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Items filtered by date: December 2013

Reception News

Sophie name writingEthan name writingThe reception children settled in well during the first few weeks of the new term. The All About Me topic allowed them to learn more about themselves, their families, their likes and dislikes, and they carried out their first art project, drawing self-portraits.



animalsnakeLight and Dark

In this new topic, the children learnt about the differences between night and day, and nocturnal animals. They saw some real-life nocturnal animals during a visit from Axe Valley Zoo, including an armadillo, a polecat, some giant stick insects and a snake - they even got to touch and hold them!

Firework picTabitha firework picHalloween

For Halloween, the children carved their own pumpkins and used the delicious flesh to make spiced pumpkin muffins. They wrote their own instructions to follow whilst they were in the cooking room, which they thoroughly enjoyed! They also learnt the story Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson and used this to sequence the story, make their own magic potions and carry out a science experiment in a cauldron using bicarbonate of soda and vinegar. They liked it when it exploded just like a real spell!


The children learnt about the festival of light for Diwali, including an Indian dance and all about traditional Indian culture. They made paper lanterns and traditional Diwali sweets called Badam Barfi, which they took home as gifts.


The children have learnt about the history of toys and toys from other countries. They were even lucky enough to explore some Victorian toys from a museum. They have planned, designed and made their own toys and have had lots of fun playing with them. As part of the topic, Mrs Brooks has taught them all a number of different dancing styles through the story of the Nutcracker.

Road Safety Week

Road Safety Week taught everyone about how to stay safe on the road and the children designed their own road safety posters for all the school to see. A very kind parent lent her road safety equipment including high-vis jackets, a giant zebra crossing, lollipop lady sticks and road signs. The class re-enacted how to stay safe whilst crossing the road and thought of some top tips to help teach the Nursery about the importance of keeping safe


Chess Tournament

Congratulations to the BCPS Chess Team! In a hard fought competition, they came second in the under-9 team event and third in the under-11s. Special congratulations go to Esther for winning the Under-9 Girls trophy! The whole team played to a great standard with some great debut performances. We are looking forward to competing in the Delancey National Schools Championship and also running our own ‘BCPS Open’ in the new year.


Cross Country

40 Children from Year 3 & 4 competed in a cross country competition at Killerton this afternoon. They ran 1500m against another 160 pupils from schools around Exeter and all finished in brilliant times. Special congratulations to Harriet who came in 1st to take the Gold Medal in the girls race and Joel who came 7th in the boys race!

We now wait for the whole school results to see which schools participants had the fastest average time! Check back to... see the results of that in the coming weeks.

Well done to all the children who raced today, you competed fantastically!


Headteacher Update Magazine

Broadclyst Community Primary School recently hosted Decoding the Future, an event focused on the role of technology to deliver a modern curriculum to prepare pupils for their future lives. Laura McPhee was there

Recently we have seen growing speculation and scepticism in the national press on the use of technology in the classroom.

The chief inspector of schools, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has expressed concern over the use of mobile phones, while behaviour expert Tom Bennett has been commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) to lead a review into tackling poor behaviour in the classroom, focusing on the potentially disruptive influence of SmartPhones on learning in school.

But what does the research say? And how are schools innovatively using technology to promote learning?

In the OECD’s latest report on education, its director for education and skills, Andreas Schleicher, suggests that: “It is vital that teachers become active agents for change, not just in implementing technological innovations, but in designing them too.”

Broadclyst Community Primary School in Exeter is among those leading the way in this challenge. Broadclyst, rated outstanding by Ofsted, was founded in 1810 to serve children within the local community. One of the first five primary schools in the country to become an academy (in September 2010), it has developed a national and international reputation for its innovative use of IT and digital media, offering its 450 pupils one-to-one access to computers and a range of technologies.

Acknowledged by the schools minister as being in the top 250 schools in the UK for pupil achievement and progress, Broadclyst was selected by the National College for Teaching and Leadership to become a national Teaching School in 2014.

As a National Leader of Education, headteacher Jonathan Bishop is dedicated to sharing best practice and the Cornerstone Teaching School Alliance held its first conference at Broadclyst in September. Entitled, Decoding the Future, the event examined the application of technology in the classroom and what this means for today’s learners.
Anthony Salcito, vice-president of Microsoft Education, was the first keynote speaker of the day, challenging the audience to “Expect more, do more, be more”.

He explained: “When learners find themselves in troubling environments they don’t expect limitless horizons. As practitioners we have a responsibility to globally raise expectations.

“However this global expectation and power to change the future ... starts from within. It starts with our own expectations and exists in spite of any cynicism about school systems or infrastructure.

“Do more ... create curiosity and connections beyond the immediate school community. Root your actions in the notion that we can help pupils to be more.”

Mr Salcito urged leaders to foster employability through developing a skills-based curriculum rather than an exclusively content-based curriculum, and suggested technology as a tool to facilitate this exciting curriculum.

The next keynote speaker was Mr Bishop himself, who told the conference: “Sustainability in school leadership has been achieved, not through chasing SAT results, but through seizing the opportunity to explore the curriculum freedoms available.”

As a result, Broadclyst has adopted a number of new practices and reviewed procedures including:

  • Embraced curriculum freedoms.
  • Embedded use of distance learning technology.
  • Revised assessment practice.
  • Developed self-reflective and collaborative practice.
  • Created partnerships and became outward-facing.

Mr Bishop and his team endeavoured to create not just a virtual school, but a digital learning environment. He continued: “At the heart of this mission was the desire to develop creative thinkers and avid problem-solvers. If children can’t see purpose in what they are doing it leads to underachievement.”

Ambitious about the way in which real distance learning can transform critical-thinking, Mr Bishop is keen to stress that the role of the teacher is one of mediator and facilitator. Perhaps one of the most striking examples of this is the Global Enterprise Project.

Broadclyst has run a business enterprise project with its year 6 pupils for eight years. Motivational for the children and exciting for teachers to deliver, the enterprise project incorporates business skills including product design, market research, manufacturing and marketing.

The project successfully encompasses many different elements of the curriculum while offering a real-life context and purpose to the children’s learning.

Mr Bishop took the Broadclyst enterprise project concept to a global level during the recent Microsoft in Education Global Forum. In a Dragon’s Den style pitch against ideas from schools around the world, he put forward the idea of taking the existing project and transforming it into a Global Enterprise Challenge. This was the winning pitch and Broadclyst was awarded $25,000 to turn the plan into a reality.

During the challenge, 32 schools across 20 countries connected to run international companies, each with 10 regional office/teams. Each company was awarded £30 ($50) per school. The teams then competed with each other to become the most successful company globally.

This extraordinary challenge connects schools, uniting children from across the world into one global education project. Mr Bishop explains that as a result of taking part, pupils have increased awareness of cultural diversities and have gained an understanding of world currencies, as well as honing their entrepreneurial skills and economic awareness.

He added: “Through this creative way of working that was supported with technology, the children’s communication and collaboration skills and problem-solving skills improved.”

So, how does this application of technology support attainment and progress at Broadclyst? This year, the school won two SSAT Educational Outcomes Awards for the outstanding progress and attainment made by its pupils. The awards recognises pupil achievement in the top 10 per cent of primary schools nationally for value-added, and in the top 10 per cent for attainment.

Equally passionate about technology for teachers, and the professional development opportunities that this offers, Mr Bishop explains how video technology allows for deeper self-reflection. Advocates of the technology agree that the benefits of this way of working include:

  • Self-observation – with video you can observe your own lessons for a deeper level of self-reflection and you can refer back to these at any time.
  • Time for peer observation – filming your lessons will help you to make time for peer observation, helping you and your colleagues to share practice more regularly.
  • Increases authenticity – the dynamic of the class won’t be altered by the presence of an in-class observer.
  • Discussions based on real events – the ability to see what actually happened in the lesson rather than relying on recollection or potentially conflicting accounts.

Dr John Stephens joined delegates as the penultimate keynote speaker and welcomed the debate initiated by Tom Bennett and the DfE.

Dr Stephens joined the National College as director for school improvement in February 2012, and is now leading on Teaching Schools and system leadership in the new National College for Teaching and Leadership.
Inspired by developments in technology, Dr Stephens encouraged leaders to adopt a fresh perspective, quoting Proust as he explained that “the real voyage of discovery consists not of seeing new landscapes but in having new eyes”. Perhaps sometimes what is required is not always new technology or pedagogical approaches, but to look at our existing landscape through a new lens.

A clear strategy was laid down by Sir David Carter in the final speech of the day. The Regional Schools Commissioner for the South West outlined a plan for schools locally aspiring to a world-class education system in which there would be an increasing role for multi-academy trusts and free schools.

Sir David emphasised that a supportive network of schools will help to raise standards nationally, irrespective of their governance structure.

What can we learn from our colleagues and what are the recommendations? There is consensus that technology is not a substitute for poor teaching, but it can support the development of quality first teaching.

Innovation requires us to marry the accuracy and precision demanded from mastery of the curriculum, without dampening the tenacity that stems from creativity. Can we embrace technology using a skills-based curriculum, complemented by a content-based curriculum to develop learners with transferable skills and a global appeal?


Austria Trip - Day 4

On our fourth day at Gutenberg Primary School we were able to observe the Grade 3 class carrying out group and independent project work.  Over the past few weeks they have been learning about the life and work of the Austrian artist Gustav Klimt and today they have been applying their knowledge to various different tasks.  Some of the children were creating artwork both using the computers and paint, using a scraping technique and concentrating on effects of colour and perspective. Some of the children were using the iPads to recall learned facts about the artist whilst many of the children were immersed in cross-curricular activities such as biographies, geographical knowledge of Europe and matching games.

image-blog-2015-11-12The children are responsible for their learning and have to manage their own time and task list. Their knowledge of the artist Gustav Klimt was very impressive and the level of engagement amongst the children was very high. We are very much looking forward to returning to school and sharing the work of this artist with our pupils.


Table Tennis

Our Table Tennis Squad travelled to Eggbuckland College, in Plymouth on 11th November, for our first ever Table Tennis Tournament. We took a squad of four boys – Jack, Sam, Ethan and Lucas– and a squad of four girls – Jess, Talia, Charlotte and Chloe, who have been getting increasingly involved in Table Tennis within the school. They played against four other primary schools, who even had some children in National Table Tennis teams.

It was a very difficult competition for our squad and the tournament provided them all with the opportunity to really improve and develop. As the day progressed they began to win more sets and even some games against opposing schools. Their continual progression over the day resulted in the boys’ squad drawing against their final school, Stover, and the girls’ squad winning against St Peters.


Austria Trip - Day 2

On the second day of our visit, each school had prepared a lesson to teach to the four grades about their country. We introduced the children to Broadclyst Community Primary School and showed them a video as well as lots of photos. The children were fascinated by the range of sports that the children in year 5 and 6 take part in, as well as the amount of technology we have.

As Volksschule only has 58 pupils, with around 14 in each class, the children were also astounded by the amount of children in each class. We then talked about the UK and the children took part in a quiz to test their knowledge. Miss Farrant and I were very impressed with the amount of English the children knew; with the help of the Austrian teacher’s translation we were able to teach the children one of our Harvest songs.

image-blog-2015-11-10Class 4LL had recorded ‘Do the Dough’ from this year’s Harvest Performance and the Austrian children joined in with actions. We are very much looking forward to Wednesday when we will have the opportunity to job shadow the Austrian teachers, and watch the art lessons which we will be bringing back to Broadclyst. 

Bye for now! 

Mrs Lees and Miss Farrant

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