How to challenge more able learners with GCSEPod

Students learn at different speeds and apply themselves in different ways. In particular, the way that students behave during independent learning periods can vary massively across a school.

GCSEPod is designed to drive student progress and empower learners to engage with subject matter at their own pace.

For low-on-confidence learners and those who are slower to grasp a topic, our Pods are incredibly flexible – allowing students to rewind, re-watch and read around a subject in their own time (read more about engaging low-on-confidence learners). But there are just as many benefits for high attainers who thrive on being challenged.

In many schools around the country, elements of GCSEPod are being incorporated into schemes of learning as early as Year 7. Whether it’s a subject overview to introduce a topic, assigning a Pod for a flipped learning exercise or simply an inquisitive student exploring Pods in their own time, the potential for learning through GCSEPod is endless.

Here are a few ideas on how to support more able learners:

Start early

GCSEPod doesn’t need to be a learning resource that is exclusive to students in Year 11. In fact, many of our subscribing schools have had great success through introducing the platform to students in Year 10 and even Year 9. Enabling students to familiarise themselves with GCSEPod earlier in their studies has been found to help them optimise their usage and use the tools at their disposal to create a tailored learning and revision plan.

“Our current Year 11s are really familiar with it as they have been using it since Year 9 . . . It is pretty much embedded into the culture of the school and we can see from the usage records that students often go off and download specific podcasts independently following lessons.”
Paul Cairns, Assistant Head at Archbishop Temple School

“Our Year 10s have been desperate to use it, so we have rolled it out to them this year and appointed some of our highest Year 11 users as GCSEPod experts to offer them guidance and help.”
Andrew Rome, Assistant Head at Maidenhill School

“We are using GCSEPod to stretch our most able students while supporting those with special educational needs . . . We are using it to challenge our Year 10 students (Year 9 equivalent in English schools) in preparation for their GCSE years.”
James Maxwell, Principal at Markethill High School

Question bank

Why not challenge students to tackle additional assignments from the bank of 25,000 available through GCSEPod. There are plenty of self-marking multiple choice assignments available so that learners can gain instant test results and teachers do not have to dedicate additional time to marking.


Thanks to the playlist function, teachers can pick out Pods that stretch students who are capable of getting ahead of the curriculum. These bumper playlists can be shared via a playlist link.


Help to facilitate students’ thirst for knowledge by offering them access to additional online learning tools and resources. By using the Xtras tool, teachers can provide links to web pages, YouTube channels and past papers through GCSEPod. Simply create a link to these Xtras in the Teacher Area and post it to the school website, social media or VLE.

Run competitions

Nothing gets the competitive juices going like the lure of a prize. Thanks to GCSEPod’s analytical functionality, it is possible for teachers to set targets and turn Pod usage into a competition. In fact, a number of our subscribing schools have successfully introduced awards for students who watch the most Pods across the course of a term or a year.

“We run a monthly competition to acknowledge the top subject and student, which has introduced an element of fun competition.”
Jenny Bashford, Director of Learning at Great Barr School


Could your students benefit from additional GCSE revision resources? Looking to bring digital tools into your school to challenge high attainers and support less able students. Why not email for more information.



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“100% of our year 11 students achieved at least 5 GCSEs at grades A*-C.

82% achieved at least 5 GCSEs including Maths, English and/or Welsh at grades A*-C. An impressive 27% of grades were at A* or A compared to the national average of 19.4%.

We strongly believe that GCSEPod has played an important role in improving the outcomes for some of our pupils. Indeed, some of our top users exceeded their target grades in many areas and have now returned to the sixth form to continue their studies at A level.”

Diane Evans - Assistant Head Teacher,
Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteif

There is a very clear correlation between the subjects with the most pronounced raises in attainment (English Literature, Chemistry, Biology and Physics) and those that had the highest GCSEPod usage.

In addition, the student with the highest GCSEPod usage was also our highest achiever.

Because there has so clearly been an impact on the departments that utilised GCSEPod effectively, we will be looking to increase the use of GCSEPod across the school in coming years.”

Andrew Ost - Deputy Head,
Fort Pitt Grammar School

“We’ve used GCSEPod for a year and the results speak for themselves!

Not only did we see a rise in headline measures across the board with our highest user of GCSEPod gaining 7A* – but the students and their parents love it!

It’s fun, user friendly, and easy to use in a variety of ways – on a mobile device, in school, at the heart of our mentoring and intervention strategies, for flipping learning, and to deliver positive engagement that parents can see. Plus we’ve only just scratched the surface!”

Dominic Howkins - Vice Principal,
Ormiston Sudbury Academy


Don’t just take our word for it. GCSEPod has gained huge recognition since our initial launch in 2010 and we continue to pick up industry awards along the way. We’re constantly listening to the schools that use GCSEPod and learning how we can best support teachers and students in times of change. Contact us to tell us your goals for the next year and discuss how we can be a part of your school improvement strategy.

Click here to find out more about our awards