Gade Valley Tread the Boards!
We are delighted to award Gade Valley Primary School an award to set up an outdoor theatre in their very exciting “outdoor theatre project”. This will include staging, backdrops and benches etc.
The theatre will not only enhance performing arts throughout the school, including afterschool clubs, but also help speaking, listening and social skills. The older children will also develop their leadership skills by leading rehearsals etc for the younger ones.
We Pick Pixmore for their Massive Writing Project
We were very pleased to award Pixmore School (Stevenage) a Primary Award to support their fabulous, multi-school creative writing project. The award will buy over a hundred books and give a contribution towards trophies and venue hire for their celebration evening. As Sarah Inman (Deputy Head) writes:
The writing project began as a partnership last year 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.
We were very impressed with the scale of this project – this year it has been expanded to include 9-10 schools – and the resulting huge number of pupils who will benefit. A real strength of the bid was the reported success of the previous years in progress made by the children, moderation and collaboration benefits for staff as well as the motivation and excitement generated for everyone involved.
Let’s give Sarah the last word:
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.
Icknield Walk Go Potty!
We were delighted to award Icknield Walk Primary School (Royston) a Primary Award to fund their project to give every child an opportunity to work with our local ceramic artists to make a piece of pottery and decorate it and have it fired in the kiln. The piece of pottery will be linked to a piece of topic work in class and the type of work will allow a progression of skills over the age range, so each year group will have a different focus. Also, during each of the sessions the teachers will also be given a piece of clay to produce their own object - this will enable the teachers to have some INSET on how to make a clay piece, so they can use their skills to teach children in the future.
We were very impressed by the number of children this project will benefit and the tie in with each year group’s current topic to reinforce and enliven learning. Our important longevity box was also ticked by the training/experience Icknield Walk’s staff will receive. In addition to this, the school have committed to repeat the exercise for two year-groups each year to reinforce the skills and repeat the excitement and motivation creating and keeping a piece of fired pottery will doubtless bring.
Ashwell Break Out!
We were delighted to grant a primary award to Ashwell School to further develop their Early Years outside area. The area will soon be covered and have a new surface and Tracy Bowen, their Business Manager, put in a very persuasive bid for outside cupboards, benches, boxes and learning materials as part of their on-going development. As funds allow, they aim to include a Mud kitchen / Sand Exploration / Water Exploration / Investigating Area / Maths Shed / Arts Shed / Bike storage / Role Play area and Music area in the future. They will most likely use their £500 registration prize draw winnings from last term to help with these.
We are convinced about the massive benefits of teaching outdoors and were impressed that, as well as science, Ashwell will be including other subjects such as Maths tuition outside. Whilst we do not usually fund standard furniture, we appreciate that items such as outside benches, plastic boxes and cupboards are vital to facilitate projects such as this and it was clear that Ashwell had done their research to get good value for money.
We were also impressed with the fact that the Ashwell’s afterschool clubs will also be using the area – children, particularly the younger ones, are so often tired after a day in the classroom and being able to get them outside under cover is hugely advantageous.
We wish Ashwell all good luck with their project and look forward to receiving a little feedback and some photographs to show here in due course.
We were very grateful to receive the Edufund grant last year, and thought you would be interested in how the money was spent.
Early Years Research has shown that the majority of children learn better in an outdoor environment. We did have an outdoor environment, however it was very poorly resourced. Children would have to return inside to collect equipment to help them learn, for example, pencils paper etc. There was nowhere to store the equipment outside and consequently children did not use the outdoor space well.
Your grant allowed us to purchase 2 sheds and equip them with resources to support science, maths and art development. A lot of the equipment is made of natural resources, e.g. chalkboards, wooden shapes and letters, twigs, fir cones. From the photos, you can see how much the children enjoy learning in the outside area.
We were also able to use some of the grant to purchase a range of science equipment for use outside – including magnifying glasses, plastic jugs and piping to explore floating and sinking concepts. The equipment is stored in trolleys that can be easily moved around the outdoor setting, with easy access for the children.
We now have a great outdoor learning space that is accessible throughout the day because studies have shown that some children learn better outside. The children lead their own learning, with guidance from practitioners, and learn through play. For example one child may dress up as a police officer with a pad and pencil to practice writing skills. The children use the wooden tea service to practise their mathematical language of size, as well as sharing and using their imagination. The magic is to interweave play and learning seamlessly to make learning fun, which is what the resources brought with your grant have allowed us to do. Our children now make good progress in all areas of their learning, achieving good levels of development when they leave the Foundation Stage.
We are so proud to be able to offer these fantastic facilities and quality of education to our Early Years children, which your grant has helped us to fund. Thank you!
Science and Magic at Greenfields Primary!
EdufundUK is very pleased to grant a primary award (Maths/Arts) to the Greenfields Primary School in Watford.
Headteacher, Kate Day, was exceptionally quick off the mark and, very shortly after our forms opened, applied for an outside expert provider to deliver specialised STEM workshops to every child in the school. The bid also included purchasing the equipment required for a thrilling idea to teach magic to Year 4. The hands-on nature of these learning opportunities will be invaluable for not only learning but also for motivation and excitement amongst pupils. The award will also benefit staff in many ways – as Kate says:
I also believe that all of the class teachers would really benefit from an outsider inspiring them and showing them what is possible in classes with a bit of imagination and expertise in STEM subjects. They will have their eyes opened to the possibilities of practical lessons where for too long they have not been able to teacher these due to lack of resources.
Greenfields is fighting its way out of a difficult time at the moment in addition to being in a very deprived area with many pupils on the pupil premium register. We are delighted to be able to fund such beneficial projects and wish the whole school community all the best of luck with their love of learning.
Wroxham Rocks With a New Tech Zone
We were delighted to grant our very first primary award to the Wroxham School in Potters Bar. The school bid for a very exciting project to set up a green screen recording area and programming station on the lower deck of a bus!
The equipment, including a green screen, iPads, lighting, stands and electronic kits, would be installed on the lower deck of their beautifully painted bus which also houses “Radio Wroxham” equipment for playing music at break times. The upper deck has been adapted into a unique, whole-class area and an arts-therapy station.
As headteacher, Roger Billing, wrote in his bid:
The bus is a very iconic location for our children, and we feel to give it a 'tech zone' makeover would really allow the children to learn in a great environment.
We wish Wroxham all the best with this exciting venture and look forward to receiving some photographs of the finished “Tech. Zone” (which we will post here).