Cheam Common Junior Academy is a sponsored academy, having been graded as ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in December 2014. Maximising the use of technology was an integral part of the academy’s school improvement programme from the moment it joined LEO Academy Trust in January 2016. This was an essential aspect of professional development for all staff, as well as used extensively to support pupils and re-engage parents at a difficult time for the school. Two years later, the school was graded as ‘Good, with Outstanding for Leadership & Management,’ by Ofsted in 2018. In 2018 and 2019, KS2 attainment progress scores were amongst the top 3% of all schools nationally. The school was ranked 54th in the country in the Sunday Times Parent Power 2020 in November 2019.
Our Journey With Educational Technology
Cheam Common Junior Academy is a four form entry Junior school in the LEO Academy Trust. The Trust has an ambitious Digital Strategy and Cheam Common Juniors has driven the use of technology not only in that school but also across the Trust. Approximately four years ago the Trust began it’s Digital Transformation journey and this has gone from strength to strength. The school will be 1:1 with Chromebooks across the school by September 2020.
Through our Digital Transformation, we have seen Pupil Engagement massively increase. Children that perhaps would have been reluctant to contribute in class discussions, have developed a voice and are more likely to have a go.
Reduced Workload - By adopting a digital strategy, tasks that were once extremely time consuming became more manageable and in some cases, fully automated. Staff are able to collaborate on documents anytime from anywhere and using a cloud based drive to store resources made them much more freely available to share across other schools.
Having launched an innovative 1:1 Chromebook Programme, our parents understandably had a number of concerns and reservations about the programme. Through a carefully thought through and executed roll out, including opportunities to see Chromebooks used in school, we were able to support parents in seeing the positive impacts devices were having on children’s learning.
Initially, we thought that the key to helping staff develop their digital skills and to become more confident was through training courses. As our digital use developed, we soon realised that there was a need for courses but more importantly, there was a need for bespoke support and coaching based on each teacher’s individual needs as there was a wide range of skill levels.
Through our digital successes, we have identified three aspects:
Every teacher is unique and whilst it is important to consider training needs, we have found that often bespoke support works best.
Digital Transformation requires a whole school buy in, including teaching staff, support staff, administrative staff and premises staff.
With technology, practice can always be tweaked and changed. Despite this, don’t lose sight of the starting place and all of the amazing progress that has been achieved.