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Part of the Landau Forte Charitable Trust, Landau Forte Academy Amington opened in September 2010, but is owned and operated as an independent educational organisation providing free full-time education for children aged 11 to 19 years. The academy, which currently has around 800 students, was established to bring together the worlds of business, industry and education in a uniquely productive partnership to secure the highest quality education for young people.

Background

At Landau Forte Academy, students are able to achieve their best, equipping themselves with the qualifications, skills, qualities, confidence and attitudes necessary for successful adult life. A ‘can do’ attitude and independent learning are encouraged. Vice Principle at the academy, Carrianne Robson, explains that when they read about SAM Learning in a magazine last year, it was its promise of supporting independent learning that first appealed to them.

‘We use it across the whole Academy and the feedback has been really positive. ‘Ease of use’ is regularly listed as a key benefit by our teachers; they can easily set classroom tasks or homework through SAM and really like how it self-marks too’, she explains.

Another feature which Carrianne and her team like is the ability for teachers to create their own particular groups. ‘You can create a group of your choice and monitor the students in it to see how they’re getting on. For example, one of our teachers is in charge of our most able students, and so she created a ‘Most Able’ group on SAM to ensure she knows how they are progressing, at the click of a button.’

Appealing to students

The students really enjoy the competitive aspect of it, as Carrianne explains, ‘they’ve all made their own little avatar and like to challenge their friends in competitions, and see where they then rank on the league board.

With the ability to now set homework online, as opposed to solely on paper, the Academy has recorded an increase in the amount of it being completed, and to a higher standard. Carrianne explains, ‘all our students have a 40 minute tutor period every day, when they have access to the Academy computers, and we’ve seen a lot of them use that time to do different activities and homework on SAM. Of course they can use it as much as they like outside of school too, but some of our students don’t have internet access at home, so they make great use of it during tutor time. It’s promising to see students independently going on there to complete work, it seems to be encouraging them to become independent learners.’

Plans for the future

SAM Learning also enables teachers to create and upload their own resources. While Landau Forte Academy hasn’t really had a chance to do this as of yet, it is very much on their radar, as Carrianne explains, ‘our next stage, as an academy, is to move towards our teachers creating and tailoring their own resources, and that’s an area we currently working on developing with the team at SAM.’

The academy wants to ensure that its students’ use of SAM outside of classroom sessions continues to grow, and so are focusing on that. They are optimistic that it will improve exam results too, however, they will only be able to verify that once they’ve been using it for a while longer. Nevertheless, the academy is certainly impressed with what they’ve seen so far as Carrianne enthusiastically concludes, ‘we’re only half way through our very first subscription to SAM Learning and we’re already planning to extend it!’