Last Wednesday we were proud to be at the launch of the latest innovation hub, together with our partner Fujitsu. This time it was the turn of Telford Park School. This is the eighth school this year to open an innovation hub, with two more still to go before Christmas.
If you’ve not read about the previous hubs in Coventry and Goole (amongst others), each hub provides a space within the school offering staff and students the latest technology, as well as a network of support to most of it for better educational outcomes.
“A real opportunity to do something different in education”
Telford Park School hasn’t been without its issues. The school has double the number of students receiving the pupil premium – government funding for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds – compared to the national average. Unemployment in the area is high, and earlier in 2015 the school was put into special measures by Ofsted under its previous name, The Lakeside Academy. As a result it was taken over by a new academy group – the Community Academies Trust and a new senior management team took charge.
Now the school is determined to achieve again with a revamped approach to teaching and learning. New Headteacher Lee Taylor underscored the importance of the new hub to the school’s new ethos. He said: “children in this area have a deep understanding of how technology can help them – often more so than the adults who teach them. They can’t always express it verbally, but they express it through the use of their technology itself. Unless adults are part of the process it passes them by and they become judgmental. The gap we're trying to close here isn’t necessarily the gap between the children receiving pupil premium and the others, it’s the gap between adults and children.”
A true community hub
And just how does this hub help? Like others of its kind, it’s designed with the whole community in mind. Although it’s only been in use for a few weeks, the school has been running Minecraft sessions after school with its partner Tablet Academy, which have seen phenomenal interest from pupils at neighboring primary schools, as well as their parents. Tablet Academy CEO Steve Molyneux said: “This hub is about reengaging parents with young people’s learning.” His partner at Tablet Academy Mark Yorke added: “One of the key things with this hub is getting parents through the door. We’ll run courses so they can gain qualifications which will hopefully improve their prospects, but also encourage them to support their own children’s learning.”
We hope this hub – like its predecessors – makes a real difference to the school and the local area. Thanks again to Fujitsu for leading this initiative, and to the school for welcoming us on the day.
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