What a fantastic achievement! Ofsted has rated Mandeville Primary School as 'Outstanding' in all areas and they've been supported all the way by RM Education and a Community Connect 4 network.
Kara Hales, Head Teacher at Mandeville Primary School in Hertfordshire, certainly had a challenge set out for her. Her school's ICT was limited: they just had one interactive whiteboard and little else, and as a result confidence and enthusiasm for ICT was at an all time low. Kara was determined to turn this around and have an ICT solution that the whole school would be proud of.
"The challenge was huge but we've achieved so much in the last three years," says Kara. "We bought the RM One PCs to begin with and then in March 2009, we introduced a Community Connect 4 network. CC4 ticked all the boxes for us and we are delighted." Kara's own passion for ICT also ensured that whiteboards and visualisers were in every classroom as a part of the school's large scale turnaround. In June 2009, the school was awarded Ofsted's highest rating, with ICT being described as an area of excellence.
As with any change you want to be sure that it will result in a positive improvement. Therefore it was great news that CC4 was easy and quick to use and it didn't take long for the staff to get fully trained. In fact it took just one meeting, and Kara has seen a total transformation in the confidence of her team. Pupils and staff at the school have embraced Community Connect 4. They know it works, they can see its value and their confidence in ICT is now sky high.
"CC4 helps me manage my class and see what everyone is doing. It really is user-friendly too. It's so easy to pick up and use." Beckie Jones, Year 2 Teacher
"It was really frustrating before, but now it's really cool." Sebastian, Year 2
Kara is also extremely pleased with the support the school has received from RM Education. "Our Account Manager is open and honest with us," she says. "He made sure we bought what was right for our school and created a package that was tailored to our needs."
With the introduction of CC4 the school now gets even more value from their technical support providers SITS/Interm, as they are able to spend more time on strategic teaching and learning improvements. "The minute they knew we had CC4", says Kara, "they were very excited. Now we get more value for money from our technician. He's not just fixing problems all day, he now has time to do more work that's beneficial to teaching and learning."
There are 212 pupils at the school, ranging from nursery to Year 6. It's plain to see their enthusiasm for the new ICT at the school!
"We like the computers because they work well." Anne, Year 6
"We've got all our own log-ins and we have to type in our names!" Ashton, Year 1
"We always get really excited when we go into the ICT suite." India, Year 1
"I don't like it when I am poorly and my friends use the ICT. I miss all the fun. It's excellent!"
Mia, Year 2
"A while ago our computers didn't work and that was bad but now I would feel lost without the computers"
Megan, Year 4
Community Connect 4 brings a huge range of features that benefits everyone in the school. "The teachers especially love RM Tutor," Kara says. "It's a real highlight and great for assessment, sharing work and getting the whole class involved."
Beckie Jones, Year 2 teacher, loves having access to her pupils' work via CC4 because it allows her to easily track and record progress.
Beckie believes her pupils enjoy having their own file and a place to keep all their work. "They feel a sense of ownership and pride in their work, and that also gives them an incentive to learn about ICT."
Kim Perez, Year 5 teacher, remembers what a nightmare the ICT was before the new hardware and CC4 arrived. "We couldn't do anything at all," she says, "but we've seen such a major improvement, it's great."
Kim is sure that her classes are more effective because pupils just get into the classroom and start the lesson without disruption. "Teaching and learning is more efficient," she says. "We were desperate for a new network, and now CC4 is here, we are so pleased."
"We were awarded the Becta ICT Mark in December 2009 in recognition of our success in developing the strategic use of ICT and the benefits it is bringing to our children", says Kara proudly..
She concludes simply, "I'm blown away."