The Centre School, Cottenham, Cambridgeshire

| June 15, 2011 | 6 Comments 

The Centre School, Cottenham, Cambridgeshire, is a BESD special school providing education for approx 50 statemented students from across Cambridgeshire. The school opened in January 2009 and is federated to Cottenham Village College, with which it shares a site. They operate a creative curriculum that offers a balance of learning opportunities inside and outside the classroom.

Head of Centre, Mrs Sue Raven, sent us this email prior to today:

Dear Tim

I am somewhat behind the rest of the world in terms of technology. I don’t ‘facebook’ (an interesting verb!), tweet, twitter or blog although I can send e-mails (but not attachments). Therefore, my staff can tell me anything about the huge need for technology in the classroom and I assume they are right. However, I did begin to worry when due to a building project on school site there were several long power cuts and people were bereft without their boards, whereas I was able to continue my lessons as normal. I am anxious that we maintain a balance and I have come to realize that there are huge learning opportunities within the realms of I.T. I just don’t want the technology to become the panacea for all learning; there is still a role for pedagogy (in my opinion!).

So what am I looking for?
I have thought about this a lot and am aware I sound muddled at times, probably because I am. But, I know that it can only be beneficial for all staff to have access to quality training. This will be a first for us and I think it is an exciting opportunity for development.

1. We need to look at technology as a genuinely interactive tool, to ensure that students are not passive recipients.
2. We need to use the huge potential technology has to bring the wider world into the classroom.
3. I am particularly keen to learn how to develop the use of technology as a trigger for creativity.
4. I would like us to develop the use of various forms and mobile learning so that when we are out and about on the extended part of our curriculum, we can continue to enhance learning.
5. Can technology enhance or improve progress? If so how?

Kind regards

Sue Raven


So… What an enjoyable day!

Spending time with dynamic colleagues, and having a focus on the power of tech to enhance powerful teaching, rather than the tech itself, is what its all about. And, it’s what we DO.

So much laughter today.


The students and staff have a great and open style with each other. They are prepared to rise to challenges; to let themselves go in situations; to risk making themselves “look silly” and therefore get much more from an experience by throwing themselves, whole heartedly, (thanks @deputymitchell – that phrase has seaped in to my vocabulary now!) in to an opportunity. These things take courage. The students are a credit to the imaginative style of teaching that takes place at The Centre School.

We explored some virtual landscapes, and then investigated almost a hundred (!!!) Web2.0 apps/programs/ and doodlies.

(For those of you who don’t know, “Doodlies” is the new official term for digital tools 😉 )

Thank you to all of the staff, and students, today, for a joyous day of exploration.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (6)

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  1. Wow that was so enjoyable and informative and I loved being told a story again.I was literally transfixed. I am not the most technical person but so glad that we were given the opportunity to take part in this training. Truly inspirational and I will definately have a go.
    Thanks so much – really glad I met you both.

  2. Chris Lee-McCloud says:

    Great day!

    Our good humour on the day was largely due to the very relaxed and productive atmosphere you created!!!!

    Thank you for your kind words – always good to hear that what you do is a) right and b) appreciated!

    The day was very useful – lots of good ideas of all shapes and sizes, and a host of new things to play with and have fun with. It’ll take a while to try all the things I want to use in class………

    Thanks to you both – superb day! Memorable, useful and enjoyable!

  3. Sarah says:

    Absolutely delightful thoughts. Thank you. And, mirroring your comment, we value your kind, and encouraging feedback. Keep in touch and let us know how you get on. Tim and Sarah

  4. Sue Raven says:

    Hi Tim and Sarah,
    Thank you so much for yesterday . The feedback has been terrific , I have shown the roller coaster to every everyone that I can find. I think that you achieved exactly what I wanted. One student spent an entire car journey describing what they had done inthe first session so he obviously enjoyed himself!!!
    We have already held a next steps session . I have got to go now to Twitter. Thanks again

  5. Tim says:

    Sue! What a gorgeous comment! The lady who described herself as a “technophobe” – and you’ve already filed a comment on a blog, gone rollercoastering and you might even become a TWIT?!?!?!?!!!!
    WELL DONE. (Maybe next you could fit a 424kilobyte swozzthwacket with a USB sprelcher and get it to tweet through sprundlespace to the tinterweb doodly?)
    Thank you for a joyous day – maybe we can come back and play again when you have your eye pad-y things?! 😀
    All the best – Tim and Sarah

  6. Croxie says:

    Hi Tim & Sarah
    Had a seriously fab time! Brillant presentation and loads and loads of information to take away and play with! Thanks very much.

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