Temporary additional reception class update

Early Year Foundation Stage Organisation for 2014- 2015

In September 2014 Balgowan will be admitting four Reception classes just for one year. The Reception staff team are carefully planning for all the new children so that they have a smooth start to the new school year. The four Reception classrooms will comprise the established three Reception classrooms and the current 1GR/LD classroom. The Reception teachers and teaching assistants will plan learning opportunities together, as they currently do, where all pupils in the year group have the same activities, experiences and opportunities.

From September all four Reception classes will remain in their home classrooms in the morning. The gym will be timetabled for the reception year group for PE after lunch on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons the Reception class in the new classroom will have gym, two sessions in the established reception classrooms and one session in their home classroom. All four classes will have equal access to outside learning opportunities. On a Friday afternoon the four classes will experience learning with pupils from other Reception classes where all pupils have access to all the Reception classrooms.

Accessible daily resources will be available in all four classrooms. Additional daily resources will be purchased for the fourth class, however the Reception year group is well equipped with specialised and specific topic-based resources. These will remain stored in the central storage areas and in the purpose built cupboards in the established classrooms.

The organisation outlined above will gradually build up over the autumn term after the pupils have settled into their new school routines. As in previous years, all pupils will attend mornings only at first, followed by mornings and lunch time before attending full time at the end of their three-week induction. Prior to starting school, all Reception pupils will have a summer term induction session and a home visit from their teacher and teaching assistant early in the autumn term.

ICT Update: April 2014

This term classes have been trialling using the 64 laptops which the school purchased in the autumn term. All year groups have used them this term. They have been used for either computing skills or as a tool to extend learning in a variety of curriculum areas, such as maths, English, science, history, geography, music and art. In Year 4 for example, the children have used the laptops to create their own online information texts or wikis and to record/arrange their own music. Year 5 have used the laptops to research aspects of World War 2, whilst Year 6 have used them for coding when designing video games. Year 1 have used the laptops to create information pages, mind maps and for control technology and simulations.

We are really pleased with the wireless connectivity around the school and the speed with which the children can access the server and the internet. After each pupil’s desktop has been setup when they first logged-on, logging on has been much quicker. Unfortunately we have experienced some difficulties with batteries and the manufacturer is replacing the faulty ones.

Feedback from staff and pupils has been positive. Staff have commented on the flexibility of having laptops in class which are used to develop a range of learning, including cross curricular research. Here are some quotes from children:
“I really enjoy using the new laptops because they are faster at logging on and we can do fun learning on them like maths quizzes and code cracking.”
“I think using the laptops is really fun because they give us a great opportunity to go on the internet at school. They are quick and they work really well.”
“I think the laptops are a good idea because instead of going to the ICT suite you can just get the laptops in your classroom and sit in your seats.”
“You can use the laptops for many things, such as graphic modelling, maths etc. and that is what makes ICT fun.”

The computers in the ICT suite are over six years old now and half of them have failed and are beyond economic repair. Those which are still in good working order will be re-located to classrooms. The ICT suite will not be in use next term and classes will have timetabled use of the laptops.