Wheatley Park School is a thriving 11 - 18 academy within the River Learning Trust, set in beautiful parkland five miles east of Oxford. Our vision is simply to provide a sustainably outstanding education in the widest sense for every student. We aim to do this in accordance with our school values of Everyone Learning and Everyone Caring.
We want every student at Wheatley Park to receive the best teaching, supported by the best technology. We believe that technology has the power to greatly enhance learning. All of our students own or loan a Chromebook and we are proud to have led innovation in the use of educational applications for several years. At the same time, we recognise that technology can only ever supplement skilled and inspirational teaching. So we prioritise the professional development of our staff, who are all on their own learning journey to becoming the best teachers they can possibly be.
As a Google Reference school we have promoted and developed the use of Google Workspace across the entire River Learning Trust, supporting over 20 schools.
Our Journey With Educational Technology
Wheatley Park moved to Google Workspace (then Google Apps) a decade ago, driven by the need for a robust, cost effective and collaborative platform to support learning. During that time, Chromebooks became the tool to support access, being easy to manage, affordable and accessible for end users. In the past four years, Wheatley Park has been fully 1:1 with Chromebooks for both staff and students. This transition has made technology a seamless experience in school and provided massive benefits during the pandemic.
The journey to where we are now has not always been smooth, and the experience from both the technical and pedagogical standpoints is something we are happy to share. Building in-house expertise, staff training and a robust infrastructure have been key elements of our success.
1:1 Chromebooks - feedback from parents and students is very positive. The Chromebook scheme is very much part of Wheatley Park now and it's hard to imagine teaching without the immediate and seamless access to technology. We believe the above average progress we achieved at both GCSE and A-Level in 2019 is partly attributable to the long-term impact of this programme.
Provision during the pandemic - every student had a Chromebook, every class a Google Classroom and as such we could carry on teaching a normal day. It's difficult to imagine how we could have coped otherwise.
The deployment of Google Workspace across the entire Trust. We started as 1 school and now we have more than 20 with >18000 users and 4000 Chromebooks. This has been massively beneficial in promoting collaboration across the Trust and in promoting a sense of one organisation rather than separate schools.
Technology must work and work all of the time, otherwise people lose confidence very rapidly.
Edtech needs to be driven by the needs of learners. It's too easy to get wrapped up in projects that have little or no impact.
Building your own systems is both rewarding and saves paying for expensive third parties - don’t be afraid to get technical. Things you make yourself are often the best.