Ann Edwards is an innovative and nurturing school that caters for 250 boys and girls, aged 4 to 11. We’re based in South Cerney, one of the largest villages in Gloucestershire. Our dedicated staff team provide a broad and balanced curriculum, with a strong emphasis on our pupils’ emotional and mental wellbeing. In terms of grants or revenue generation, we explore all opportunities where there can be a direct link back to increasing engagement with our pupils and parents, or enhancing our curriculum.
We have applied for annual grants from the Ministry of Defence Education Support Fund over the past few years, with varying levels of success (ranging from awards of £5,000 to more than £11,000). We are situated less than a mile from the Duke of Gloucester Barracks and currently have 48 service children in school.
Through previous ESF funding, we have been able to fund a teaching assistant to run nurture groups for these children. These groups (pictured overleaf) support pupils when their parents are sent overseas to countries such as Brunei, Germany and Canada. For example, we have made scrapbooks about the countries the parents are deployed to, and we complete a pupil diary so parents can see the activities their child has been involved in.
The nurture groups help us identify any emotional issues experienced by the children, and allow us to provide support for them. We also support the pupils with transitions to other schools and countries by producing a transition ‘pizza box’ for each child. When children join our school, we complete an activity book with them to help them settle in.
We would like to continue with this pastoral support and build on what we have already achieved in supporting and working with the service community. Our application this year included a request to allow the nurture groups to continue, as well as some specific ELSA training for staff and an external multi-sports club to be run on the army camp for our pupils.
We had our first positive Covid-19 result in school. This fell on the last day of the term, which meant the majority of our Year 5 and 6 pupils had to isolate during half-term. One of our pupils, Jack Ryall, decided this wasn’t going to stop him, and spent the week walking 60km around his garden to raise money for others.
Jack had to overcome thunderstorms and freezing temperatures, but he smashed his fundraising target of £100!
The whole community got behind him and he raised £1,500. This has been split between the Big Yellow Bus Project in Cirencester, which helps local homeless people, and our school PTA. We are extraordinary proud of what he achieved.
Work has started on a new 83-plot housing development next to our school. There will be three phases over the next couple of years to extend housing supply in our village. As the most local primary school, we are making steps to apply for Section 106 funding so we can utilise the money available.
Section 106 is a legal agreement between a developer and a local council. It can release funding to deliver projects within the local area that are designed to ease the impact of a new development on the local community.
Ideally, we would like to build a multi-use games arena that’s artificially turfed. This would allow our pupils to use it throughout the year, and it would also be available to hire to local community groups. The village is in need of some extra sporting facilities and such a project would cement our place at the heart of the vibrant community with which we already work.
The application will take shape over the next few months and will be the largest the school has applied for.
We have also teamed up with our local Co-op to ensure no pupil goes hungry. The Co-op is donating any food that is two days away from going out of date across its meat and poultry, bakery and fresh food ranges to us. We then create food parcels for our families who are eligible for free school meals. So far, the Co-op has donated the equivalent of more than £1,000 of food over just one term.
I was over the moon when I received news that we have been awarded more than £8,500 from the MOD Education Support Fund we applied for in September. This money was awarded on the strength of our application for more nurture provision and the ELSA training. This was a tremendous boost in the last few weeks of term and will really help with our planning for the next financial year.
We are keen to work with as many companies as possible on a range of projects. I use LinkedIn to build my network of contacts, as well as meeting up with those running local businesses in person. Do contact me on 01285 860335 or email email@example.com if you think you can help.