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.
Malvern Way play a blinder for Continuous Education
We were happy to be able to grant Malvern Way an award for three iPads. Computers primarily intended for teacher use are difficult to pass through our criteria. Whilst we fully appreciate that so much administration and preparation is done using ICT, we have to be convinced that the children are directly benefitting from the purchase. Emma Cole (Headteacher) made a strong case which drew on effective learning and adapting to the current COVID19 difficulties as well as explaining the children will also have some use of the equipment.
“We are bidding for 3 Ipads to support the introduction of continuous provision across our 3 Year 1 classrooms. We believe that the opportunity to continue to learn through a play based approach based on the beliefs of good early years practice is vital in supporting children in their return to school following the extended absence. As books are not used regularly learning is assessed and monitored online using a programme e.g. Seesaw or 2Simple (2build a profile) this will require a designated Ipad for each classroom. The Ipad will initially be used by staff for monitoring and assessing learning but will also give the children the opportunity to capture their own learning.”
Sarah argued strongly for the need to introduce Continuous Provision in Year 1:
“Malvern Way School will be introducing Continuous Provision (learning through play) in Year 1 following the abrupt end to the year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. This cohort of children will have missed more than a third of their Early Years experience and it is our intention to ensure the children return to a curriculum which is familiar to them to promote the best outcomes for all. By offering Continuous provision to our Year 1 children we believe this will support their well being as they return to a school routine. Allowing children access to Continuous Provision and giving them the opportunity to play will not only allow them to consolidate learning that has been taking place elsewhere but also allow them the opportunity to explore new concepts in a format that is familiar to them.
It is a growing belief that young children learn best through play and exploration with the opportunity to experience real life events that are linked to their learning. These play-based experiences enable the children to consolidate their skills, knowledge and understanding and enable them to be become independent and resilient learners. Continuous provision supports and encourages our children and staff to have a lifelong love of learning.
We firmly believe that the development of basic skills will be enhanced through this approach and for many children who will not have accessed home learning this will be a more appropriate return to school. This will have a particular impact on children with SEND and also boys (who are more likely to have immature fine motor skills).”
St. Nicholas strike a “suite” deal.
We were pleased to fund three new PCs for St. Nicholas’s ongoing update of their ICT suite. Like many schools, St. Nicholas has some aging hardware which causes a number of problems as Sue Brinded (Office Manager) explained:
“A whole class can use the ICT suite with 2 children at each PC, but 4 of our PCs are virtually unusable which makes whole class learning a lot harder as 3 children then have to share a PC. This is causing huge frustration amongst the teachers and pupils alike but in particular with our special needs’ and disadvantaged children who need instant access to resources to prevent them becoming disengaged with the learning process.
We would hope the disadvantaged children would respond well to having newer hardware and would be motivated to work hard and engage better with their learning without the constant crashing of sites which is currently happening.”
When used well, ICT aids effective learning and we fully support the use of ICT to enhance learning across the curriculum. Sue went on to explain how important their ICT suite is to the school:
“The PCs are used by our lunch club which is for the children who struggle at lunchtimes and need to have quiet time away from their peers. They are also used by our after school club to enable children to do their homework. We also run a coding club to develop skills additional to those learned in the classroom. Following the recent lockdown, we are aware that many families did not have access to laptops or PCs so these children will need to catch up and will be given time to fill in some of the gaps that they missed over the last 6 months.
PCs are not just used for computing but all other subjects as well, so it is vital that we have hardware fit for purpose to deliver the missing curriculum to those children as well as for the rest of the school”
Broxbourne hammer home the importance of music education
Broxbourne CE school shopped around to find both a class set of ukuleles and a class set of glockenspiels for just under our maximum allowance and we were very happy to grant the award. Paul Miller (Headteacher) gave strong arguments for the wellbeing benefits of the application:
“Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are having to change the format of our weekly music lessons. Children's well-being has been significantly adversely affected by recent long periods of isolation and their well-being will need be at the heart of their education as we welcome them back to school from September. Music lessons are an opportunity for all children to express themselves and benefit from the therapeutic and restorative effect that music can have on their well-being. Able and less able alike frequently find a sense of calm as well as enjoyment for participating in music lessons. Singing has always been a high profile activity in our music lessons. Government guidance advocates that, due to the Pandemic, class groups should not sing together and so we are having to re-think how we can best use our valuable music lessons to gain optimum uplifting and invigorating benefits for our children's mental health and well-being…
Frequently we find that children who are not so successful in other areas of the curriculum are able to appreciate and excel in music and gain confidence which supports their development as they grow.”
The instruments are certainly going to be get full use…
“We hope to be able to offer an orchestra after school club for between 2 and 4 separate KS2 year groups... and will further enhance the children's musical enjoyment as well as increase the children's confidence and cooperation as they learn to perform together, albeit that performances will need to be online for the foreseeable future.”