Weston School advances Makerspace Project

  • 20-Apr-20
  • News Media Release

Otago Community Trust is pleased to announce it has approved a $59,187 grant to support Weston School in North Otago with its latest Makerspace Project for both classroom digital technology programmes and programmes to support gifted students.

Trustees approved the Learning Impact Fund grant to Weston School late last month, this grant is part of the Trust’s Learning Impact Fund, a fund established by the Otago Community Trust to encourage new thinking and support educational projects which lift student achievement across Otago. 

Principal Deidre Senior said Weston School has been busy spending time during the COVID-19 lockdown preparing for the first stage of this project. 

“This is an amazing opportunity for Weston School. The funding will enable our school to work to provide a range of learning experiences that we could not have otherwise provided for all of our teachers and students. It is a very exciting undertaking for our school and community”.

“We are committed to making this available to other rural schools to utilise the space that we develop, where teachers can come for upskilling and their students can be exposed to specialist digital resources in a classroom setting,” Senior said.

The first year of the project will involve purchasing a range of technological resources and will provide staff with focused professional development in Digital Technologies curriculum. Over the next 12 to 18 months the school will then use the technology with students, helping them to advance their knowledge and skills.

Otago Community Trust chair Ross McRobie said since launching the fund three years ago, the trust has approved over $2 million to a total of nine separate Learning Impact Fund projects.

“To date the feedback from successful schools awarded Learning Impact Fund funding is very positive. The financial assistance provided has certainly allowed schools to invest in areas more quickly and has fostered greater collaboration on a more consistent and regular basis.”

McRobie explains that the Learning Impact Fund has now closed off. We are no longer accepting any new Expressions of Interest to our Learning Impact Fund.

We do however remind schools that our $for$ Fund which has run in parallel to the Learning Impact Fund is still available for many schools.  The date to uplift this funding has been extended to 30 June 2020, said McRobie.

Otago Community Trust chief executive Barbara Bridger said to date the Otago Community Trust has granted just over $1 million to Otago schools from the $1.5million $for$ Fund, covering a range of activities from mathematics programmes, IT equipment, robotics to programme specific reading materials.

Schools applying to the $1.5million $for$ Fund must have 50% of the project cost available at the time of application. At this point in time, we know that around eighty schools in our area still have their $for$ allocation available and we are encouraging all schools to apply for this by the end of June 2020.

“If schools have questions or are unsure what funding allocations are still available, they can always call the trust to check – 0800 10 12 40.”

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