Moreton Community School, located one mile north east of Wolverhampton, is a mixed comprehensive that caters for over 700 students. The school is immensely proud of its examination and curriculum success, as well as its extensive extra-curricular programme which regularly has over 75 activities taking place each week outside of lesson time. There is a very strong family ethos at the school with support and guidance systems in place to ensure that each and every pupil gets the attention and care they need.
As the school is located in quite a deprived area, when it came to homework, staff at Moreton Community School were finding that students often weren’t receiving a lot of support beyond the classroom. Stuart Cadman, assistant head explains, ‘We’ve always had an issue with homework. SAM Learning was introduced by another member of staff who’d used it at another school and saw the difference it could make particularly with regards to homework, so we were keen to find out more. We’ve been using it for three years now, mostly with Key Stages 3 and 4, and we’re really impressed with what it has achieved so far.’
The fact that SAM Learning is easy to use, and that it’s an online resource make it really appealing to Moreton’s tech-savvy students. The online element means they can access it from anywhere, both during lessons and in their free time. Stuart explains, ‘We often give students time to complete some homework tasks during class time, however, if you look at the data for last month alone for example, we can see that 22 per cent was done outside of school hours. While that might not seem incredibly significant, in my view its 22 per cent more than we ever had when we were setting paper homework tasks.’
‘In fact, I set a paper task last week, and I probably had about 50 per cent of students complete and return it within the set timeframe. But I set a task today via SAM Learning and so far, 84 per cent of my students have already completed it.’ Also, because SAM Learning is mobile and tablet compatible, teachers can quickly and easily check who hasn’t completed any tasks they’ve set. Stuart jokes, ‘I check my phone as they’re coming into the class and if anything is outstanding, I tell them they have 24 hours to do it, before I start to chase them! That seems to work well!
The resource is also supporting teaching at the school. Initially, take-up by teachers was a bit slow, but as soon as they began to see results usage increased. ‘New staff are introduced to it straight away, to show them how it works, and to give them some examples and starting points. In fact, we’ve got a CPD session tonight run by one of the DT staff who has taken to it very well. He has even shown staff how to incorporate videos so the kids can watch short tutorials before lessons to ensure they’re up-to-date and can answer questions based on it; he is very much designing his own tasks.’
‘Other teachers are also using it to create their own activities too. One of our history teachers did, and I know design & technology do and find it really productive’ Stuart adds.
Also, because homework and revision tasks are completed online, it means the old ‘dog ate my homework’ excuse is no longer acceptable. ‘Students can’t lose work, or forget it; we’ve got them into a routine of logging in regularly and the password is one they all know, so excuses for not completing work are becoming few and far between’
‘We’ve also shown some of our parents how to use it which has been really great because if their child says they have no homework, for example, they can easily login themselves and see if that is actually the case. Stuart adds.
He concludes, ‘I would certainly recommend SAM Learning to other schools. In short, it reduces staff workload, and is an effective source of homework and revision that is easy to manage. That’s a win in my book!’