Sandringham School is a co-educational state comprehensive secondary school of over 1600 students, based in St. Albans, Hertfordshire. Sandringham is a highly attaining school, regularly within the top 100 non-selective state mixed schools nationally in terms of progress. We have recently been designated as a Teaching School Hub.
We introduced a programme called Blended Learning in 2014 that includes a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programme for every student with a learning platform built upon Google G Suite for Education. Our learning goals are summarised by the phrase ‘time-shifted and place-shifted learning.’ Students in Key Stage 3 and 4 use tablet devices and Key Stage 5 use laptops delivered in a phased approach over several years. Equity of access for all is ensured by use of Pupil Premium funding.
We have developed significant expertise in digital pedagogy and deliver training via our teaching and research school networks. Our practices are evidence-informed and use guidance from the EEF and other expert sources. Subject leaders have had considerable autonomy in steering the programme, unearthing the best tools and teaching practices that suit their subject, and in forming the right blend between analogue and digital.
Our recent transition to remote learning has been reasonably straightforward in that all students have digital platform access. Staff and students have experience of using the main tools as a matter of routine. However, we still faced challenges during restricted school attendance with staff and students needing to not only become familiar with new digital routines, but also develop skills for using new digital tools to support a remote way of working.
In the last phase of the programme we:
- Worked with a significant number of primary schools, secondary schools and colleges in supporting them to implement appropriate remote learning provisions;
- Supported educational settings in the strategic planning for the deployment of one-to-one and shared device programmes;
- Developed a significant number of blogs and guides to support both remote education and the strategic planning for the use of technology in the long term (all available via our website);
- Run webinars and CPD opportunities on a broad range of topics;
- Introduced a “train the trainer” style course called 'Digital Champions' which aims to empower school leaders and teachers to run training in schools focussed on the effective use of digital tools and platforms;
- Worked with the DfE to produce the 'Digitally EmpowerED' website hosting 'Sustaining Digital and Remote Education, A Toolkit for School Leaders'.
In this next phase of the programme we can continue to offer support mentioned above, but also:
- Support schools and colleges in strategically planning for the long term implementation of technology in their setting;
- Provide support and guidance surrounding flexible working arrangements and reducing teacher workload;
- Provide research-informed guidance and training surrounding the pedagogical 'best bets' for making use of technology.