Monthly Archives: May 2015

Educate Positive – Edition 6

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Welcome to the latest edition of Educate Positive, our fortnightly bulletin celebrating the great work taking place in our district’s schools and educational settings. In this edition we bring news of excellent STEM work at a Bradford secondary school; a debating competition victory for a Bradford primary school; a special project to publicise exciting teacher job opportunities in Bradford; and an innovative way to trigger a lifelong habit of reading for enjoyment.

STEM success at Titus Salt School

Students and staff at Titus Salt School have much to celebrate following the increased uptake of STEM (Science, Technology and Maths) which is becoming more and more deeply woven into the fabric of the school. The school is celebrating some of the best GCSE results and highest rates of post-16 uptake in STEM subjects as well as individual student successes. Emily Nar won a national competition for her design of a pop-up isolation unit and the school recently got through to the regional championships of the F1 in Schools Competition. Technologies and rocket science, it seems as if things aren’t going to slow down any time soon.

Sandy Lane Primary School wins public speaking competition again

Sandy Lane Pupil Voice
Teacher Kieron Murphy with some of the victorious Year 6 pupils

Hard work and commitment by Sandy Lane Primary School pupils has paid off for the third year running as they came top in a public speaking competition, providing them with learning experiences which will remain with them through their adult lives.

The Rotary Club of Bingley held its fifth annual “Youth Speaks” competition in March which was open to all Bingley schools who entered a team of three pupils to discuss the pros and cons of a topic.

This year’s Sandy Lane subject was entitled “The Lost Generation” and the children spoke about the lack of continuing care for older people in the district, suggesting that we all have it within us to help these people who may be struggling to do their daily routines and those who just have a lonely existence. The contest observed correct public speaking protocols and the children were questioned afterwards by Rotary members. The judges were recognised public speakers who deliberated long and hard before awarding Sandy Lane first place.  To take part in the competition pupils had to write reasoned viewpoints and ensure that they had a balanced view of their topic. They then rehearsed until they were able to speak publicly without notes.

Sandy Lane’s success over the past three years has ensured that public speaking has a high profile in the school and this will certainly impact on children’s learning in many areas, producing confident young people for the future.

Bus tours showcase what Bradford has to offer future teachers

As we have reported in previous editions of Educate Positive, a priority for the Council is retaining our outstanding teachers and attracting new teachers to our district as part of our Recruitment and Retention (R&R) Strategy.

On this note, Sara Rawnsley, our R&R Strategy Manager has been heavily involved in the “Bradford Bus Tours” to showcase what Bradford has to offer to potential teachers.  Sara worked with regional training providers to ensure this project was successful in encouraging the teaching students, from Leeds Beckett University and Bradford College, to want to work in our district.  Each tour was accompanied by an experienced school governor and the students had the opportunity to chat informally to headteachers and staff and gain an insight into the diverse make up of our schools.  The schools involved in the tours were Swain House, Princeville, Lees, Denholme, St John’s CE, Newby, Eldwick and Nessfield primaries.  The two governors, Elizabeth Evans and Steve Allan were on hand to explain to the teaching students the role governors play in schools with regards to monitoring and evaluating schools and also in ensuring the wellbeing of school staff.

It is hoped to roll these tours out to secondary and special schools in the not too distant future.

Following the positive tours all participants said they wanted to work in Bradford.  Thank you to the schools and the Governors for making this such a valuable learning experience for the students.

Reading Monster creates a buzz

St Francis monster read project
Dane Simora with his model ‘Artemis’ and Kayte Greenwood with ‘Kevin’

Pupils’ interest in reading is at an all time high at three primary schools due to the creation of the Reading Monster. St Francis Catholic Primary School worked with pupils from St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School in Shipley and St Matthew’s Catholic Primary School in Allerton alongside the former Doctor Who costume designer to create the model.  Pupils “feed” the monster with books which they have read in order for it to survive. The idea behind the scheme is to inspire reading for pleasure and improve outcomes for the pupils.

All the children were able to design their own Reading Monster. Some of the children were then tasked with creating a maquette of their monster. Three six-foot monsters are being created, one for each school. These monsters will then be fed the books the children have read and will communicate using the programming skills the children have acquired.

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Bradford City FC Spring Bank Football Camps

Bradford City FC Community Foundation are pleased to be hosting their ever-popular football camps this Spring Bank Holiday.

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Children will need a packed lunch, drinks and be dressed ready for football and appropriate to whatever the weather is like on the day!  All staff are minimum FA Level 2 qualified, trained in emergency aid and hold an advanced CRB check

For more information or to book a place, visit www.bradfordcityfitc.org.uk or ring 01274 706850.

Children competing to grow the tallest sunflower!

A gardening challenge will see school children and staff at Thackley Primary School compete to grow the tallest sunflower!

Seeds have been planted and later in the summer, pupils will be asked to measure their sunflowers and those with the tallest will win a prize!

thackley sunflower 2 thackley sunflower 1

Bob Smallwood, Year 6 teacher at Thackley, said: “It all started out as a small project in my class but the kids decided they had so much fun doing it they wanted the whole school to experience it.

“We’re asking green-fingered children to get involved and grow the tallest sunflower. We do lots of gardening in my class but now every child within the school has planted a sunflower and taken it home to grow where they have to look after it, feed it and make sure it gets enough sunlight.”

Palmer Plants of Calverley very kindly donated the compost and pots for every child. Mr Smallwood and the children would like to say a very big thank you to them.”

Educate Positive – Edition 5

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Welcome to the fifth edition of Educate Positive, our fortnightly bulletin which showcases the innovative and effective practice taking place within the district’s schools and settings. In this edition we celebrate one primary school’s improved attendance, another primary opening its ‘Adult Learning Centre’, and how practitioners came together to share skills and knowledge through their work with children from birth.

Improved attendance – sharing best practice

Rigorous monitoring of absence at a local primary school is paying dividends as the school is celebrating an all time high of 95.97% attendance, up from 92.7% in 2009/10. Trinity & All Saints Primary School in Bingley researched best practice and came up with the new way of tackling absence.

The school started work on its new Attendance Policy in Spring 2010, and implemented the new practices to great effect.  They tirelessly continue to assess these practices and policies, and communicate with other schools within the Airedale Learning Community to promote a uniform approach to attendance within its community of schools.

What did the school do to achieve its goal?

  • Created a clear set of practices and procedures for absences
  • Continuous and thorough monitoring of attendance
  • Regular communication with parents and other stakeholders promoting a positive attitude to the importance of good attendance and punctuality and linking attendance with achievement

A new rewards system was implemented where children collected credits when their attendance was over 95% each term, and bonus credits where 95% has been sustained for over two terms. Pupils spent their credits in the “school shop” which allowed them to buy pencils, rubbers, sharpeners, notebooks etc, most of which were branded with “excellent attendance”. All pupils with 100% attendance all year round receive a £5 gift voucher at the end of the year.

The school, which subscribes to the Council’s Education Social Work Service, also had a “Be on Time Week” in school when an educational social worker was in attendance – this also proved very effective.  Pupils are also involved in promoting the importance of school attendance: so much so, that the School Council is putting on a play in school in June around the benefits of being on time and being in school.

The school is delighted with this achievement and it continues to communicate with parents, the LA, other schools and other outside agencies.  It has improved not only its whole school attendance but has also made an impact on reducing persistent absence, helping some of the school’s most vulnerable pupils.

The new monitoring of absence has also contributed to the school’s academic performance; in the last three years it has achieved year on year improvements in its levels of attainment and progress within EYFS and Key Stage 1 classes.

For further information please contact Jane Glendinning, Headteacher at the school on 01274 564977.

First Investors in Health Conference for Special Schools

Pupils at Special Schools across the district were able to learn new skills at the inaugural Investors in Health Conference last month.  Following the successful event, plans are in place for this event to become a regular feature of the Health and Well Being calendar for schools –primary and secondary phases.

Special Schools from all over the District took part in this event, organised by the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Team and the School Nursing Service – hosted by Beechcliffe School in Keighley.  Various workshops took place including:

  • Interactive and informative Workshops on key issues were provided by Hazelbeck School (Participation and Pupil Voice),
  • High Park School (Personal Care, with reference to boys)
  • Nicola Hawkins, Health promotion Specialist of the Public Health Sexual Health Team (Relationships and additional needs).

Innovative Conference for Early Years practitioners

Key practitioners in the field of early years gathered in the district last month to share skills and knowledge as well as exploring scientific discoveries around working with children from birth to three years.

Practitioners from various agencies, including Bradford Council’s Early Childhood and Library Services and the National Literacy Trust hosted the conference called “I’m under 3 talk to me – building secure foundations in the early years.”

Those working in this area play a key role in helping parents and carers of young children to understand how important they are in shaping a child’s brain development and emotional capacities.

The “Early Communication Project” focuses on:

  • Enabling more children to start school with age related expectations for communication and language and personal, social and emotional development.
  • Ensuring that there is greater emphasis on children’s language development, particularly in pre-school children.
  • Having effective early identification of children at risk of language delay.
  • Supporting and increasing skilled and confident practitioners to have good knowledge and understanding of communication and language development. This involves taking actions to involve and engage parents and respond effectively to support children at risk of delay.

Learning together at Killinghall

Parents in BD3 now have the opportunity to improve their own educational skills and become more involved in their children’s learning thanks to a new ‘Adult Learning Centre’, named ‘Brighter Future’ at Killinghall Primary School.  It is hoped that the new facility will have a significant impact on Parental Involvement and raising the aspirations of parents and carers within their communities.  The school is keen to increase its Family Learning Programmes, involving more parents, especially ‘dads’ to learn with their children.  All parents who attended the opening ceremony of the new Centre signed up for courses in the future which will provide them with the learning they need to be more involved in the pupils’ learning and school life.

For further information please contact the headteacher at the school, Gill Edge, on 01274 771166.

 We hope you have found this bulletin informative and look forward to providing updates to you on a regular basis.  If you have any stories to contribute please contact Alyson Hardaker T 01274 385615 or Simon O’Hare T 01274 438899.