Twynham School in Christchurch (a particularly lovely and genteel part of Dorset) were happy list night, as the school won one of the Becta ICT Excellence Awards. Shortlisted earlier in the year, they were up against very stiff competition – the shortlist contains some of the very well known names that pop up in the media and ICT in Education magazines all the time.
It was therefore even more fantastic that they scooped the sole award for the “Learning beyond the Classroom” category . They have done a huge amount of work to enable parental access to information, and have found plenty of new ways to connect parents to their children’s learning, as well as improving many of the processes of parental communications through their innovative parental portal.
As you can see, it was a black tie do last night – and Assistant Head Teacher Mike Herrity is obviously happy with his award. I’m worried about Dave Coleman (on the left) – I think that perhaps he’s realised that a heavy weight of expectation now sits on his shoulders for next year!
I was down in Dorset earlier in the year to visit the school, but to my shame haven’t really written much about them here, so here’s my chance to right the wrong!
Twynham’s Learning Gateway
They have been enthusiastic in developing their portal, and also in creating mini-sites that share their work with others. If you go to www.twynhamschool.com/supportinglearning you can get a really good idea of everything that they are up to – with PDFs, PowerPoints and even videos of parts of their system.
The videos cover many different aspects, and you can see a walk-through of how the school have implemented:
- Twynham Revision Gateway
- Parent Gateway & Real-time Reporting
- Data in Reporting Services
- Online Options Process
- Student Mentoring
- Student Homepage
Online Parental Reporting
The team at Twynham have created a parental reporting site that fully meets, and goes well beyond, the expectations of the DCSF’s Real-Time Reporting targets, and parents are able to login and see the latest attendance information, as well as a neat analysis of attendance for individual subjects, as well as the timetable, and grades from the latest review or report. They can also download full reports historically.
One of the nicest things about their site is that they’ve realised that many other schools will be interested in what they have done specifically on online reporting, and have created a mini-site just for this so that you can see it for yourself. You can see what they have done, and the web-parts they have created to merge information from the MIS system, on the link below:
With the current rush to implement Learning Platforms in schools, to meet the Government targets, there’s a sense that the purpose of a learning platform is being forgotten a little – I’m starting to see research which says “Schools have learning platforms, but aren’t sure how to get the strategic value from it”. If you’ve got the time to look at what Twynham have shared, I’m sure that it will help you to understand the true potential of creating a Connected Learning Community (and how the Learning Gateway can help you get there)
The full list of winners isn’t on the website yet, so hopefully I’ll hear more from other schools soon
The Becta website has all of the winners on it now - take a look at the full list on http://awards.becta.org.uk/display.cfm?page=2024