GCSEPod has been used in schools since 2010, delivering subject knowledge for a Progress 8 compliant curriculum. It helps the most able and the disengaged in equal measures.

Data from across all of GCSEPod’s subscribing schools shows that our pods appeal across the board.  Some of the highest achieving students regularly download pods to boost their thirst for knowledge, but surprisingly, some of the lesser able and often less interested students also make up a huge proportion of our user base.

We could discuss why this is the case until the cows come home.  However, the one thing we do now for sure is that it has never been more important for schools to engage with students of all abilities.

Progress 8 marks one of the biggest shifts in the way we evaluate the success of students and schools.  Love it or loath it, it looks set to stay.  And, whilst we recognise that it will take a few years for the general public to stop focusing on headline A*- C grades, the need to demonstrate pupil progress across the entire spectrum is now far more important than just being able to shout about exam success.

This seems a far fairer approach, but it does mean that some students’ poor progress will have a detrimental effect on a school’s overall Progress 8 score.

This is where GCSEPod comes into its own

We’re not alone in this belief.  Last summer, North Huddersfield Trust School – a co-educational school – achieved its best-ever set of exam results, and the highest Progress 8 scores across all high schools in Huddersfield.  School leadership believes that GCSEPod undoubtedly had a role to play in this success.

Nick Howe, a consultant at the school, said: “Progress 8 is generally agreed to provide a much fairer means of comparing schools.  It goes a long way in demonstrating the efforts and inroads that improving schools are making across the UK.

“Whilst our exam results are not the highest in the local area, we are most certainly helping our students to progress.  Our positive +0.28 score, when compared to all schools nationally, is way above many high achieving schools and a true reflection of all our hard work and determination.

“Back in 2015, Ofsted inspectors praised the school in many areas, but they were critical of the progress made by some groups of our students.  We listened, and have worked tirelessly to help students across the board to raise their attainment and set individual goals.  We are delighted with how far we have come.

“As part of our commitment to raising standards, we introduced GCSEPod.  We really pushed the benefits of GCSEPod amongst both our students and teachers and saw a huge uplift in usage.  Through not all students chose to use it, those who did certainly benefited.

“Our highest GCSEPod user also achieved the school’s second-highest Progress 8 score.  But she was not alone.  Data shows a direct correlation between usage and positive progress amongst our top users.”

“In the same way as we know categorically that those who have good attendance will make better progress, we can now see that students who use GCSEPod have higher Progress 8 scores.

“I spent time with the students, teachers and parents and affirmed we were going to be different.  We were going to be the best we could be.  I wanted to send out a clear message that the academy now had real leadership and together we would make it a place we were all proud to be part of.

“GCSEPod has become an increasingly important part of school life.  Initially, it was used predominantly as an independent learning resource outside of school. It is now being used across the school with various different student and teaching groups.

“Because it is readily available across all devices, we can use it on school PCs or on students’ own mobile devices, which means it has no physical restrictions.

Our SENCO department are now using GCSEPod as a targeted learning resource to meet the specific needs of their learners and it is being used as part of our intervention sessions.

“It is clear from our data to see that GCSEPod appeals to a huge spectrum of students – from our high achievers to the most disaffected learners.  It is now so engrained in the culture of the school that it is no longer something only our focused Year 11 students use in preparation for exams.  It is being used across the board and across the year groups: some of our best users come from a group of year 8 boys, who typically struggle to engage in learning, but have taken to using GCSEPod through a lunchtime boxing club at the school.

“It really is such a powerful tool with such wide appeal, that I don’t know why every school up and down the country doesn’t have it to offer.”