St Meryl move the goalposts to net their award!
We were very pleased to award St Meryl School (Watford) an award to buy movable outdoor football, netball and basketball posts and different size balls. Caron Plein (Business Manager) first explained the immediate need for the posts:
“Our current football posts are broken, and one of our two netball posts recently broke too. We also don't have a sufficient quantity of proper footballs and basketballs.”
Caron then went on to explain a number of benefits of the equipment and when they would be used:
"We would like to acquire these to encourage our pupils to participate in these sports and outdoor activities. This is both for use in PE, break and lunchtimes and extra-curricular activities.
Additionally, having a greater quantity of resources, means that more pupils will be able to access the activities simultaneously, thereby encouraging active and healthy living. By getting 2 different sizes of balls, and full size netball, but training size basketball posts, we are also ensuring accessibility through all ages within our school community.”
Caron also applied the benefits to the current situation:
“The huge benefit is that because these are for outdoor use, we can continue to use them much more easily during the pandemic. Additionally, the balls will be wipe-cleanable, and we will also then have sufficient to be able to provide one ball per child.”
Longmeadow laptops lead to a love of learning
We were pleased to award Longmeadow Primary School a grant to buy four laptops which will add to the mobile laptop unit they are building. Paula Flint (Business Manager) explained how they would use the laptops in addition to whole classroom use:
"The IT equipment would be used for booster groups via Teams to upload and download their work to allow them to work with the teacher and independently.
… We would also be able to use the computers when mentoring our year 6 pupils during one-to-one sessions, homework clubs (when we are able to operate these again.)
… We run small groups of 1:1 activities which we would like to run using some of our platforms but currently we do not have sufficient equipment to be able to do this.”
Paula also told us how the laptops would help learning by running a variety of programs and platforms:
“Technology has the potential to increase the quality and quantity of practice that pupils undertake, both inside and outside of the classroom. The award would also enable us to fully embed programs we have introduced over the last academic year including accelerated reader.
We have invested in Timetable Rockstars which is a platform for children to recite their times tables faster and to consolidate their learning. We are also using Spelling Shed which allows the children to improve their spelling, practice familiar words and also learn new spelling patterns.
The learning platforms we are using make interactive learning fun and have an element of challenge and competition within them to encourage children to learn. We have found that some of our harder to reach pupils engage positively with these platforms and have a tangible sense of achievement when they improve their marks. We also have a number of pupils with special needs who are unable to write but are able to express themselves in writing when they are unable to put pen to paper.”
Featherstone Wood Make Room for a Sensory Sanctuary
We were pleased to award Featherstone Wood Primary School and Nursery an award to create a sensory room and resources. The wide range of wonderful equipment covered such items as a sensory mood water table, weighted lap pads, a LED inflatable pool and a dark den.
Sarah Haynes (Deputy Head) clearly explained the need for the room and equipment, giving her school’s high proportion of SEN pupils in comparison with other local schools and their disproportionate need for social/emotional wellbeing interventions.
Sarah then went on to explain who the room would help and how it would benefit them:
“The aim of the sensory room is not only to benefit our children with ASD and sensory disorders on a rota basis, but will also be used to support other children within the school with emotional and behavioural support as and when it is needed.
By having this sensory room we hope to create an environment for all of our children to learn to regulate their behaviour, giving them a safe and supportive space to work through and gain understanding about their emotions. This in turn will reduce disruption and improve focus in the classroom, allowing the children to progress with their learning.
The sensory room will also be used for our small nurture groups, it will be an ideal safe space for those children to be provided with the emotional support that they need.”
Sarah also addressed our criteria for benefitting as many pupils as possible and the longevity of those benefits:
“…the nurture room will give us a permanent shared space that is away from the classroom and can be used for all future cohorts. All pupils have the prospect of benefitting from our new sensory room and it will help to create a more focused learning environment in our classrooms.”
Greenfields literally plug a perceived gap.
We were very pleased to award Greenfields a grant for a huge range of books. The collection ranged from specific topic-based collections, to whole-class guided reading sets and great fiction, non-fiction and poetry titles from carefully curated reading passport lists.
We do like to hear about a specific, identified need for a bid and Kate Day (Headteacher) showed Greenfields’ needs clearly in her application:
“We have just revised our KS1 and EYFS phonics scheme and now need to focus on KS2 reading and enjoying reading. Our data shows that we are particularly weak in promoting and enthusing boys to read. Several staff now have this as a performance target. We have written age specific targets for all children but on reviewing our book offerings we have realized that boys books are not particularly engaging and our girls books lack in positive female role models. Our school is not very diverse either so one another thing we would like to do is purchase some texts which support widening our diversity understanding.”
Kate also told us how the books would be used and gave us examples of who and how the books would help:
“We have introduced 3o'clock reads in every class for this purpose - but now need engaging, enthusiastic texts which inspire the children to read. As we are developing our reading and phonics, we have realized that the cost of specialist books is huge and currently we only have one copy of each. Being able to have more would mean we can send more home and children will have more opportunities to read.
This would also support not just out class teachers but our phonics assistant who teaches in all classes N-3, our nursery nurses and our community by spreading the message of diversity and BLM through our children.
More opportunities to read, more choice in books, more willingness to try a text, more engagement in reading and wanting to read, all lead to better reading skills, better access in class and attainment results leading to better life chances in the future.”
Brookmans Park’s Lenovo Laptops Lift Lockdown Learning.
We were pleased to award Brookmans Park Primary School an award for three Lenovo laptops.
Understandably, we have a lot of applications for laptops in these difficult times. Whilst we appreciate the need, each bid still has to explain how the laptops will be used, who will use them, what benefit using a laptop will bring and the longevity of the benefit. Andrea Pollington (Assistant Head) produced a strong application which covered all these points well.
Who will use the laptops:
“…to support our catch-up groups across the school. Since lockdown we have worked hard to try to close the gap particularly with our vulnerable children, who did not have access to learning at home.
We are running daily small booster groups in maths, writing and reading throughout the school and we would really benefit from at least three more laptops for children to share and become familiar with accessing online learning independently.”
How will they be used:
“We have introduced MYMaths and google classroom as well the continued use of 'Timetables Rockstars', all of which are helping these children to catch up. These computers would also be used if a family has to self-isolate at home for 14 days so they can continue their learning. We have at least ten families that have no access to online learning without these extra computers, as the laptops we already have need to be utilised during the school day.”
What are the longer-term benefits:
“Long term these laptops will support booster groups and intervention groups in all areas of the curriculum and will be utilised by all children across the school.”
How will using laptops help learning:
“Lockdown and self isolation have proved very difficult for so many families and the use of these laptops will help and encourage children to re-engage with their learning in their homes. It will give them access to google classroom and MyMaths, so that if they have to isolate they will not fall further behind. At school it will allow them to participate in booster groups, pre teaching and wellbeing interventions. We are very aware as a school that Mental Health underpins everything we do and being able to fully participate and not be hindered in their learning opportunities will boost their wellbeing.”