Johnstown Primary School
School name: Johnstown School
Headteacher: Mrs Helen Starkey
Number of pupils: 473
THE power of technology is being embraced to engage, motivate and enthuse all pupils in a Carmarthen primary school.
Johnstown Primary uses IT as a mechanism to support learning and raise standards with the emphasis on Literacy and Numeracy.
Darrel Cousins, ICT Co-ordinator and Year 5 teacher, said: “Working in partnership with our Digital Learning Challenge Advisers, we are proud to have received recognition for our endeavours by receiving the award of ERW Professional Learning School for Digital Competence.
“This will be a vehicle to further build our capacity for improvement through effective partnerships with other schools and to promote a greater understanding of pedagogical practices.”
Over the last five years the schools has used strategic action plans to develop effective systems for teachers to personalise lessons and track individual achievements, and for learners to enhance and develop a deeper understanding of the learning process.
This has included a cloud based ICT workflow and the phased implementation of specific devices for pupils to select and use for a variety of purposes.
Critical to this success has been action research based on Model ICT Classrooms which we call our WAGOLL-‘What A Good One Looks Like’ in which we have been able to bespoke training for all staff to ensure that ICT is integral to all lessons across the school.
“Our vision is for learners to use technology as an extension of themselves; to personalise, collaborate and drive learning forward,” said Darrel.
Included within this is home and school partnership, where HWB+ resources are used to break down learning barriers.
“In a modern society, keeping abreast with technology is integral to students, teachers, parents and governors,” added Darrel.
“A digital future will improve effectiveness of communication, collaboration and creativity for learning, teaching and assessment. It will also improve efficiency of managing the school systems and also reduce costs by enabling us to become a cloud-based community.”
ERW’s Digital Learning Advisory team (Mr Greg Morgan and Dr Damian Donnelly) have been integral in providing support and challenge during Johnstown Primary school’s journey.
They supported the school closely during recent initiatives, including the HWB+ pilot – which resultantly developed into a secondment opportunity for Mr Cousins.
“When the school has been faced with difficulty and technical obstacles, the advisers have worked in collaboration with us to reach a collective solution.
“They have also assisted with the school-to-school learning partnerships relating to the development of digital learning. This has involved cross-county collaboration through the HWB+ Learning Platform, with Prendergast Primary School in Pembrokeshire and, more recently, the establishment of a professional learning partnership with our feeder secondary, Queen Elizabeth High School.
“These partnerships have enabled us to work with a range of schools, to provide them with whole school strategies for improvement in the area of ICT and Digital Competence.”
One such strategy, which was developed by the school to target both MAT and FSM Learners, was the introduction of a fortnightly learning blog called the Johnstown Journal.
In partnership with the local newspaper, the Carmarthen Journal, pupils were given the opportunity to meet newspaper reporters and editors and use these experiences as a framework to facilitate a professional approach to journalism in the school context.
The vehicle for creation was J2Launch, which is an age appropriate cloud-based resource that is also part of the suite of wider learning tools through the HWB+ Learning Platform.
This online resource enables pupils to combine text, images, video and sound in order to bring news articles about our school to life.