Today's schools are more than tables and chairs, pens and paper, teaching and learning. Every school has a defining factor - something that makes them stand out from the crowds. Every day on Twitter we see schools who go on incredible trips, have ground-breaking technology, have connections with inspiring people...
It just so happens that North Ormesby Primary Academy have pretty much all of these under one roof. So, when we visited them in May, we had to have a go on and see as much as possible of this truly unique, inspiring school.....
1. Technology within the school
There is a big emphasis on the use of tech around the school, and it's obvious when talking to Craig that they have a clear plan on how to keep at the forefront of emerging technology and use it. And they don't just use it for the sake of it, but they take it on with a clear purpose. Craig is in discussions with a company who develop Virtual Reality experiences, and is working to create something to help visualise number which sounds really exciting. We'll be wanting a go, for sure!
From Year 1, every pupil has their own iPad to use in most lessons. There is a noticeable respect for technology in the school, and it seemed to be really integrated into the everyday workings. An app called SeeSaw is used for internal file sharing, and is extremely useful in circulating content quickly to each pupil.
Each staff member has an iPad too, which they all use to upload photos to their Twitter throughout each day which helps keep the community engaged in what is happening inside the school.
2. The School’s Approach & Attitudes
The school regularly carries out its own research projects to capture data on resources and approaches and takes part in projects for the Education Endowment Foundation. At the time of our visit, they were running a project about meta cognition in which the whole school was involved.
The Senior Leadership Team is always willing to look at new resources and initiatives and views them as an investment rather than an expense. They often work with suppliers to embed them into the school and then use them in the best ways to make sure they get a return on investment.
Tim is the school's mascot, and he has had a key part in the school's success and progress.
Ofsted remarked when they visited the school shortly after the birth of Tim, that “there was no need for a disciplinary system, as every child aspires to be like Tim”. His name stands for ‘Today I’m Mastering’, and it's clear when you tour the school that he is embedded into every area he could be.
Children collect Tim stickers for good work and behaviours and there are various Tim rewards that they can achieve.
Tim even has his own blog which is used to share what the school has learnt on its journey and share experiences and resources.
See the video below to hear Craig talk about Tim and how he has helped with their progress.
4. Happy Pants
Happy Pants is a daily mental maths session that the whole school takes part in. Each session varies, and several different resources are used to give a quick-fire challenge to all children.
5. The Story Garden
After having been inspired by Sir John Jones and his belief that teachers are ‘magic weavers’, the school installed a story garden that is truly special to see.
The garden is split into 4 parts with a storyteller’s caravan in the middle. There is a farm yard complete with life-size model animals, a yellow brick road leading to Oz, a Japanese Zen garden, and a beach complete with hut! Recently, two trampolines have also been installed to add some extra fun and are often used as a reward for earning Tims.
In summer, some of the classroom doors open straight into the garden and children are free to work outside if they wish, with the engaging environment leading to all kinds of extra creativity.
To find out more about our trip to North Ormesby Primary Academy, check out our other blog here.