We recently had the chance to catch up with Griffydam Primary School's Executive Headteacher Claire Coates and Assistant Headteacher Helen Bethell to find out why they chose CENTURY, how they introduced the platform to teachers and how it is being used both in the classroom and at home to enhance learning.
Why we chose CENTURY
We were considering ways in which we could be much more responsive to our pupils’ needs. We wanted a high-quality tool that would be sustainable, responsive, but also meaningful, because there had been a lot of initiatives that had been introduced to us that we just didn’t see the longer term benefits of.
CENTURY fit our criteria really well. It’s responsive to specific children's needs. It’s something that children can use at home or in school, which is really important. It’s incredibly flexible, in the sense that it can be used in different ways for different purposes. Crucially, we quickly found that it is fantastic for pupil engagement. It’s equally engaging for our most and least able learners. The nuggets on the platform are really small, very easy to access and they link very clearly to each child’s specific needs.
In my opinion, CENTURY also fits in with the Ofsted agenda around raising standards. We’ve seen a clear link between completing nuggets on the platform and a mastery approach to maths, and also in developing higher standards in spelling, punctuation and grammar. CENTURY has helped give our children a new framework for them to talk about their learning, including how they learn and where they go to for support, and that can be really helpful supporting evidence when it comes to Ofsted.
Getting staff onboard
Understandably, we got a lot of questions from teachers when we first decided to implement CENTURY. If you’re a senior leader who is looking to start using the platform in your school, you’ll likely be asked similar questions by your staff. Here are three of the most common questions that we faced.
- “Will it make a difference?”
As with any new learning tool, we couldn’t answer this with certainty at the start. However, after a year and a half of using the platform, we can now say with confidence that we have seen a clear difference in the progress made by those children who regularly engage with CENTURY and those who don’t. We're really pleased with how the children have continued to thrive since returning to school, and we feel so privileged to have CENTURY supporting us as part of that package of recovery.
- “Can we fit this into our curriculum?”
This is a big question that lots and lots of primary teachers ask because there are a lot of demands on our time as primary teachers. However, the fact that CENTURY focuses on the core curriculum - English, maths, science, and spelling and grammar - means that it's very easy to fit into the curriculum. You just need to be committed to consistently using it in order to see the outcomes you want.
- “Does it fit into our vision for our school?”
Our vision is to create a positive learning environment where children are supported to grow, develop a positive sense of self, engage with lots of different opportunities and feel confident to take the next steps in their learning journey. We want successful learners who are responsible, feel in control of their learning and will be ready for whatever comes at them, and CENTURY certainly supports that. It ties in well with this vision and, importantly, helps prepare children for their future.
How we use CENTURY to support teaching and learning
When we first invested in CENTURY, we thought it would just be used for home learning and that the children would follow their own pathway and that would be it; now it’s an integral part of our Key Stage 2 curriculum.
It’s used in lessons, it’s used for home learning, it’s used for pre-teaching and consolidation and that combination is really powerful. We’re using it so much more than we thought we would, and that has really reflected in our standards. A few of the key ways we’ve been using it are:
- To target interventions.
After an internal assessment, I’ll complete a question level analysis to see if there is a class level issue with a certain strand or concept. If not, I can pinpoint those few students who need a bit more support and assign them the relevant nuggets to consolidate their knowledge. I can then support them more in person if they are still not confident once they have completed the nuggets.
- For pre-teaching.
For example, I’m currently teaching fractions, decimals and percentages, which is a very difficult concept for the Year 5s to get their heads around, so I asked them to complete a few nuggets before we started to cover it in the classroom.
- To quickly differentiate learning.
I’ve been doing mock SATs this week with my Year 6 class. This morning, the pupils took the spelling test; by breaktime, all of the tests had all been marked; my TA then conducted a quick question-level analysis; and within 10 minutes, I was able to assign specific nuggets to children who needed to recap various different spelling patterns. So they now have their own personalised revision work, and the higher achievers can move straight onto the more difficult topics. It's about being able to pinpoint the actual gaps in my children's learning.
Looking to the future
The impact of the platform has been clear. The progress in the results have really surprised us and in terms of recovery, we feel our children are in a really good position moving forward. They are secure, happy and have developed independent learning skills, which CENTURY has really helped with.
In terms of our next steps, we will be using CENTURY nuggets more intentionally to help fill gaps in knowledge and identify misconceptions earlier on. We’ve already incorporated some of this, but we could be doing even more with the platform. This term, the majority of our time has been spent using CENTURY for spelling and grammar work, because this was picked up as a school priority post lockdown. Going forward, we really want to integrate it more closely with the rest of our curriculum. For example, the depth of knowledge that is needed for science - particularly by the end of Year 6 - is vast, and CENTURY is a great tool to support that.