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
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
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.