Oval Learning projects

We believe that all children deserve access to the widest possible opportunities and to a broad and balanced curriculum. The following projects help us to achieve this, sustainably, holistically while responding to the needs of our schools and their families. We’re always keen to explore new opportunities and support for our schools to enhance and enrich the lives of our pupils, so get in touch if you or your organisation can get involved with our work.

Pink line

Oval Learning project build on the existing relationships schools have with their communities, and enhances their ability to provide enrichment, additional therapeutic support, wrap around care, positive role models and activities that provide broad support for all.

Thank you to support from the City Bridge Trust with this project.

Bridging Divides

This two year project aims to develop an improved understanding across voluntary sector groups (VCS) of the local landscape and increased awareness of the challenges faced by families and schools in supporting young people towards voluntary sector provision i.e. supporting them to respond to these challenges in the way they design their services and offer.

Serving local communities better

The outcome of this will be that VCS organisations are more effective, resilient and responsive to the needs of their local communities and able to serve them better.

The project aims to do this by building organisational sustainability through our accelerator and problem-solving surgeries, and by supporting their connection through marketplace events.

Meaningful partnerships

These in-person networking opportunities will help providers, organisations and the Lambeth community form meaningful partnerships/learn from one another and connect.

5-step Accelerator programme

Across the two-year project life-span we will be running several marketplace events, a range of sharing, learning, introduction, problem-solving workshops and drop in surgeries working through our 5-step Accelerator programme. These will all help to build VCS capacity and sustainability and inform the wider community of the range of providers and services available.

See the Free Learning Events associated with this project.

Thank you to support from Impact on Urban Health with this project.

Creative therapies in primary schools as early interventions for mental health support

Following a successful use of creative therapies to support children’s mental health and wellbeing through COVID-19, this project (funded through Impact on Urban Health) involved a partnership with Oval Learning, Windmill and Brixton Learning Collaborative clusters.

Whole school approach to mental health

The aim of this funding was to contribute to improving and influencing whole school approaches to mentally healthy environments across Lambeth schools and in support of children from low-income families in particular.

Creative therapeutic support from within the community

Against an alarming rising number of pupils experiencing poor mental health and wellbeing for a range of causal factors, the project enabled Lambeth Primary Schools to select the best interventions to support children at risk of developing mental health challenges by giving them the opportunity to commission external creative therapeutic support from within their community that best suits their needs to fill this capacity gap, whilst strengthening community ties and upskilling school staff.

Project evaluated externally by Leeds Beckett University

Running alongside the project, Leeds Beckett University carried out a formative process evaluation to capture (a) the nuance and tacit knowledge around how to deliver these interventions well and (b) to inform future improvements, sustainable funding and scaling. Download and read the report (PDF).

Thank you to support from Hyde Housing with this project.

Hyde Parent Place

Oval Learning is co-designing and nurturing a support network for families around the Oval area. This community development work encompasses school staff, parents and carers, children and young people in a core group of 15 primary, secondary and special schools in North Lambeth as well as neighbouring settings. 

Sustainable peer support

The resulting Hyde Parent Place project aims to create a self-sustaining peer support mechanism, act as a communication channel, and be a safe neutral route to seek and respond to ongoing feedback and needs analysis for local families. 

In the current cost of living crisis, our networks of parents and school staff have been uniquely placed to hear about and respond to needs of local families. These include concerns around finances, food, health, stressed relationships and anxiety about school work, loneliness or missed opportunities.

Lasting effect of the pandemic

The lasting impact of the pandemic has been significant for many families and there is an identified need for more holistic support for parents and community-based peer engagement. COVID19 has increased inequalities and forced all service providers and advocates to acknowledge that while we have some insights, we do not reach every parent as effectively as we would like. 

We want to boost capacity for families to connect to a range of peer groups, extended services, volunteers, community partners and charities.The people who need most help don’t always know who to ask or how, while many parents are untapped assets in the community with huge amounts of energy and goodwill to help design and support projects to improve life chances for their children and neighbours. 

Activities include:

  • Signposting families to existing services, activities and resources. 
  • Mobilising and supporting parent volunteers to take an active role in day to day school life
  • Co-designing, developing and delivering a range of activities that are relevant to our families and enable an invaluable support network for families

Thank you to support from Hyde Housing with this project.

Hyde Grow Back Greener

The main project aims are:

  • To develop an understanding of how nature and outdoor spaces can support wellbeing in urban schools
  • To build supportive cohort and collaborative network
  • To share useful resources and research to inform practice
  • To share links to further funding and advice
  • To amplify the voice of schools
  • To introduce other providers and partners to local schools
  • To understand local need and build capacity
  • To enhance understanding of climate change and sustainability of local partners, community and residents leading to longer term improvements for the area

Oval Learning has recently written a document called Going Green in Lambeth which is a useful resource for local schools and voluntary sector organisations. It includes tips, local case studies and links to further resources and ideas around sustainability. 

Outdoor learning

Two events have taken place (open to all schools across Lambeth) at which the resource was launched.  Outcomes were also shared via Brixton Learning Collaborative, Windmill cluster and more widely. Both events were used to support schools and their communities with their outdoor learning / gardening & greening activities

We hope that the project will lead to: 

  • Better awareness of the importance of outdoor spaces / learning and the impact of well being
  • Better awareness of resources / support and guidance available
  • Pupils involved in outdoor learning activities
  • Schools developing their outdoor learning provision and using outdoor spaces for this
  • Parents engaged in school activities
  • Better understanding of issues around sustainability in the local community

Thank you to support from the Royal Institution (Ri) with this project.

King’s Maths School and The Royal Institution Primary Mathematics and Physics Masterclasses

Oval Learning is delighted to be involved in the King’s Maths School Primary Mathematics and Physics Masterclasses in association with the Royal Institution (Ri).

The beauty and wonder of mathematics and physics

These Masterclasses aim to inspire young people in the beauty and wonder of mathematics and physics and to develop a sense of enjoyment in the subject.  

The Ri has a nationwide Masterclass network, working with volunteers across the UK to help enrich the education of young people in the subjects of mathematics, computer science and engineering.

Investigating mathematical ideas outside the curriculum

For primary school students, the Masterclasses focus on mathematics. These series of workshops, led by enthusiastic speakers, offer students an opportunity to investigate mathematical ideas outside the curriculum and explore the wider aspects of the subject.

Thank you to support from Impact on Urban Health, Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation and the Walcot Foundation with this project.

Healthy Schools Fund 

The Healthy Schools Fund is a £2 million fund that aims to address negative impacts of Covid-19 on the health and wellbeing of primary and secondary school age children in Lambeth and Southwark. The funding is distributed to 77 schools across both boroughs. Schools were selected by identifying those likely to have a student population who have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

Addressing health inequity in urban areas

The Healthy Schools Fund is funded by Impact on Urban Health (part of Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation), a charitable foundation that seeks to address health inequity in urban areas. The fund has been developed in partnership with London South Teaching School Hub, Oval Learning and Walcot Foundation. 

We created a ‘funding menu’ to introduce our priority areas and suggested ways the money could be spent, based on what the evidence base has shown is impactful. The funds are used on existing (non-statutory) initiatives running in schools or for developing new projects, and which contribute to Impact on Urban Health’s priority areas. 

We also encouraged schools to consider investing the grant in projects which: 

  • Work with families, other schools, or community-based organisations, to make a lasting difference to children’s lives beyond the school gates 
  • Have a protective or preventative focus 
  • Were likely to have a beneficial impact on students from low-income/disadvantaged backgrounds

The Healthy Schools Fund Learning Events programme complimented the fund by developing a peer learning network, providing additional support, training and the opportunity to share good practice.

Thank you to support from Impact on Urban Health with this project.

Parental Engagement

The project is funded by Impact on Urban Health and is a partnership between The Social Innovation Partnership (TSIP), Your Story and Oval Learning.

Supporting collaborative working

The project will support collaborative working across schools and partner organisations to share ideas, resources and expertise to fully support and facilitate the highest outcomes in attainment and aspirations for our pupils, parents, families, staff and local communities.

Giving parents a voice

The project focuses on schools that engage with parents, the wider community, and local organisations and will facilitate Parent Listening activities; giving parents a voice and a say on school matters and involvement in decision-making on issues that affect them.  This will enable schools to meet the needs of the communities they serve more effectively and respond to this within school policy. 

Thank you to support from Greenhouse Sports and Impact on Urban Health with this project.

Positive Transitions Sports and Movement

High quality sports and movement coaching and mentoring to enhance fitness, skills, mental health and behaviour and build opportunities for a deprived and diverse community 

Children and parents tell us they want more chances to play and enjoy sports in and out of school. A lack of access to sports and PE harms children’s development and can contribute to mental health and behavioural issues. The needs have been exacerbated by the inequality of experiences during the crises of Covid and rising cost of living. 

Oval Learning is therefore excited to be part of this four-year partnership with Greenhouse Sports which involves one secondary school and four primaries.  Impact on Urban Health, Greenhouse and partners are generously funding the majority of the costs which totals more than £1m over five years).

Sports coaching in schools

Working with 300 10-14 year olds annually, the project will expand and enhance Greenhouse Sports’ established model of embedding sports coaches in schools. The coaches will provide universal sports coaching, as well as targeted mentoring and in-school pastoral support for children at risk. The coaches will engage children before, during and after school as well as during the holidays – all at no cost to families. This is also an opportunity to develop and test a potentially replicable model to fill the current mental health support capacity gap in schools.

Smoothing the transition between primary and secondary school

The project aims to support children most at risk of developing or worsening behavioural difficulties as they transition from primary to secondary school. This is a point in a child’s life which is known to trigger a decrease in mental health, particularly for children and young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds or who are experiencing behavioural difficulties. It will deliver a pioneering study into a public health concern that particularly affects young people from among the poorest in our society.

The project is being led by Greenhouse Sports, with a Project Steering Group of partners including Oval Learning, ImpactEd, Place2Be and Impact on Urban Health. All will share their learning and adapt provision as required to maximise impact.

Project evaluated externally by University College London

An external evaluation by UCL will assess the effectiveness of the intervention and its impact on students’ behavioural difficulties in the context of school transitions.

Thank you to support from Lambeth Changing Lives Fund with this project.

Pupil Wellbeing Ambassadors

The  Pupil Wellbeing Ambassador project (PWA) funded by the Lambeth Changing Lives fund, is a comprehensive peer support initiative designed to address the mental health and well-being of young people across Oval Learning, Windmill Cluster and Brixton Learning Collaborative clusters, with primary schools participating from each.

Training sessions

The project will include a series of training sessions for selected students, equipping them with essential skills such as active listening, empathy, communication, and leadership. These training sessions will ensure a consistent and ongoing development of the Pupil Wellbeing Ambassadors.

Once trained, the Ambassadors will engage in various activities to support their peers’ mental health and well-being. This will include organising and leading peer support sessions, where students can openly discuss their thoughts and feelings. The Ambassadors will also develop and implement initiatives to promote good mental health across the school community, such as awareness campaigns, mental health workshops, and creative expression activities, as well as connecting in with local community activity and routes to influence.


The PWA programme will be delivered via a programme of workshops with pupils, learning events for them to share their experiences, online support for the school leads, and a final pan-Lambeth conference.

Thank you to support from The Ogden Trust and the Royal Society of Chemistry with this project.

Oval Learning, Ogden & Royal Chemistry Society Science Network 

This project helps to overcome the challenges that small, disadvantaged schools face by understanding and showcasing the best that science can offer our students. 

With a dedicated network lead, the Science Network:

  • Enables excellent science inspiration for our children
  • Makes new links with those in the science field  and supporters and others to make a meaningful difference to the lives of our children. 
  • Delivers a series of exciting and fun science activities to inspire pupils and the wider community (workshops / visits from guest speakers / free Continuing Professional Development (CPD) / assemblies
  • Provides regular opportunities for reflection, learning, support and challenge throughout the process as we are working to increase engagement of teachers and schools in order to reach children and parents

Thank you to support from Hyde Housing with this project.

Stockwell Strong Fund

This project involves community-based organisations working in partnership to reflect and respond directly to the needs of the local community and in relation to the cost of living crisis. Partners include Hyde, Centric, Oval Learning and Stockwell Partnership.

Innovative ideas

The fund provides local organisations in Stockwell with the opportunity to propose innovative ideas to support the community during these difficult times.

Download and read the Impact Evaluation Report for the Stockwell Strong Fund (PDF).

The project aims are:

  • Facilitate collective community support for young people, their families, vulnerable / disadvantaged households and those with multiple long term conditions (MTLCs)

  • Work and broker relationships between the local community and other relevant service providers, organisations

  • Help develop signposting, pathways of support, activities and opportunities for identified groups making use of local primary care health data to ensure targeted support

  • Increase awareness of project activities using information sharing tools that are appropriate and easily accessible for the community

  • Work with community groups / schools / all stakeholders to co-create, develop, deliver and evaluate the project

  • Reduce inequality of access to opportunity, NHS, other services, Mental Health Wellbeing support and higher-level employment