Appeal for Multimedia block and Large-group Teaching Project at Isaac Newton

Multimedia block

Plans for a new Multimedia Block: Isaac Newton School is growing rapidly. School numbers are approaching 450 and the school has been struggling with a first year class of over 100 students. It is clear that to keep classes down to a reasonable (by Ugandan standards) class size of around 50, the school needs to add a second stream. In order to do this, the school must have additional classrooms and our intention is to help the school to improve the standard of teaching and learning through better building design.

Working with a local architect, the school has come up with a plan for a large new building that has 3 classrooms, an additional fully-equipped science lab with adjoining prep room, and a room where teachers can prepare material and undertake professional development, with a side room with  a high-speed, low-cost RISO printer and secure storage for laptops and other equipment.

Senior 1 students listening to their teacher, but with no pictures to aid their learning

Senior 1 students trying to listen to their teacher, but with no pictures to aid their learning.

Uganda has an equatorial climate and is prone to heavy storms every 2 or 3 days. With existing classrooms, which have corrugated iron roofs, the noise of the rain is so loud that teaching has to stop during heavy rain. Also with larger classes students often find it difficult to hear what the teacher is saying or to see what is written on the chalk board.

In order to overcome these problems the new building has been designed with a sound-insulated ceiling, microphones and speakers to improve audibility and ceiling-hung data projectors so that high quality images can be projected onto a screen and teachers can take advantage of materials (including pictures, animations and videos) drawn from the internet. This mean that the teachers will be given access to the internet in the teacher development room and the whole building will have security doors and windows.

Once it is built, UHST will organise with the school a professional development programme to train all teachers in the use of the new technology and to show them how to embed audio-visual resources from the web into their lesson presentations. It will make possible a major shift in teaching away from the use of dictated notes. The training programme will be extended to teachers in the other Humanist Schools in Uganda who are members of Uganda Humanist Schools Association.

It will also complement other programmes in the schools to improve private study facilities for students. As Humanist schools, we feel that it is important to foster independent learning, where students are less reliant on being told things by teachers, and are empowered to learn using independent, authoritative sources of information. We have been flooding the Humanist schools with text books; we have also introduced a wide range of literature and a Reading for Pleasure Programme, the schools have a computer network with a wealth of off-line resources taken from the internet including: the huge RACHEL repository of non-fiction information taken from Wikipedia, the Khan Academy videos for mathematics and science, a large set of e-books, including classic literature, drawn from the Guttenberg collection and large numbers of videos, including Zefirelli’s “Romeo and Juliet”.

Click here to see the full plans.

The total cost of the Multimedia Block and Large-Group Teaching Project at Isaac Newton School will be £42,268. We are applying to other charities for £25,000 of matching funding, but this will leave £17,268 to be raised from this appeal.

If you would be willing to help we would be most grateful to receive donations:

By bank transfer to: Uganda Humanist Schools Truspt, Lloyds Bank, Sort Code 30-95-91, Account 00455909 (please email to let us know so we can track the payment and send you a confirmation of receipt).

By internet transfer via PayPal using the link:

Or by cheque sent to: UHST, 31 Greenmeadows Road, Madeley, Crewe, CW3 9EY. If you are a UK taxpayer and would like us to clain Gift Aid, which boosts your donation by 25%, then please make sure you include your postal address and say that you are happy for us to claim Gift Aid.

If the appeal is successful it will enable a huge leap forward in the standard of education at Isaac Newton High School.

Category: News

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