Icknield Walk buy 30 ukuleles outright - no strings attached!
We were very pleased to award Icknield Walk First School a grant to buy 30 ukuleles. As we are all too aware, the current pandemic affects all areas of our school life and this includes music tuition as Jane Sherwood (Headteacher) explained in her application:
“We used to teach recorder to the year 2 children and then they would be able to join recorder club and play for assembly and concerts. However, we are not allowed to use recorders during COVID-19 (too much blowing!). We still want the children to be able to perform together musically and to learn music skills through playing together.”
For Jane’s school, the ukulele was an excellent choice of ensemble instrument for many reasons:
“The music teacher is able to teach Ukulele and is happy to train the classroom staff too. The ukulele is fairly easy to pick up and get a good outcome from so this is a good option.
They will have a sense of performance and achievement fairly quickly as it is quite an easy instrument to access. This will not only help their music learning but will give them a sense of being together again and part of a team (which they will need after the lockdown time). They will have the opportunity to perform for their parents and for assembly; recorded during COVID-19 but hopefully live once we are allowed to all be together again.”
Oak View children develop language whilst playing house.
We are very pleased to award Oak View Primary and Nursery School an award to buy a giant playhouse for their outdoor learning area. It is open-sided to make it more COVID19 secure and will bring many benefits to the children as Susan Wombwell (Deputy Headteacher) explained:
“As a school we value our outdoor spaces and recognise the importance they play in accelerating the children’s learning. At the current time, the need to provide an enhanced outdoor area is crucial. We need to enable children who find social distancing difficult to have distinct areas which will encourage safe collaboration and socialising which they have missed during time out of school due to Covid 19. Many of our children will have spent much of the lock down in a flat without access to a garden and as a school we want them to have as many opportunities to explore and be creative with the resources we provide.”
Susan explained that use of the playhouse will have a particular focus at Oak View…
“We wish to create a setting which will be alive with the chatter of small voices questioning and discovering. It is vital that we create an area which will promote the development of language through stimulating experiences which encourage engagement and the use of language.
Children start our school with a wide range of different language experiences. Some of our parents are able to build a rich language experience for their children but for a variety of reasons many of our parents may not be in a position to achieve this. The area will support the Nurture children, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 children both during lesson times and break times. The opportunities it provides will encourage active, practical and collaborative learning which will foster the language development necessary for the children to fulfil their potential and enjoy life to its full.”
Tonwell St. Mary’s "ponder" no more how to improve their outdoor area
We were very pleased to award a grant to Tonwell St Mary’s school to develop their outdoor learning area. In her application (which arrived approximately 4 minutes after we opened the form for this year!), Sarah Bridgman (Headteacher) clearly explained the problem with their existing area:
“Currently, 90% of children are able to access Forest School for one hour per week. This is because there are some areas that are deemed unsafe, so we need at least two members of staff available to oversee each visit. We also have a small number of children with disabilities who are unable to access the Forest School for more than 10-15 minutes as there is no seating available for them. The disused pond is broken and dangerous - it half fills with water, is in the middle of the space and has hidden steep sides… with no seating… broken fencing and limited resources.”
And then her proposed solution:
“The money we are applying for would enable us to install seating, fix the fence, redevelop the pond area, build raised beds and purchase equipment and resources to enable all children in the school to take part in the redevelopment and upkeep of the area.”
We at EdufundUK are very keen on outdoor learning for its health, motivational and effective learning benefits. We were also very impressed by Sarah’s plans to involve the children themselves in the renovation and upkeep which will give them a sense of pride and ownership in the area.
Write on Stevenage and North Herts!
We are delighted to give one of our first awards of 2020/21 to the Stevenage and North Hertfordshire Writing Project founded and organised by Sarah Inman (of Pixmore Junior School). Here’s a summary of the project from Sarah’s application:
“The writing project began as a partnership between 5 junior schools and the impact it had on the pupils, families and staff involved was enormous. The project was based around a book and staff created 3 weeks of engaging, creative lessons which resulted in the children producing some amazing writing, displays and models.
As part of the project, we held a competition between the schools where children could showcase their work and were nominated for best writer in their year group (the Chairs of Governors selected the winners). They were then recognised at an awards evening, complete with trophies, which aimed to celebrate the children’s endeavour, progress and skills in writing – an event which the parents and children found extremely motivating.”
You can read more about the project here: https://www.hertsforlearning.co.uk/blog/oh-what-journey
EdufundUK were approached last year to help with funding as the project had grown substantially…
“In 2019-2020, the project grew to include 9-10 schools across the area (infant, junior and primary); over 3,000 children were involved. The success of this project has led to more schools wishing to be involved for 2020-2021 – 15 schools in total (over 4950 children).”
We are delighted to be able to help again in 2020/21 by purchasing 142 copies of this year’s focus book 'The Winters Child' by Angela McAllister and contributing towards the prizes and award ceremony venue hire.
As well as generating excitement for reading and writing, this project brings so many other benefits to the children and staff involved…
“Another outcome of the project has been the opportunity to moderate writing together and share good practise, where all of the schools involved brought work to compare, discuss and assess. This was a really supportive meeting, particularly where we are trying to raise standards for our disadvantaged pupils. With 15 schools involved this year, we intend to hold another moderation activity following the completion of the project. This helps to promote creativity in planning, support CPD and ensure accurate assessments for our pupils.
In the first year of running the project for my own school, we saw 45%+ of each cohort making progress in the 3 weeks of the project alone. For many that showed accelerated progress by the end of the spring term as they were able to continue to put their enthusiasm and enjoyment for writing and vocabulary into other units beyond the initial project.
In the last 2 years, the other schools who joined the project also said that the enthusiasm with which staff approached the project lead to better teaching, more creativity and freedom around the outcomes”
We wish Sarah and her collaborators every success again this year and know the children of Stevenage and North Herts are in for a post-lockdown treat!
Primary Award Winners for 2019/20
(Click links for details of the awards won. Each school may make bids totalling a maximum of £1,000 over an academic year)
We are very pleased to have awarded primary schools a total of £52,935 during 2019/20.
St. Teresa’s nurture provision gets even acer!
We were very happy to help St. Teresa’s Catholic Primary School with an award for three Acer Chrome tablets for their nurture room.
As Katrina Bradley (School Business Manager), told us in her application:
“This will enable these pupils to access a selection of online learning support facilities, working as small groups they will enhance their wider knowledge in subjects across the curriculum. Our Nurture room does not currently have any access to IT provision, and this would enable our staff to build up variety in the groups that they support.”
The children in St. Teresa’s nurture group all need different types and levels of additional support and the tablets will help them in many different ways:
“…enable them to see in increase in their attainment by motivating them to learn in a different way.
… will enable them to have STEM (Science, technology, English, Maths) projects planned around their needs and interests using media as the platform for recording , creating and developing learning.”