What they did
Most schools have to grapple with the challenge of engaging boys. Evelyn Street Primary, in a deprived ward near Warrington town centre, is using hand-held computers to encourage their interest in learning.
The school began by giving junior boys a computer to take home. After they had done their homework, they could access games and websites controlled by the school's ICT technician. For a small charge, families were also able to use the computers except when pupils were in school. The aim was to encourage parental support for education.
The project was so successful that it was extended to the girls. Parents began to enrol for courses in school and at the local college. Pupils now share their knowledge of websites and innovative ways of using computers. The school says: "They teach each other how to find songs and screen savers, games and mobile phone features, bluetoothing videos to each other. Their enthusiasm and imagination spill over into making effective homework presentations."
Pupils also use the e-learning network to make contact with pupils in five other schools. After school hours, they use websites to compete around the world in computer games.
Pupils say the project is fun. Staff know that it is raising standards because they monitor pupils' performance on the topics that involve the computers. The results are impressive.
What the judges said
"This is a very exciting project, which appears to have had an increasing impact on the pupils and the community." They liked the way in which the project was supporting home-school links and the school's use of ICT to enhance the enjoyment of learning.
You could do it too
Evelyn Street Primary has demonstrated how to get real value from providing pupils with home access to computers. Other schools in this category had different approaches to e-learning, such as a "shoot 'em up" game called Science Slaughter in which pupils answer questions to get ammunition; interactive learning games where pupils can earn rewards; a way for disruptive pupils to contact their teacher; interactive assemblies and exploring ethics through creating blogs, podcasts and videos.
About the awards
The TES Schools Awards, or TESSAs, celebrate and reward the professionalism and flair of those teams making an outstanding contribution to primary and secondary schools in the maintained and independent sectors. This year's event attracted hundreds of entries and the panel of judges was impressed by their range and quality. Next year's TESSAs will be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on June 17, 2010, and is open for entries at www.tes.co.ukawards.
Each week we profile one of this year's winners. For more details on entering the 2010 TES Schools Awards visit www.tes.co.ukawards.