Cogan Nursery School scoops national award at 'Oscars for Teachers'
11:36am Tuesday 22nd October 2013 in News
COGAN NURSERY school was crowned the UK’s ‘Outstanding School Team of the Year’ at the Pearson Teaching Awards on Sunday.
The nursery school was presented with the prestigious national award at what has been dubbed the “Oscars for Teachers”.
Head teacher Pauline Rowland described the win as “fantastic, amazing and unbelievable” after she was presented with the award by Sir Terry Wogan at a plush awards ceremony in London.
“We all feel completely ecstatic and on top of the world,” she said.
“It’s lovely that everything we do has been rewarded and to be nominated by the parents is fantastic.”
She added: “It’s brilliant for the school, children and parents.
“It’s definitely a phenomenal award.
“The judges said they were amazed by the amount of and high standard of technology at the school.
“They said everything was excellent and they couldn’t believe it.
“One judge was an OFSTED inspector and said it was outstanding.”
The school has been praised for its innovative teaching techniques and use of technology to aid learning. A seven-strong teaching team caters for around 100 three and four-year-old at the nursery school. Led by head teacher Pauline Rowland, the team uses new technologies including Twitter and a Youtube site to keep parents in touch. In the classrooms children also use cameras, ipads and tablets as a natural part of learning to read, write, talk and count.
“We have put a lot of emphasis on the use of technology,” added Mrs Rowland.
“They were amazed at what we were able to get the three-year-olds to do.”
Peter Thomas, a senior teacher at the school, added: “We are absolutely over the moon.
“It’s been a real honour to represent the Vale of Glamorgan and Wales and I think we have done everyone proud.
“We find ourselves in a very privileged position.
“We work with really dedicated professionals.”
He added: “It felt like the Oscars as everyone clapped and cheered when we came in, and the paparazzi photographed us too.
“It was a surreal experience and it felt very special.”
The nursery plans on celebrating the win by holding an awards ceremony on Thursday this week.
Mr Thomas added that parents were seeing the benefit of technology and social media when children came home from school.
“With three-year-old children when a parent asks them what they have done in school they say nothing, but if you go on Twitter and Facebook you can see what’s gone on in school that day,” he said.
“The parent can share with the child the learning, so learning can take place at home to extend what we have done with them in school.”
Teaching Awards judges found the school was “buzzing with an enthusiasm for learning” and recognised the school’s excellent practice in the teaching of Welsh and the use of English as a second language. It found it was ‘way ahead’ in its provision for ethnic minorities, has a community shop and is a training school for student teachers.
A ‘stand-out feature’, according to judges, was the setting up of a Youtube channel where the school’s philosophy, ‘We learn to play, we play to learn’, is clear. Almost 30 videos are on the channel now and Cogan’s ‘How to Play’ has 40 hits a day worldwide.
Kay Rawlinson, who stars as Korma Desmonde in some of the school’s videos on youtube, said the award came as a shock.
“We are all delighted,” she said.
“We all work as a team and are a happy bunch that have fun, and that has an impact on the children.”
The awards ceremony is set to be broadcast on BBC2 on Sunday, October 27