Poundland Pedagogy

    Published: 12 January 2016

    With pressure on school budgets, and resources at a cost, The Marlborough Science Academy, St Albans, has launched an exciting new initiative Poundland Pedagogy competition aimed at utilizing low cost items to enhance learning, low cost for high impact, and giving teachers the chance to be creative in the classroom.

    At Marlborough our focus on teaching and learning is at the heart of everything we do. Weekly Teaching Tip Tuesday staff meetings utilise students’ observations through ‘Learning Counts’ meetings. These are weekly meetings with students from Years 7 to 13, giving feedback on innovative and creative approaches being used within the classroom,” said Deputy Headteacher Mark Fitzgibbon, who introduced the competition to the staff.

    With budgets being as they are, we launched Poundland Pedagogy and were delighted when 47 members of staff signed up to take their chances in trying to incorporate the use of items bought from pound shops into their teaching. Using a random draw, staff names were pulled out of a hat and allocated with an item (see table below) the atmosphere was fantastic and what was particularly exciting was the dialogue from colleagues focussed on how they were going to introduce pipe cleaners, a One Direction duvet, balls of string, plasticine etc into their lessons.”

    Staff then gave a synopsis of how their item was used in their classroom. Prizes were given out for the most creative use of an item and how effective it was for pupils.

    The mood around the school has been electric, with staff entering into serious competition with themselves to win the top prizes but also to incorporate their resources into their lesson in the most ingenious way possible,” added Mark.

    We are delighted with the response and the impact it has had across the school in so many areas. At a time when staff morale is low, recruitment a huge worry and budgets falling, injecting the life back into the classroom has got to be a good thing. And the total cost came to just £90, including £40 of prizes.”

    Annie Thomson, Headteacher, also noticed a change in the classroom: We wanted to bring the enjoyment of teaching back into the classroom. Teachers are creative but that is sometimes taken away as focus is with tests or assessments. This new approach to teaching will give teachers the chance to be creative again, at a cheap cost. It has worked really well and there has been fantastic dialogue between staff. Students have also found it useful and have loved it.”

    List of Items used in the competition:

    • 4 Mini Trophies
    • Jotters x 8
    • Wiggly Eyes
    • 3 Draw Storage Box
    • 4 Winners medals
    • Raffle tickets
    • Postcards
    • Duke Envelopes
    • Topple Tower Game
    • Paper Plates
    • Silver Paper Plates
    • Dominoes and Dice
    • Mini Drawing Boards
    • Fluorescent Stars
    • Sticky Notes Pad
    • Jotter Block Jumbo Pad
    • Pipe Cleaners
    • Driving Plates (L and P)
    • One Direction Reversible Duvet Cover
    • One Direction Mini Standee
    • Paper Money Napkins
    • Plastic Pegs
    • Simpsons Advent Calendar
    • Waterproof Plasters
    • Wipe Clean Table Covers
    • Flexi Straws
    • Pirate Balloons
    • Cotton String
    • Neon Wipe Clean Memo Board
    • Assorted Postage Labels
    • Play Dough
    • Magic Drawing Board
    • Simpsons Plush Dice
    • Fly Swats
    • Egg Timer
    • Wooden Clothes Pegs
    • Superman Stickers
    • Multi-Colour Pennants
    • Assorted Post It Note Pad
    • Foil Party Hats
    • Inflatable Microphones  

    By Ryan Fisher