Longdean work alongside robots to develop STEM skills
We were pleased to grant Longdean School a grant towards the purchase of a NAO 6 humanoid robot. This exciting project was applied for by Tracy Doyle (Finance Director) and Shakeel Rathore (Director of STEM) who explained Longdean’s existing focus on STEM and how the robot would further:
“…boost interest of students in electronics and technology. We have a STEM stream now in Y7 and Y8, and after school STEM clubs totalling 70 students. Robotics is one of the projects that we are using to enthuse the children and we have already obtained grants and invested in the purchase of a whole class set of VEX IQ.
Year 6 induction pupils, also 6th formers have been offering support to the KS3 STEM club and we are arranging 'Masterclasses' from ex Longdean pupils now studying at university.
As a humanoid, interactive figure it will massively increase the profile of STEM and act as a clear attraction for students interested in joining the STEM stream. We envisage taking NAO out to our feeder primaries, and using her to welcome visitors at open evening. It will also allow DT staff without previous experience to learn about robotics and give the chance for 6th formers to work alongside KS3 students.”
However, just increasing interest and motivation in STEM subjects would not be enough to pass our criteria so Shakeel discussed how the robot would enhance learning as well:
“A great way to introduce STEM and deep dive into students’ learning with variety of skills related to STEM subject. For example, students are able to program the robot to walk a geometric shape, they can apply skills that they have learned in other STEM related subject classes. When they write code for the robot they are applying computer science and basic technology skills, but they are also thinking logically, like mathematicians or technology/engineers.
It allows students to design solutions to problems. It goes beyond algorithms and mathematical thinking. A big part of it is logic and teaching young learners how to think. The programming and math go hand-in-hand because there is some computation involved in programming. But also there is computational thinking, providing young learner a platform and learning experience that involves thinking logically, problem solving and analyse about the next step in their coding with the robot.”
Haileybury get the picture when it comes to well-structured bids
We were very pleased to award Haileybury Turnford their third minor award this year (one for each focus area of PE, STEM and Effective Learning). This PE bid was for an iPad, two digital camcorders and equipment which they will use across all of our KS3/4/5 PE lessons to film for GCSE and analyse movements/performances. Christina Simeou (Second in PE) put in a strong, well structured bid for the equipment. She began with the need for the equipment:
“Due to government and exam Board changes in how the GCSE/CTEC PE sports are moderated we now have to film all practical NEA aspects. This is due to there being no visiting moderators due to COVID-19. This will have a major impact on our department and school as we would usually conduct a live, on the day viewing of the sports. Additionally, due to the missed time from schools being in lockdown we now have to collate an enormous amount of video footage of our 6 KS4/5 classes. If we were able to purchase this equipment we would not only be able to film multiple students/sports within school and lessons but we could also allow students to film their individual sport outside of school if e compete at a different/higher level. “
Then Christina explained how the equipment would help address this need and enhance learning and motivation:
“To support with rapid pupil’s progress within lessons we would utilise the iPad into assist with students understanding of skill and techniques. This would further support explain teaching and learning through self and peer analysis as well as providing a visual aid when comparing to examples of excellence.
This will in turn develop and build confidence as student can see improvements immediately and make corrections where there are errors in technique etc this will particularly support our most vulnerable groups as confidence is often something they lack, but seeing their success played back would build and develop their confidence and self-esteem.”
Christina then strengthened her bid by explaining another benefit of the equipment:
“Within school we use attendance and behaviour software that runs through an app. This could be used on the iPad and allow for greater mobility when logging attendance and raising/requiring behaviours support, which is essential for us within the current climate as well as the school specific changes that are occurring.”
And finally, she showed the wider range of pupils who will benefit from the purchase:
“We hold transition days with our local primary schools and we could utilise this equipment when they have their taster of PE. It would be used to demonstrate how effective video technology is, particularly with the slow-motion aspects in support student’s skill and technique development. As well as this, our school is the hub for the local Primary schools’ partnership. This means we host 10-15 sports activities a year at our school which local Primary and secondary schools participate in. this technology would be used to support this and promote future events.”
Katherine Warington put in an athletics bid for us to discus
We were pleased to award Katherine Warington School a grant for a range of athletics throwing equipment. This is a new school in Harpenden and setting up any department strains budgets all around. As Jamie Alexander (PE teacher) explained:
“Being a brand-new school, we are effectively starting from scratch in terms of PE equipment for students to use. While we have the funding for most sports that require less equipment, one key sport that we are keen to gain equipment for is athletics, particularly as it is a more COVID compliant sporting activity. This includes resources such as javelins, shot puts, discus and high jump equipment.
Athletics is a massive sport within school PE, especially in the current global pandemic. Athletics also lends itself nicely to the development of key core skills - throwing, jumping and running - that support physical well-being.”
Highfield move the goalposts!
We were pleased to award The Highfield School a grant to buy a set of movable goals. Russell Kemp (Head of PE) explained the need for the new goals and just how many pupils they would benefit very clearly:
“We have got a year 8/9 and senior pitch with fixed goals. We were looking to add a year 7 pitch and use moveable goals for this as well as using them in other areas.
They will be used for a variety of reasons. Firstly, it will allow our school to host home fixtures within county and district competitions. They would be used for extracurricular delivery in year 7/8/9, full size games for year 7 and conditioned games for year 8&9. The goals will be used for both boys and girls clubs. We have growing amount of girls playing football and would like to be able to play 9 aside fixtures.
During curriculum time they would be used throughout the year groups and would enable us to move areas to play to avoid waterlogged areas. We also run house competitions and a leadership enrichment programme that they would be used for to assist with coaching and officiating.”
Haileybury Turnford link up learning with sight and sound.
We were pleased to award Haileybury Turnford an Effective Learning grant to buy 25 webcams and 15 microphones to help adapt their teaching and learning to current circumstances. As Danielle Newman (Assistant Principal) explained:
“Remote learning has become a massive part of school education and this will help to deliver this provision more effectively.
The students could receive more effective feedback as they could present their work using the webcams and the teachers would provide feedback. The students could also use the webcams when they have to remote in from home for a revision session - This would really benefit our most vulnerable students.”
Danielle went on further explain:
“Our student laptops and teacher desktops do not have microphones or webcams. This means that students cannot interact effectively with the teachers or talk and respond to questions – This is a huge barrier to teaching and learning. For example, we are currently doing science demos over MS Teams and our students cannot interact with the teacher doing the demo.”
Chancellor’s ping us an application that certainly didn’t pong!
We were pleased to award Chancellor’s School a grant for two indoor table tennis tables and a class set of equipment to help them introduce the sport to the school. We know how popular and accessible table tennis is with many students and Simon Martin (Head of PE) explained how widespread these benefits would be at Chancellor’s:
“Extra-curricular clubs at KS3 & KS4 and it will be part of the curriculum at KS4. We will also look to push on GCSE PE & Sport Studies students and give them the opportunity for them to be assessed in table tennis as part of their course.
It will give students who are taking GCSE PE or Cambridge Nationals Sport Studies another sport to be assessed in an potentially improve their grades.
...There may be opportunities for house competitions and tournaments against other schools.”
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