In the Classroom: Front Lawn Primary, Havant

Dylan King and Jorja Wright using the Chromebooks. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (143215-7)
Dylan King and Jorja Wright using the Chromebooks. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (143215-7)

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At Front Lawn Primary, we are always looking for new ways to prepare our children for the next step in their education and their future lives in the world of work, writes headteacher James Munt.

We also know that children only learn when they are enjoying what they’re doing.

We think having fun and learning go hand in hand and is what primary school is all about.

This belief has led us to introduce individual laptops for every child in the school to rapidly boost the progress they’re making – and make learning even more enjoyable.

Using computers and up-to-date technology is now an essential skill for children.

It is also a format that children love using and adds that element of fun into many aspects of the curriculum.

Every child in the school has their own individual ‘mini-laptop’.

They are a special type of laptop called Chromebooks; they have touch screens to aid the interaction of the younger children.

They are based on the Android operating system so there is no waiting for them to turn on, log on or load their programs.

So far every child from Year 2 to Year 6 has a Chromebook and Reception and Year 1s have them on their way just after Christmas.

We found we had some time at the start of each day and after lunchtime that wasn’t used well enough for learning.

So now, every morning and afternoon, the children start the session by using their Chromebooks.

They use them to access a series of games and activities that have been individually chosen to plug their own gaps in learning.

The children rush to use them and you can hear a pin drop during the sessions.

They get to see how well they are progressing and receive rewards for completing different activities and steps. Most importantly the children are only ever comparing themselves to themselves and not to each other.

Learning is not about being better than others – it’s about being the best you can be.

While the children are busy on the computers, the teachers are busy hearing children read so not a minute of time is wasted. The start of the days and afternoons are now calm, productive and, most importantly, fun.

After the first six months of use alone, the Chromebooks contributed towards the school exceeding the national average for progress in reading and writing.

All year groups that used Chromebooks made better than expected progress in maths and reading.

What the pupils say...

Libby Bartlett, 11, Year 6

‘Chromebooks are amazing.

‘We use them in all lessons and they help us learn new things in new ways which supports us in our class and book work.

‘By using Chromebooks I have improved dramatically in all subjects especially maths.’

Oliver Phillips, 10, Year 5

‘Chromebooks are the best things I have ever had in school. You can go on lots of different programs for lots of different subjects.

‘I really like Reading Eggspress - on it you can go on many interesting activities which helps you improve your reading.’

Matthew Costall, eight, Year 4

‘The Chromebooks are great because they are touchscreen and the battery lasts a long time.

‘We use them at least twice a day and while we use them the teachers hear readers so our teacher hears us all read at least once a week. My favourite programme is called Maths Whizz.’

Jorja Wright, eight, Year 3

‘My Chromebook is amazing because you can use it to see incredible websites.

‘I enjoy Reading Eggspress. Also, there is a floating island which has my gym, library, apartment and my stadium. Normally I go to my comprehension gym every day at school and at home.’

Dylan King, six, Year 2

‘I like Chromebooks because they are so fun. On reading eggs I have a lot of eggs. We use them in the morning or in guided reading.

‘The book I am reading is The Little Critters.

‘All the critters had no food so two critters went to a shop to buy some.’

Free books inspire us so we enjoy our reading

At Front Lawn Primary Academy, every half-term we study a new book that’s linked to our topic, write Year 6 pupils Joe Knight and Libby Bartlett.

The teachers choose the books so we all enjoy them but so they’re at the right level for us to read.

Across the school we’ve had books from The Little Red Hen and Bear Hunt to Harry Potter and The Bridge to Terebithia.

Every year group across Front Lawn Primary Academy learns an extract from their year group’s book totally off by heart.

This then helps with our writing.

This term our whole-school topic is musicals.

When the term is over, each child gets to take the book they’ve studied home for themselves.

The school pays for every single child in the school to have the book each half term.

This is good because it means that we get six free books a year and 42 books from Reception to Year 6.

By allowing us to do this it encourages us to read more at school and home.

This gives us the chance for us to read more to our parents and carers and to ourselves too.

All of the lower and upper school enjoy this.

It gives them the chance to pick up a book and read at home.

Many children feel that when they take it home and read it, they feel as though they’re in the book.

At the end of the day, our teacher reads our class book to us and asks us questions about the book.

The book they read to us is often the book that we take home.

So if we like the book it allows us to finish it outside of school.