May 13, 2022Comments are off for this post.

Educational Tools to Benefit Trusts and Schools

For many years now, tech companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft have told us that whatever we are looking for, from games to banking to finding a new home, “there’s an app for that”. And in the education sector it is no different, whatever your school or trusts need, there's an educational tool for that.

Educational apps can support communication with a school or trust's community, create an interactive learning process for pupils, robust teaching tools and generally assist with an organisation's day to day admin. The onset of COVID-19 and the shift to remote learning accelerated the use of technology, building on existing, but sometimes neglected, online infrastructure to continue teaching during a period of huge disruption.

In our report, 'Technology Use in Schools During Covid-19', we reflected on this surge in adoption of educational technology, asking schools and trusts about their use of digital technology compared to before the pandemic. The interest in educational tools was clear, with 61% of staff responding by saying they had been using a mixture of learning tools they'd used before and new tools, and 19% saying they'd mainly used new learning tools. 

Remote Learning_Which of the following statements best describe how you have used technology this term?

Our research shed light on which tools had worked best to support remote learning, looking at the mentions and approval ratings of three respondent groups: staff, pupils and parents. The digital tools we assessed were grouped into the following categories:

  • Admin and Productivity 
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Content Creation 
  • Classroom Suites/Management
  • Online Content 
  • Learning Platforms

In this post, we'll be looking at why these apps are helpful for schools and trusts, how our respondents felt about using them during COVID-19's period of remote learning and why your organisation may want to use them now. 

Admin and Productivity Tools for Schools and Trusts 

Remote Learning_approval rating for various educational tools

GO 4 Schools

Great for parental engagement. 

GO 4 Schools is an online system which allows schools and trusts to easily share up-to-date information on pupils' education with their parents and carers. This platform works in tandem with school websites and integrates with various functions allowing important notes on school life and pupil activities with little hands-on activity. For example, parents can print their child's report from home in a downloadable PDF. There's perhaps no surprise that the app was the most mentioned by pupils and parents in our report on technology. 

Google Drive 

Liked by school staff! 

Google Drive is a great way to organise and collaborate on many day-to-day activities such as planning, creating documents, and sharing work in schools and trusts. For those who aren’t aware of the benefits of Google Drive, this digital tool stores files on one server, which can be easily shared across an organisation. Shared servers are great for collaborating with staff across a trust. However, in an education setting, Google Drive is useful for storing files, collaboratively working on projects, or providing feedback and revisions using Google Docs. 

In our research, Google Drive was well-known among staff as it was the most mentioned in our data set. Surprisingly, it was far more likely to be mentioned by any stakeholder group than Microsoft's OneDrive.

Apps for Communication and Collaboration in Education

Remote Learning_Approval rating of collaboration and communication educational tools mentioned by at least 50 respondents

Kahoot 

Useful for both primary and secondary schools. 

Kahoot is a game-based learning platform that delivers and presents topics to pupils in interactive and engaging ways, through games, fun quizzes and multiple-choice questions. It is described as an excellent tool for communication, collaboration, critical thinking and formative assessment. 

Back in 2020, when we launched our findings, Kahoot did gain one of the highest pupil approval ratings 85%, but with little mention from each of our respondents in our 2020 report. However, Kahoot is an incredibly popular educational app which is mentioned time and time again online. In 2021, a primary school teacher in the UK surveyed on Instagram and Twitter of primary teachers, asking them to share the top apps used in their school's classrooms. In Mr Minchin's findings, Kahoot ranked in the top 9 apps used by primary school teachers. 

Padlet 

Great for teachers wanting to give autonomy to students while still being able to facilitate conversations. 

Padlet is an education tool that allows learners to collaborate online by posting text, images, links, documents, videos and voice recordings. Our data found that Padlet was the highest rated by staff as it scored an approval rating of 92%. There's no surprise why it's a favourite of staff, considering it's useful for allowing students to create their own content and share it online on post-it boards. Padlet can also be opened from a smartphone or a computer making it more accessible to students at home and in school. 

Content Creation Tools For Pupils

Remote Learning_Approval rating of content creation focused educational tools mentioned by at least 50 respondents

These two pieces of software from Microsoft had the most mentions from parents and pupils in our data set for content creation! 

Microsoft PowerPoint 

This tool has been around for years and has been one of the most known apps for creating slideshows; it's simple, functional and easily accessible on most mobile devices or computers. In an educational setting, PowerPoint can be used to create presentations for both lesson plans or notes and homework presentations. 1 in 5 staff mentioned using this app in our findings!

Of course, there is always a great Google alternative, Google Slides, should your organisations prefer the Google Drive. 

Microsoft Word

Also known as Word or MS Word, this app is usually the go-to in most organisations, especially schools and trusts within the UK. Staff and pupils alike are able to use this tool to write and format documents great for in class and in the office side of things. 

Our 2020 report mainly dealt with the split between Google and Microsoft products. Yet, more recently, when it comes to more creative and less traditional content creation tools, it appears the rising use of iPads in primary schools, has led to schools using Apple apps more, including iMovie for filming and editing

What does your school or trust use most Apple, Google or Microsoft?  

Supporting Classroom Management with Technology

Remote Learning_Approval rating of classroom management focused educational tools mentioned by at least 50 respondents

Google Classroom 

Ideal for staff - especially teachers. 

Google Classroom is an app made for helping the creation, distribution and grading of classroom assignments by streamlining the process of sharing files between teachers and students. Similar to Google Drive, but explicitly made with schools in mind.  

During Covid, it is perhaps unsurprising that Google Classroom was the most frequently mentioned tool in relation to classroom management by both primary and secondary teachers, parents and pupils.

Class Dojo

Perfect for primary schools. 

This tool is an online behaviour management system which can be used to foster and reinforce positive student behaviours and classroom culture. Primary school pupils often enjoy this, as they can earn 'Dojo Points' based on their classroom conduct via their teacher’s instant feedback . Teachers can also use Class Dojo to keep parents up to date on what is happening and pupil progress and behaviour.

Class Dojo attracted a substantial proportion of all mentions by primary teachers in our technology during the remote learning report, as well as over 900 parent and 500 primary pupil mentions. Overall, all three respondent groups (staff, parents and pupils) gave this tool a very high approval rate. 

Educational Online Apps 

Remote Learning_Approval rating of online content focused educational tools mentioned by at least 50 respondents

MyMaths 

Suitable for pupils of all ages. 

This online tool allows pupils to do maths work in an interactive setting both in the classroom and at home and is often used as an extra resource for mathematics work from primary school right through to A-Level. It's also beneficial for teachers as assessments are self-marked, allowing them to track pupil progress and come with ready-made lessons quickly using MyMaths templates.

MyMaths appeared a firm favourite across the board as it scored among the highest in approval ratings from all three respondent groups in the Online Content section of our report. 

Seneca 

Excellent revision support for pupils! 

Using a variety of text, flashcard notes and videos, this revision app provides an interactive and engaging revision tool for pupils. Suitable for K2 upwards, Seneca is a platform which has been designed to give students support both during term time and while revising for exams. School staff and parents can also monitor how a pupil spends their time with information on time spent learning, average score, sessions completed and correct answers. 

Seneca was the most commonly mentioned site by secondary staff in our findings regarding online revision sites for GCSE and A-Level subjects. Parents and teachers in particular, praised this app highly, with staff giving it a 99% approval rating. 

Platforms which Encourage Learning

Remote Learning_Approval rating of learning focused educational tools mentioned by at least 50 respondents

Interesting to note that both these apps mainly were mentioned and used by primary schools - according to our data! 

Satchel One 

Ideal for secondary schools. 

This app helps parents stay up to date with homework by providing an online homework calendar their children can use to keep track of all their homework and student progress. Teachers can utilise this app by creating and publishing pupils' homework within the platform from here; the child can then manage their submissions and view their previous submissions' marks. Satchel One also makes it easy for parents to access this information by providing it online and in an app suitable for IOS and Android. 

It also appears Satchel One has stood the test of time since remote learning in 2020, as this year it's been mentioned as a market-leading learning platform used by 1 in 3 secondary schools in the UK.

Seesaw

A platform for student engagement. 

This online platform enables teachers to build a digital portfolio for each pupil, and teachers can create tasks, reflect and share stimuli for pupils to respond using photos, videos, PDFs and more. This platform also incorporates parental engagement features, which may explain their approval among parents. Our findings discovered this platform was one of the mentioned within the learning platforms category, being well-received by staff, parents and pupils alike.

The interactive options of Seesaw make it great for engaging younger pupils, too. One primary teacher found it useful to facilitate a blogging session with her Year 6s. 

Bonus Educational Platform for School Leaders 

Edurio 

Most-effective tool for schools to make evidence-based decisions. 

Our web platform allows school groups to administer and analyse feedback surveys from students, parents, teachers, governors, and trustees to continuously improve the quality of education. Once we've gathered your respondents' experiences, we share them with you in simple executive summaries, answer-by-answer breakdowns, visually interesting matrix and word cloud views. If you'd like to learn more about what schools and trusts do after gathering stakeholder feedback with Edurio, read more about our partner trusts’ experiences here. 


Get a free copy of our Technology Use in Schools Report by filling out the form below.

April 21, 2022Comments are off for this post.

Improving Trust-Staff Relationships with Stakeholder Feedback

In the customer success team here at Edurio, we care about ensuring our clients get the most out of participating in a survey with us and can use our information to improve staff/pupil wellbeing, parental engagement or trust-staff relationships.

After schools and trusts take part in a survey with us, we check in with them to help them understand their results. We often hear the following questions during this call: 'What should we do now?' or 'What are others doing?' It's great to hear these questions as it shows schools and trusts are actively using their surveys as part of broader strategic improvement. However, believe it or not, it is often the people who ask us these questions who are in the best position to answer them. After all, school and trust leaders are the experts in making these decisions. At Edurio, we help our customers understand the data, in context, in order to make future decisions; yet the real work often begins post-survey. 

With this in mind, we introduced Edurio roundtables to help facilitate post-survey conversations between school and trust leaders who have taken part in similar surveys. Events such as this help provide collaborative spaces among peers to share practical insights, what they learnt from taking part, and future ambitions and school improvement plans. 

Quote on Improving trust-staff relationships

Our most recent roundtable centred on trust perception among staff, a topic that emerged during our Staff Experience and Wellbeing Survey, a survey that focuses on staff workload, perceptions of leadership dynamics, and career development, among other key factors. Some of our attendees had just done their first survey, while others had years of historical data to monitor their progress. Despite this variety, all recognised the importance of continuously using surveys to complement people strategies, consistently improve staff wellbeing, and, as highlighted by the pandemic, be swift in taking actions to support their employees emotionally and professionally. This post will look at the discussions which occurred during this roundtable between leaders of six different trusts, comprised of HR/School improvement leads, and executives around the notion of improving trust-staff relationships. 

Taking Actions Post-Survey 

One attendee shared that their biggest fear was not to act on staff feedback: "Just doing a survey and putting it on a shelf somewhere is not good enough." For them, identifying both low-hanging fruit and more extensive initiatives proved to be a successful strategy. Following the survey, they introduced a trust-wide employee assistance programme and communicated about that consistently in staff newsletters, which resulted in a more considerable uptake and more appreciation for trust efforts. 

Another attendee reflected that their survey results had decreased during the pandemic as schools focused on their communities more and missed out on the collaboration across the trust. As a result, they have revamped their curriculum strategy to embed a collaborative approach to design and delivery. All attendees agreed that doing something with results and sharing progress with staff through a "You said - We did" summary presentation was a great way of assuring staff of commitment to improvement efforts across the trust.

Using Communication to Build Closer Relationships

During the roundtable, we heard that there was evidence of staff feeling like their trust was not doing enough amongst their survey responses. When discussing this evidence, it emerged that perhaps their teams' responses reflected less on the work trust leaders are doing but rather on what trusts are doing to make staff aware of how they're working to support their staff. Data from our Trusting in Trusts Report supports this since just 44% of over 10,000 respondents felt that the trust leadership actively works to address their needs, and fewer still - a mere 23% - felt it is easy to communicate their concerns back to the trust.

However, the pandemic also proved to be an opportunity for some. In particular, one respondent shared that between 2020 and 2021, their trust perception results had increased by 4% in large part thanks to their work during the pandemic when their team was far more visible in daily support and crisis management. This reflection echoed the national data where results went up 6%, suggesting that just by increasing trust visibility, trust perception can improve as well.

3 tips to increase awareness of  your trust amongst school staff.

Other attendees agreed on this difficulty in raising awareness of central trust teams' activities and shared other initiatives on what they've done, including: 

  • Online trust-wide INSET days
  • Consistently reminding staff members of the trust's benefits and opportunities, working with the belief that it takes 3 times and 3 different channels for a message to stick!
  • Physically moving parts of trust teams to school-based offices to be closer to the community they serve

We're always looking for feedback at Edurio, and we're always interested to see what trusts are doing to build a better future. So, what is your trust doing to develop a better trust-staff relationship?

Aligning as a Community of Schools within a Trust 

Perhaps the most contentious question that someone asked was: "Does trust perception among staff even matter if we care about pupil outcomes?" which is a fair question to ask. Engaging staff with their employer and empowering them to bring their best selves to work will naturally trickle down to pupil outcomes. One attendee reflected that after years of financial struggles within the trust, they did a rebranding exercise to change the internal narrative across the trust and make staff feel proud of their workplace. "It was suddenly not all bad news," This initiative has contributed to consistently improving trust perception among staff members over the years.

Trusting in Trusts report - facts

Another attendee shared that during a recent meeting, when participants introduced themselves, they said, "I work for X school," which transpired for the trust leader into a goal to eventually have team members say, "I work for X trust and care for Y school". We saw in our Trusting in Trusts report that there is a mismatch between staff alignment within the trust and the school; 7/10 staff members are clear on — and, crucially, agree with — the trust's vision and values. However, despite most staff supporting their trust's values, a smaller proportion (58%) feel they are embedded in their school.

This data demonstrates how much branding matters for leadership teams who wish to work on their trust-staff relationships. Working on this alignment presents an opportunity for trust perception as a whole benefitting recruitment and retention efforts. 


Using an Edurio Survey to Improve your Trust-Staff Relationships

If you want to learn more about how your staff perceive your trust and how to become part of the Edurio community, fill out this form to learn more about improving your trust-staff relationships.

April 14, 2022Comments are off for this post.

Using Surveys To Improve Pupil Wellbeing

At Edurio, we work with school and trust leaders around the country to improve the experience for staff, pupils and parents. At the heart of our work is a belief that by understanding your current situation, in context, you can see where you need to go next to improve outcomes for all associated with your organisation. This post forms a part of our Pupil Learning Experience and Wellbeing series, and here we will focus on how to use surveys to drive improvements in pupil wellbeing. 

What Did We Learn about Pupil Wellbeing from Our Pupil Experience Survey?

For the past year, we have been running our Pupil Learning Experience and Wellbeing Survey, and in November we launched our first report, looking at the wellbeing of pupils in England. The report summarises pupil experiences from 45,000+ students across 165 schools between May and July in 2021 and focussed on:

  • Overall wellbeing
  • Stress, workload and sleep quality
  • Loneliness and support networks

 Our results reflected other industry findings, such as The Big Ask (launched by the Children’s Commissioner), which found that 20% of pupils were not happy with their mental health.  

When we asked our respondents “Overall, how do you feel lately?” fewer than half of students (47%) reported that they have been feeling well, with 23% of pupils saying overall they have not felt very well or not felt well at all. 

Pupil wellbeing question "Overall, how do you feel lately?"
Pupil Wellbeing survey - compilation of answers to three questions

Stress and overworking were affecting a large proportion of the pupils, with 46% reporting feeling stressed lately, and 43% feeling overworked. On top of this, three in ten pupils reported sleeping badly lately.

Alarmingly, we found that 27% of pupils had been feeling lonely As Daniel Muijs pointed out in the report, this was a significant increase since before the pandemic, with a 2018 ONS study finding that only 11% of 10-15 year olds stated they were often lonely, a significantly lower proportion than in our survey. Charlie Venter of the Kingston Academy, who took part in our research, discussed the issue of loneliness and how that was reflected in her own school. 

Pupil Wellbing - How often how you felt lonely lately

What Can You Learn about Pupil Wellbeing from a Pupil Experience Survey? 

Pupil wellbeing is a complex and multifaceted issue and needs a complex and multifaceted approach, and a survey is usually one part of a larger pupil wellbeing strategy.vSchools that choose to participate in our survey often do so to get a picture of the entire pupil experience and the entire spectrum of pupils in their school. However, this is not without its challenges, but done well, it can enable leaders to identify issues they may not have seen in areas they may not have seen. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken at Edurio to help school and trust leaders improve the wellbeing of pupils in their organisation.

Challenging Concepts

Creating a survey for pupils can be harder than surveys for any other school stakeholder group. Pupils are the group with perhaps the widest-ranging levels of comprehension; we’re talking to 5-year olds and 18-year olds, children with special educational needs, etc.  As such, there is no one-size-fits-all approach, so it’s important we strike a balance between getting as much information as possible and ensuring pupils can answer the questions we’re asking.

Therefore, it’s helpful to think about the pupils' abilities in your school and tailor the survey to work best for them. In some cases, pupils in year 5 or 6 may be able to answer questions that would not be possible for other pupils in year 8, whether due to reading ability or their understanding of complex concepts such as how valued they feel or how well they are able to build on existing knowledge. 

Carefully Asked Questions

By thinking carefully about this at the outset, we are able to choose both the type and number of questions that we ask. For older pupils, it’s possible that we can ask them about the entire learning experience. In contrast to, for younger pupils or pupils with special educational needs or disability, it may be necessary to prioritise the most important topics for your school or for particular year groups. Ensuring the question is asked as clearly and simply as possible is vital in enabling pupils to answer to the best of their abilities. 

Contextualised Survey Results

Results to a single question alone do not tell us much - it’s only when these results are analysed in context that you begin to understand the full picture. To understand your results in context, it’s worth looking at the results of each question across a wider set of topics or comparing results against a comparable group such as other years within the school, other schools, or the same cohort at a different point in time. Our survey is nationally benchmarked, so schools can understand how their pupils are doing and how that compares to pupils in schools like theirs across the country. They can also track progress over time by repeating the survey over multiple years, identifying issues to focus on and then assessing how their actions have improved pupils’ outcome. 


Using an Edurio Survey to Improve your Pupil Wellbeing

Fill in the form below to find out how Edurio could help improve pupil wellbeing in your school/trust.

March 31, 2022Comments are off for this post.

Cultural Due Diligence for Academy Trusts

Growth brings along plenty of changes. When Edurio's team doubled in size almost overnight in 2016, we had to get used to many new faces, a larger office, and more structured processes. The casual morning coffee conversations that worked with eight people no longer generated the alignment required for a team of eighteen. However, some things remained the same; we took active care in shaping the team culture in a period of growth.

Photo of the Edurio team gathering

Culture is a set of behavioural principles that underlie most other things in an organisation. Defined in the eighties as "how we do things around here", culture will influence your operational processes, your hiring policy, your decision-making, and the day to day experience at your organisation. Keeping that essential core strength is vital in periods of growth when so many things seem to be up for debate.

Culture in Growing Academy Trusts

Culture ought to be kept strong during periods of change such as academy trusts undergoing growth, mergers, and acquisitions. Academy trusts are large organisations and already contain multitudes — the trust central team and each school are likely to have their own take on how we do things around here. However, just like with the different teams and their subcultures in Edurio, it is important to know what are the core behaviours to rally around in order to provide much-needed stability during change.

The practical implications of strong organisational culture during periods of growth will differ depending on the type of growth. If a large trust takes on a single school or merges with a small trust, the practical challenges will gravitate towards figuring out how to ensure the new school or schools adapt to the larger culture without feeling marginalised. If a small trust expands or there's a merger between two similarly sized trusts, the outcome is likely to be a significant change to the organisation’s culture — something that should not be left to luck alone.

From speaking with academy trusts going through mergers, culture-driven growth pains can be a real hassle. Consequences of ignoring culture during periods of growth range from losing key members of your team because they haven't been prepared to work in a way they're not familiar with to losing track of the trust vision and guiding principles that could have helped in a period of low stability.

Cultural Due Diligence

To address these practical concerns, we recommend that trusts carry out cultural due diligence with the goal of identifying the key commonalities and differences in the organisational cultures. This should be done alongside the legal and financial diligence during the merger process.

Our Cultural Due Diligence playbook (available free of charge here) is a starting point and gives you tips on carrying out 3 simple steps:

An infographic summarising various stages of cultural due diligence journey
  1. Define your trust's culture. You need a clear understanding of where you are at this point before you draw any conclusions about similarities and differences. We recommend carrying out a staff survey and analysing the results in a central team workshop (instructions in the playbook).
  2. Understand the culture of schools joining your trust. We recommend setting aside time with the other trust's leadership team for culture, as well as asking focused questions in a survey.
  3. Compare the two cultures. Answering key questions as you assess what you've learnt in the first two steps and visualising the data can help you identify risks and opportunities that you can tackle proactively.

Of course, the true work on cultivating culture begins after the growth period is over. Edurio’s workshops on culture were carried out in 2016, and this action was only the beginning of our journey — over the next years we have run follow-up workshops, clarified the behaviours we expect, designed an interview process that addresses culture, and, of course, modelled the culture constantly.

Happy Edurio avatars

Just as we have worked side-by-side with trusts on their staff wellbeing journeys, our team is also keen to keep supporting academy trusts as they shape their cultures in the long run — and to make the next academy trust culture playbook as useful as possible, I would love to hear what questions you'd like us to address!

Complete the form below to receive your free copy of Edurio Cultural Due Diligence Playbook

March 23, 2022Comments are off for this post.

How Surveys Can Help Improve Parental Engagement

Parents and carers' involvement in their children’s learning is vital to their success yet can often be overlooked in developing school improvement strategies. This disconnection between parents and the trust could be detrimental to your trust’s achievements. As the DfE phrases it in their "Review of Best Practice in Parental Engagement", The more parents are engaged in the education of their children, the more likely their children are to succeed in the education system.”

INFOGRAPHIC
In this infographic there is the title "Parental Engagement Report 2022" in green. Below it, is a purple box with the text, "60% of parents are satisfied with their child's school's efforts to engage them as a parent. However, 18% is only slightly satisfied, or not at all." At the bottom right-hand corner there is the green Edurio logo.

However, in our recent report on parental engagement in English schools, we found that 18% of parents are only slightly satisfied or not satisfied with their child’s school’s efforts to engage them as a parent. In this post, we’ll explore how a survey on this subject matter could help improve your school or trust’s parental engagement. 

How Can a Survey Ensure Comprehensive Stakeholder Feedback?

The DfE report on parental engagement is clear in saying that, “there’s a link between parental involvement and student success”. They then go on to say that “listening to parent opinion is key to improving learning outcomes.” The same conclusion is reaffirmed by the Education Endowment Foundation.

One of the best ways to listen to stakeholders such as parents is to give them a chance to share their experiences through a survey. By using a survey with parents and carers in your community, you’re likely to build up an understanding of: 

INFOGRAPHIC
In this infographic, there are three purple text boxes, outlining three main areas of Edurio's Parental Engagement report: (1) How parents currently feel; (2) How parents think your trust can improve; (3) What parents need from you.


Not only can surveys improve your understanding of parent’s experiences, they are also a cost-effective way for school leaders to turn feedback into action. From this process, you can start to learn more about your community and create a system designed with them instead of for them. Which means:

  • More transparent relationships with parents
  • Higher performing and happier students 
  • Aligned and focused engagement policies making your teachers' lives easier

At the end of a survey, your trust will be able to make data-backed decisions with clear and transparent action plans using their stakeholder feedback.

What Can You Learn about Parental Engagement from a Parent Experience Survey? 

The data from your parent survey could provide insight into how parents and carers in your trust feel about their relationship with you and their child's school.

A survey can help schools move past requests or complaints by the loud minority and consider the views and needs of the silent majority among their cohort of parents. 

Depending on the questions chosen, you can learn important insights about:

  • The overall engagement of your schools' parents
  • Practical insights, for instance, what channels of communication they prefer
  • Clear guidance on what else they would appreciate supporting their children's learning

Before collecting data, be clear in your goals and make sure all the questions you learn are actionable, so think carefully before merely copying Ofsted's Parent View. Learn more about good practices in surveying and avoiding survey fatigue in our Evidence-Driven School Improvement handbook.

IMAGE
In this image, there is a screenshot of one of our report's front page. The page is green with a white box with a green title inside saying "Edurio Parental Engagement Report 2022". The undertitle is "How well are parents and carers engaged by schools in England?"

Edurio's Parent Experience survey addresses the key aspects of parental engagement, such as communication, collaboration, and mutual trust and respect. We have recently created a Parental Engagement Report from all the data we’ve accumulated over the past few months in academies across England, highlighting key findings your trust could gather from parents. 


Fill in the form below to find out how Edurio could help improve parent experience in your school/trust.

March 17, 2022Comments are off for this post.

Parental Engagement Impact and Its Importance in Your School 

The last two years have demonstrated the impact parental engagement makes on a child's learning and community in the school. Yet, the schools' efforts on parental engagement frequently focus on dealing with requests or complaints by the loud minority or on attempts to reach those parents who have fallen out of the traditional communication channels. Therefore the silent majority of parents and their perceptions are not always heard. In our latest report on Parent Engagement, overall 60% of parents were satisfied with their child's school's efforts to engage them as a parent. However, 18% were only slightly satisfied or not satisfied at all. In this blog, we’ll be looking at why parental engagement matters.

INFOGRAPHIC 
In this infographic there is the title, "Parental Engagement Report 2020" with the following sentence: 
60% of parents are satisfied with their child’s school’s efforts to engage them as a parent. However, 18% is only slightly satisfied, or not satisfied at all.

What Impact Does Parental Engagement Have on Trusts? 

Parents are one of your most important stakeholders. If your parents are engaged with your trust, it essentially means you’ll be sharing responsibility for the children in your trusts’ learning and educational goals. Below, we outline the benefits of parental engagement both on your trust and children.

  1. Improves Academic Performance

Perhaps the most obvious outcome of parents becoming more involved with their child’s education is increased academic achievement. Over the years, research has proven there’s a clear link between parent involvement and a children’s level of achievement with impact comparable with four months' academic progress in an academic year, especially for younger pupils.1 With some in the sector research going as far as saying that parents with an active presence in their children's learning can have a more prominent role to play than school.2

  1. Allows for Community Building 

Parents who are aware of what is taking place at their child’s school help build a more cohesive community. Building an alliance with parents also usually leads to them being more involved with school activities and the curriculum.

  1. Strengthens Relationships Between Parent and Child

When parents are more engaged with their child’s education, parents and children tend to bond more as they have a common goal. Not only does this bond strengthen their relationship, it also helps parents better understand their child's strengths and weaknesses which enables them to support their child’s learning from a perspective different from teachers.

4. Enables Children To Be More Positive and Confident

Parents who are enthusiastic and engaged about their children’s learning often nurture children who are more enthusiastic and engaged with their learning. The involvement of parents during the learning process can also result in more confident children who have better social skills and classroom behaviour, leading to improved motivation in class 3 and less of a need for redirection.4

INFOGRAPIC 
In this infographic we see the question/title "What Impact Does Parental Engagement Have on Trusts? " followed by: 
1) Improves Academic Performance 
2) Allows for Community Building
3) Strengthens Relationships between Parent and Child 
4) Enables Children to Be More Positive and Confident

Where to Find Further Parental Engagement Resources 

If you are looking to improve parental engagement in your school or trust, here are a number of resources that can help you pick up useful ideas and strategies.

Education Endowment Foundation Guidance Report - https://educationendowmentfoundation.org.uk/education-evidence/guidance-reports/supporting-parents
A thorough review of the research on parental engagement with four recommendations to better engage parents with the learning.

Resources and training from Parentkind - https://www.parentkind.org.uk/For-Schools/Resources
A multitude of resources (including online training) on drivers of parental participation from England’s largest parental engagement charity.

Courses from Parental Engagement Network - https://www.penetwork.co.uk/
Courses on parental engagement, covering both primary and secondary settings.

Edurio Parent Experience Survey - https://home.edurio.com/parent-experience-survey
Any school or trust can participate in the survey and compare their results with validated national benchmarks as well as get an in depth report of their strengths and areas for improvement.

References

  1. Esther Sui-Chu and Jon Willms (1996) Effects of parent involvement on eight grade achievement, Sociology of Education, 69 (2), 126-141
  2. Charles Desforges and Alberto Abouchar (2003) The impact of parent involvement, parent support and family education on pupil achievements and adjustment: A literature Review London: Department for Education and Skills (DfES)
  3. Wairimu, M.J., Macharia, S.M., Muiru, A. (2016, November 27). Analysis of Parental Involvement and Self-Esteem on Secondary School Students in Kieni West Sub-County, Nyeri County, Kenya. Journal of Education and Practice, Vol 7. (82-98)
  4. Sheldon, S. B., & Jung, S. B. (2015). Parent Involvement and Children’s Academic and Social Development in Elementary School. Johns Hopkins University, School of Education

March 15, 2022Comments are off for this post.

Overcoming the Digital Divide with United Learning 

Among the far-reaching consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic was the vastly accelerated uptake of technology across schools, homes, and workplaces in England. The sudden shift to remote learning brought a need for increased access to technology, and the digital literacy of school staff, pupils and parents had a real impact on children’s ability to learn. A clear digital divide emerged, with some able to integrate technology seamlessly into their learning process and others for whom this was a steep, in some cases unobtainable, learning curve.

In the summer of 2020, Edurio launched its report looking at technology use in schools as a result of the pandemic, which found:

1. Around 80% of school staff surveyed tried new technologies within the first term of the COVID-19 pandemic, most often combining them with already familiar tools. Most would welcome the opportunity to continue using these tools post-COVID.

2. In total, respondents named almost 150 different tools and providers that supported remote learning in various ways, with Google and Microsoft mentioned most frequently. 

3. In addition to the difficulties caused by siblings sharing devices, students and their parents also emphasised the reliance on printing equipment and books. Ensuring remote learning usually requires access to both digital and printed resources.

4. Most staff adopted a fairly traditional top-down approach to remote learning. Almost three-quarters of teachers reported using technology to plan and deliver lessons. Still, fewer than half asked learners to create their material in response to the teaching activity or used technology to offer differentiated activities for their students.

Supporting schools through this period of immense change, the Department for Education’s EdTech Demonstrator Programme supports schools and colleges in developing digital strategies. The programme was launched in Spring 2020, just before the onset of the pandemic, and quickly became a crisis-response resource. It is now looking to the future and helping schools develop longer-term plans for maximising the effectiveness of technology within their organisation. 

We spoke to James Garnett, EdTech Demonstrator Programme Lead at United Learning, about their experience dealing with the digital divide and some ideas about how schools can help decrease the gap between those who are making the most of technology and those who are struggling to do so. 

This is what he had to say:

What is Causing the Digital Divide?

The mass disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic brought into stark focus the “digital divide” which exists between schools and colleges who make effective use of technology, versus those who have been unable to do so. The digital divide can compound other factors which impact on pupil performance and exacerbate existing inequalities in education. This divide can occur at three levels; organisational level where coherent use of tools and data analytics will, for example, drive school/college improvement, and support narrowing the gap; at classroom level where effective use of educational technology will amplify the effects of good teaching and deliver better knowledge acquisition; at an individual level where access out of the classroom allows learning to continue for longer for pupils/students and allows staff to work more flexibly as they have access to tools and resources when not in school. More information on the digital divide can be found here.

What Can We Do About it?

The first step in narrowing the digital divide is accepting that, when implemented well and used effectively, technology plays a part in supporting school improvement and improving pupil/student outcomes. 

The next step may be contacting the Department for Education’s EdTech Demonstrator Programme. Here you can get access to free, expert advice on educational technology from 40 schools and colleges selected by the DfE for their significant expertise and experience in the effective use of Edtech. Whatever your context, budget or setting, the EdTech Demonstrators will be able to support you in maximising the benefits of the technology you already have and help you in developing a long-term digital strategy to deliver on your vision for your school or college.

Alternatively, suppose you are unsure how technology can support you and your school/college. In that case, the programme is hosting a free, national online EdTech conference on Wednesday 16th March where staff from the EdTech Demonstrators will give an insight into how they effectively use technology to improve educational outcomes in their schools and colleges. The conference offers a huge diversity of content, ranging from subject-specific sessions, SEND & accessibility, workload reduction, cyber security, and 1-to-1 programmes. School and college leaders, teachers, and technical staff can choose sessions for their specialisms.

Whether you want to maximise the impact of technology on effective teaching techniques or explore in detail how to develop a comprehensive digital strategy, there is an enormous breadth of topics available.

Click here for further detail on the sessions available, which cover primary, secondary and post-16 context. The perfect opportunity to discover how technology can be used to support your school/college and upskill through personalised CPD to help build an enduring digital strategy.

March 11, 2022Comments are off for this post.

What Did Edurio Find Out From the Parent Experience Review? 

In this blog we give an overview of parent experience in England based on our Edurio Parental Engagement Report.

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March 2, 2022Comments are off for this post.

10 Must-Read Books on School Improvement

As a school leader, you're probably often on the hunt for books that can provide recommendations and insights regarding wellbeing, leadership advice, and general education information. At Edurio we regularly produce research related to school improvement, staff/pupil wellbeing, EDI and more.

Some excellent books have been published on school improvement recently, so in this post, we've collected 10 must-read books (in no particular order) surrounding school improvement and leadership.

1) No Silver Bullets: Day In, Day Out School Improvement - Paul Ainsworth

If you're looking for a book that gives big impact from small changes, this is definitely your must-read!

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the first book on the list of books on school improvement - "No Silver Bullets: Day In, Day Out School Improvement" by Paul Ainsworth

Written by Paul K Ainsworth, this book looks at the impact small day-to-day changes can have on overall school improvement. Having worked as the Director of School Improvement in 4 trusts and supported over 60 schools, Paul has written out 89 tried and tested strategies for school leaders to learn from and adopt.

2) Putting Staff First - Jonny Uttley and John Tomsett

The pandemic has highlighted the need for staff wellbeing, and this book explores how schools can benefit from putting their staff first. 

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the second book on the list - "Putting Staff First" by Jonny Uttley and John Tomsett 

The authors Jonny Uttley (CEO of The Education Alliance Multi-Academy Trust) and John Tomsett (a teacher for 27 years and a headteacher for 12) challenge the notion that schools should put the student first. Instead, they reflect that putting staff first and concentrating on their workload and wellbeing should be a leader's focus. However, they also remark that pupil achievement and staff wellbeing are not separate notions and present the case that teachers with good wellbeing provide students with better teaching, which is always best. 

3) About Our Schools: Improving on Previous Best - Tim Brighouse and Mick Waters

A great read for anyone looking to learn more about education policy.

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the third book on the list - "About Our Schools: Improving on Previous Best" by Tim Brighouse and Mick Waters

Using interviews with secretaries of state and others from the education sector. The authors take the reader on a journey of how our education system has been shaped since 1976, highlighting key areas for future improvement to enable teachers, support staff, and school leaders alike to continue shaping thriving schools.  

4) The Next Big Thing in School Improvement - by Rebecca Allen, Matthew Evans, and Ben White

Educational fads come and go; this book is for those looking to understand how to deal with a fad when it comes.

Written by Professor Becky Allen (Co-Founder of Teacher Tapp), Ben White (Assistant Headteacher of a secondary school in Kent), and Matthew Evans (Headteacher of a secondary school in Gloucestershire) these authors use their collective expertise to discuss how to tackle school improvement. By exploring trends and themes in school improvement of the past and present, this book helps prepare school leaders to be ready for when 'The Next Big Thing' arrives and use it in a meaningful way.

5) Leading Academy Trusts: Why Some Fail, But Most Don't - Sir David Carter with Laura Mcinerney

This book is for those looking to tackle the bigger questions head-on. 

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the fifth book on the list - "Leading Academy Trusts: Why Some Fail, But Most Don't" by Sir David Carter

In 'Leading Academy Trusts', Sir David Carter shows the reader what it takes to become a successful academy trust leader. Drawing on his 37 years of experience in the education sector, David explores the six critical factors that are vital to school improvement and overall trust success. 

6) The Headteacher's Handbook - Rae Snape

This book is a valuable go-to guide for primary school Headteachers. 

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the sixth book on the list of books on school improvement - "The Headteacher's Handbook" by Rae Snape

Following a 14 year career as a primary school head, Rae Snape offers her reader tips, guidance, and advice on how to negotiate headship while describing the role as a mix of an instructional coach and community leader. The Headteacher's Handbook also features insights from influential voices such as Dr Kulvarn Atwal, Mary Myatt, Remi Atoyebi, Paul Dix, and Christalla Jamil.

7) Being the CEO - Michael Pain

This read is best for individuals and/or trust CEOs who want to understand what skills they may need to hone to improve their leadership skills.

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the seventh book on the list - "Being the CEO" by Michael Pain

In this book, Founder of Forum Strategy Michael Pain, offers his experience as a startup owner to sector leader to shed light on a CEO's most in-demand skills. A role many consider the most influential role in an organisation. Michael focuses on six dimensions he deems are essential for success and growth as a CEO. 

8) Talent Architects: How to Make Your School a Great Place to Work - Mandy Coalter

A book for those looking to tackle teacher workload and improve staff retention, performance and engagement. 

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the eight book on the list - "Talent Architects: How to Make Your School a Great Place to Work" by Mandy Coalter

Mandy Coalter uses her vast HR experience across the education sector to help you create a celebrated workplace. Focusing on four pillars of people leadership, Mandy suggests fresh and practical new ideas and opportunities to strengthen your school and teachers, better equipping them to support their pupils.

9)  Imperfect Leadership: A Book for Leaders Who Know They Don’t Know It All - Steve Munby

Have you ever wondered whether or not a successful leader is born or made? 

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the ninth book on the list - "Imperfect Leadership: A Book for Leaders Who Know They Don’t Know It All" by Steve Munby

In Steve Munby's latest book, the reader is invited to learn from Steve's leadership journey, including the highs, the lows and the trial and error that comes with such a role. Through his lived experience, he explores the argument that good leaders are self-aware of their imperfections. Why? Steve argues that by recognising one's imperfections, a leader is more open to learning how to become a good leader; this includes knowing the importance of asking for help. It's useful to note this work also includes edited highlights of the 12 keynote speeches by Steve delivered to school leaders.

10) The Juggling Act: How to Juggle Leadership and Life - Toby Salt

For those school leaders who're looking to find a balance in their role, The Juggling Act is your new go-to guide.

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An image of a book cover on a purple background. The book in question is also the tenth book on the list of books on school leadership - "The Juggling Act: How to Juggle Leadership and Life" by Toby Salt

As a leader, you're often pulled in various directions at all times, professionally and personally. The Juggling Act provides simple and straightforward advice on managing the different areas of your life without burning yourself out. Professor Toby Salt shares his lived experience with the reader to further explore how he juggled high-level stress-induced roles with a large family, and you can too. 

Evidence-Driven School Improvement E-book by Edurio 

Bonus Resource! This piece is best for those who want to use data to improve their school. 

IMAGE
In the image, there's a screenshot of the cover of one of Edurio's reports, titled "Evidence-driven school improvement". The cover features a green background with a centered illustration of a group of kids standing in front of a school.

We created this publication to serve as a guide for using non-academic data for school leaders by providing a set of tools for gathering the right data, making evidence actionable, and establishing a culture of collaborative inquiry. You can download your copy of Evidence-Driven School Improvement here.  

February 15, 2022Comments are off for this post.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Series: Race and Ethnicity

This blog is part of our equality, diversity and inclusion blog series where we look deeper into some of the data behind our EDI report. In this post we will be further examining our findings on the experience of people with different ethnicities in schools.

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