Hemel school wins £50,000 grant to boost creative subjects with the latest technology

The grant was part of a £1.3m funding pot awarded by the Wolfson Foundation to schools and colleges across the UK

By Holly Patel
Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 1:41 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th January 2021, 1:43 pm

A school in Hemel Hempstead has been awarded a £50,000 grant to invest in industry-standard technology to use in the classroom.

The investment from the Wolfson Foundation charity will boost the teaching of creative subjects at Longdean School.

As well as five new suites of iPads, the grant will be used to invest in creative software such as Garageband and iPad Orchestra.

Longdean School wins £50,000 grant to boost creative subjects with the latest technology

This will allow students to gain proficiency in techniques in Music, Art, Drama, Dance, Photography and Textiles at GCSE, BTEC and A Level – skills they can then use when they enter the workplace.

At a time when many schools are reducing their emphasis on creative subjects, Longdean is building a strong reputation for its strength in this area, all students study Dance, Drama and Music in the lower school, with hands on music making and dance/drama practical from day one.

Students are then able to choose more than one of these subjects for GCSE and sixth form, if desired.

A sixth form music student said: "Not only does an iPad provide shortcuts and quicker browsing but it is also easy to move from place to place, making recordings much easier as one can just take the iPad into a separate room rather than set up equipment around a desktop. This is truly wonderful news and I can’t wait!”

The iPads will complement the existing Mac suite

Another student added: "I feel incredibly lucky that our performing arts department has been awarded these iPads and I'm looking forward to using them to advance my education in music and dance!"

Longdean has always strived to update the curriculum and make it relevant, expanding its Art department in recent years to offer Textiles, Photography, and vocational BTEC courses.

Head of Art, Jo Sonnier said: "The use of technology in art has become more prevalent. This suite of state of the art iPad pros will be a major step forward.

"For the visual arts, the iPad is a powerful tool for supporting a variety of creative activities.

The grant will boost the teaching of creative subjects at Longdean School

"The technology is accessible to all and a great way to encourage students that lack confidence to have a go, make mistakes and start again.

"It also allows a student to practice various techniques that are relevant to the world we live in today."

A year 13 Art student said: "The graphic design capabilities of the iPads are much more up to date with how students learn nowadays and will allow for new art styles to be available to all.

"Tablets will allow for graphic design to become much more versatile and creative, it gives us a hand- on approach that we never had when drawing on paper, to develop our ideas suitable for a changing job market that relies on technology.”

The grant was part of a £1.3m funding pot awarded by the Wolfson Foundation to schools and colleges across the UK.

The Wolfson Foundation supports high-achieving state-funded secondary schools and sixth form colleges to improve the teaching of science, computer science, design and technology, art, languages, music and performing arts.

Graham Cunnningham, headteacher at Longdean, said: "At Longdean we celebrate the individual and encourage each and every student to make the most of their particular interests and talents.

"The new technology we will able to invest in as a result of this grant will empower just that – giving our students access to industry standard software that will boost their creative skills, aspirations and employability.

"Our innovative approach starts in year 7 with students now able to choose from our Performing Arts or STEM streams with enhanced timetables and extra-curricular offers in each.

"This sort of success with major grant applications really will give us facilities that are second to none, and it is incredibly exciting.

"We can’t wait to see what this technology inspires our talented students to achieve.

"The UK’s Creative Industries are worth over £111 billion annually and account for one in 11 jobs in the UK today. With the skills they can now learn at Longdean our students will be well placed to explore the wealth of opportunities this exciting sector offers."

With inclusivity in the arts a big drive for the school, it is also hoped that the new iPad technology will further increase the accessibility of creative subjects at Longdean by:

> Enhancing SEND provision

> Bringing the art facilities totally up to date

> Opening up music as a subject for those who may not have been able to learn an instrument in primary school

> Inspiring more boys to take creative subjects to a higher level.