Innovative practice - On screen

24th February 2012 at 00:00
Replace daily assemblies with interactive whiteboard bulletins that celebrate the school's achievements

The background

Having assemblies every morning can be rather time-consuming and Teddington School in Middlesex has limited space. So, in 2005, the school came up with an alternative option that would still meet its requirement to dedicate 15 minutes each day to collective worship.

They decided to deliver an interactive bulletin on whiteboards during morning registration. This high-tech alternative to the traditional assembly means that children can discuss school news and the topic of the week as well as viewing videos and pictures of pupils' achievements and sporting activities.

The project

Every morning, pupils sit down to view the "Thought for the Day" - a bulletin displayed on interactive whiteboards in every classroom.

Like regular assemblies, each Monday morning the headteacher will brief pupils on the previous week. However, this is not given in person, but uploaded to the school's virtual learning environment for all to read. The bulletin also offers recognition to pupils whose names have been entered on the achievement wall and congratulates individuals on their accomplishments.

Each week, pupils can vote in an online opinion poll, usually related to the theme of the week. These results are then used as a springboard for discussion. For example, in a poll asking pupils what their favourite style of teaching was, 180 (44 per cent) voted for field work.

The weekly topics have included child employment, fair trade, Chinese New Year and Holocaust Memorial Week. Individual classes take it in turns to select a variety of relevant news stories that would be of interest to their peers.

Caroline Waiting, who leads the project, says that the highlights for many pupils are the videos and pictures of their fellow pupils. "This is such an important feature of the school's life. If you have a recording of school achievements, then you don't forget it," says Waiting, a religious studies teacher.

The website also works as an area to store memories, allowing children to look back on past achievements, which was especially useful when the school moved to a new building in 2010.

Tips from the scheme

- Involve pupils as much as possible by encouraging them to make videos and take pictures for the bulletin.

- Keep the website up to date, giving pupils something new to look at every day - otherwise they will lose interest.

- Make it accessible to the children and get members of the wider community involved, including governors, the parent-teacher association and local sports teams.

Evidence that it works?

More than 400 children regularly vote in the daily polls. Pupils have shown a real enthusiasm and interest for what is going on in the school and often request photos of their achievements to be publicised on the website. Videos created by pupils and staff frequently exceed 100 views, highlighting the popularity of the scheme.

The project was shortlisted for best e-learning initiative in the 2009 TES Schools Awards.

To nominate a school for this year's TES Schools Awards, visit www.tes.co.ukawards

THE PROJECT

Approach: Using an interactive morning bulletin instead of daily assemblies

Started: 2005

Leader: Caroline Waiting, head of religious studies

THE SCHOOL

Name: Teddington School

Location: Middlesex

Pupils: 1,135

Intake: Two-thirds of pupils are boys

Age range: 11-16

Ofsted overall rating: Good (2009).

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