Maple Grove tap keyboard resources
We were very pleased to help Maple Grove Primary (Hemel Hempstead) buy 5 Chrome books to add to their existing 10. This would give them a half-class set which is much more effective than 3 pupils trying to share one machine.
Another strength of the bid was the fact that using laptops does give certain benefits over touchscreen technology. As Bella Bacon, Computing Coordinator, explained:
Research has found that the use of touchscreen is causing children to loose skills such as proficient mouse and keyboard operation, meaning that when they arrive in secondary school, they are less able than the curriculum demands.
- Daily practise, using an online tool called TTRockstars, in preparation for the (now postponed) year 4 multiplication check. The year 4 class progressed from around 25% of the class acheiving an age related standard to around 75% achieving an age related standard or above.
- Before school, we have been running a reading club using a tool called Reading Eggs. This helps children, particularly those who struggle with reading, to progress their reading independently. We have also found that children who find it difficult to settle in the mornings have found it easier to settle - through motivation to learn!
- This academic year our year 2 class have been able to develop more proficient keyboard skills earlier than in previous years as chromebooks are easier for them to access, quick to start up and easier to use. An example is the lack of a capslock key. When you are 6/7 and need to learn how to type a captial letter it can be quite challenging!
- Research during foundation subject lessons is also easier due to ease of access, particularly in the older year groups.
Woodside go “hands-on”
We were pleased to be able to award a grant to Woodside Primary School (Waltham Cross) for a range of art and DT specialist equipment to benefit the whole school.
With such an emphasis being placed on the vital subjects of English and maths, we fully appreciate the value of being able to facilitate practical work to enhance learning, provide variety and keep motivation high. As Nicola Boyd (HLTA) wrote in her application, the equipment will also:
…demonstrate understanding of how visual elements can create effect, mood and atmosphere and also it will focus on learners’ skills and abilities to express themselves through the significant aspects of learning/creating.
Shiny New Cassiobury Chrome
We were very happy to fund four new Chrome books for Cassiobury Junior School in Watford to add to their existing trolley of 26. We fully appreciate how much more effective learning can be when children do not have to share equipment (although, team/pairs work also has a big part to play in certain activities of course) and so we were glad to enable the school to finally have a full class set.
Whilst IT itself is only a small (but important) part of the primary curriculum, we are always keen to hear how schools would like to use IT to learn more effectively across the other subjects and prepare children for secondary school and the world beyond.
Lovely laptops for learning at St Giles
We were very pleased to award St Giles C of E Primary in Potters Bar a grant for two laptops to help with children’s learning.
As Rosie Willett, School Business Manager argued in her bid, the laptops would help:
…enable access to the curriculum for all of our children, regardless of ability, age or aptitude. Our current small stock of laptops have become a much used tool in all areas of the curriculum and teaching, enabling all children, but particularly those who are less able, or with special educational needs to access information and valuable tools to aid their learning. However, the small number that we have restricts teaching and learning and it is vital that we keep up with the ever-changing technologies.
Kingsway bang on about music!
We were very pleased to award Kingsway Junior School (Watford) an award to purchase a whole range of Djembe drums to enhance their music curriculum offering. Kingsway will also tie the drums in with geography, history, art, dram and English with such activities as a visit from Bigfoot theatre to celebrate black history month. As Jo Beale (Music Coordinator) wrote in her application:
The vision is for each year group to learn an instrument each year. Within the last year, we have purchased glockenspiels and ukuleles. We offered an after-school Ukulele club. Fitting into our Music scheme, the Djembe drums would contribute to our national curriculum aims of "perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians".
Jo also explained how drumming has, in her experience, been particularly effective at motivating boys which is a focus at Kingsway at the moment. The drums will also be used in a PPG nurture group and be showcased at a performance for parents.
Top-Up Bid – Terrific Textiles!
We were very happy to give Kingsway Junior their second grant this year to take their award total to the maximum £1,000. This top-up grant was for textiles equipment to introduce the subject to the school.
Amanda Akers (Teacher) made a strong case for the project where she looked at many cross-curricular benefits for children of all ages.
“Giving pupils the opportunity to physically examine a range of fabrics in order to make an informed choice of what is most suitable for their product
Moving away from stereotypical outcomes where pupils all make the same product led by the teacher. Working from contexts, pupils can come up with their own design brief and work towards solving it – what other subjects aside from D&T give them the opportunity to develop such strong analytical problem-solving skills?
Creating a PowerPoint to help plan what they are going to design
Not just in the practical aspect of sewing, but also in the development of the transferable skills of analytical thinking, problem solving, accuracy, planning and evaluation
• Understanding the principles of polymerisation to manufacture synthetic and regenerated fibres
• Knowing the chemical reactions that take place when colouring fibres and fabrics, in order to get the desired outcomes
• Testing properties of fabrics – for example, tensile strength
• Drafting the pattern – measurement, scale, tolerances
• Colouring fabric – ratios”
Amanda also applied the bid’s benefits to the current lockdown with an excellent first project to make PPE equipment:
“Some children have been in school from the start of the lockdown, throughout the Easter holidays and will continue to do so as their parents are vital in fighting the virus. In getting the textile equipment, not only can they learn vital life skills linked to Science and Maths, they can make PPE equipment, design products for their parents and be proud of what they have achieved in this time. This is a way of thanking them for coming in everyday so their parents can work.”
Robots invade Rickmansworth!
We were very pleased to award Sarratt Primary School in Rickmansworth a grant for computer coding equipment to help them in their “digital revolution”. The project will use Blue-Bot coding robots, inventor kits, circuit boards, programmable mats and sequence cards.
As Nicola O’Hare (Head) and Andrew Young (Digital Technology Lead) explained in their bid:
The addition of practical resources to our school’s digital offer would enable children to develop their coding skills, whilst also taking on real-life problem-solving challenges.
The Blue-Bots in early years and KS1, will give the children a sound understanding of coding and how to set up algorithms. This would then lead the children into more advanced coding, by using the Micro:bits and inventors kits.
We believe that the introduction of these resources will inspire and motivate the children across the school and engage them with the computing curriculum. The resources that we have selected will not only support the learning of current cohorts but will allow the computing curriculum to be supported for many years.