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Engineering giant backs school’s technology learning

The Ampthill-based company donated more than £1,500 to Cranfield Church of England Academy to buy walkie talkie phones, light up writing boards and other equipment to help the pre-school and reception children to develop their skills.

Head teacher Joseph Piatczanyn said: “Nearly 40% of our pre-school children and just over 20% of our reception children are below their age expected level in technological skills.

“Our teachers and key workers manage expertly to overcome obstacles of tight budgets and limited resources to prepare the children to enter the National Curriculum but it’s difficult without investment.

“We are absolutely delighted that we’ve been able to purchase this new equipment for the children with the donation from Lockheed Martin UK. The children are learning through play and enjoying different experiences, and we’re already seeing a massive improvement.”

There is real progress in the children’s wider learning, in speaking and listening, he added.

“The light up boards are definitely encouraging the boys to write more. We can see that the equipment is making a real difference already.”

The items were purchased after Lockheed Martin UK chief engineer Keith Edmond approached the company’s charity committee.

Keith said: “My wife works at the school and she was telling me about the lower than expected results in the children’s technological skills. As we’re a technology company it was a natural fit. I’m really pleased that our charity committee donated such a large amount to help the children progress.”

Reception pupil Oscar Hardy, 5, particularly enjoys his new writing board. He said: “I like to write and draw pictures and people like seeing what I’ve done.”

Lockheed Martin UK’s Ampthill site is a major Bedfordshire employer, with around 900 people working in highly-skilled technology and engineering jobs. The company’s charity committee supports the local community, with more than £12,000 donated last year. 

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