Good Schools Guide
After a recent visit to RGS Worcester, a representative of ‘The Good Schools Guide’, made it clear just how important the Digital Learning Programme is to our schools – describing it as ‘the real star of the show’. Indeed, they even referenced the significance of being an Apple Distinguished School and our growing reputation as a global leader in educational technology. Please enjoy reading the fantastic review of our School, now available online here.
‘It was the school’s digital learning programme that swung it for us,’ said one parent – ‘We didn’t think it would be a factor, but when we saw it in action, it blew us away.’
In Spring 2022, we surveyed our pupils as part of continuous investigative practice across the RGS Worcester Family of Schools. Over 500 pupils from Year Five to Upper Sixth responded with both formative and summative data, providing real insight into what is taking place in our classrooms, what we are doing well and what we could be doing to improve things.
Please take a look at our pupil survey results Pupil Survey Results
In Spring 2022, we surveyed our teachers as part of continuous investigative practice across the RGS Worcester Family of Schools. Over 75 teachers from all four RGS Worcester Schools responded with both formative and summative data, providing real insight into what is taking place in our classrooms from a teaching perspective, what we are doing well, and what we could be doing to improve things.
Please take a look at our teacher survey results Teacher Survey Results
It is widely acknowledged that an effective leadership team should establish an agreed interpretation and vision that encapsulates best practice. Moreover, for the vision of CPD to be effectively realised, it should be established in partnership with staff. Therefore, when we launched our latest Digital Strategy, in conjunction with the wider DLP team we developed our current vision statement:
“To provide outstanding education through meaningful education”.
Director of Innovation, John Jones, shares his thoughts behind the vision
The RGS Worcester Family of Schools was delighted with our latest ISI inspection; each assessed area of our schools was judged to be ‘Excellent’, which is the highest grade.
The Key Findings we are particularly pleased that the Inspectors recognised, are the pupils’ high levels of achievement and personal development, the “self-awareness, self-assurance” and also the “self-effacing” nature of our pupils. We talk about RGS pupils having a ‘quiet confidence but not arrogance’ and we think parents and staff should be especially proud that the Inspectors identified these character traits in RGS pupils.
Our Digital Learning Programme (DLP) also shone throughout the Report, bringing to the forefront how investment into the programme improved the teaching and learning experience for pupils. The report stated that EYFS upwards showed an “exceptional confidence in the use of software” as well as Mathematics being “one of many areas in which pupils’ progress is accelerated” and the use of “voice notes” providing direct personal feedback to aid pupils’ development.
Take a look at the full report Here
All our teachers are equipped with the necessary hardware, software, and training to personalise learning journeys for our pupils. By addressing the different interests of our pupils, we have enhanced and improved pupil engagement. Tools like Showbie mean we can provide pupils with individualised tasks, and they can use their iPad to respond in a variety of different formats. Our pupils can make videos, animations, and podcasts to express their understanding and can also expect bespoke feedback that helps them progress and develop. With higher engagement, RGS pupils spend more time learning and absorbing the incredible lessons, materials, and resources our teachers make across the curricula at our four schools.
Craig Miller, Computing Coordinator and Year Three Teacher from RGS Springfield explains more.
Incredible Pupil Work
Apple technology has provided a platform for pupils to express their learning in ways they never could before. We regularly see work produced that evidences the deep learning that is taking place and produced in ways that empower creativity.
Pupils photograph, video, collaborate and share their work using apps such as GarageBand, iMovie, Clips, Book Creator and CoSpaces. Indeed, some of our teachers have used Apple’s ‘Every One Can Create’ guides to help incorporate fun and meaningful creative elements within their schemes of work. Our teachers are often amazed but never surprised when our pupils complete tasks in ways that they had never even imagined.
With this in mind, our teachers use Apple technology to curate and deliver creative activities that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries and try not to confine the way in which our pupils demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. Pupils from across our four schools are given the time, space and opportunity to foster the creative talents that lie in every single one of them. Furthermore, we document the best examples in our termly digital publication – innovatED
Adoption of Artificial Intelligence
All four of the RGS Worcester Schools are adopting technologies that are enhanced by Artificial Intelligence. For the last three years, we have been using the Century Tech AI platform in English, Maths and Science to help pupils develop at their own pace using personalised learning pathways. Each pupil in our Prep Schools, from Year Four onwards, starts with an initial diagnostic that gives the AI its first insight into individual strengths and weaknesses. We now have extensive details on all pupils from Years Four to Six that our Year Seven teachers can utilise when the pupils join the Senior School in September 2022. Furthermore, Year Ten and Eleven pupils have been using Century Tech to assist with their GCSE lessons and revision.
RGS Worcester Family of Schools included in Edtech 50 Award Yearbook
The Edtech 50 Awards is a hallmark of educational technology prowess and has been compiled by Edtech UK in conjunction with the global education company, TES. As a landmark publication, the Edtech 50 Award Yearbook not only inspires educators but is used as a reference point by policy makers and government.
The RGS Worcester Family of Schools has been applauded for our agile approach to purposeful technology. This agility became more significant during ‘lockdowns’. As Covid-19 spread, our schools were able to ensure that learning continued for every pupil, through the agile re-thinking of our Digital Learning Programme – ultimately resulting in complete continuity of education for our pupils.
To be included in the Edtech 50 Award Yearbook is a testament to the RGS Family of Schools’ digital vision and ambition; to include technology creatively within our teaching, both in classrooms and during times of remote teaching. This vision is alongside RGS’s ongoing investment to build a strong IT infrastructure, and our commitment to provide staff with the tools and training to enable them to deliver effective, and innovative learning to all pupils.
Download a copy of the Edtech 50 Award Yearbook here.
The RGS Family of Schools are also celebrated on the TES website.
In 2019, RGS Worcester invested in new digital signage software called Trilby TV. The idea was to bring our digital screens around the School to life and also encourage more academic departments and staff to share content. We are pleased to confirm that the deployment has been a huge success. All four of the RGS Family of Schools are now using Trilby TV as a matter of course to share pictures, updates, Twitter feeds and most importantly, outstanding pupils’ work. The screens were even used during our recent Open Mornings to share pupils reflections of life at RGS Worcester; the next best thing to having the pupils there themselves.
The screens were incredibly useful when sharing important messages and updates during COVID-19, to ensure both staff and pupils are kept fully up to date with the latest information. Recently, Albion Computers, who supply the RGS Worcester Family of Schools with much of their Apple hardware, published an article on their website that highlighted the way we have successfully integrated Trilby TV into everyday school life. We look forward to the continued development of our use of Trilby TV, particularly to amplify some of the incredible work that takes place in our classrooms every single day.
What Next For EdTech At The RGS Worcester Family Of Schools?
Along with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, many educationalists consider virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) as the next technologies that will transform how we live our lives, how businesses operate globally and how schools deliver their curricula. At RGSW, we believe that we should be investigating, researching and testing these technologies already so we do not get left behind. Consequently, pupils in Computing are already creating Virtual Worlds using the CoSpaces app. We also have VR Headsets using the VMind software for pupils who are struggling with anxiety and stress. Some curriculum subjects have also found uses for Augmented Reality where they add genuine meaning to learning such as Space exploration or investigating the human body.
Head of Computing and Digital Learning at RGS Dodderhill, Emma Faulkner, explains what’s already going on with future technologies inside our classrooms.
Continuing Professional Development
The leadership teams across the RGS Worcester Family of Schools understand that our CPD needs to be high quality, on-going and adaptive to change. We see it as essential that our teachers learn, develop and build upon relevant skills and knowledge, whilst forming professional values that ultimately lead to a more effective educational experience for our pupils. Therefore, the four RGS Worcester schools provide bespoke CPD that is based on our own research. We listen to where our teachers want to develop and use a combination of mentoring, coaching and workshops whilst encourage staff to join and participate in their own Personal Learning Networks.
Head of Computing and Digital Learning at RGS The Grange offers further insight below.
At RGS Worcester, pupils build resilience, learn to navigate the treacherous social media landscape, understand and look after mental health and learn to develop positive relationships. Furthermore, soft skills have a place in our specific curriculum subjects, working not instead of, but in conjunction with, the acquisition of hard skills. Teachers create activities that put an emphasis on group work, time management and peer-on-peer collaboration. Our Digital Learning Programme provides exposure to digital workflows, real-time communication and facilitates the attainment of skills such as independent research, and presentation professionality. Furthermore, a rich co-curricular programme including activities such as debating, the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Combined Cadet Force mean RGS Worcester pupils naturally develop teamwork, emotional intelligence and empathy.
Academic Deputy at RGS Worcester, Rebecca Roberts-Gawen provides more details below:
Apple Teacher and Apple Teacher Portfolio
Over 80% of all our teachers are Apple Teachers. This means that they have all completed a formal qualification that demonstrates aptitude, understanding, and proficiency in using eth Apple Technologies we enjoy across the RGS Worcester Family of Schools. Furthermore, for all new teachers, it is an expectation that they become Apple Teachers within their first year of service. We have also started to adopt the Apple Teacher Portfolio. This is a new recognition badge that our staff can earn through Apple Teacher Learning Center. This means we can make the most of Apple technology through each phase of lesson planning to help pupils activate prior knowledge, explore a topic more deeply, and apply understanding.
Digital Assessment and Feedback
A central part of the digital workflow at the RGS Worcester Family of Schools is Showbie. We use it for setting work, collecting work, and conducting feedback conversations with our pupils. Showbie allows for rich and timely feedback using features including pen, voice, and text annotation tools and is an integral tool used by almost every single teacher and pupil. At RGS The Grange, there has been a recent trial in which all assessment and feedback was moved to the Showbie platform. Work that was completed in books was photographed and added to the platform.
Adam Morgan, Year Five Teacher, and Digital Learning Coordinator goes into a little more detail below.