Lydiard Park Academy, which converted from ‘Greendown Community School’ in September 2012, continues to fulfil its mission of ‘Potential into Performance’ with the announcement that it has gained ‘eLearning Centre of Excellence’ status from Europe’s largest provider of digital learning platforms, itslearning.
The Swindon based school, which scores consistently ‘good’ Ofsted ratings across the whole of its curriculum, is notable for its record on innovation, including the Gifted and Talented Academy, its Autistic Spectrum Centre and its ambassadorship for the TEEP teacher development programme.
As a member of the ‘Schools, Students and Teachers Network’, it also has a culture of embracing digital technologies. The Lydiard Park website features a complete menu section devoted to the system, including the parental guide, which enables monitoring of pupil’s progress, attendance, achievement and behaviour, along with access to both the Android and IOS apps.
itslearning’s cloud-based learning platforms for teachers and students have global reach and Lydiard Park Academy is among the UK’s first designated Centres of Excellence, which will not only make the benefits available to its pupils but also act as ambassadors and mentors for other schools who want to understand its features, content and applications.
Dermot McLaughlin, Faculty Leader and IT Strategic Manager at Lydiard Park Academy is convinced that the itslearning platform is a major addition to the quality and effectiveness of the school’s offer.
“I first came across the platform at a BETT conference and was struck by its ease of use, compared to other systems, despite the fact that the platform has got a huge feature set and is beautiful to look at.
We use it from Year 7 right through to Year 13 and it’s particularly helpful to students about to take exams when they go off on study leave. All our teachers use it too and we are the top performing school in our area by quite some distance, partly because of the added value that the itslearning system brings.
Every member of staff, both teaching and non-teaching, has completed an obligatory itslearning accreditation, and I believe that learners have become more engaged and more able through using it. Usage of the system will only grow in coming years as teachers and students enjoy and make greater use of the opportunities for blended and flipped learning”.
itslearning is most commonly used at Lydiard Park Academy to share teaching & learning resources allowing teaching teams to collaborate and share resources more effectively than had previously been done. Learners directly benefit by having access to these resources on any device, at any time. They can use the itslearning platform to communicate with peers through messages, post messages in forums and messages teachers directly where support is needed. Mobile phones are often used to enhance learning opportunities and students are encouraged to install the itslearning app and receive ‘push’ notifications, messages and reminders of homeworks that are due.
All parents of students who attend Lydiard Park Academy have been given parental access to itslearning which allows them to see overviews of their child’s courses, keep track of deadlines and track lesson attendance, punctuality and achievement and behaviour points.
An increasing number of subject areas conduct assessment and feedback through the platform. Doing so allows students, parents and teachers to track learner progression, ensuring high expectations of progress are met.
Lydiard Park Academy has embraced the opportunities provided by itslearning and has been supported to do so through on-site itslearning training, an assistant principal dedicated to eLearning, UPS3 itslearning leaders and extensive, structured staff training and support throughout the year.
All teachers have access to an extensive bank of purpose made video tutorials which can be used to recap key skills and functionality at their convenience.
- Teachers are now reusing the wealth of resources placed on the platform
- Universal access to peer group material enables other teaching groups to adapt it
- Significant increases in imaginative, engaging teaching and learning have been possible at the expense of routine paperwork
- Print cost savings have been achieved amounting to £800 per month on average
- Increased collaboration among teaching groups saves on planning and preparation time.
itslearnings collaboration with Lydiard Park Academy has helped drive up learner success rates, propelling it into the top 20% of Secondary schools in the UK.