George Green’s School has a long and successful history of providing an excellent education for young people on the Isle of Dogs. The school’s motto is, ‘Aspiration, Equality, Excellence’, which is reflected in the highest standard of teaching, whereby teachers encourage pupils to become high achieving, independent learners who will be supported to reach their full potential.
Back in 2009, George Green’s was given the ‘notice to improve’ status from Ofsted, and so as part of its development strategy, a number of resources were bought for the borough, including SAM Learning.
At the school, eLearning is regarded as a complementary resource which runs alongside classroom learning, helping to enhance and expand opportunities. Jennifer Surujpaul, head of computing faculty and eLearning, explains how the students and staff have got on board and understand the value of SAM Learning.
“We have found it effective because of its ease of use, and how it can be tailored to each class through SIMs. I’ve worked alongside various different departments using it and regularly send out bulletins on how to make the most of it. Most of our teachers love it because it’s quick, easy and efficient to use both in and out of the classroom” explains Jennifer.
One of the features that she particularly likes is the ability to customise and create activities and tasks for the students. “A lot of our teachers have made their own activities and shared with others. We’ve even used it as the KS3 end of term set test and have had some really positive results” she adds.
Improving student attainment
Since using SAM Learning, Jennifer believes that it has helped to significantly improve students’ learning, and allows teachers to evaluate the overall effectiveness using the reporting feature. Tailoring the resource for each class also ensures that every student is able to benefit from the tasks set, which she has found really aids them in their homework and revision.
Being able to track students’ attainment is also something which is used on a regular basis, helping the teachers keep an eye on when homework is completed and their progress. Jennifer explains, “The reporting aspect is absolutely brilliant, and the fact that it’s ranked and live, so you can monitor as and when work is being completed and what results they are getting”.
And it isn’t just the results which have been positive. There’s also been a higher rate of homework being returned in comparison to paper-based tasks. “Managing homework and revision tasks through an online resource has meant teachers are able to set activities instantly, and students can access it easily from wherever they are. They seem to be a lot more willing to log-in and use it independently, usually in the study hall after school for revision, as well as completing set homework tasks” she adds.
Internal and external feedback
At George Green’s School, it’s important for the staff and parents to be supportive of the resources used to support learning in and outside of the classroom. Jennifer shares, “We’ve had some really positive feedback from parents on the eLearning resources we use within the school. SAM Learning is promoted on the website and I’ve also done presentations about it at parents’ evening, describing how it benefits the students and our parent support officers are always around during our coffee mornings to deliver talks about it too”.
Teachers are also supportive of the resource, as Jennifer describes how staff have come to the understanding of how it benefits them, and not just the students. “There are so many advantages of using online resources like SAM Learning. For example, the automatic marking element dramatically reduces the time it would usually take to manually go through every individual’s homework sheet. The fact that there are so many activities within each subject means you can easily and simply set work, again saving time on coming up with tasks and setting them yourselves. It’s definitely helped our budgets as it cuts the cost of having to print out 20 worksheets each time you want to set homework or provide revision resources. When we did the end of term assessment it saved us time and money in terms of the creation, tailoring it for all the students’ needs and then marking it”.
She concludes, “I definitely think that SAM Learning, along with our other eLearning platforms, has helped to improve exam results and enables students to feel empowered and motivated. The students really like using the avatars, the points system and being able to compete against each other; all of which encourages them to learn independently and improve their attainment. I have already recommended SAM Learning to other schools, and will continue to do so!”
George Green’s School continues to use SAM Learning amongst other eLearning platforms to support students’ attainment. Following its ‘notice to improve’ status back in 2009, the school is now rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted, demonstrating its commitment to both high standard teaching and learning.