Aims of the project
The Partnership aims to provide the local Primary School children with the opportunity to use facilities not normally available to them in their school and to benefit from the guidance of St Albans School staff who have expertise in these areas. Our specialist staff are able to cover specific areas of the Primary School curriculum, such as programming in ICT, various Science topics and also practical skills for D&T. In the process staff provide training for the accompanying Primary teachers.
Good communication and coordination of the scheme is vital to its success: overall the scheme involves twelve local state schools and Cathedral Education, has thirteen St Albans School staff involved and between sixty and seventy Lower Sixth pupils who assist with Partnership activities on Friday afternoons.
Time needs to be made available in the timetables of the St Albans School teaching staff and the Lower Sixth need time in their curriculum to get involved.
The Primary School children and their teachers benefit from the Master Classes. The Lower Sixth pupils get the opportunity to develop those soft-skills highlighted as vital by future employers. St Albans School staff also enjoy the sessions.
Background and goals
The scheme first started approximately 15 years ago, with the children from St Peter’s visiting St Albans School to use the computers.
The Partnership developed from this with Lower Sixth pupils visiting St Peter’s to help as classroom assistants on Friday afternoons. Through a combination of word-of-mouth and contact with local Headteachers more schools joined the Partnership and the variety of classes on offer has gradually been extended.
The time allocated to the teaching staff timetabled to do Partnership, along with the Head of Partnership and her assistant who coordinate the scheme, are critical to the success of the project. Additional support provided by the technicians in the practical subjects is also vital, as well as provision of the resources required for the lessons.
The enthusiasm, maturity and responsibility of the Sixth Form students, who contribute to the running of the master classes is also important.
Two Science laboratories, the D&T workshop and an ICT suite are all used by Partnership classes on Friday afternoons. In addition classes are sometimes run in a Drama studio and the children use the Art facilities including use of the kiln.
The scheme provides Primary School children with additional academic opportunities as well as providing support and training for Primary School teachers in particular areas of the curriculum. The children are encouraged by specialist staff to develop an interest in subjects, such as Maths and Science, from an early age. The additional support in these subjects provides the children with the best opportunities to perform well in their SATS. Importantly the children get involved in a lot of practical activities and have fun learning.
Lower Sixth (Year 12) students from St Albans School assist with all the Master classes that take place on Friday afternoons.
Frequency and duration
Master classes take place weekly, mainly on Friday afternoons, throughout the academic year. Each session lasts approximately one hour. The project is ongoing.