Secondary Award Winners

Over £230,000 donated to Hertfordshire Secondary Schools since January 2018
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Reach Free School KINdle a passion for a new sport.

We are very excited to grant a PE minor award to The Reach Free School for a starter set of Kin-Ball equipment. 

If, like us, you didn’t know much about Kin-Ball, here’s an excerpt from

Kin-Ball, is a team sport created in Quebec, Canada in 1986 by Mario Demers, a physical education professor, in which the main distinctive characteristics are the big size of the ball (1.22 meters in diameter) and that the matches are played among three teams at the same time instead of traditional one-vs-one like the most of the team games. The International Kin-Ball Federation counts 3.8 million participants, primarily from Canada, the U.S., Japan, Belgium, France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and Malaysia, China. The newest country is the UK. Kin-Ball UK formed in 2018

We have happily supported a number of emerging sports being introduced into schools recently as we think the novelty, variety and fun they provide can engage all abilities and ages.  As Katie Townsend, Deputy Head of PE, explained in her application:

“We intend on using this equipment with our disengaged pupils in order to provide them with alternative sports to the traditional sports we currently offer at school. We will use the Kin ball equipment during core PE lessons with KS3-5 and offer this an extra-curricular activity after school for all year groups. We intend to use Kin ball as one our 'House Games' competitions within our House system to promote teamwork, communication and pupil leadership.  We will also use the equipment with our Cambridge National GCSE group to demonstrate and introduce the idea of emerging sports.”

We are always impressed when a new activity, subject or learning method is also planned to be disseminated to pupils outside of the bidding school.  The Reach Free School are aiming to do just that with this exciting new sport:

“If we had the equipment, we would be the Hub school within our School Sports Partnership that would promote Kin Ball events and competitions against other schools. We have a Family of 7 local primary schools within our Partnership that we could also host sporting events for. This would have a wider impact on the local community and promote an emerging sport.”

Longdean can see clearly now!

We are very pleased to award Longdean an Effective Learning grant for two high-spec visualisers and 5 webcams.

It always strengthens a bid when a school has gathered opinions and research for a project.  Tracy Doyle, Finance Director, did just this:

“Comments from a science teacher: 'The history dept used the webcam solution to model the marking of assessments to show how to improve the kids’ answers. I've done similar on a modelled exam paper with the visualiser. The kidney dissection I did at my last school worked well on the visualiser as I could easily zoom to show the different sections and freeze it easily while I manoeuvred the organ.”

Thinking carefully about the most effective resource(s) for the project is also a big plus to any application.  The same science teacher also explained:

 "The zoom also tends to be optical not digital so you can use it akin to a weak microscope; I've been able to get reasonable definition on things like onion cells from what I remember as well as show silver crystals growing on a copper wire. To be honest, this is the make or break function - for marking etc. the webcam solution would be absolutely fine and a fraction of the price but for truly specialist uses you can't beat optical zoom.”

Our Effective Learning focus area is open to bids from any subject in schools and we are particularly impressed when the project will be of benefit across many subjects.  Although initially inspired from an observation visit to another secondary school by the food technology department, the visualisers and web cams will be bookable across the school – a great dissemination of an effective learning strategy.

Birchwood screen the best work

We were very pleased to give our first award to Birchwood School (Bishops Stortford) for 12 visualisers to be used in science.

Birchwood are very keen to use the visualisers to give whole class feedback on excellent examples of student work, both to show best practice and to give recognition to student’s work and effort.  As Matthew Briscoe, Head of Science, wrote:

Each class will be provided with an opportunity to enhance the quality of their own work and their performance in examinations through the ability to see and share best practice and answers in a quick and easy way in lessons.

“Through the continuation of the new feedback policy across the faculty, the staff will be able to share evidence of outstanding work in assessments and home learning tasks to the rest of the cohort.

It will enable the faculty staff to push those more reticent learners to improve their technique in examinations to improve school outcomes in STEM.”

The application was strengthened due to this cross-over with Effective Learning and we hope the department finds many other uses for the visualisers such as demonstrating experiments etc.

Watford Girls explore new sports

We were very pleased to award Watford Grammar School for Girls a PE award to purchase equipment for a range of new sports including water polo, tchoukball and stoolball.

Katie Holes, Director of Sport, made a very good case for introducing the new sports:

"During KS3 our students cover a range of more traditional sporting activities, as they move into KS4 we want to encourage continued participation but at aware that not all students are motivated by the sports previously covered. Each term we offer students a selection of different sports which they can opt into and follow for 6 weeks.

Having the equipment to cover a new range of alternative sports will enable students to try something different, which may engage them in participating in this sport further, both in and outside of school.

It will also be beneficial to those students who already participate in sport regularly. These activities will allow students to be challenged by learning to transfer the skills learnt in similar games into new ones. For example, stoolball is a combination of cricket and rounders, waterpolo is an invasion game but in a very different environment and tchoukball is also an invasion game but has very different rules to most others.”

We were very keen to support this bid as the novelty and excitement of the new sports will encourage more girls to participate fully in physical activity and the equipment should continue to provide benefits for many cohorts to come.

Presdales prevail with a precision pipette bid

We were pleased to award Presdales School a class set of industry-standard micropipettes in two sizes.  The bid followed a visit by their biology teachers and a technician to the Amgen Biotechnology Experience which also included a three-week, free loan of research-grade lab materials and linked teacher and student guides.

Staff were so inspired by the opportunities the higher grade equipment presented, they wished to be able to continue to carry out the advanced practicals beyond the loan period.  As Nikki Albone, Revenue Generation Coordinator wrote, the equipment would:

 "make full use of this training. This equipment is key to the teaching and learning of modern and commercial Biology. It would be used on a regular basis and, with the diversity of practicals their use supports, this equipment is a good long-term investment for the department as it be useful whatever curriculum changes may be made.”

This grade of equipment is usually prohibitively expensive for schools but Nikki managed to catch an offer price and then further negotiate a reduction for her school.  The application made a strong case for the specialised pipettes, explaining that it will help staff capitalise on the free training and written resources and help develop many science skills across the key stages, for example:

  • “Many students struggle with unit conversions and with understanding the value and magnitude of such small lengths and volumes (e.g. micrometres and microliters). The use of micropipettes will allow students to visualize the small quantities of such lengths and volumes and compare them to more familiar units such as millilitres and centimetres cubed.
  • This is also applicable to Physics, Chemistry, and Maths as unit conversions and a strong grasp of the magnitude of units is important in these subjects as well
  • Use of micropipettes at the KS4 level to carry out simple biotechnology activities such as DNA fingerprinting will nurture interested in A-Level Biology
  • Introducing students to industrial standard procedures to better understand how science is used outside of the classroom (e.g. medical treatment, medical diagnosis, research, forensic sciences, etc.)
  • Introduction to industrial standard equipment so students can practise competency”


(Our sixth form biologists) found this new experience very exciting and engaging and unfortunately very topical.  Our teachers have commented that they didn't get their hands on this sort of equipment until either Uni or when they entered the workplace.  With fun experiments we are extending their use through all key stages.

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