Britannia Education Trust was formed in 2017 and includes Britannia Village Primary School, an Outstanding school in Newham, east London, and Royal Wharf Primary School, a newly opened school.
All of our pupils in Years 2 - 6 have their own Chromebook, allowing them instant access to the internet and their individual Google accounts throughout the school day.
Our teachers are well-trained in the use of ICT meaning that we are able to demonstrate excellent classroom practice as well as facilitate learning beyond the school day; this was reflected in the extensive and interactive online learning provided by our teachers during the recent lockdown.
We invested in 1:1 Chromebooks in 2017. Teachers were trained in the use of Google tools with many staff obtaining official Google Level 1 and 2 Educator Certifications. Staff became confident at using these tools in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning, and to reduce their workload. As a result, in 2018 we were recognised as a Google Reference School allowing teachers and school leaders to visit us and see how we use Chromebooks and Google throughout the school day - warts and all! Since then we have welcomed hundreds of visitors from across the world, all coming to see how we utilise technology. In 2019, we were recognised as one of the EdTech50 schools. Now one of our strategic goals is to share our experience of using technology to enhance teaching and learning with other schools.
Home Learning was a big success for us. Despite the short notice, thanks to the confidence of the staff and a clear, manageable strategy, we were able to offer:
teacher-created videos for each year group every day following the same curriculum that they would have used in school,
a simple method for recording numbers of students who were engaging with the home learning,
a strategy for teachers to provide daily feedback to students - either written or video,
a live, 'virtual' assembly once per week.
This was all organised into a simple to manage web page that was updated daily, and we engaged over 80% of the students every day during lock down. Parents had positive things to say such as: “You are all doing such a great job. I honestly cannot fault the remote learning website. It has taken so much pressure off of me knowing that I can refer to the teaching videos. It also gives me the reassurance that all the children are following this so we will not be behind. My child loves watching the videos and enjoys seeing all the teachers and we both enjoy logging on together and seeing what fun things we are going to learn each day.”
We don’t do everything perfectly; we sometimes get things wrong. We recently conducted a 'Virtual Parents' Evening' and two of the teachers somehow ended up on the same video call. But over the last few years, technology has had a transformative effect on our school and we want to share some of our experiences with you.
We have learnt that things need to be kept simple and manageable for both the teachers and students. We have found that the Google tools provide this simplicity along with very powerful usage features. We have also found that it is important to invest time training the staff in the skills they will need and then working with them to develop a strategy that will work in their own context.