Situated in the West Midlands, Victoria Park has a large number of pupils for whom English is an additional language, and a high percentage of pupils on Free School Meals. In 2007, the school was taken out of Special Measures by Ofsted and four years later in 2011, was judged to be Outstanding.
Technology, and the institutions innovative 1:1 Scheme based on Shape the Future, helped play a key part in achieving this transformation. More information about the work that RM did with the team at Victoria Park is outlined in the case study below.
The core ingredients for success to help a school realise all the benefits of a 1:1 scheme, based on the Victoria Park Academy experience, are also illustrated below:
- The school needs to have Head Teacher and senior staff with a vision of what sort of institution it aspires to be, and what it wants for its pupils
- It must have a body of staff who are enthusiastic and, indeed, passionate to make the vision a reality. The staff have to be willing to take it on
- There needs to be a structure or framework into which a 1:1 programme fits. Simply having lots of devices is not enough: there needs to be support in the form of teachers and specialist intervention staff (the ‘Enrichment Coaches’ in Victoria Park’s case). Also opportunities for the children to teach, learn from and collaborate with each other, and a curriculum which provides opportunities to use the devices in a meaningful and creative way by the children both individually and when working with others
- The judicious, i.e. targeted, use of funds in order to make very precise adjustments in order to obtain the highest return in terms of rates of improvement
- Getting parents actively involved with their children’s learning
- Forging good partnerships with other organisations. Victoria Park has partnered with RIO, Creative Alliance and, of course, RM Education and Microsoft for its 1:1 programme
- Excellent technical support in the shape of a full-time school technician
- Support for staff. At Victoria Park, for example, all teachers have been issued with devices for lesson preparation, presenting to their classes and getting to grips with the software available
- The school should be a learning school, willing to try new things out and take a few risks
- The time has to be right: the school needs to have the capacity in terms of skills and even emotions to take something like this on. Immediately following an Ofsted judgement of “Special Measures” is, perhaps, not ideal