Secondary Award Winners

Over £375,000 donated to Hertfordshire Secondary Schools since January 2018
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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.”

Amwell View communicate a multi-use bid for iPads

We are very pleased to grant Amwell View an award for three iPads to be used mainly in science lessons. 

Amwell View is a school that provides education for 150 children with Severe and Complex Learning Difficulties and Deborah Harlow (Network Manager) explained that the iPads would be used:

“…to film the children and the short video clips are uploaded onto Tapestry, this is then used to provide evidence of progress.  …assessment videos are used to monitor progress, across the curriculum and across all year groups. This would enable a seamless and consistent provision so that performance tracking is monitored and measured against targets for all children as they progress through the school.”

We would have considered just using the iPads as cameras as being poor value for money but Deborah also explained they would have other important uses such as being…

“…used interactively to improve communication by using software such as Proloquo and Grid3, to improve the children's fine motor skills, they can also be used as a visualizer thus creating differentiated meaningful learning experiences.”

Goffs serve up the first bid of 2021

We were very pleased to award our first grant of 2021 to Goffs for two indoor table tennis tables.  As Kevin Yardley’s (Director of Income Generation) apprentice, Courtney Caswell, explained: 

“The equipment purchased will benefit all the students at the school as well as the children who attend the classes that are run by our external hirers.

I feel as though the students would love the opportunity to have more access to play table tennis as currently, we only have 1 table that is a year old and 2 that are not such high quality as they are older.”

Kevin went on to give some more arguments for the need for the new tables:

"Table Tennis is very much part of the curriculum at Goffs Academy for KS3 and KS4, we also offer extracurricular lunchtime and after school clubs. Unfortunately, none of this provision is as good as it could be due to the poor quality of the tables used. 

We are currently offering table tennis as part of the provision of activities for Key Worker children and vulnerable children attending school in lockdown, it’s a very popular option with queues for the few tables in good condition.”

The new tables would also benefit young people in the community and bring some income into the school:

“We currently host Herts Regional College Table Tennis Club once a week for a club night. They are very interested in expanding this to include 2 more evenings a week which would include league matches, unfortunately the number of high-quality tables prevents us from supporting this at the moment as well as limiting the numbers who can attend their club sessions.”

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