Delta Academies Trust first incorporated GCSEPod into their curriculum in 2017. In the last four years, use of GCSEPod has led to an incredible 21.4 years’ worth of extra lesson capacity within termtime.
Delta Academies Trust
Delta Academies Trust is a multi-academy trust (MAT), founded in September 2010, Delta operates 46 schools.
We spoke to Richard Ward, Director of Science at Delta about embedding GSCEPod across the trust and what insights could be gathered.
How to successfully embed a digital resource across a large number of schools?
“It’s about finding the right resource or platform that is suitable across the trust. Most of our schools have a large proportion of disadvantaged students and engaging in any additional learning outside the classroom can be a challenge. The way young people interact and spend free time isn’t necessarily using books or writing worksheets etc. It’s online, it’s watching, it’s interacting with technology.
“At a trust-wide level, we need to research and carefully select the most appropriate platform because one size doesn’t fit all. To ensure a new digital resource becomes embedded successfully, we assign a strategic lead in each academy and provide a forum to ensure excellent communication between the leads, myself and the platform. This way best practice is shared, and new ideas are developed from on the ground results. As the strategic lead for the trust, I can see where different approaches in one academy may work for another.”
“The infrastructure within each academy must be in place and supported. We know there has been a national issue regarding devices and internet capabilities for many families, so we ensure our schools provide the necessary avenues to access the digital platforms either in school or by issuing devices for them to use.
“Training is crucial not just for staff but also for students, and communication with parents is also critical. GCSEPod themselves provide webinars for all and we ensure parents are engaged with reminders, letters, celebrations, and student rewards.
“We model best practice too, for example this year we have run several trust-wide inter-academy competitions which in turn encourage individual academies to host their own.”
The importance of getting buy-in across the trust
“Primarily it’s through the product and through our consistency and belief in it. A platform like GCSEPod has everything a student and a teacher could ask for in terms of videos, questions, exam papers, revision tips, promotional material but the main important feature is its useability which for an already disengaged student is paramount.
“For a student who has learning at the bottom of their priorities, especially throughout the past 18 months, the ergonomics of the platform are critical. They need to easily log in which they can using their office 365 account. They need simple clear notifications from their teachers, and it needs to be intuitive. For teachers, it needs to be a quick and painless process, especially as teacher workload is a huge issue.
“It’s the workload that is key to ensure teacher buy in. We use GCSEPod as a homework tool, for revision, for flipped learning but the beauty of it is its simplicity and speed of use. Tracking and monitoring student performance is also efficient.
“At Delta, we discuss with students their pod activity when they arrive at the front door, we reward students verbally there and then, when we see a student, we know has put the time in that week online and we see them on the corridor or at lunch in the dining hall, we engage in positive conversations.”
How to build effective relationships with your digital supplier in order to get the best for your pupils (such as the bespoke data and competitions)
“We have a phenomenal working relationship with GCSEPod. When we first adopted the platform, I was a pod lead at one of our academies and weekly I would email our liaison at GCSEPod and make suggestions on what could work better for me as a ‘boots on the ground’ teacher. Every time it was met with support, and they would genuinely take suggestions into consideration. They want to provide the best platform for teachers to use and we want the best platform for our students.
“As with any relationship, there’s give and take, there has to be a level of cooperation and the sheer volume of things GCSEPod has provided for Delta schools in addition to what the subscription provides is reciprocated wherever we can through things like this, support at conferences, webinars, quotations, trials, impact reports etc.
“As with anything in life you get the most out of it when you put the most into it and we see the impact GCSEPod and other digital resources have had on our schools and our students and so we work closely with the team at Pod to provide whatever we can to support them in the same way they support us.”
Using GCSEPod across multiple schools from a leadership perspective
“I can log into each school simply from a drop-down box, I can make assignments which can be shared with any student in any academy across the trust. I can monitor usage, I can compare it to averages and I can see the number of diamonds each school achieves using check and challenge. Every bit of data can be filtered for subjects, students, classes etc and all from the same log in.
“Every month I am updated with trust data, and along with any additional data, this is shared with all our principals and strategic leads to disseminate through their academies. What I want to see from my position is which academies are engaged and which are seeing engagement decrease and I can see all these things immediately or contact Pod and they’ll have the data with me usually the same day. The beauty of pod is its integration with our school systems and once set up it’s consistent across each academy.”
- Data has been taken from across 16 secondary schools, equating to approximately 2,038 students
- On average, between 200 and 300 pupils were in Year 10 and 11 in each academy
- Using GCSEPod during the 2020-21 academic year has equated to 285,567 extra learning hours, which is approximately 794 days of additional learning or 2.2 years
- Since September 2018, students have watched 1,493,638 pods which is approximately 4150 days which is 11.4 years of additional learning (as in if it was running every second of every day non-stop)
- Top users of GCSEPod made approximately 0.8 increase in their Progress 8 scores
Read more case studies
We have a wide range of case studies showing how GCSEPod is reducing workload and helping students achieve more. Click on the link below to view all our case studies.