Redden Court School

Redden Court is a successful, well-ordered and caring mixed comprehensive school for students aged eleven to sixteen. We currently have 930 students on roll and as a heavily oversubscribed school we are constantly expanding to meet the needs of our community by adding new state of the art facilities to increase our intake. We are proud to be the lead school and founding member of the Success for All Educational Trust (SFAET).

At Redden Court we take the time to build the relationships between the family and school since we believe that partnership with parents/carers is vital to every child’s future success. We have a talented, well qualified and committed team who support our families to achieve. We have a progressive approach to developing and delivering a curriculum which meets the needs of our students; providing extra challenge for our learners and offering support where it is required.

Our aim is to provide students with an excellent education filled with engaging experiences that develop life skills and provide endless opportunities to pursue a bright, prosperous and happy future. At Redden Court we are 'Committed to Success for All' and recognise our role in unlocking the potential of our students. We pride ourselves on being an inclusive school which is fit for the 21st Century.

Redden Court open evening video

Our Journey With Educational Technology

Redden Court School has been recognised as a specialist of computing technology for over a decade, and has always invested in modern technology to enhance the curriculum, such as media suites to promote creativity through video, sound and photo editing software and hardware. However, as a forward thinking school, we could see that education needed to change and become more accessible beyond the school walls, anytime, any place. This is why in 2012 we completely revamped our technology vision and began our journey into becoming a virtual and wireless EdTech school. Our sole purpose was to “enhance teaching, learning and progress for all students both inside school and beyond the classroom within the constraints of school budgets.”

After experimenting with a range of hardware and device schemes, including laptops, tablets and even encouraging students to use their mobile devices as a learning tool, we encountered more issues than solutions which were not helped by our aging wireless infrastructure. We then discovered Google’s G-Suite Apps for Education and were blown away by its capabilities, potential and cost (free!) which allowed us to invest into a more robust whole school Wi-Fi system. From then on we shifted our focus to training our staff on using these tools on hardware they were already comfortable with before launching with students and introducing Chromebooks via bookable trolleys. Staff and students responded positively and even additional trolleys of Chromebooks could not meet the demand with over 1,500 hours of learning a year involving these resources. In 2015 we launched a 1:1 Chromebook scheme and we now have 85% of students in the school owning their own device. More information can be found here:

www.reddencourtcloud.co.uk/information-for-parents/chromebooks

In 2017, Google asked us to become one of the selected international Google Reference Schools and we have presented our stories of impact at various events including BETT. We have a track record of supporting other schools with starting their EdTech journey, including the other secondary schools in our trust and also our feeder primary schools. We have delivered training for their staff, provided technical support and welcomed them to our school to see our own successes in action. We have also gained international recognition which has resulted in over 200 educators from countries such as Denmark, Czech Republic, Iceland, Norway and Sweden visiting us regularly to learn from our experience as an EdTech school.

Over the years we have managed to save over £30k by reducing our number of external systems and bringing many of them in-house by developing our own bespoke alternatives, branded as ‘Success Trackers’, for logging and monitoring Learning Walks, Progress, Rewards, Sanctions, and Wellbeing, using a combination of Google Forms, Sheets and Sites in particular. G-Suite apps are used in all areas of the school to enable live files to be worked on collaboratively across the trust, such as school development plans, middle leader reports and student tracking documents. Google Classroom has been embedded throughout the school to provide students with an effective Virtual Learning Environment, which has particularly supported our distance learning needs by allowing teacher videos, live lessons and communication to be shared with our students. In recent years we have been developing a blended learning approach across the school and this experience helped us during lockdown.

The EdTech journey never ends, it just constantly evolves and we are forever learning from our experiences to improve our practice without deterring from our clear vision identified at the start of this journey. Lockdown was a perfect example of this continuous life cycle of analysing, designing, implementing, testing and reviewing our practice. We have already made significant changes to our approach of distance and blended learning which can be found on our website here:

www.reddencourtcloud.co.uk/information-for-parents/distance-learning


Lessons Learned

When helping other schools we often recommend and support them with the following guidance based on the lessons that we have learned:

  • Vision - decide what you want to achieve and consider how EdTech can support this vision. You should never let hardware or technology in general depict your vision otherwise you run the risk of just bringing it in for the sake of it.

  • Invest in Staff - train your staff with the use of the technology system first before any launch of specific hardware. If you do not have any experts in school, use external expertise in the first instance but look to develop an internal team of ‘Digital Champions’ who are enthusiastic about EdTech. Other staff are more likely to buy into the vision if they see it in practice from colleagues rather than just a Senior Leader or Project Manager.

  • Invest in Hardware - ensure that you have a strong wireless infrastructure in place before launching a wireless scheme as bad experiences in the classroom will result in staff and students losing faith in the benefits of EdTech. Where possible, allow staff to take the device home so that they will be more inclined to explore and experiment with its features.

  • Student Engagement - this is often the easiest win of the project but to increase it further, explore your options of bookable resources or 1:1 schemes to decide what is best for your school. Launch with 1 year group first perhaps, usually one of the youngest as they will have more years at the school to allow for further embedding of EdTech.

  • Student Leaders - run a club for ‘Digital Champions’ of students who are keen to explore the features that EdTech can bring to the classroom as ultimately, they will be your main target audience. They will often find something you had not thought about.

  • Parental Engagement - often the hardest to win over because of the finances they may have to commit to buying one or more devices for their child/children at the school but also because of their lack of experience with technology sometimes. Support them with clear and regular communication, invite them in (physically or virtually) to attend a launch event and further training on how your school can use the devices to support the vision.

  • IT Support/Network Team - some schools may find this is a battle as the support for new hardware and systems will lead to increased workloads of what is often an extremely busy and vital role for the whole school already. Ensure they are trained up and are able to replace some old tasks with new tasks where possible. Meet with them regularly and define clear roles on who will be supporting students, staff and parents/carers.


Resources

RCS Systems - Google_G-Suite for Education.pdf

RCS Systems - Google/G-Suite for Education

RCS Stories of Impact.pdf

RCS Stories of Impact

RCS Distance Learning During Lockdown Spring/Summer 2020

RCS Systems - Distance Learning During Lockdown Spring/Summer 2020