How edtech is supporting SEND students at Alt Bridge School

Posted on 17th June 2021

Posted by Gary Reddin

Alt Bridge School is a specialist provision school in Liverpool that has been using CENTURY since 2019 to help its 200 students to both reach their academic potential and prepare for life after school.

At our recent CENTURY Ambassador roundtable event, the school’s remote learning co-ordinator Gary Reddin explained how the teachers at Alt Bridge have embedded technology into their practice to support students’ needs and shared his advice for other schools looking to implement new edtech.

The importance of wide curriculum coverage 

English, maths and science are perfectly catered for on the platform, whatever level the student is at, which has been perfect for us. For example, our year 7s and year 8s are typically at year 3 and year 4 level respectively and so on, and CENTURY has courses that are suitable for that. Most of our students are also taking the functional skills courses that are on the platform, and then we have a small cohort who are also taking GCSE courses. The range of courses on CENTURY allows us to use it to cover all of our students’ needs.

This holistic approach helps us to cover everything on one platform for all of the core subjects, and even outside of them, the flexibility of CENTURY means that teachers in other departments have had great success using it to set assignments. For example, I’ve used it myself to set coding assignments like ‘Code Your Sprite’ for Year 7 and ‘3D drawing in Python’ for Year 9 by including hyperlinks within the tasks, and they could then submit a screenshot, PDF or a word document with their finished work in. 

One of our history teachers also really enjoys using CENTURY, and he recently set nearly 20 assignments on the topic of Irish history on there so that the students could type their answers up, submit them and receive feedback from him online. Our headteacher pre-recorded a weekly assembly throughout lockdown and posted a link to it on CENTURY for the students to go and watch, because there was no chance of sending them a link and expecting them to all show up and watch a livestream at the same time.

Advice for other SEND schools looking to implement new technology

Make staff training a priority: getting teachers to feel confident in embedding it into their practice has been a vital part of implementing the platform for us. Every year group has a CENTURY champion who received one-to-one training from both myself and the team at CENTURY, and they then spread that knowledge across the school, and we also have groups of teachers who continue to share best practice. 

If you’ve got ScreenRec or Adobe Captivate, I would recommend using them – I made some short videos of me using CENTURY and explaining how to find a particular nugget and things like that, and that’s when things really took off. Staff could just watch the short tutorial videos if they weren’t sure how to do something and it gave them a confidence boost. 

I would also recommend putting some set time aside in the curriculum to use CENTURY. This helps students to get used to it at the start so that it gradually becomes second nature to them, and the more that you use it, the more the AI learns. I’m still astounded by how the artificial intelligence changes what the students are doing and makes sure that they’re always progressing in the right direction.

Finally, don’t do what I did at the start in terms of setting the students every single nugget and every single assignment possible. I initially set too much work just in case they got through all of it, but realistically that wasn’t going to happen and it overwhelmed the students. Try to be more selective and only set the courses you know they need, and the AI will help to guide them through it at the right pace for them.  

How students have responded 

Our students are really enjoying using CENTURY. They like being able to work at their own pace and having the option of revisiting the learning materials and pausing the videos if they need to.

They love the new style of student dashboard and being able to see how many questions they’ve got right, and the platform has provided teachers with a great way to show students their own progress each week. It gives them more independence and allows them to confidently work towards their goals.

To find out more about how CENTURY can help your school, book a demo with our team.