Tag Archives: Case Study

Cluster Blogging Case Study by Sian Randall

07 Jan

The READING/BRACKNELL Pupil Premium Cluster Blogging Project has been running for 7 months and Head of School of Moorlands Primary School (Sian Randell) tracks progress so far in this informative guest blog post.

Name: Sian Randall
Role: Head of School – Moorland Primary School (Reading)

I was first introduced to blogging a year ago during a head conference; I heard David Mitchell speak about blogging and having never heard about blogging as an educational tool my interest was flared. I’m not one of those tech savvy people and I don’t keep up to date with the latest gadgets but the ‘educational potential’ of blogging really inspired me and it was a tool I could really see making a difference to our children at Moorlands in Reading (UK).

I began by setting up my own blog, immersing myself into the experience of it, and exploring how it could be used across the school taking the attitude ‘practise what you preach’. Quickly I fell head over heels with blogging and got very competitive, wanting to see the foot fall and globe tracker increase. Becoming more imaginative and creative with my posts; I now use my blog to track everything – SMSC, documenting school events, communicating with parents, online questionnaires and generally bragging about how wonderful Moorlands is.

Blogging took off at Moorlands rapidly following a training session lead by Mr Mitchell; the staff and children were enthusiastic and the benefits were quickly seen. Since the launch of the Year 6 blog their writing quality has increased -one particular piece of writing began the snowball; it got global recognition, getting multiple comments and tweets, some coming from research scientists in Australia! The year 6 children are now in a blogging frenzy; they are writing with purpose, are conscientious of their audience and want to write! Writing is not their only publication they now blog about everything from writing to art and PE.

With Year 6 establishing their blog with a huge audience and my ‘Head of school’ blog paving the way other year groups joined in. Year 3, Year 4 and Year 5 have now become well established and visited blogs- measurable impact has been made not only in writing but in all areas of the curriculum. Blogging has a way of giving all learning an audience, purpose and makes learning personal and meaningful; children simply buy into it! With myself and the teachers constantly raving about, publishing, tweeting and advertising the blogs, I can proudly say we are a blogging school and our standing in the global community has been raised and recognised.

We are soon launching the blogs across KS1 and EYFS and the children cannot wait, I am eagerly anticipating a similar impact as the use of a blog is not limited to simply ‘posting’ it can be used as an interactive educational tool within the classroom as well as outside it.

Blogging is becoming part of Moorlands’ identity, it is still in its infancy and there is so much more for us to explore and use. From February next year our blog site will become our main school website, the capabilities of it are endless and we are all keen to exploits it’s unique capabilities.

Visit Moorlands Primary School blog site here.

GET IN TOUCH IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN A CLUSTER PROJECT FOR YOUR SCHOOL.

Cluster Blogging Case Study by Headteacher Simon Feasey

18 Oct

The Durham Pupil Premium Cluster Blogging Project has been running for 7 months and Headteacher of Bader Primary School (Simon Feasey) tracks progress so far in this informative guest blog post.

Simon Feasey

Simon Feasey

Hearing of and then eagerly joining and participating in one of Deputy Mitchell’s blogging cluster projects promised to be just the sort of innovative practice we wanted to share in and develop and embed at Bader. The promise of raising standards in writing, through increased engagement and the expansion of audience the medium offered was in itself a pretty good reason for investing time, energy and resource. Identifying school leads for the project who would make maximise impact was easy. I sensed from the off that engagement in the blogging phenomenon would offer so much more, and that the whole would be greater than the sum of the parts. I was not disappointed. This particular band wagon just keeps on rolling!

All groups Nursery through to Year 6  maintain their own blogs. Range of use and content of posts vary beyond description. This might warrant a look. A small sample:

Reception: Videos of children designing, making, baking, planting…

Year 2: Videos of children, post-Reading Recovery intervention, reading during Read Aloud Week shared with a partner school in Oxfordshire.

Year 3: Tasks set, using Padlet, for children to share independent research in Science, Latin and literacy.

Year 4: Progress with regard to YEAR 4’s progress with 50 things to do before you are 11, including a video of their snail race Science inquiry.

Year 5: Reports on key ideas learned in Science topics, with further opportunity to extend learning.

Year 6: Pupil input, through comments, on school’s identification of key learner qualities and their definition.

Recent newcomers are the Digital Leaders blog (with an introductory video created by the digital leaders on their role) and Cookery Club (complete with baking activities, recipes + instructions).

A real boom has been the extension of previously delimited professional learning communities. I offer one very good example: our embracing of Visible Learning concepts and principles, and our endeavour to become a Visible Learning accredited school. In keeping a Visible Learning blog, I have 1. maintained a useful record of our particular journey, and 2. sought to share experience and learning that others may be interested in. I know there is an interest because of the positive feedback received. I share and understand the interest shown in tracking our school’s journey because I follow several excellent, informative and inspiring blogs kept by fellow Visible Learning pioneers. Commonly, notification of new posts will be announced via Twitter #VLNetworkUK. 

In January 2015, we disbanded our School Council and replaced it with an elected parliament. The thinking behind that decision was based on our want to have Bader pupils understand democracy, the rule of law and public service by replicating the function of Parliament in London other than our parliament not being party political. Minutes of weekly meetings, activities, and updates from respective ministers are regularly posted, with the expectation that school community members will express their views, positively or otherwise, but respectfully. The blog being readily accessible to all, offers opportunity for expression of views: democracy and freedom of speech in action.

Pupils at Bader, in all year groups from Y1 to Y6, experience an annual residential visit. Needless to say, mobile phones and such communication devices are not allowed. Recently, our Y5s went skiing for a week and our Y4s went to France for a week. We kept parents updated, virtually hour by hour. A picture taken at the top of the Eiffel Tower, for example, was uploaded to the blog and viewed by parents back home. Parents commented regularly. Comments were relayed to the children and responses posted in return. I really can’t say just how well received this was by parents. As a parent, I fully appreciate that handing your child over to others to look after for any period of time away requires a truly significant placing of trust. On our return, so many parents expressed their gratitude for the efforts made to keep the blog live and regular; saying how reassuring it was to follow their chilD’s adventure. 

We now plan on redesigning our website in a way that foregrounds this full range of blogs. Our blogs announce, celebrate and define our school as a living and breathing organic learning community.

GET IN TOUCH IF YOU WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ON A CLUSTER PROJECT FOR YOUR SCHOOL.