If you have a question that isn't dealt with below, please ask us and we'll assist in whatever way we can. In the meantime, we hope the following frequently asked questions are of some use to you...
How much experience do you have?
We are qualified teachers and have taught in several primary posts in both England and Wales since the late 1990s - from a rural school with a mixed-age class of 39 to bustling city schools. Teaching mostly upper-primary classes has meant that we have had the opportunity to work alongside secondary schools in developing transition programmes (including e-learning courses). Much of our recent training has been in the areas of thinking skills and assessment for learning. We have been subject leaders in Music, Art and Design Technology, set up school websites and had a rewarding time along the way.
How do you work alongside schools?
Firstly, being teachers ourselves, we recognise that teaching is busy enough as it is, without having to deal with a freelancer. So we aim to make our working partnership as fuss-free as possible. When working with a client, we believe clear communication is essential and will provide you with weekly updates as to the progress of your project. (You may be interested in working through Elance, which enables you to set up a project with us, keep track of progress, pay for it securely and all with minimal effort on your part.)
Also, we think it is important for your school to input as much as you can into the project. This way, you can be sure that what you end up with is what you orginally asked for! When designing websites for schools, it can often be interesting to involve pupils in taking responsibility for an area of the site or in contributing design ideas.
Finally, we are always available to offer assistance and advice, even when the project is over. Previous clients have come to appreciate this aspect of our work.
Are you interested in taking on non-education projects?
Of course. Although our experience lies within the education sector, Sparky Teaching has completed freelance work for many non-educational businesses. If you can take the time to fill in and e-mail our Project Enquiry document, it will give us a better platform from which to respond to your proposal.
Are Sparky Teaching resources copiable for use in class?
Do you want to know how I've used your resources?
YES! We always are interested in finding out what happens to our resources once they leave the mother ship... If you have the time, please let us know how you've got on with them and how we could improve things.
How much do you charge?
That depends on what you need doing. Although we don't charge an hourly rate, our quote will take into account the time that will be devoted to your project. We work flexibly, however, and if you give us an indication of your budget when filling in the Project Enquiry, we will let you know what we can deliver and in what timescale.
What is involved in setting up a school website?
Sparky Teaching will design your entire website. By this we mean we'll take all the information you provide us about your school - all the photos, content, your ideas for how you want it to look - then create all the design elements (logos, menus, backgrounds etc), complete all the coding, test and upload the finished site. We are also willing to organise a website host for you, but we have found that schools often get the best deal by asking for advice from their LEA (who usually have free webspace available for schools to use). Your role in the design process is to come to us with any comments or queries you may have and to fill the site with brilliant content!
What do you mean by 'thinking skills'?
Although the ability to think comes naturally, it is clear that pupils can be taught to think more effectively. But expecting pupils to inherently "think better" is like telling them to suddenly "draw better"... Pretty impossible unless someone teaches them the necessary skills - a toolbox that they can then use whenever called upon to think. In an increasingly technology-driven world, it is becoming more important for today's generation to be able to learn and apply new skills. Thinking skills are patterns of thinking that help learners understand and allow them to explore and make sense of their changing world.