with children who do not have access to a laptop at home.”
Thinking ahead to a possible “second wave” of coronavirus, Lynda went on to say:
“Should any of these children have to isolate again due to their bubble having to isolate we would like to give them access to a laptop.”
To address our important longevity criteria, Lynda gave us an idea of how the pupil laptops would be used when we are finally free of COVID19:
“They also will use My Maths application to do homework or revision during normal school operating times.”
We were glad we decided to open up applications a couple of weeks earlier than normal to help schools prepare for the many catch-up measures such as this that they will have to put in place.