Chauncy’s science department remains static!
We were pleased to award Chauncy School a STEM award for a new Van De Graaff generator, Joule meters, ph meters and power packs. Michele O’Hanlon (Science Teacher) explained the need for the Van de Graaff
“Unfortunately during lockdown, mice got into one of our storage cupboards and have pretty much destroyed all the non metal parts of the Van de Graaff. We have tried to repair / replace the destroyed non metal parts to no avail. The Van de Graaff is the 'show stopper' part of any of our lessons / commitments and projects.”
She went on to help us understand the wide range of topics the equipment is needed for:
“Forensic science sessions
Environmental / ecology sessions
Pharmaceutical product preparation
Toiletry manufacture and production
Lights, fibre optics and laser investigations
Identification of unknown substances and materials.
Electrolysis and electrochemical cell (portable fuel source production)
Investigation: acids, base, pH curves and accurate titrations.
Investigations into static electricity, weather and electrical fields.”
… and the many groups of pupils (on top of science classes) who would benefit:
Year 6 moving up day”
Finally, Michelle finished with general benefits of the equipment:
"The equipment would be reliable, easy to pre prepare, easy to transport, easy to use and easy to store.
The equipment would be functional and interchangeable in all of the above projects.
In class and out of class these projects will help primary and secondary students consolidate and extend scientific knowledge and achievement.
To inspire and motivate primary and secondary students to consider future STEM subject careers.”
And perhaps, most importantly:
“Finally: TO HAVE FUN!!!!!!”
Goffs-Churchgate bounce back stronger.
We were pleased to award Goffs-Churchgate a PE Minor Award for two trampettes. Kevin Yardley explained how the equipment would not only benefit the school’s own pupils:
“…these would be used for both students who attend the school and children in the local area who attend the classes run by our external hirers.”
Kevin went on to talk about how the trampettes would help their students:
“These would allow the students to work independently on their trampolining skills.
…The new trampolines will increase the children's motivation as there will be more access to them, as well as the fact they are newer so they will be to a higher quality.
…We will be able to run more extra-curricular activities as there will be more equipment to allow that to be possible.”
Chancellors have “bin” there and dumped that!
We were pleased to grant Chancellors a STEM award to design and make a series of recycling bins made from recycled/recyclable materials to be placed in every classroom and office around the school. As James Field (Head of Technology) explained, the project will develop and enhance many areas of curriculum knowledge as well as skills such as teamwork:
“In addition to the students that head up the team in Sustain we have since discussed creating an additional team that can support the manufacture of the bin units. This new team will be created by offering to all students in all year groups.
They, as well as the Sustain leadership committee will:
- Design the units using 2D design, taking into account standard sack sizes (capacity maximised).
- Take into account Design and Technology practices in reducing wasted material and creating an effective and strong unit.
- Test as appropriate and modify design.
- Manufacture using our laser cutter during dedicated lunchtimes.
- Assemble and distribute. “
The project will also have other real-life benefits for all pupils by:
- “raising awareness and support the environment by increasing the amount that we recycle.
- (pupils) taking responsibility for the waste they produce.
- Raising the profile of the school as a Beacon of Excellence for sustainability.”
Reach robotics causes a storm.
We were pleased to award The Reach Free School a STEM Minor Award for the majority of 3 LEGO® MINDSTORMS® Education EV3 Core Robotics Sets. Annalise Armitage (Science Teacher) explained this exciting project:
“This is an in-house project that spans over 12 1.5 hour lessons and it allows pupils to build, programme and navigate their very own robot through some unique robot games and puzzles. The challenge that they are set is based on real world problems. This year's one is around being active.”
The pupils will enter the First Lego League Challenge competition which…
“…will not only help inspire pupils in STEM as it shows them how the theory they are taught in lessons can be applied not only practically, but also to real life situations, but it also helps the pupils socially and emotionally.
As this project is run over several weeks, the pupils have to show and develop resilience, teamwork, innovation, problem solving and inclusion of others.”
As well as the depth of learning benefit, we always look for the number and range of pupils who will be helped by a project and how long those benefits will last. Annalise covered these points well:
“The project can be rolled out for all abilities and has been adapted for all to take part. I think this would be a fantastic opportunity for pupils to engage with each other, but also inspire them to dive deeper into STEM.
Although for this year it will only be delivered to a small group due to current times, once we have the equipment and resources, this is a project that can be delivered several times across several year groups, year on year within minimal additional cost.”
Chancellors achieve excellence through staff training.
We were pleased to award Chancellor’s School an Effective Learning Minor Award to fund the majority of an Achieve Excellence keynote workshop and 4 coaching sessions. With the unprecedented pressures on the education system at the moment, we are very aware of the need to help both pupils and staff not only get through these trying times but also to “build back better”. As Elizabeth Grant (Deputy Headteacher) explained:
“We believe that this training will enable staff to be reflective, better practitioners and also help us retain the best teachers at Chancellor's. This will all have an impact on the standard of teaching and learning and continual progress of all students.”
We are always impressed when schools decide on the best projects to apply for with the benefit of research and/or experience. Chancellor’s had done just that and ticked our “longevity of benefit” box as well:
“We have already delivered a whole staff workshop in November 2020 on 'crucial conversations' and prior to lockdown had 6 members of staff ready to be trained as coaches.
All staff have attended the introduction to coaching and its benefits. 30 staff have already indicated that they would like to be coached to improve their current practice and allow them personal reflection time. 6 staff were chosen in the first round to become fully trained coaches and many others will be trained over the next couple of years so that we have a bank of coaches.”
As well as improving staff’s wellbeing and practice and thereby benefitting students, the project will also help students directly:
“We have also made sure that two of the coaches being trained are Heads of Year so that these coaching techniques can be used with students, alongside restorative practice.
These coaching techniques will also be used with students, via our pastoral system, asking the right questions to enable students to come up with their own solutions to problems as well as being supported and listened to.”
Sele draw our attention to the benefits of graphic pads
We are pleased to award The Sele School an Effective Learning grant for four graphics pads to be used in science.
We are always impressed when schools have researched and/or tested the benefits of their proposed project before applying to us. Laura Morgan (Head of Science) did just that:
“Due to the ever-changing expectations regarding teaching during a pandemic, both in school and online and managing varying content delivery and feedback we purchased one graphics tablet to allow immediate differentiation, feedback and annotation for lessons, both in person and online. This was imbedded into school practice last term and feedback from students and staff was overwhelmingly positive.
Due to decreased funds within the education sector, it was not viable for us to purchase more and so this was shared amongst the faculty.
…graphics tablets have been seen to help model answers, dual code, assess and give feedback, not only in first-hand our own school but also in the wider educational community, we are applying for the funds to purchase four more graphics tablets, so each member of staff in our department can utilise one.”
Laura further strengthened her bid by explaining more benefits of the graphic tablets in these very difficult times:
“An additional benefit to these devices is with the uncertainty of GCSE/A Level exams format, feedback on student work is vital and detail is needed - graphics tablets allow for much faster immediate feedback without the need to download, print, scan documents. Additionally, due to the inevitable variance in student attendance online, the ability to record our lessons and annotate directly onto our documents, allows those who are unable to access the live lessons (of which we teach 100% of our timetable) can still receive quality first teaching.
…the ability to annotate our lessons in real time will add a familiar and supportive layer to our otherwise impersonal content delivery whilst using computers.
Vulnerable and SEND students are a particular focus for us, especially in this period of disrupted learning. The ability to amend our PowerPoint's in real time, as students’ feedback and address misconceptions before they imbed, is imperative and will allow us the ability to differentiate effectively and support those most at risk.”