Blog : Learning




On Saturday we held another Family Art Workshop in partnership with Hurst Hill Primary School which was well attended and we would like to thank everyone who came along. The workshop is part of a series of events held at the school to welcome families into the school to create inspiring artwork with their children for the rest of the school to enjoy. Families created Totem faces of one another before thinking about their Guardian animal Spirit and creating a design to paint onto their totem pole.




Today's Special – Raspberry Pi

Today's Special – Raspberry Pi


It sounds delicious especially warmed up and served with custard but you just might break this particular Raspberry Pi if you were to do such a thing. As of September 2014 there will be a new lesson on the school menu targeting the study of computing, in particular coding, for Primary and Secondary schools.

So what is this fruity circuit board known as a Raspberry Pi all about?

For starters, the British designed creation retails at around £30 and for the people behind the device their mission was to transform the way children understand and use computers. Since it made an appearance it has been an important part of an ongoing debate that has finally resulted in a new look ICT curriculum for children aged 5 and upwards.

It doesn’t look very appetising…


True, the Raspberry Pi’s bare board appears very daunting especially to people whose experience with computers stretch as far as typing up a lesson plan on Microsoft Word. These are the issues facing the introduction of this topic in September; will enough people have the correct type of skills, knowledge of its capabilities and the enthusiasm to deliver fun and interesting lessons? If we look at the numbers involved that’s 16,000 ICT teachers in Secondary schools and over 160,000 Primary School teachers facing a race against time to be prepared for the start of the next academic year. Obviously there is a need for staff development.

On the other hand, it seems as though it has already arrived in a selection of schools as videos of what’s possible have started to appear online. Running devices and musical vegetables to name a few (see the video below). Understandably the people behind these videos have highlighted the difficulty of coding at first, after all some people consider coding another language, but that is soon outweighed by the fun of combining hardware or with lines of code and bringing something to life.

Carrie-Ann Philbin who is part of the Raspberry-Pi team and enjoys inventing creative ways of using technology in the classroom recently commented on the fear that more-experienced teachers might have:

“It sounds like a steep learning curve but those words like algorithm and data, when you actually dig deeper you see they’re not scary.”

Preparing for the “Language of the Future” seems to be very much on the agenda as children acquire the skills for jobs that might yet not exist. Perhaps we need to take into consideration the whole Pi and not this small slice aimed at wetting the appetites of our young learners. Working alongside our partner schools we aim to develop workshops for all ages that explore the potential of the Raspberry Pi in the classroom.

Video courtesy of Scott Garner and you can find more information on the BeetBox by visiting this link.

Young Voices 2014

Young Voices 2014

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Our friends at Kingsland Primary School and Hurst Hill Primary School enjoyed a visit to Birmingham’s LG Arena this week to participate in Young Voices 2014. Young Voices is the largest school choir organiser in the world and currently organises over 14 capacity concerts a year, that’s 2,500 schools, 90,000 children, 6,000 teachers and 120,000 family and friends in total!

Both school choirs had lots of fun and enjoyed being a part of an event that brings people together to enjoy music and to celebrate singing. Hurst Hill Primary School proudly displayed their school banner, that we helped to design, for everyone to see at the concert.



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Photos courtesy of Kingsland and Hurst Hill Primary Schools.

A Woodland Walkway

A Woodland Walkway

Universal Learning Ltd

Year 5 Children from Woodlands Primary School have created a wonderful Woodland Walkway. They were set the challenge of designing an artistic symbol inspired by the school surroundings and local history. After sketching their initial ideas and deciding on a final design they applied the image to an oak log before later setting it into the ground to act as a way-marker.

The walkway links the Eco Lodge to an aspirational sculpture at the rear of the school that was the product of weeks of work in the classroom last year with the then Year 4’s. The class also created The Birthday Wish book and helped inspire the design of the Eco Lodge.

Universal Learning Ltd

Universal Learning Ltd

Universal Learning Ltd

Universal Learning Ltd

Universal Learning Ltd

Wonderful Wires

Wonderful Wires


Children, Parents and Grandparents enjoyed a wonderful morning at our Art Workshop held at Hurst Hill Primary School. Wire was used to create 3D sculptures of the human form but not before we tried our hand at contour drawing studies of one another. Below is a small selection of the quality of work that was on offer after only 2 hours! Thank you to all who attended and to the school for the lovely handmade biscuits, they certainly helped with the creativity!

The sculptures are part of a larger scheme of work that has seen families create paintings in the style of Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Picasso and Mondrian. It has transformed the school’s white walls into a vibrant art gallery for everyone to admire and enjoy.




Light Poetry

Light Poetry

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We are working on a poetry project inspired by the light of the universe, the light we find inside ourselves and the connection between those two energies. Children have practiced Meditation and Tai Chi to connect with their inner light and then radiate it into the world.

A selection of poems will be performed at The Festival of Light to open The Crystal building and the whole collection will be published in early November.

Here’s one by a year 5 child to warm you up!

Light is the source
Of love and care,
Let the light in you
Shine on through.


Learning for Life

Learning for Life

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We are currently working with the whole school at George Betts Primary Academy on a new and exciting creative learning project to highlight all the essential skills, qualities and attributes that are needed to make the most of  every opportunity to learn with a focus on learning for life.

Throughout the  two week project we’ll be working with children and staff  to create a brand new digital story book which will be the inspiration for animations, podcasts and   an innovative and exciting sculpture to support outdoor learning.

The project kicked off the project with years 1 and 2. Throughout a productive day, the children were able to let their imaginations run wild to create the characters for the story along with an outline plot, using the schools nature trail for inspiration.

It’s been a great start and we’re looking forward to seeing how the plot thickens! and to what else can be created by years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

iPads? Easy as A,B,C!

iPads? Easy as A,B,C!

Children of all ages at Hurst Hill Primary School have embraced their new set of iPads and are confidently working with them to learn, explore and expand their skills. This short video gives you a glimpse at how the children in Foundation Stage have been using the technology.

An iPad Lesson

An iPad Lesson


At Kingsland Primary School today, the pupils have had their first iPad lead session. They are currently studying Thailand and today in particular, looked at the animals that can be found in the rainforest and the camouflage that they might use to keep clear of any predators!

We began our lesson today with a look at the kinds of camouflage that we might find in the rainforest…


We broke off into smaller groups to do some group activities, including using our ‘window’ to get a closer look at the skin textures of the animals, camouflaging 3D model cows along with designing new colour schemes for some outlined 2D animals…













After we have had a recap and a look at these specialist animals, we got our class iPad’s out and opened the app ‘Foldify’. This app allows us to create 3D models of animals, with our own designs of camouflage, from 2D ‘plans’ or ‘nets’ of shapes.







We had lots of fun coming up with colourful new animals that we drew, coloured in and named on the iPad before sending our work to our printer…


…We then collected our work and cut out our designs…



…then we folded up the nets to make our own 3D animals!









Alien Picnic Celebrations!

Alien Picnic Celebrations!

It was a pleasure to be part of Kingsland Primary School’s Alien Picnic on Friday that culminated in a spectacular balloon launch! We were very impressed by everyone’s efforts to dress like Aliens and we’d go as far as saying the costumes were out of this world.

The Picnic was a celebration of another successful year at the school with the exciting creative approach to learning, as ever, at the heart of the school. We enjoy working alongside the Staff to help inspire the children and encourage them to believe in themselves and to strive for their dreams.