Hawes Community Primary School, North Yorkshire

| May 25, 2011 | 18 Comments 

A glorious drive south through Herriot country to Hawes in North Yorkshire to spend a most delightful day with the children, teachers and visiting colleagues at Hawes CP School.  Special thanks to the school’s headteacher, David Eldridge, for his passion and for the opportunity to spend time with his pupils and staff – a true pleasure.


We first met David while presenting at North Yorkshire CYPS Conference & Exhibition “eLearn, We Learn” last year. He has kindly recorded here his reasons for inviting us to his school:

In the Land of the Non-techies

Back in November I went with Nigel Metcalfe, my ICT wizard, (right) to see Tim Rylands do his thing in Harrogate.  As a non-technical person, I was blown away. I was challenged, because I knew the children had an entitlement to what we had seen and I had very little idea about how we might begin to deliver it. I needed to find a way forward.

ICT is often supported by one specialist in a school and if they leave the ICT leaves with them.

This is especially true of small schools, we have 75 children, where people have to assume a wider range of responsibilities. So we knew we wanted to enhance ICT, that’s why we went to see Tim in the first place the question was how?


What we have found is that the route of our journey has been unexpected. We have ended up developing a school blog www.hawesps.posterous.com this was not in our minds at all, even after we’d seen Tim. However we began to realise we wanted to share and collaborate and this was the best way to do it. I am not skilled enough to use wordpress so we went for the very simplest option … posterous. This is a platform that can be updated and developed through e-mails and attachments. Nigel helped me to set it up and he has worked alongside teachers to help them begin to develop their understanding and confidence. In a sense it’s a shop window, but much more.

We have reached the point where children are on the cusp of claiming ownership of the school blog. It provides a tremendous audience and it links back into so much of the excitement that Tim generates.

I might say here that training for teachers is the vital element. Teachers should not have to spend more than thirty minutes learning something and better results are achieved if they are not simply left to fend for themselves. Quality ICT, generally has a quality interface. Given my premise that most teachers are intimidated by ICT, quick wins and meaningful results are essential.

If children are involved in interesting things, they want them to be seen, Quick response codes, Wallwisher, Crazy Talk, animoto, photopeach and ‘bit strip for schools’  are all things they have used and there are many more things besides.

We have realised that we want to promote quality teaching and then use ICT as a way of sharing. We also want to reach out and work with new partners, that share similar ideals collaboratively. Sometimes the work the children do is rooted in ICT, sometimes not.

We want our little school to be able to work alongside hundreds of other little schools and become part of a wider and vibrant learning community. A lot of the skill development is about improved communication. We have invited Tim and Sarah to our school because we want the children, teachers and TAs to experience the ‘Wow’ factor direct!

The number one thing I have learnt this year is that the ICT community is hugely generous and you’re never alone. This is very encouraging and leads to collaboration that actually works right around the world. From our school blog we try to provide links to many helpful people… including Tim!

My technical skills are a little better now, but more importantly my enabling network and focus are in place.

ICT education is not about techie versus non-techie, it is about enabling. Enabling teachers to work comfortably and more effectively, for schools to make better use of equipment that is underused and to enable the children to experience opportunities that merit a place in a classroom in this century, rather than the nineteenth century.

Of course I still get frustrated by sites being blacklisted, by equipment that I have invested in and yet still is unreliable and as a result causes disappointment rather than excitement.

However we learn as we go along and in a collaborative situation one only has to find the answer once and then this is shared.

Teachers need to experience excitement and success, the job is hard and time consuming. Nobody can ever say they are totally on top of everything and yet it is a magnificent noble profession. To find new avenues and enable new successes is wonderful. Sometimes people say, “really teachers must use ICT more, they have to.” I rather think that we should share practice that is so uplifting and full of opportunity, nobody would want to miss out!

Three months ago the blog www.middlehampri2.posterous.com was just an idea, now it is integrated into Catherine Monaghan’s style of teaching. She has a new vehicle to share with the children and they are so excited with all that is new and possible around them. ‘The class with a view’ have just amazed me.

Tim Rylands is one of the people that is providing the fuel. His ideas are inclusive, enabling and innovative. They offer so much and with each others help we can explore and learn from them.

Thank you David. It has been an honour to be involved in the continual development of some of the stunning things you do with, and for, your children. Well done. Onwards! Onwards!

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (18)

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  1. Mrs G says:

    Fantastic,the expressions on the childrens faces say it all, an inspirational day and for me personally very moving when my grandson a boy of few words had something to say. Thankyou.
    If you are reading this and you have the opportunity to attend a training day with Tim and Sarah GO.

  2. Miss C says:

    What a day! Absolutely full to bursting with fun, giggles, amazing discussions, beautiful, creative writing from the children and USEFUL resources for the teachers. Can’t recommend the day enough! Thank you to all concerned.

  3. Mrs Metcalfe says:

    Today has shown me the most fantastic opportunities to learn and develop using Tim Rylands’ ideas. Mr Walker was amazing!
    Thank you Tim and Sarah

  4. Clare Shepherd says:

    I loved the course and found it very inspirational. It was a delight watching you teach and you have given me loads of new ideas. It was a truly “gorgeous” day! Thank you.

  5. Pamela Acheson says:

    An inspiring day!
    Being a part of the learning experiences of the children was amazing. There were lots of awe and wonder moments. The children travelled on a magical learning journey which enthused, motivated and challenged the children. I was also able to reflect on my own teaching and learning styles and learnt new techniques from Tim which I will take back into my classroom.
    The day was packed full of useful, fun, engaging resources which I intend to share with my colleagues back in school. The technical help from Sarah on creating powerpoint shows to use in class was extremely good and again something which I will share with my colleagues.
    An excellent day which I would highly recommend to others. Thankyou

  6. Tricia says:

    Loved the school blog and as a member of staff in another small school, am inspired to follow your example. Thank you.You say: ‘We want our little school to be able to work alongside hundreds of other little schools and become part of a wider and vibrant learning community,’ Sounds good to me! Please let me know more.

  7. If learning is a journey, then this day was an epic voyage for me and many others I shared it with. So valuable in so many ways – it covered so much ground that by the end of the day I could not believe how much I had seen, experienced, learned, enjoyed in just a few hours. It felt like a time warp with so much crammed into the day and with a thread of warmth, laughter, enjoyment and wonder running through the whole. The photos say it all – they truly reflect the delight that was present for teachers and children alike throughout the day. Thank you Tim and Sarah for opening yet another door for me in my teaching career.

  8. Thank you Sarah, thank you Tim! It feels like the night after a huge party …
    The younger children would like to leave some comments about yesterday:
    “I liked it because Mr Rylands says things clearly, that we can understand.” Jasmine.
    “”It was a once in a lifetime experience, I am glad I had the opportunity to work with him. I enjoyed doing the writing.” Casslyn
    “The work we did was fun, I liked it when he talked about having a Wii/wee!” Alfie
    “I saw my picture on this blog, it was a shock!”Charlie
    “I liked it when Emma and Aaron, were being the gardners, I thought it was hillarious!” Evie
    “I liked the bit where Mr Rylands moved the mouse in secret, but did a trick with his stick!” Megan ….We cannot reveal the story behind this as it would be a spoiler … Mr E
    “I very much like your blog, I enjoyed working with you, because you are a fantsatic teacher.” Daniel
    “I like the bit where we wrote the paragraphs and read them out.” Jodie
    “I like the bit where we went down the escalator
    ,when we put our arms in the air and shouted!” Frankie

    Maybe more comments later… cheers

  9. More comments … from Hawes…
    “I liked Mr Rylands stick, Mr Walker, because we learnt how to walk acrioss the floor ‘cautiously’ and ‘carefully’. Max
    “I liked exploring the place where the cave was. I liked looking at the birds in the nest inside the rock.” Oakley
    ” I love the pictures on your blog, because they are pictures of all of us doing the work yesterday!” Amy
    “I liked the slide to go down, because it was very funny!” Jack

    “You are super-duper funny and now it is easy to walk cautiously and carefully.”Harriet
    “I like Mr Rylands because he makes me laugh. I enjoyed his argument with Malachy.” Adam
    “It was extremely funny when you were calling Mr Eldridge, Mr Elderflower!” Kathryn.
    “I enjoyed it when you came to our school and I like that you have put our work on your blog.2 Scott

    We have all enjoyed using “well” today and the magic hat selector is also a great hit.

    Mr E

  10. Tim says:

    Dear Mr Eldridge and children, AND all of the other lovely people who have left such special comments on the blog: THANK YOU SO MUCH
    We enjoyed our day with you all yesterday. Your school is a gorgeous, buzzing, smiling, laughing, imaginative, creative, inventive, valuing, valuable, friendly, up-for-it, gem.
    We have stopped off on our way home (Wensleydale to Cheddar) and keep talking about the fun we had with you all
    Learning never stops however old you are. Thank you
    We learned a lot with you and delight in the fact that we were able to share a day of exploring together
    Well done all
    Keep up your bubbling!
    Tim and Sarah (…and Mr Walker 🙂 )

  11. Miss Ca says:

    After yesterdays inspiring training have spent my morning setting up “The Hat”. We went to dinner using this method, the children loved it.

  12. rhys h says:

    it was fun to explore the cave beacuse you do fun things with it

  13. Nigel Metcalfe says:

    Thank you to all involved yesterday – children, staff, visiting teachers, Sarah and Tim. True collaboration, everyone working together to move forward, challenging each other along the way and responding with great humour and attainment. Who needs Eurovision for everyone to have fun and a smile on their face? Take that Tim and Sarah.

  14. Mrs W says:

    Thank you for a fantastic day and some brilliant ideas, I am looking forward to using the ‘wild in Africa’ wii game with some of the super ideas that you suggested. There was so much to take in, I now need to decide where to start! Thank you for a fatastic day and for all the wonderful resources.

  15. Mr HH says:

    Thank you to Tim, Sarah, Mr Walker and everyone at Hawes Primary School for a fantastic day. I left buzzing with ideas and eager to try them out. I’ve resisted the splatter-gun, though, and drip-dripping them in. I found myself coming out with some very unusual voices in recent lessons. I wonder where I got that from…

    Not progressed to a “fake” cup, though!

    Was inspired by the day and hopefully made some new, long-lasting links with other schools too.

    Only disappointment was not getting to the cheese factory / shop / selection box at some point in the day.

  16. Mr HH says:

    I really dislike myself for putting “fake”. It was a real cup, just empty.

  17. Sarah Beveridge says:

    Like everyone else, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and came away with new ideas and renewed enthusiasm. The training was like no other I have experienced and reminded me of my love of the job I do. I was desperate to download/upload things and whizz around saying, ‘Oh, and then there’s this….and this….and this…’

    However, on reflection, I now understand that the day was much more than that. It made me appreciate how easy it is to forget that teaching and learning are fundamentally about relationships, sensitivity, watching and listening. The craft of teaching could also be said to be an art form and, in that regard, each of us can be a truly original artist. You said throughout the day, ‘You don’t have to be like me’, and I think that that is one of the most important messages from the day. Amidst all the fun and excitement it made us feel that if we all have the courage to be ourselves in the classroom,(albeit sometimes exaggerated versions of ourselves!)then anything is possible.

    In recent years, some of the magic that can be in any classroom has drifted away. In Hawes, you brought it back. We all felt it. Now we have gone back to our own classrooms and know that we can do it too.

    Thank you.

  18. Tim says:

    Thank you Sarah – powerful and perceptive feedback. Have fun!

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