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the gattons infant schoolGattons Infant School Turn To Crowdfunding For Essential Teaching Tool

28th June 2017
by Peter Chapman

The Gattons Infant School have turned to crowdfunding on the internet in the hope that they can raise enough money to replace the interactive whiteboards in their classrooms.

BHU went along to meet the school's assistant headteacher Ellie Bennett to find out more.

Currently the Gattons have interactive whiteboard technology in all 9 classrooms, but they are 12 years old and one broke recently due to its age - which made the school consider how they will cope if the others start to fail too.

The Gattons also say that the quality of the current whiteboards are unacceptable and are no longer of good enough quality for the children.

What Are Interactive Whiteboards Used For?
The whiteboards are used daily as the main teaching tool to deliver lessons and are linked to the internet. Pupils use them for presentations and to help them apply their knowledge and skills in all curriculum areas including art, literacy and maths.  ALL schools have interactive whiteboards now and they are by no means a "luxury" item.  Schools have to keep up with the technological advancements in order to prepare the children for their future in modern society.

Funding Cuts
Due to the much publicised real-term cuts in school funding - with West Sussex in particular getting a raw deal from central government - the Gattons have had to prioritise how they spend their limited budget. They managed to replace the broken whiteboard using last year's budget, but the money is even tighter this year with Ellie Bennett revealing that there is no way the school can afford to replace any more within their budget.

Each board costs £2,145 with the school needing 8 of them.

Puils of The Gattons are not happy with the state of their whiteboards & the lack of funds!

The Old And New Technology
Gattons' current whiteboards are not what your reporter was expecting to see when visiting the school. They really are poor! A computer feeds a projector which is attached to the ceiling, the picture is then beamed onto a whiteboard. You interact with the board using a special pen. It can only take one input source at a time. The image quality is so very dull, it's more like a 'greyboard' and not white!

In contrast, the sole new 'interactive whiteboard' is amazing, think of it more as a giant iPad if you will. The screen is bright, crisp and rich in colour. It can be operated simultaneously by a number of users, it registers the touch of fingers and does not rely solely on a special pen, which is even better for the younger children at the school who haven't mastered a pencil grip yet. It's also great for showing video, like the daily Newsround programme from the BBC website. There's lots of specially designed educational software available for it.

Ellie Bennett says that the school aren't just expecting  the community to provide the money for the whiteboards, but they are actively looking at other ways to help raise funds away from crowdfunding.

The Friends of Gattons School (FOGS) will raise money at their summer fete and there are plans for a very special event taking place in October that we've been sworn to secrecy over which will see futher funds raised. The school are also selling lollipops every friday.

Business Sponsorship
As well as donations from individuals, the Gattons are very much open to local businesses sponsoring the purchase of new whiteboards - which would see the business having their name on a plaque alongside the whiteboard in the classroom.

Interested parties are very welcome to contact The Gattons on 01444 235071 or email office@thegattons.co.uk to discuss how you may be able to help out.

If you'd like to donate directly to the Gattons' fundraising efforts,
then you can visit their 'Go Fund Me' page here: https://www.gofundme.com/whiteboards or if you prefer more conventional ways of donating money, then please contact the school directly.

Spread the word, the Gattons are looking to raise fund to replace all of their interactive whiteboards throughout the school


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