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.
Oxhey Wood Lift Hearts and Minds!
EdufundUK are delighted to award Oxhey Wood Primary School in Watford an Arts award to take their pupils to see Matilda in the West End.
This was a difficult decision for us as we have to have a very good reason to fund trips. Our difficulty lies in balancing value-for-money against the educational value of the trip and the longevity of its benefits.
In this special case, Kerry Kent, Assistant Head, explained that their school is in the top 5% of deprivation in the UK. Many of their children (and parents) have never travelled out of the Watford and many children have never been on a train, let alone to the theatre and many have no more ambition than to “stay at home like my mum”.
Matilda is an ideal show as it will bring their topic work of Heroes and Villains to life and generate enthusiasm for all the arts in school. However, what really swung the decision for us was that the trip will show the children there is a huge, exciting world of opportunities beyond South Oxhey and hopefully fill them with aspirations.
As Kerry put it:
The trip will be remembered by the children FOREVER - longevity at its best!!
St John’s Show Five Ways to Well-being
We were very pleased to award St. John’s Primary School (Baldock) a grant to promote and enhance well-being throughout the school. In a very comprehensive project, Kat England (Asst. Head and SENCo) explained St. John’s will:
…put on a different activity each day during Well-being week which would link to one of the “5 Ways to Well-being.”
1. To be active (Physical Education link)
This is where we wish to spend money on a specialist dance teacher who can come in to teach the children a fun “Strictly style” routine/year group
2. Take notice (Physical Education link)
Having a specialist children’s yoga teacher come in to help the children chill out!
3. Connect (Art and DT link)
We want to spend money of art resources so that the children can work together with members of their family (who will be invited in for the day) to build a mosaic for the outside area of the school. This will also improve the environment and overall setting for our children.
4. Learn (Music Link)
We would like to spend money on an African drumming workshop so the children can learn something they would never normally experience.
We will all be giving of our time by organising activities related to the community.
The application was comprehensive and very well written, with each individual activity being costed and sourced and the benefits of each and the week as a whole being clearly explained.
Let’s give Kat the last word…
…we can tackle the mental health epidemic through showing children just how the different school subject areas can be used to heighten motivation, engage them and show them the enjoyment that comes from learning something for a subject they thought they already knew about but have seen in a different light. What child would turn down learning about music, through African drumming, rather than using the same equipment and resources that have been in school for years? What child wouldn’t be motivated to pursue their creativity in art when they have taken part in a massive whole school project that they can see every day when stepping out onto the playground?
Kat kindly sent us a copy of their newsletter which gives a great picture of how the Wellbeing Week went...
Wellbeing Week at St. John’s Primary School
In the week of Monday 10th February- Friday 14th February, our school took part in a variety of activities as part of "Wellbeing Week." The children were bubbling with excitement as each day was assigned to one of the "5 steps to Wellbeing" which include:
Learn new skills
Give to others or the community
Connect with others
St. John’s Boot Camp Championships
African drumming workshops
Whole school Art Project
Monday kicked off with a very intense round of exercises that saw the staff and the children physically exhausted by the time our sports coach for the day, Mr Baker, had put us all through our paces. There was a lot of squatting, running and general competitiveness (and that wasn’t just from the staff!) There were many sore legs for the rest of the week so it must have done us all some good!
Tuesday saw 2 tutors from the Letchworth Healthy Living Centre, come in to teach us how to be more mindful. We took part in some breathing techniques to help us all be “in the moment” more and support us when we are feeling anxious. We learnt about our brains and even sang a song to remember which parts did which jobs.
Wednesday brought a whole lot of noise as we banged away on our drums and roused the local neighbours from their naps! The children had a thoroughly amazing time learning how to play music through African drums with our excellent expert Raz, who had us marching to his beat all day. It was great to be able to show off the children’s newly learnt talents in a whole school assembly at the end of the day. We may just have created some future drummers!
Thursday was spent in and out of Hi Vis jackets and yielding litter picking equipment as we descended on the local Baldock community and started tidying up the rubbish that had been strewn around the woods and the grassy areas near our school. Despite the, not quite so warm weather, we donned our wellies and got stuck in, managing to remove lots of waste and turn our green spaces into a much nicer place to live for all.
Friday ended the week with a whole-school art project where each class was given a large piece of wood. The children and teachers set about creating a mural depicting a subject theme which are to be displayed in various places around the school. The art project has not only helped us to connect as a whole school, whilst talking and listening to music when we worked, but will have a positive effect on enhancing the environment within the school, when they are proudly hang up throughout the corridors and general spaces.
We want to say a big “thank you” to EduFund UK, who provided us with the money to spend on the art and music projects so that we could invest in outside agencies to teach us something new, and buy the materials we needed for the beautiful displays the classes have made.
We hope the children have been telling you all about the fun they had that week and that we can put on more activities in future to help promote good mental health through arts, sport and music.
Manland Show Signs of Excellent Communication.
We were very pleased to award a grant to Manland Primary (Harpenden) Makaton training across the school staff, manuals, resources and membership of Makaton.org and also Downs’s Syndrome training for two staff.
Manland have a number of children with communication issues and have a new starter who largely communicates with Makaton. As Cally Arbury, School Business Manager, explained in her bid:
“We believe the whole school will benefit from the training and resources. Our teachers will be able to model Makaton to all children, who in turn, will be able to use it with children with communication needs in our school. We have already seen two pupils in Reception and Year 1 communicate with each other using Makaton and we believe extra training and resources will be a great investment for the future for any pupils for communication needs.”