Case Study: Implementing GCSEPod within the PiXL framework, has had such high impact

John Mason School, Abingdon, Oxfordshire

GCSE Learning and Revision


GCSEPod was one of many initiatives introduced during an improvement phase at John Mason School. Robin Conway, Director of Humanities, explains how this resource, when implemented within the PiXL framework, has had such high impact.

The results

“GCSEPod can have a substantial impact on revision and independent learning. It has been particularly excellent in helping to close the disadvantaged and boys’ gaps.”

Robin Conway, Director of Humanities

John Mason is an 11 – 18 mixed comprehensive school which has seen significant improvements in recent years. Progress at the school has improved from -0.39 to -0.11, their disadvantaged student gap has fallen by 21% and the boys’ gender gap by 19%. The school was judged as ‘coasting’, following 3 years of results which were below where they should be. However, new leadership has focused on stability, ethos, positive relationships between staff and students and quality learning. All of this has led to a dramatic turnaround.

As one of many initiatives introduced during this improvement phase, the school subscribed to GCSEPod in 2015. Robin Conway, Director of Humanities, explains how this resource, when implemented within the PiXL framework, has had such high impact:

“GCSEPod has been particularly excellent in helping to close the disadvantaged and boys’ gaps. PAM (Prior Attainment Middle) students and boys make particularly good use of it to support their learning and revision programmes and results for these groups have improved steadily over recent years.

“We’ve found that students of all attainment groups have engaged with it and we have even been able to use it successfully as a catch-up tool to support students with low attendance.”

Robin describes how the school maximises the use of GCSEPod:

“When using GCSEPod within the PiXL framework, we’ve found that PLCs are a good starting point. With training, most students have been able to use PLCs to independently identify areas for focus in revision sessions. These are techniques we have long trained in Sixth Formers, but have had difficulty in producing the resources for at GCSE, especially for pupils with lower literacy skills; GCSEPod has helped to fill this vital gap.

“If there are any students that struggle with this, they can be supported by one-to-one conversations with the teacher and targeted lists of Pods from GCSEPod, which they can focus upon for the next revision cycle.

“This helps students to feel confident in what they are doing and helps to ensure that they are spending their time on the learning that will have most impact, filling in gaps and addressing weaker areas. They can access the Pods at home, in lessons, in registration time and study sessions. The length of the Pods makes the material accessible and engaging.”

Robin notes that the biggest impact of GCSEPod has been on independent learning:

“The biggest shift has been for those students who were doing little independent revision before we got GCSEPod. This has been particularly the case for boys and PAM students who, with a little encouragement, will use the Pods to revise outside of lessons. The reports on usage have allowed us to encourage them further and to ensure that we discuss the Pods they have been listening to and set appropriate revision questions in class, so that they can feel the impact it is having on their exam preparation.

“Some students have been able to take greater control of their revision time and we have been better able to differentiate in revision lessons. This allows students to access Pods relevant to their areas for development and then test them with generic-formula exam questions that they can cater to the Pods they have been listening to.”

When asked what Robin would say to a school considering GCSEPod he said:

“GCSEPod can have a substantial impact on revision and independent learning. As with any technology, it must be accompanied by effective staff and student awareness programmes and training.”


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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


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