Sele students see science subjects screened to a significant size
We were happy to kick off our reopening of secondary minor awards with a grant to Sele School for 5 visualisers.
We are big fans of formative assessment/feedback as a method of making learning more effective. Visualisers make this technique possible for an entire class or more. As Laura Morgan, Head of Science, explained:
…there is a huge emphasis on independent learning and embedding knowledge. With this in mind the schools teaching style has shifted to largely ramped worksheets - feedback to the class would be much smoother with the use of visualisers but the school’s budget does not extend to this. The current situation re schools’ partial closure would also make distant learning easier with the school look at teaching in the hall which has no white boards, visualiser feedback would be ideal.
As the visualisers are primarily for the science department, they will also extremely useful for all manner of demonstrations and experiments. However, as we much prefer a project’s Effective Learning benefits to be disseminated across the school, we were glad to read…
Whilst these will be purchased for the use of the Science faculty, as currently schools have partial closure with the idea to potentially bring back Year 10/12, use of visualisers in larger rooms without white boards will see feedback given more clearly across all faculties.
19/20 Secondary Major Awards ***WINNER*** Bishop Hatfield Girls' School (PE)
We were delighted to name Bishop Hatfield Girls’ School the Winner of the 2019/20 Major Award.
Isabelle Fautrero-Sayer (School Development Officer) coordinated an excellent bid for an England Cricket Board (ECB) approved training and coaching pitch, cage, specialist equipment and skilled teacher-training in cricket coaching.
Introducing a new skill or subject to a school is always a strong foundation for a bid to us so the application was off to a good start. Isabelle successfully addressed the majority of the criteria we use to assess the bids. To begin with, she made sure to detail the wide range of pupils both in and outside of school who would benefit:
Should we secure this funding, we will approach local community cricket clubs to offer our facilities. We would also be able to offer the use of our facilities to the 4 feeder primary schools that are within walking distance of our grounds. Cricket could be run by them as an additional option during summer months. We could also involve our Sports Leaders to help with these
We have already made contact with the Hertfordshire branch of ‘This Girl Can’ (the campaign developed by Sports England) to offer an annual Parent/Daughter cricket match session as part of their June programme to get girls/women active and they are looking forward to getting a lot of local girls involved in this event.
With a pitch suitable for both junior and senior games available in Hatfield, the girls and women teams of the closest cricket clubs (such as St Albans and Knebworth) will be able to use our facilities in the evening and at weekends for training or matches. This will grow the interest in the game amongst local girls and our pupils.
We have also been contacted by Herts Cricket who want to harness our project to increase participation in girls cricket at secondary school level and are willing to providing some free teacher resources and online support, organise some Year 8 & 10 team competitions in the summer and help us with some potential cricket leadership and coaching opportunities in 2020/21.
The academic need and benefits were also emphasised e.g:
Successfully introduce Cricket into the KS3 & 4 curriculum (up to competing standards) and as an enrichment club with a view to helping pupils achieve higher practical grades at GCSE level and uncover talent.
The Department of Education has removed rounders from the list of accepted GCSE PE activities, and therefore the school proposes to introduce cricket as a team sport.
Details of the benefits to specific groups of pupils were also given e.g (my bullets for quotations from the application).
- Provide pupils from all backgrounds and abilities with equal opportunities to try and participate in Cricket
- With 13.4% of KS3 girls classed as Pupil Premium and 20.4% in KS4, we also believe that it is important to consider that disadvantaged students may not receive the same opportunities as others to take up, practise and excel at a sport.
- 19.5% of our pupils are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic origins where cricket plays a significant part of their culture.
- Motivate girls to adopt a regular active lifestyle to carry into their adult lives
- Equal opportunities for girls to participate and excel in a male dominated sport
- We know we have some enthusiastic cricketers who belong to local clubs including two U13 and U15 Hertfordshire County players in Years 9 and 10. At present, they have not played Cricket at school due to lack of equipment.
We were also told of the wider range of benefits eg:
We also would like to encourage them to explore additional roles other than performance, including coaching and/or official roles such as umpires.
We currently have 70 pupils taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Silver Awards in our school. We run the scheme every year and strive to make it accessible to as many students as possible. Offering cricket as an after-school club will allow a wider range of girls to address the physical part of the four sections that they are required to complete. It will make it easier for families to support their daughters in taking up this valuable scheme as the club will run on site, alleviating transport issues for working parents.
We are currently seeing increasing pressure on our resources to deal with the mental health of the young people under our care. More options to increase their physical activity, encouraging them to be ambitious in their life choices and to believe in their worth (‘This Girl Can’) will help the girls manage their own stress level, which in turn benefits our 110 members of staff and their own wellbeing.
There were other elements that helped this bid win, some of which were introduced or expanded upon in the extension form. eg
We have been in discussions with Hertfordshire Cricket who highlighted that Hatfield is one of the only major towns in Hertfordshire that has not got a cricket club. Hatfield’s demographics with a large BAME population and a rise in minority ethnic groups make it an ideal candidate for positioning our school as a potential cricket ‘hub’ for the area.
Our congratulations to BHGS – we can’t wait to get some feedback and photos of the new cricketers in action once the current situation is over.
19/20 Secondary Major Awards: Highly Commended: Ashlyns School (PE)
We were very pleased to award Ashlyns School (Berkhamsted) the second of our two Highly Commended Awards (£5,000) towards building a new long jump pit.
Interestingly, Ashlyns were one of several schools to put in a Major bid for a new or refurbished long jump pit. All those schools put in strong bids with lots of similar arguments but Ashlyns managed to nose ahead in some areas. It’s worth noting here that although we may see potential benefits of any project, if those benefits aren’t addressed in the application, we can’t give them any weight.
Some strengths of Ashlyn’s application are that they focussed on the benefit to their Sports Leaders and the pupils they would help.
“Ashlyns School was awarded Leadership Academy Status by Sports Leaders UK and named their Academy of the Year 2017. Academy status recognises the high commitment the school places on developing leadership within the school community. Our successful programme comprises Sports Leaders from every year group; they host sport festivals, visit local primary schools to offer specialist PE lessons and help to run primary school sports days.”
Ashlyns also brought the benefits to other parties, including staff into their argument…
“The new long jump pit would also help to engage the local primary schools in athletics, as we regularly work with our four linked primary schools to deliver sports festivals with our Sports Leaders. Therefore, this facility would also positively impact the delivery of primary PE lessons and physical activity opportunities in the wider local community.
Some of our PE Teachers are also wishing to engage in additional athletics coaching qualifications and this long jump pit would allow them to apply their learnt qualifications, thus improving the entire athletics standards and opportunities for both staff and students.”
John Preston (Head of PE) took full advantage of the extension form to enhance his existing arguments and put forward others e.g:
“The main aim of this facility is to boost the participation rates in all year groups within the summer months. Having this facility would provide an avenue into a sporting habit for life through the means of athletics. It would aid our disadvantaged students (12.6%) by allowing them to try other sports based around individual performance not team sports, which often leads them to becoming disaffected with PE. It would also help our students who have additional needs (15%) as sometimes these students do not socialise well in groups and will allow them to work on their own technique and focus on their own performance.
The all-weather lanes could also be used by other departments and subjects such as maths by calculating average speed and velocity, Biology by looking at anatomy and physiology, Physics by focusing on the energy, forces and bio-mechanics, which would make other lessons more interesting and engaging and give them real life applications of the knowledge being assimilated.”
As always, we were disappointed not to be able to award all the excellent and often, passionate bids the full amount, but with written assurances that the project’s additional funding was in place, we were pleased to at least be able to make a substantial contribution towards Ashlyns’ new long jump pit.
19/20 Secondary Major Awards: Highly Commended – Parmiter’s School
Tom Clarke (Head of PE) won one of our Highly Commended Awards (£5,000) with an impressive PE bid for fitness suite equipment.
The project would integrate well with Parmiter’s school-wide push on personal fitness which involves many different aspects and ties in with a Sport England study they are involved in on how best to engage KS4 girls with sport. The school also works in partnership with the Thomas Partner Sports Centre – the site is used extensively at the weekends – and the grant would enable them to re-introduce the fitness suite in the available facilities.
Tom was careful to explain the specific benefits of the project to different cohorts of pupils e.g.
“The use of the fitness suite in lessons will allow the students to appreciate the importance of staying physically fit. The personal challenge that it offers them through our structured curriculum and targeted challenges will aid both their mental health as well as their ability to understand what changes the body is going through.
The disadvantaged students programme we offer (known as LEAP, CLIMB and SHINE) will also benefit from using this. Most are under financial hardship and the opportunity for the students to use a public facility like this will be unlikely. They are likely to benefit from relief of stress as well as the physical aspect. The Pupil Premium students will benefit from the use of the fitness suite during their targeted breakfast club.
I am hoping that the use of the fitness suite will also benefit the study at both GCSE and A-Level PE where students will be able to use the equipment for studies on the effects of exercise in the exercise physiology unit as well as the muscular contractions and joint actions sections of the GCSE specification.
“This project will not only be worthwhile for the students and community use which in turn will generate an income, but staff usage will prove to be invaluable. In the past staff used to use this facility as a staff perk until it became unsafe and now staff pay for a gym membership in the local gym.”
We look forward to hearing which aspects Tom has prioritised for the HC Award.
19/20 Secondary Major Awards: Commended – Bishops Hatfield Girls School (EL)
BHGS won the second of our unplanned Commended Awards (£1,000) towards a cohesive bid for “expert external training for pupils and staff in independent learning skills, stress management workshops for pupils approaching their GCSE exams and improving access to support around wellbeing by improving our school website and establishing a lending library of books on the subject.”
Backed up by needs identified in a whole-school survey, the project would develop study skills such as conceptual learning and dynamic reading as well as majoring in wellbeing (inc. stress management) training for staff and pupils. These essential skills would be embedded in learning through subsequent staff training, refresher workshops and seminars. In addition, a lending library of well-being books and an extra resource area on their website would keep the benefits available for pupils, parents and staff.
Sophy Lawrence (Mental Health Lead and HOY) ensured each aspect of the bid was backed up with it’s benefits clearly explained e.g:
“There is a clear link between independent study skills and attainment as well as pupil wellbeing and making exceptional progress. This award would enable us to empower our pupils with innovative and meaningful strategies for study and revision which will lead to reduced stress around exams. This will improve pupil wellbeing and their quality of life which will lead to them being more able to achieve their potential. This is a need that staff have identified and that our pupils themselves have raised as an area of difficulty.”
Although obviously disappointed not to have won the full award, Sophy has already decided to spend the £1,000 on aspects of the wellbeing library and website redesign. They hope the amount will increase the number of books and pages over and above the original bid which would facilitate two excellent, long-lasting resources for the entire school community.
19/20 Secondary Major Awards: Commended – Bishops Hatfield Girls School (STEM)
Bishop’s Hatfield Girls School won an unplanned Commended Award (£1,000) towards a strong bid for a range of practical science equipment, Chromebooks and visualisers.
Isabelle Fautrero-Sayer (School Development Officer) coordinated the bid which aimed to address progress in science and maths not being as high as some other subjects. Isabelle argued that the acquisition of practical equipment would help in a number of ways:
Through this project, we aim to raise students’ educational achievement in Science and Maths at both GCSE and A level. Furthermore, we wish to stimulate increased interest in Science and Maths, thereby encouraging more girls into STEM career paths. A review of these areas has led us to conclude that we need to do this through:
- Engaging students in the subjects through investment in enhanced visual tools more interactive equipment to support teaching, with technology to bring science to life. This will improve learning through a greater understanding of advanced and often complex theories and techniques.
- Providing specialist equipment to support thorough investigation and analysis of practical science that stretch and challenge students. These skills are vital for achievement in the revised GCSE and A level courses.
Isabelle then went on to analyse and explain the specific benefits of practical activities in science such as engagement, visual learning, developing investigative and analytical skills and giving equal opportunities.
The bid also explained how the equipment would benefit pupils and staff from outside the school including their sixth form consortium, a regular primary links programme and trainee teachers at the school.
Although we are always disappointed not to be able to give the full award to all the excellent major bids, we look forward to hearing what part of their bid BHGS will spend their Commended Award money on.