IT Academy Teacher Review: William Goldsmith, Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School

We sat down with William Goldsmith of Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School to discuss how the IT Academy Programme has had an impact on the school and it’s pupils.

What do you now achieve through the services of the IT Academy programme that you think could not have been easily achieved without it?

Without the programme, we would be unable to offer specialist ICT teaching in our school as we no longer employ a specialist ICT teacher. Having expert tuition and focussed learning directly from Microsoft enables us to deliver the teaching of skills without the need to find well qualified ICT teachers – something which has proved very difficult for us in the past.

It is also very useful to be able to have our students sit their formal examinations when we decide and receive their results instantly. Students are motivated to do well and learning can progress at the pace of the individual rather than at a pre-ordained moment in their learning journey.

Finally, the way the course is designed pushes the students to work much more independently and this ties in with a whole school initiative called Building Learning Power that we are currently implementing

Explain the reason(s) for your choice and describe a case that highlights the success you have had with the implementation and engagement with the resources of the IT Academy programme.

Following on from the lessons learned from our first cohort where there was a small active group rather than broad support, we have now achieved a more universal level of engagement through getting the students to sit the Gmetrix practice tests at the start of each unit to identify their areas of weakness. This acknowledges that there is great variation in their existing skill levels in the Microsoft Office suite of programmes before their start the IT Academy programme. This personalisation of learning has been key to shortening the time it takes them to successfully complete the course in readiness for the examination. In addition, identifying students who are working particularly well and rewarding them with school achievement awards has helped boost engagement. Finally, I have set up a buddying system where students who are struggling get support from students who are particularly confident at using the programme. This form of support is proving very effective.

Can you describe to us how you feel the IT Academy programme has supported the skills development of your students and how more tangibly use has supported better coursework and examination success?

Career success: Effectiveness in the way the IT Academy programme supports student confidence and chances of success in their careers

It is difficult to gage this although I know that these skills will be useful in an office environment. As we are only on our second cohort, we cannot tell how the skills they have learned link to employability as none of them have entered the world of work! However, having this certificate is an important differentiator from students who only have purely academic qualifications, something which is often the case in high performing academic schools like the Sir Henry Floyd Grammar School

For one or more elements of the IT Academy programme listed below, can you briefly identify a situation where you believe that your work has transformed the way you engage teachers and students?

Student access to subsidised courseware and examinations (e.g. MOS, MTA or MCP)

Allowing us to choose when students sit their examinations is revolutionary (although it does fly in the face of recent UK government)


If you’re interested in finding out more about the IT Academy and what possibilities it could hold for your school have a look at the website or contact us at for further information.

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