From classroom improvements to improved analytics, EduKey’s software has transformed Selly Park School’s approach to behaviour, performance and feedback, as Deputy Head and Designated Safeguarding Lead John Gibson explains.
When John Gibson became deputy head and designated safeguarding lead of Selly Park School, he was keen to introduce EduKey’s Class Charts, not just as a way to manage class seating arrangements but also as a means to improve sharing and analysis of data on pupil behaviour and performance.
“I introduced it at my previous school with great success so when I came here, I suggested this was where we needed to go,” he says. “It’s easy to adopt: it’s interactive and largely self-explanatory, so it was simple for teachers to understand how to use it.”
“The need here was to formalise the seating plans to enable teachers to easily identify the SEND pupils and pupil premium students and sort the seating plan accordingly. Also, communication with parents was a big thing: they previously received an effort report once a year. Now parents can see positive or negative behaviour as it happens; for example, they can tell if their child was good in Geography at the press of press of a button.”
Selly Park is a non-fee-paying all-girls school with 58% pupil premium students. Some 80% of pupils do not speak English at home. Its progress score of +0.41 puts it in top six of non-fee-paying schools in Birmingham. John credits Class Charts with helping to increase pupil and parent engagement and creating a more positive approach to behaviour within the school.
“Parents-wise it’s a major success,” he says. “We have lots of EAL parents, so it’s helpful that they can use the app in different languages. It’s perfect for keeping in touch with the school and knowing what’s going on. We hold progress days when parents come and sit with the form tutor to chat about the child – and the analytical side, which we can use to create charts to illustrate pupil performance, is a big help for that. The parents love it and the pupils know their parents will be able to tell if they are late or have detention. There is no getting away with it.”
“We find we now have far more interaction with parents, and when heads of year phone up to speak with them, the parents already know what lessons their children are good in and which ones they have issues in.”
The ease with which the applications can be used has led to impressive staff engagement.
“Take-up was unbelievable because it’s made life so much easier for the teachers, and they have found that behaviour has improved because the pupils want to get positive behaviour points sent home to their parents,” says John.
The positive to negative behaviour points ratio currently stands at 83%, exceeding the school’s target of 80%.
“So far every pupil on average have got 40 positive points – our teachers are regularly using the system,” says John.
Points are used to qualify for special trips, while too many negative points restrict pupils’ ability to take part in certain activities.
“Staff-wise it has made things a lot easier and saved a lot of time because they can award positive and negative points during a lesson – you don’t have to do it afterwards. A process that used to be slow and laborious now is just a matter of a couple of clicks. I feel behaviour has improved in the school because we know the classes that are causing more problems. This has saved us time and allowed us to narrow in on areas we want to praise. Homework is logged when you set it and you can add descriptions and power points to help out – it has really improved our progress at the school and reduced teacher workload.”
John’s team were so impressed with Class Charts that they decided to introduce another EduKey product, Safeguard My School. They asked EduKey to customise this to suit Selly Park’s specific needs.
“EduKey made it bespoke to our school. We trialled it to see if we were happy and it was far better than the competitors. We were especially impressed with the reporting side – and because it’s linked with Class Charts, teachers don’t have to log into a second application to see or address safeguarding issues. Staff can see immediately on Class Charts which pupils have safeguarding issues, and if they have a worry about a safeguarding issue, they click a button on Class Charts and record it. This means the reporting of concerns has gone up, which is what I want as Safeguarding Lead, because it means we can intervene earlier – it’s made a big difference.”
Classs Charts also links up with another EduKey product, Provision Map, which makes details such as special educational and medical requirements easy to see.
“If a pupil has an EpiPen, for example, it says so on same Class Charts teaching plan – you can click on it and it brings up all the information you need. What we were after was something that combines everything in one place, and that’s what we found: behaviour, seating plans, safeguarding, medical and EHCPs are all accessible for every single teacher – two clicks of a button and you’ve got it there.”
While EduKey’s products are a huge help at classroom level, they are also vital to the senior management team.
“If we have a telephone call with a parent, we can log it, and run off reports on how many parents have been called – it gives us an oversight of the whole school and what is going on,” says John. “We have the whole of the school mapped out in terms of academic performance and behaviour and the analytics are brilliant. If anyone asks anything about the school, we’ve got the answer at our fingertips.”
“These products are great value. It’s worth it just the seating plans alone – and having behaviour tracked around school and information sent home has definitely improved our behaviour. Safeguarding has become a lot more effective, and the analytics mean we can decide what the main areas of concern are. It’s worked out amazingly – I don’t see why every school isn’t doing it.”