King’s Leadership Academy Warrington is an outstanding 11-19 school, which prides itself on being a ‘free’ independent school in the state sector.
The Academy is non-selective and founded on both international research and traditional values, specialising in leadership and character development.
The academy accepts that academic outcomes are important, however, we feel that they should not be the sole focus of a school. We believe that the development of leadership and character are the cornerstones of academic achievement and that the development of the whole child is central to the success of our students.
As part of our vision and ethos, we are keen to ensure that all of our students leave the academy with a strong sense of moral purpose and belief in what they want to achieve in life. We believe our students will change the world for the better by becoming the next generation of leaders. Our strong use of technology alongside proven evidence-based pedagogy creates a successful ‘progressively traditional’ model. This, in turn, equips students with excellent academic results and character traits which they need to lead happy lives and become successful citizens in tomorrow’s world
From classroom to cloud
We believe that when a child is educated they become a better person. From the first days of lockdown we made a commitment to support our community through remote learning.
Following the COVID-19 lockdown in March, cloud-based systems were introduced which created a completely virtual school. Over a two-week period the entire curriculum and classrooms were uplifted completely into the cloud; with the entire school accessing six lessons per day since school closures began. Using video conferencing, we have delivered synchronous teaching with interactive feedback to all students. This approach has allowed us to actively engage learners, build relationships with students through coaching, correct misconceptions and check knowledge gaps.
To support learning, we developed a comprehensive pastoral centre which uses digital MIS systems to track children and support parents. Teacher training has also migrated online, supporting highly bespoke CPD through specialist breakout-rooms. Video conferencing maintains support for teaching staff, weekly year assemblies and structured well-being sessions for children.
Online documents are used creatively to share electronic work-books with students. Departments have created interactive texts, which pupils progress through in sequence and can be printed as required. Digital-books allow teachers and students to experience two-way interaction during the lesson.
Digital surveys are also used to collect information from staff and pupils, this is accessed by leaders to support colleagues and ensure rigorous safeguarding. During lessons, digital mentoring identifies student mental-health and well-being needs and enables staff to tailor support. All information is securely stored allowing access anywhere, for example training materials can be revisited post-training.
We now feel that our school systems are at a pivotal point where the educational technology we use is no longer a ‘bolt on’, but an integral part of everything we do and will contribute to a sustainable ‘new- normal’. During the pandemic we have acquired experience which we feel can be shared to help guide other schools. We would be delighted to help other teachers and leaders develop similar practices and strengthen their own digital capability
Support provided last year
During the first phase of the ED Tech demo programme, we supported a variety of different schools at all levels of their own ED Tech journey. This ranged from supporting the implementation of Google classroom as a system to support teaching and learning, along with more strategic use of technology systems to enhance the school’s current provision. This involved supporting schools in implementing effective assessment and feedback approaches that utilised the technology available.
Alongside our 1-1 support with school leaders, we led several high-profile webinars to bring expert guidance on the use of ED Tech to the wider network of schools participating in the programme. Alongside the advice shared by leading experts in their field, the webinars provided an opportunity for teachers and school leaders to collaborate and share their own experiences of using technology to support teaching and learning during remote learning.
In this new phase of the programme we can support
- The use of World Class Feedback to reduce traditional approaches to marking of pupil work.
- Creating an online command centre for online safeguarding, training and pastoral care.
- Supporting the development of a virtual ITT package.
- The implementation of systems to embed digital devices for all pupils.
- Strategic use of online learning platforms to embed an accessible and inclusive curriculum for all pupils.
- The use of visualisers as a tool for explaining, modelling, and giving feedback.
- Using online quizzing tools to support assessment for learning.