Barnwell make a big bang with Kerboodle
Barnwell school have made a successful, two-pronged bid for STEM. Firstly, we have awarded them a grant for an additional Lego Mindstorms kit and a small sum to help their students attend a hard-fought place in the National Big Bang finals in Birmingham *.
As Sophie Tyler, Assistant STEM Coordinator explained:
“The Big Bang trip will provide an experience that the students would not otherwise receive. They will see exhibits from major engineering, medical and research organisations, interact with professionals from across the STEM subjects and listen to talks by inspirational people.”
The second major strand of the bid was to fund an online learning platform purchase for KS5 in Science. Sophie gave lots of reasons for their choice of project:
“…introduce activities which support the curriculum and ensure that the key objectives of the course can be delivered. Students are also able to access texts and resources online, and assessments are also provided. This would allow training teachers or teachers new to A level to be able to deliver A level lessons more successfully in the future. The school changed from the Edexcel course to the AQA course for our current year 12 cohort, so the year 12 teachers are currently writing lessons or searching for materials to use, which is very time consuming. The Kerboodle resource would improve the quality of learning for the students and enable teaching staff to invest more time in supporting students to close gaps in learning.”
*Please be aware that we are often reticent in awarding money for trips as we think there are often, more long-lasting, directly educational/effective learning benefits to be derived from other types of project. In this case, the trip contribution was a small part of the bid, had the potential for pushing obvious high-achievers and would be massively motivational for pupils following a worthwhile, curriculum-linked activity.
Table tennis times two for Watford Boys
We are pleased to award Watford Boys Grammar school funds to buy two indoor table tennis tables plus all the required equipment.
There is great demand for the sport at Watford Boys and the tables will help it be delivered in core PE lessons in all years as well as in 3-4 open sessions each week which attracts about 50 boys. The school also runs teams at various levels for which they bring in an outside coach and the tables will be available for outside lettings – benefitting the community and bringing in income for the school.
Giles Wallis, Head of Sport, further strengthened his application by explaining:
“The school has a rich heritage in table tennis, with former Team GB player Will Maybanks being a former pupil. We know from speaking to our students that table tennis is a sport they would like to play more of, and we would love to be able to support future top table tennis players.
Table tennis is a fantastic sport from an accessibility perspective and complements our three main sports (rugby, cricket and hockey). Boys who are disengaged from team/collision sports, for any of a number of reasons, find table tennis far easier to participate in. It can provide a route into participation in sport where they would otherwise totally disengage, bringing them all the physical and mental benefits that sport provides.”
Highfield table a succesful bid
We are pleased to award The Highfield School a grant for an outdoor table-tennis table.
Russell Kemp, Head of PE, demonstrated he had solid plans to get the most out of the table:
“This would give students an opportunity to use their time at lunchtime. The school is also driving table tennis through a lunch club and it will be in some year groups curriculum.
We will start by introducing table tennis through tutor time activities starting with year 9. We are hoping a taster session will increase participation for clubs… There may be an opportunity to use the tables as part of behaviour management project.”
Barnwell visualise a clear path to learning effectively
Barnwell have secured an Effective Learning bid for 12 visualiser cameras. Jen McCall, Head of Science, submitted a very well-argued bid explaining how useful the visualisers would be…
“Visualisers can be used for a variety of purposes, for demonstrating, showing examples of good work and for recording documented evidence.
- Students will be more engaged in lessons where they can see visual demonstrations more easily on a screen.
- Students will have good examples of work shared with their class, giving them praise and encouraging others to strive to reach the demonstrated standard
- Students will attain higher marks if they are taught explicitly how to approach exam questions, when they see particular command words, texts, diagrams etc.
- Students will be able to see where mistakes were made in practice papers and learn to avoid those errors in their final exams.
Additionally, Science teachers undertake a number of demonstrations which support the students in their learning, for example heart dissections, the heating effect of a current in a wire and the addition of mass during combustion reactions. Sometimes these demonstrations are hard for a class to see all at once, so to be able to do them under the visualiser for the whole class to easily see the details would be really effective.”
The visualisers are being purchased initially for the science department who have a proven track-record of successfully using the few they already have. However, Jen strengthened her Effective Learning bid by explaining that science teachers intended to spread this good practice throughout the school and the bid provides for an extra 4 visualisers to lend out to other departments to implement the training immediately.
Jen also showed that other parties would benefit from the bid:
“Visitors to the school for JPD, Primary school students visiting for joint projects, induction sessions, and secondary transfer day, and our neighbours, a special needs school who visit to use our facilities or to receive lessons from our staff will also benefit.”
Presdales pen another strong application
Presdales have won an Effective Learning award for five C-pen Exam Readers. As Nikki Albone, Revenue Generation Coordinator quoted in her application:
“The ExamReader is a completely portable, pocket-sized text-to-speech scanner that's half the size of other scanning pens on the market. This device reads with a human-like digital voice in multiple English accents and different languages including: French, Spanish, Italian, German, and more. The ExamReader has been approved for use in exams by exam boards including, AQA. This means students who have reading difficulties, such as dyslexia, can independently take exams knowing that they can read and understand the questions.”
Nikki argued her case well by explaining the school currently has c5% of pupils with “computer reader” as part of their access arrangements. However, maximum use will be squeezed out of these readers as they will not only be used in examinations but during day-to-day lessons as well. This will have wide-ranging benefits as Nikki went on to explain:
“This equipment will help students to work independently which will boost their confidence and self-esteem. They will mean that students can remain seated at their desk in the classroom while receiving the support that they need from the pen. Reader pens can also be used in public exams - students will benefit in their public exams from having greater use of the pens in lessons as they will become more familiar with the technology. By students not having to read longer text for themselves (which takes them longer than other students) they will be able to spend more time thinking and learning.”
Townsend enhance their maths skills – probably.
We are very pleased to award Townsend School a grant to bring in the Think Maths team for a full day of student workshops on Freaky Probability.
We are always very keen to help effective learning in any subject by supporting projects that “help your pupils learn and use any knowledge or skill more quickly, thoroughly, easily, enjoyably, deeply and/or permanently.” (see Focus Areas on our website). We think that bringing in outside experts for workshops and/or staff training is an excellent way to achieve this.
As Tim Richardson, Head of Maths, quoted in his application:
“Humans are generally bad at intuitively understanding probability - not because they don't understand maths, but because it's often counter-intuitive.
Through a series of examples including audience games, students will discover that the chances are not always what we might imagine. This session will help students to use their maths skills to predict and understand the outcomes of games and real-life scenarios.”
Tim went on to add that the sessions would… “promote a greater enjoyment and appreciation of Mathematics and increase their understanding of the concept of probability. As mentioned above this can be a problem for many students and it has been particularly highlighted with our students at Townsend.”