Birmingham’s Worlds End Junior School falls into the lowest quartile of deprivation nationally. With 357 students enrolled, 43.7% are disadvantaged and receive pupil premium funding. Nearly a quarter (20%) have a special educational need, while 27% have English as a second language.
Following an audit across the curriculum in line with new Ofsted criteria, Worlds End identified that their computing provision was worse than they had realised. Old, broken IT equipment (such as interactive whiteboards), and staff lacking in confidence and skills, made it almost impossible to deliver the curriculum effectively.
The software was outdated, and devices were unable to connect to the aging infrastructure. Ineffective Wi-Fi and obsolete servers meant that technology use was limited in all areas of the curriculum, not only computing.
Since school staff lacked the skills to use the resources they had, they were unable to work collaboratively and develop their own scheme of work. Critically, they had no idea how to begin the school’s digital transformation journey - what was possible, what they needed to achieve, and how to proceed.
Senior leaders quickly realised that professional support was needed – not only to address the outcomes of the audit, but to help instil high aspirations in their students and equip them with exceptional digital skills for success in today’s world.
Description of the change made
Entrust’s technical team kicked off the project by completing a network health check, identifying the priorities for renewal and replacement. Our experienced education consultants supported the school in planning a vision and strategy, harnessing technology to provide an effective roadmap to move the school forward. This was developed in line with wider school improvement plans to ensure that any investment resulted in better education outcomes. With committed senior leadership buy-in to the refocusing of school plans, funding streams were then identified in order to maximise budgets, such as leasing some equipment rather than buying it.
Next, we implemented a whole school professional development programme, including an initial staff skills audit to identify what training was required. This was completed at pace as we entered a national lockdown, and there was massive pressure to improve the learning experiences of pupils during this period.
As part of our teaching and learning support, we introduced a new computing scheme of work. All staff received training to understand the requirements of the computing curriculum and to ensure its effective and sustained delivery. Teachers received Chromebook and J2e software training to improve knowledge and skills for better teaching and curriculum enhancement. Digital portfolios were introduced to evidence work, provide feedback to students, and celebrate success with parents.
Our senior leadership support focused on establishing more effective digital working practices, saving time and improving efficiencies. Teaching plans were reviewed, and we developed a remote teaching provision which led to more than 83% of students accessing four daily live lessons during the pandemic. Staff were able to easily monitor student progress and wellbeing, and teaching assistants were trained to provide live interventions during online lessons. Simultaneously, we implemented a preventative online safety curriculum to safeguard pupils and teachers. We planned and carried out an extensive CPD programme for staff which increased confidence and expertise sufficiently for the school to request an Ofsted deep dive in computing – of which only 8% are completed in this area.
Our technician service team was called in to provide high quality support for staff and pupils. Infrastructure, Wi-Fi and servers were all upgraded, resulting in reliable and effective access to technology. New pupil devices were purchased, including one-to-one Chromebooks, additional devices for vulnerable children at home, and connectivity dongles for those without internet access or in temporary accommodation (38% of these devices were issued to pupil premium students and remain in student homes today). In the classroom we purchased 13 Promethean touch screen boards, enabling pupils to access learning and staff to model effectively. We also developed a Google Workspace for Education to provide additional tools for teaching and learning, reducing teacher workload.
Entrust is a leading provider to schools of hardware and software solutions and specialised support services. From teaching and learning, technical and cyber support, to safeguarding and professional development, our team of experts help transform the way technology is used, enabling and inspiring pupils and teachers to achieve their full potential.
Through our ongoing support, Worlds End has been able to accelerate improvements across the entire school. The use of technology has saved time, while allowing staff to work productively and collaboratively. For the first time, teachers are confident and skilled, with a clear understanding of the computing curriculum and what they need to do to ensure pupils thrive. This was highlighted as a strength by Ofsted in July 2023.
Parental engagement has improved, with all parents now able to see their child’s work and support online homework. The most vulnerable learners and those unable to afford a device have access to a school Chromebook at home. Significantly, pupils are now engaged in technology lessons, and when asked, speak confidently and enthusiastically about their new skills. There have also been cost and environmental savings by way of reduced copying costs. These changes have been instrumental in transforming the school curriculum and remote learning offer.
“The exceptional support we received from Entrust has enabled us to make rapid, transformational changes to our computing and wider curriculum, our remote learning offering and our IT structures. The outstanding training, support and guidance has empowered and enthused every teacher in our school, resulting in consistently high-quality teaching of computing and very engaged learners, now gaining skills and knowledge at pace.”
Allison Owens, Headteacher, Worlds End Junior School.
“I love working on my Chromebook in lessons, it helps me so much because I can edit and improve my work easily, and it gives me useful skills for the future too.”
Student, Year Six.