Top Progress 8 Scores

Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School is in the top 17% of secondary schools in England based on its current Progress 8 score – a position it owes to its focused teaching and enthusiastic use of the GCSEPod learning platform.

Dame Elizabeth Cadbury sadly didn’t live to see the school which bears her name open in the Bournville area of Birmingham more than half a century ago. But the philanthropist and inclusive education advocate would no doubt be proud to know her memory lives on in the academy, which stands just a few minutes’ walk from the Cadbury chocolate factory her husband built in 1878.

 “We can see the factory from the school and it is torture when the smell of chocolate drifts over,” says Assistant Head Teacher, Ian Wright, with a laugh.

Whilst Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School is located in a leafy suburb, well over half of its nearly 800 students are eligible for Pupil Premium, and it’s fair to say that aspirations and expectations haven’t always been high amongst its learners.

Dame Elizabeth Cadbury School
achieved its best ever GCSE results in 2019


The school’s Progress 8 score stood at -0.05 in 2017. It is now 0.43 – well above average and putting the school in the top 17% in England.


This has risen too and currently stands at 48.6 – higher than both the local authority and England averages of 46.6 and 46.7 respectively.

But there is a renewed buzz around the school following 2019’s GCSE results, which saw 51% of Year 11s achieve grade 5 or above in the reformed English and maths GCSEs. This compares with 43% for both the local authority and England state-funded schools. 67% achieved grade 4 or above.


achieved grade 5

Two students triumphed with straight 9s in all 10 of the subjects they took

Ian says there is no secret to how this astonishing turnaround has been accomplished: a more focused approach to teaching and a greater emphasis on using GCSEPod both in and out of school.

With 27+ GCSE subjects and more than 6,000 Pods available to watch on the go, at home, and in the classroom either on or offline 24 hours a day, it’s easy for students to fit learning into their busy lives.

It wasn’t until Ian arrived at the school five years ago, however, that GCSEPod found its place. The history teacher who is also in charge of raising academic standards says: “The first day I walked into the school I was handed the role of GCSEPod lead. I had heard of it but I had never used it, so I had to get my head around it and how we could best utilise it in the school.

I was blown away by GCSEPod from the get go!

“The school had had it for about a year before I joined, but it wasn’t being used properly. But I was blown away by it from the get go. One of its real benefits is the short three to five minute videos, which are great for teenagers who aren’t going to sit and watch something that lasts 20 minutes or so.

“They can watch the Pods on the bus, whilst walking to and from school, at home, or even when they are on holiday. All they have to do is put their earphones in and watch and listen. No-one will know if they are listening to music, watching a film, or in fact learning.

“The quality and content is fabulous too. It’s engaging, easy to understand, concise and is presented in such a way that students easily take the information in. It’s like having your own personal tutor on your phone or tablet.

“It was the history that convinced me straight away that GCSEPod is a great learning resource. We didn’t see an initial impact in history in that first year, but in the second year the grades jumped, and GCSEPod certainly played a part in that.

“We saw that when students were watching around 100 Pods a year our Progress 8 score went into the positive, which is what schools obviously want.

“We were pushing it in history and we found the students were choosing to watch the Pods. As a result, all their progress scores were being lifted.

The Progress 8 gap between Pupil Premium and non-Pupil Premium students narrowed

“In history it was -0.4 in 2018, but in 2019 that had improved to +0.68 for Progress 8 with 29% of students achieving a grade 7 or above and five getting grade 9’s,” Ian says.

“In English Literature it was -0.24 in 2018 and +0.77 in 2019, and in chemistry +0.24 and +0.78 respectively, with biology +0.24 and +0.83 and physics +0.2 and +0.68. Progress was up across the board.

“Obviously, we have had a focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning in the school. We are most definitely teaching better.

“But this improvement can also be linked to GCSEPod. As part of their homework, students have to revise a topic using GCSEPod and develop their understanding.

“We watch the Pods in assembly too so that students can understand how it relates to their revision and how easy it is to use.

“And because we have been able to link exam results to those students who watched 100 videos or more, we have evidence of how beneficial GCSEPod is.

“Students have the resource, they know how to use it, they are told what they have to do and when they should be doing it. All they have to do is sit there, use it and absorb the information.”

“There is no doubt that GCSEPod has been a significant contributor in helping raise our results.”

What could we help your school achieve?

Are you a high achieving school with record results, is your Progress 8 score currently below average, or maybe you’re somewhere in between? No matter what your current standing, all types of schools are finding huge GCSE learning and revision success using GCSEPod. Let us show you how GCSEPod could help reach your school goals.