Case Study: Implementing GCSEPod within the PiXL framework, has had such high impact
John Mason School, Abingdon, Oxfordshire
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.
“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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“A real ‘no brainer’ – GCSEPod is a high quality resource for students which can be evidenced to have an impact on both progress and attainment for all ability levels. It represents extremely good value for money.”
Nick Howe, Assistant Head,
North Huddersfield Trust School
“GCSEPod is an extremely high quality, cost effective and user friendly resource that has had clear and measurable impact in our Academy. The support given by the GCSEPod team is fantastic in all areas. Whether on their own device, or in the classroom, the resource is high quality and ever-developing! I would thoroughly recommend it!”
Dominic Howkins, Vice Principal,
Ormiston Sudbury Academy
“Test Valley School initially subscribed to GCSEPod after securing some external funding. However, the impact has been so significant that we have now subscribed in our own right.”
Andrew Page, Deputy Headteacher,
Test Valley School
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