In wake of school-trip disappointment, one student teacher finds a way to bring Windsor Castle to his locked-down pupils

If the children cannot go to Windsor, then Windsor must come to the children, Kristian Greenslade decided, to the excitement of his young pupils.

Delighted to have been admitted to the Institute of Education (IoE) at the University of Reading to study BA Primary Education, Kristian describes his feelings as ‘super-excited’. Yet soon after his course began, the young trainee teacher was plunged into a world crisis. As the Covid pandemic unfolded, even qualified, experienced teachers faced immense challenges. Everyone was learning new ways of teaching in classrooms and online while looking after the mental and physical health of themselves and their pupils.

Pre-pandemic, one of Kristian’s school’s biggest plans had been to take the Year One pupils on a trip to historic St George’s Chapel, Windsor, where Prince Harry and Meghan Markle married. Kristian’s pupils, all aged between five and six, were excited about visiting the Castle they had seen on television and in pictures. They had been learning all about its history, drama and current events. But then came the pandemic and the world shut down. The children were devastated.

Kristian had to think fast and find a way to transform his pupils’ disappointment into excitement. He talked to his wife Angelli, who is a talented hobby artist. Together, they came up with a brilliant way to show the wonder of Windsor Castle without being there in person.

They created a beautiful, metre-long model of the Chapel.

“I think for children who are five or six years old, learning about facts, dates and churches can be overwhelming. Some might just switch off. So I had the idea of giving them something visual and physical to see and be excited about, in place of their trip.”

By viewing all aspects of the Chapel online, Kristian and Angelli recreated the architecture of the chapel using recycled cardboard boxes, masking tape and a hot glue gun. They finished it off with acrylic paints, creating an effect that is startlingly good.

“I was so pleased to bring it in for the children. It introduced St. George’s Chapel to them, which was something really exciting during lockdown. Due to the pandemic, these children had not been able to enjoy the normal visits that would fire up their imagination and inspire their learning.

“There were other years doing the same topics and I was very happy that their teachers asked to use the model. All the key stage one kids got to enjoy it in the end.

“Kids absorb things in a cool kind of visual way. Having that taken away from them by lockdown was really sad. I thought it was important to give them something physical to examine and explore. Engaging the children means their minds absorb concepts naturally and enthusiastically.”

We have all read about the psychological effect of lockdown on children, which can be even harder for those with added challenges.

“With something like this model, kids who find it hard to engage; who maybe have a learning difficulty; handling and seeing the model draws them in more. Also, my class has a high number of children with English as an additional language, and I think the model helped them understand more easily.

“The children would go up to the model continually, wanting to look at it and see what was going on, even in their break or after school, even the shy ones. When you see that reaction – well, that’s why I am in the field of teaching!

“This year has been very strange because of the pandemic. But for me, in terms of learning, it has also been a very good year; in fact it’s been so fulfilling and I’ve felt so supported by the University, that I can’t wait for next year. And that’s a great feeling!”

A new book on Teaching the Arts is coming soon with contributions from several IoE authors

We are delighted that Suzy Tutchell and Susan Ogier have co-edited Teaching the Arts in the Primary Curriculum.

This comes out May 2021 and is published by SAGE.

Teaching the Arts in the Primary Curriculum features chapters by Stephanie Sharp, Scarlett Murphy and Ali Silby (Poetry and the Arts), Rebecca Berkley (Music and the Arts) and Nasreen Majid (Maths and the Arts) also of the IoE. 

It brings Arts Education sharply into focus as a meaningful, learning experience for children of pre-school and primary age (3-11 years).  Based on many researched case studies, it reinforces the potential for the wide range of physical, mental and emotional development, through learning opportunities that engagement in arts practice facilitates.

It also provides an insight into how by providing spaces in the curriculum for children to engage in the arts, teachers can support children to consider contemporary challenges that face their generation.

Click here for more on Teaching Arts in the Primary Curriculum 

 

At the annual student teacher Research Conference, there was an astonishing range of talent and also a fair hint of nostalgia

Programme Director, Nasreen Majid addressing the conference

The IoE’s annual ATP* Conference featured an inspiring array of our students’ research presentations. As always, there was also a little nostalgia as we waved off our class of 2018 into their bright futures.

These conferences create a stimulating environment in which our final year BA Primary Education (QTS) students can showcase their lively, interesting and thought-provoking research around issues in primary education. Above all, the conference is the culmination of three years of intense hard work.

The key note speaker is always a central part of this special day and this year we were delighted to welcome Dr Diana Sous of the Institute of Education, University College, London, who focused on three diverse Portuguese Early Years settings to illustrate how conceptual understanding of democracy reflect individual school philosophies. 

Our annual ATP conference is a happy day in the calendar, as Programme Director Nasreen Majid hears and sees the fruits of her students’ study and research over the last three years as the students demonstrate the sheer quality and variety of their projects. The research is broad and accomplished and the posters in particular visually appealing and lively. 

Nasreen Majid, Director of the programme, who leads the conference and research output on the BA Primary Education (QTS) course said:

The research project showcase the outstanding contribution to educational research the BA Primary Education (QTS) students undertake with us here at the IOE. Each project is developed with an eye on how the focus will make a direct impact on the students’ practice as a trainee and beginner teacher. The impact is further amplified as the conference is designed as a platform for peer learning for the part 2 students who are just starting their ATP journey. I am so proud of the confidence and authority of students presenting their work, this shows a great insight into the area they have studied and ultimately a passion for teacher education.”

Our key note speaker to the conference, Dr Diana Dos Santos Sousa, Senior Teaching Fellow at UCL, IOE, delivered a timely key note, closely linked to her career trajectory from an early years practitioner to teaching fellow at UCL, IOE. Her presentation used evidence from three diverse Portuguese Early Years settings that illustrated how conceptual understandings of democracy reflect individual school philosophies She noted the tensions of international comparative testing, closely linking this to the upcoming comparative testing for 5 year olds. 

The best ATP candidate was Anna Wheatley, who received The Professor Rhona Stainthorp Prize for outstanding achievement in undergraduate research.

After the ceremonies, everyone was finally able to kick back and relax over a picnic on our London Road campus’s beautiful green quadrangle, enjoying the chance to be together one more time before our fantastic Year 3 students head off into their bright futures.

We are proud of our five presenting students, who did such sterling work at the conference. Congratulations to you all!

The Institute of Education’s BA Education Studies (QTS) offers four specialisms in Art, English, Mathematics and Music. Please click the links for full information.

*ATP = BA Primary Education (QTS) Advanced Teaching Project


The five final year students who were chosen to present their work at this year’s annual conference represent a broad cross section of the type of research undertaken. Here the five are interviewed on their work:

Will Hatton
Project: The extent to which mathematics is enjoyed by higher and lower attainers and the impact of their teachers’ attitudes towards the subject.

Lauren Rose
Project: The perceptions of the social inclusion of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder: How do the children perceive their relationships with their peers and how does this compare to the perceptions of the adults who work with them?

Bethanie Matthews
Project: What is it about mathematics that causes anxiety for pupils?

Anna Wheatley 
Project: How does music intervention impact the social development of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Ellie Walsh
Project: An Exploration into the Use of Appropriate Children’s Literature to Support Upper Key Stage Two Teachers’ Delivery of the English Writing Curriculum.

 

Discover your future at Train to Teach evening 21 February

Are you considering a career in teaching?

Perhaps you are a teaching assistant, a career changer, or even a qualified teacher looking to return to teaching. Or you may be one of the many excellent teachers trained overseas, looking to enter the UK market – or indeed you may be graduating in Summer 2018.

Whoever you are, you are warmly invited by the University of Reading (ranked 3rd in UK for Education*), TeachSlough** and Upton Court Grammar School in Berkshire to a special evening dedicated to those who wish to find out more about getting into primary and secondary teaching.

The evening will be mainly informal; once you have registered your interest in the event via the link below, please feel free to drop in, meet the team and to find out more!

Join us on 21 February 4.30- 6.30 at Upton Court to discover the fields of teaching opportunities available to you.

TeachSlough** has a wide range of excellent training opportunities for teaching, both in primary and secondary schools. The Train to Teach evening will showcase these prospects and encourage anyone who has an interest in teaching to get to know the field, chat to the experts from both Upton Court and the University of Reading and find out what route would suit them best.

Come along to our event to meet the experts:

  • University of Reading* tutors.
  • The TeachSlough team
  • Specialist mentors from our partnership schools as well as from other local training partnerships

 

Train to Teach Wednesday 21st February 2018, 4.30pm – 6.30pm Upton Court Grammar School Lascelles Road Slough SL3 7PR

Please confirm your attendance via this link

eventbrite.co.uk/e/train-to-teach-tickets-41105941979

For more information, please contact:

Manni Sanghera Upton Court Grammar School Lascelles Road Upton Berkshire SL3 7PR

schooldirect@uptoncourtgrammar.org.uk / www.teachslough.org.uk

 

*Guardian University League Table 2018: University of Reading ranked 3rd in UK for Education

**TeachSlough School Direct Teacher Training is provided in Slough Partnership schools, working together with the University of Reading. All courses lead to Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). You can also opt to do the PGCE course, which leads to 60 Masters credits. You may be eligible for a salaried place, or a bursary.