St Mary’s get with the program!
We are always looking for applications which will inspire children to learn whilst having fun. St Mary’s achieved this balance perfectly with their successful bid for 6 Blue-bots for EYFS and KS1 and 10 Microbit programmable computers and an InO Bot programmable Bluetooth robot for the older children.
As well as helping deliver the ICT curriculum across the school in a more practical, awe and wonder type way, the more able children will be stretched by being able to evaluate algorithms seeking to solve real-life, physical tasks. Hanna Paxton, ICT and English Lead, will be able to train staff in using the equipment, thereby ensuring all children benefit.
As Hanna wrote:
… Blue-bots to Early Years and KS1 would give children first-hand experience at tackling algorithms and a secure understanding of coding which will enable them to achieve well in KS2. We hope that by pairing these with the appropriate mats, children will begin to develop control, directional language and awareness of programming.
By purchasing the Microbits we hope that our KS2 children will develop a secure understanding of coding, networks and systems in modern technologies. They will be critical in their selection and use of digital applications using a range of devices confidently.
Similarly, the InO Bot will enable children to apply their newly founded coding skills to a wider range of modern technologies. They will be able to create, test, debug and refine algorithms for specific purposes, and will bring to life their understanding of coding away from a typical computer screen which is what their understanding is limited to at present.
Breachwood Green are cock-a-hoop with their new equipment.
We are very pleased to be able to fund the majority of the cost of a new, outdoors triple basketball hoop for Breachwood Green JMI (Hitchin). The staggered heights of the hoop will allow children of all ages and abilities to practise shooting and defending and this model is approved by the England Basketball Association.
We are always impressed by staff taking the extra time and effort to research the best quality/price combinations for their applications and the dedication which staff, pupils and parents show in raising any extra money required for the project*. As Harry Jones, PE Lead, explained:
We appreciate this is over your grant limit of £1000.00 and therefore our PTFA have raised enough money to pay the extra £230.06. This money has been raised through PTFA volunteers and school staff, including myself, running fundraising events such as the School Summer Fete, School Discos and Cake Sales.
… Through networking with parents and staff members, we have managed to find someone who is happy to install (concrete in) the basketball hoop so that no contractors have to be paid.
* (EdufundUK do much prefer to fund an entire project or at least be the majority contributor to costs.)
Warren Dell Go Boating and Biking.
We are delighted to grant Warren Dell Primary School (Watford) an award to help fund an activities day at Lee Valley Park. Their KS1 children will enjoy a Pedal Up activity and KS2 pupils will be kayaking, led and equipped by Lee Valley Park specialists. They will be tying the activities in with their whole-school, cross-curricular learning on the Olympics. Staff and Year 6 pupils worked extremely hard to organise a Christmas Fair which raised the additional money needed to fund the day (on top of our award) and so we were delighted to be able to send them our first cheque of 2020.
As Headteacher, Jenny Morley explained:
Serving a community with high levels of deprivation we are acutely aware that many of our children are only able to access opportunities to take part in a wide range of sporting activities through school.
The award will allow an experience of unique activities in a venue that most children are unlikely to visit and take part in unless this is facilitated by school. We want these children to experience the basic pleasure of riding a bike even if they do not own one themselves and see that there are sports such as kayaking that they could be successful in beyond the standard ones delivered in PE.
Run Forest, run!
We were very pleased to grant Long Marston VA CE School an award for staffing/training in on-site Forest School lessons. Although only a small school, Long Marston are investing a lot of time and money in developing Forest School activities and training staff in the required skills.
Outside education and Forest School skills have many benefits which EdufundUK are keen to support where possible. As Clare South, Headteacher, clearly explained in her bid:
“The forest school sessions will be linked to outdoor learning, science and physical exercise…
Outside learning is so key to developing our children's wellbeing and mental health. They will have an opportunity to talk, learn skills and work within a small group. Fresh air can give children more energy for learning. We have discovered this more with the introduction of the daily mile 2 years ago. Providing this learning opportunity will allow our children to access an area of the school we have invested in and haven't been able to use. They are so excited at the prospect.”
Broxbourne provide science learning in spades!
We were naturally very pleased to award Broxbourne Primary a grant to develop a nature/wildlife area within their school grounds. Amongst the many items that will bring the project to life are such wonderful things as insect hotels, hedgehog houses, minibeast grab and go kits, outdoor cushions and many different seeds and plants.
Headteacher, Paul Miller explained the project very well in his bid:
“We are fortunate to have a significant woodland/meadow area in our grounds. In order to use the grounds more effectively to accelerate the children's learning across all year groups, we need to maintain and improve the area. We would like to clear an area of the land which has become overgrown with brambles and plant butterfly and bee attracting plants, e.g. buddleia, lavender and wild flowers, such as poppies, scabious and birds foot trefoil. Improvements include adding bug hotels, hedgehog houses and bird boxes as well as planting trees and bushes, which demonstrate seed dispersal eg sycamore. The children would need clip boards, writing/sketching materials and cushions to sit on the existing benching. These would need to be housed in weatherproof storage. Once cleared our grounds maintenance team would be able to maintain pathways and borders as necessary and our eco-monitors, under the guidance of staff members, could water the trees, shrubs and flowers. We would like to install a rainwater collection point to make optimum use of natural water sources. Once all these resources are in place, we would like to add appropriate signage for the children to use to support their learning.”
Breakfast and after-school club children will also be involved in caring for the area as well as science being brought to life for every class. The project will be great value for money and certainly fills our longevity criteria.
As Paul says:
“Eco-monitors (children rotate to carry out this role so every child will have this opportunity at least once during their time in school), will water and care for the plants and shrubs, developing their self-confidence and sense of responsibility. The children throughout the school would be able to access the newly cleared area, rather than only being able to access wildlife areas during school trips.”
Almond Hill chill out
We were very content and calmed to award Almond Hill Junior School (Stevenage) an award to support mindfulness and relaxation. The award will cover training sessions for staff and resources such as mats and music etc.
Almond Hill’s headteacher, Judith Lovelock made a strong bid which explained the many aspects and benefits of the project:
As part of our school PE plan and as an objective in our School Improvement Plan this year to support pupil's emotional wellbeing and mental health, we have an objective to train staff to develop mindfulness and relaxation. We want to use mindfulness in all lessons but particularly within PE where some children with social and emotional needs often find it hard to govern their emotions and this limits participation and co-operation. We want to offer mindfulness training to all our staff.
Our PE lead runs a weekly 'nurture' group for vulnerable children and training will enable mindfulness to be offered as a programme of intervention in these sessions. It will enable our pastoral teaching assistant to organise daily mindfulness sessions in our lunchtime Friendship Room.
We also wish to offer an extra-curricular mindfulness club following training.
Our final aim is to inform carers/adult of our work and encourage them to use mindfulness techniques at home.