Presdales have their textiles bid all sewn up.
We were very pleased to grant Presdales School their second award in a bid closely linked to their EL project. * Their STEM bid again focussed on textiles, this time, the purchase of 2 basic and 2 more advanced electronic sewing machines. Nikki Albone (Revenue Generation Coordinator) began by explaining the difficulties of running thriving D+T subjects:
“Due to the expense of equipment and increased teaching expense for small class sizes Design & Technology is no longer available in many schools. Presdales School however, prides itself in its provision of a diverse range of subjects under the D&T umbrella including Product Design, Graphics, Food & Nutrition and Fashion & Textiles (run in two class-rooms).”
She added to previous arguments about the benefits of practical subjects to struggling pupils by adding:
“However, these subjects also hold significant importance and appeal to Presdales’ more gifted students, providing them with the ability to develop projects using cross-curricular skills that engage design, construction and engineering theories learned within Maths, Computing and The Sciences. The D&T subjects are the stepping-stones to Engineering within Higher Education and the workplace. Whilst not a Presdales student there is first-hand knowledge of a student who studied Textiles Tech along with other STEM subjects to enter an Engineering Degree and is moving into a Space Defence career this year.”
Nikki then took time to explain the specific benefits of her project e.g.:
"… offer an extensive range of stitches and features, such as buttonholes and decorative stitching, thereby giving our students the ability to improve the quality of their final products and access higher exam grades. This is a 100% capital investment and will provide a significant asset to the school for many years.
At KS4 & 5 the importance of access to current machines, which provide a wide range of functions is increased, enabling students to produce work to a level that provides access to higher grades at AO2 of both the GCSE and A-level Design Textiles specifications.”
* We are more than happy to consider linked bids, where one project enhances the effectiveness of another, either in the same subject area or cross curricular. “Joined up thinking” is never a bad idea.
Presdales are no dummies when it comes to textiles.
Our first Effective Learning award of 2020/21 went to Presdales School Academy Trust for the purchase of 6 Diana dress form adjustable sewing dummies for textiles.
Textiles sometimes struggles to attract enough pupil numbers but during the lockdown, an interest in sewing related activities has grown across the country. Nikki Albone (Revenue Generation Coordinator) explained:
“Whilst the number of students is relatively low in comparison with other subject this project is significant because Presdales is the only school in the area offering A-Level study in Fashion and Textiles and against the national trend the number of students at KS4 (GCSE) and KS5 (A-Level) is due to increase by 175% for the 2020/21 academic year.”
Practical subjects appeal to a wide variety of students. In particular, Nikki noted:
"According to OFSTED, pupils with special educational needs make better progress in D&T than in most other subjects. This is because designing and making usable products gives pupils a real sense of achievement. They benefit from experiencing their own progress and taking responsibility for their own learning.”
Whilst projects in all our focus areas should strive to help pupils learn more effectively in some way, an Effective Learning bid has to work harder to prove the project will enhance the learning of pupils in one or more subject areas. Here are a few of the strong arguments Nikki made:
“The range of equipment being sought in the overall project addresses teaching and learning at both end of the textiles technology scale. At the low-tech end of the scale the addition of the adjustable dressmaking dummies within the Textiles classrooms will allow students to effectively learn the traditional techniques of dressmaking and tailoring as well as more modern pattern construction approaches. Through their use, our students will develop a better understanding of the fit of garments and how to adapt a pattern to create a custom fit. Maths will be engaged in a practical setting with the use of equations to grade patterns to different dress sizes. With the use of the dummies students will be afforded with an applied method of learning helping the more visual or tactile learner.
Practical application through modelling or sculpting fabric onto a dummy will also support the teaching of alternative pattern manufacture techniques used in the fashion industry providing a significant advantage to visual learners. With pattern cutting and modelling now amounting to roughly one third of the overall non-examined assessment grade this simple equipment will greatly support confidence and understanding throughout their studies as well as enabling them to test their products throughout their manufacturing process affording them access to AO3 of the AQA Key Stage 4 & 5 specifications.”
Barnwell strive to be practically perfect in science.
We were very pleased to give our first award of 2020/21 to Barnwell School to purchase class sets of required practical books for science. As Jackie Johnson (Assistant Headteacher) explained in her application:
“These are particularly crucial, this year, due to the restrictions we will face in terms of conducting classroom based practical lessons.”
We are always impressed when schools manage to integrate new resources/training etc with other resources and procedures in a cohesive learning plan. Barnwell are doing just this:
“For students in Years 7 and 8, members of the science faculty are creating additional resources, to compliment those required in KS4, which will help to embed the practical skills required within science and ensure that our students are confident in this aspect of the curriculum.”
Jackie took some time to explain how the practical books will enhance effective learning of science practical knowledge and skills:
“…these will allow the students to undertake each practical in a methodical, formal manner as required in their final examination. This rehearsal and subsequent formal recording of results and analysis of findings will ensure that the students are confident in answering related questions and, as a result, we are confident that we will see an improvement in overall outcomes.”
2019/20 Secondary Minor Award Winners
We are very pleased to have given £29,309 in minor awards to secondary schools in £51,309 in total (including the Major Awards) this year.
Here are the secondary schools that succesfully bid for a minor award in each category during 2019/20. Just click on the dots to see a short write up about their award.
|Rickmansworth||•||•||Watford Grammar (Boys)||•|
|Sele||•||•||Watford Grammar (Girls)||•|
|The Reach Free School||•||•||The Nobel School||•|
|Batchwood||•||Bishops Hatfield Girls' School||•|
Queens put in a hot bid for thermal cameras
We were very happy to award funds to The Queens’ School for two new thermal imaging cameras. Hetal Patel, Senior science technician, showed the bredth of the project’s benefits by giving many examples of the topic areas where the cameras could be used:
“Concepts of Radiation are first introduced in Year 7 where students learn about energy from the sun. However, currently we use the camera in the following years to explain these topics:
Year 9 Physics Heat Transfer
Year 9 Thinking Scientifically (Insulating materials)
Year 10 Physics Chapter 2 (Heat transfer)
Year 10 Physics Chapter 4 (Current electricity) - for use with thermistors
Year 10 Physics Chapter 5 (Electricity in the home) - for use with fuses
Year 11 Physics Chapter 13 (EM waves)
Year 12 Physics Waves and Optics
Year 13 Physics Astrophysics
This camera is such a valuable resource in effectively being able to introduce and demonstrate these difficult concepts. There are many other potential uses in the other sciences too. For example, to look at and explain exothermic and endothermic reactions, displacement reactions in Chemistry or for Aerobic/anaerobic reactions in Biology. Similarly, it opens up the possibility for cross curricular links, for example to help understand how different materials that are used in DT are affected by heat, or understanding thermochromic paint used in Art.
…enrichment through our 'Thinking Scientifically' program where students investigate topics by devising practical methods and setting up experiments based on prior learning and knowledge. A topics that is offered as part of this enrichment is Insulating Materials (Year 9)”
Hetal also explained the depth of the benefit…
“…such a powerful visual towards understanding heat transfer, infrared radiation and allowing teachers to address misconceptions easily.
The joy is in allowing students the opportunity to witness heat energy for themselves. Where the camera has been used to illustrate these various concepts, they always leave these lessons very positively and are more likely to recall lessons learnt.”
Bids are almost always made stronger when relevant staff (and pupils) collaborate. Hetal demonstrated this was the case for her camera bid:
‘As one of our Physics teachers has said, "It is a vital resource because it is the only way for students to experience something that is invisible (infrared radiation or "heat"). This camera lets them 'see' it and therefore makes it much easier to understand and conceptualise. It is also an incredibly fun demo and makes the subject very engaging for the students."’
As for our important “longevity of benefits” criteria, we have little doubt that Queens’ pupils will be learning efficiently and enjoyably through this equipment for years to come as they replace two second-hand cameras donated to the school over fourteen years ago!
Bishop’s Hatfield Girls give us a strong bid in microscopic detail
We were very happy to grant Bishops Hatfield Girls School a STEM minor award to purchase microscope eyepiece graticules, micrometre and liver slides and two digital cameras for microscopes. Isabelle Fautrero-Sayer (School Development Officer) worked with Sarah Keay (Science Technician) to put together a very detailed and persuasive bid:
They started with the project’s aims:
“Our project is the Visualisation of the Microscopic World
Its aims are:
- To aid understanding of the microscopic world by providing better, more advanced and more engaging interactive equipment
- Make information clearer, more easily accessible to all and adapt teaching to current and future social distancing measures
- Improve observational and technical skills
- Improve grades at GCSE and A-level as microscopy and histological techniques are integral parts of both the GCSE and A level Biology specifications. See notes (1), (2) further on.
- Boost interest in STEM subjects through active participation in microscopy both within the class and as extracurricular activities (such as our Science Club and STEM activity days we organise with our local feeder primary schools). “
Then they detailed the number of pupils and teachers who would benefit e.g:
“Teacher(s) trained: 20 STEM teachers + 2 or 3 trainees on placement + 2 professional technicians
There is the option to share the new equipment with the four other secondary schools in our Sixth Form consortium - Monks Walk, Stanborough, Ridgeway Academy and Onslow St Audrey's.
We also have 2 science teachers who are STEM Ambassadors that visit other secondary schools to discuss and demonstrate STEM excellence in the classroom, of which microscopy is a vital component.
The more advanced techniques will also be shared with students from our Sixth Form Consortium of 5 Secondary Schools.
To add to the above, the whole school will also benefit through our extracurricular events which 200-250 pupils attend yearly. The equipment will also benefit each year group every year over the 5+ years life of the equipment
Through our Primary Links Programme, we hold regular Key Stage 2 Science events to inspire 50-90 pupils from 4 local feeder primary schools several times a year, every year.”
Sarah and Isabelle then explained just how each element of their bid would benefit pupils’ learning:
“Having a set of slides to use when we visit years 5 and 6 will allow primary pupils to see links with their curriculum (e.g. how organisms are classified and what arteries/veins look like and their relative size). These hands-on activities, led by our A level biology students, introduce primary pupils to the microscopic world and fuel their interest in the life sciences. They are also vital in the development of our STEM Sixth Formers… Acquiring several sets also means class work will not be compromised by taking the equipment out of school to visit the community.
The addition of microscope cameras would allow us to extend the primary link sessions to encompass more primary pupils e.g. both year 5 and 6 (approx 60-90 pupils) and still provide a visual and interactive STEM session.
2) Microscope camera:
By having microscope cameras available, the teachers can also project a microscope image onto the whiteboard. This will enable students to identify what to look for, teachers to highlight key components (e.g. kupffer cells in the liver) and allow any students with visual issues to participate more in the process, making it more inclusive.
These cameras will help us accommodate larger groups when working with our Sixth Form Consortium biology students (from 4 other schools) or running regular whole school events such as British Science Week, Biology Week and our annual Science Fair.”
The bid was even linked to current events…
“We are currently working on a STEM event, suitable for all key stages, that would look at a pandemic scenario and allow students to use both biotechnology and microscopy to follow through various virus related tasks. This is designed to help pupils make sense of the last few months and all the information they have heard on the news and see how it all fits together to overcome a virus like COVID-19.
While social distancing is in place, this equipment will enable us to offer our students access to live microscopic images without compromising safety.”
Another strength of the bid was they explained the more specialist equipment to better extol its virtues:
“3) Eyepiece graticules and slide micrometres:
These allow students to calibrate the microscopes in order to calculate image size. This is a requirement for A-level and having only one per A level group delays teaching and learning time whilst students wait for the microscope and graticules to become available. By having more, it also means there is scope for this skill to be opened up to other year groups, enabling extension practical work at e.g. GCSE, to be carried out.”