How Matthew Moss High School is using edtech to manage disruption to learning

Posted on 1st March 2022

Posted by CENTURY

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Matthew Moss High School is a secondary school with over 1100 pupils located in Rochdale in Greater Manchester and is part of the Watergrove Trust. In this blog post, Assistant Headteacher Anita Gocoul explains how her school is using technology to help students and staff overcome ongoing disruption to learning.

The biggest challenge we have faced this year is the staffing shortages from illness and isolation and the impact that has had on teaching. As a school, we decided to become creative and think about how we could use our learning from lockdown and our experiences of AI to continue to provide a rich learning experience for our learners. One solution was to use our open spaces. For example, we converted the sports hall into a classroom, where a teaching member of staff, supported by a Teaching Assistant, could deliver lessons to combined classes. It is vital for us to ensure that staff are able to provide meaningful and purposeful work during these moments.

One of the ways we have been able to achieve the right balance in the midst of this disruption, is by using CENTURY. Because the technology is so responsive, we have been able to simultaneously differentiate learning for large numbers of students. 

Thankfully, we put the work into thoroughly implementing CENTURY last year, so our learners are now familiar and comfortable with the platform. They understand how to use it, and they are engaged when they work on it. This has helped remove cognitive load for staff and learners – there’s no “oh, but I don’t have my book”, or “we’re not in our normal classroom, I don’t have everything I need”. It’s taken away the complexities of not having their designated teacher available. 

The fact that CENTURY also provides teachers with instant access to data on learner results and progression, means they can act upon this quickly, either from home or when they return from isolation. It’s also very easy for teachers to change course remotely, by simply setting a different diagnostic or nugget for students that need more support. 

Driving Engagement

Overall, students have been very engaged with CENTURY. I’ve found that the platform has particularly helped with learners who, for whatever reason, have broken their connection to learning. For example, learners who may have had to isolate a number of times. For them, spending time on CENTURY and receiving instant feedback, along with a few quick wins, has made a significant difference in helping these learners to re-engage. We’ve found the platform is an accessible way to help students who need more support, quickly get back into positive learning habits.

The key to our success in driving engagement has been consistency and persistence with our implementation. You need to elevate CENTURY to the same standard as every other learning element. For example, if learners would usually get detention for not completing a piece of homework, apply the same rule if they do not complete their CENTURY learning. Equally, make sure that you are praising students who have gone above and beyond what has been asked, and discreetly intervene if students are not engaging at all. 

In terms of implementation, we’ve found it helpful to have a ‘CENTURY Champion’ for each faculty, who initially sets the nuggets for the whole cohort. This has helped us avoid inconsistencies between teachers at the start and ensured everyone is on the same page. We then established check in points every week for both the learners and staff. For example, I could look at the data ahead of faculty meetings, and offer additional help to any teacher whose class was not engaging as strongly as others. 

Looking to the Future 

What we have learned from the last 18 months is how important it is to be adaptable to whatever the situation requires - whether that's moving learning online, handling staff shortages or helping learners who have been negatively impacted to get back on track. We are confident that we now have the necessary systems and structures in place to effectively support blended learning. What we know for certain, is that we want to continue providing varied, relevant and engaging learning experiences for our students. 

We will be looking to embed CENTURY into the classroom a little bit more now that learners have become so confident using it in their home learning. One way we’re envisioning this is for teachers to set diagnostics in the classroom at the beginning of a scheme of learning, and then use that data to inform the level they pitch the new topic at. By bringing the platform into the classroom, we'll be able to engage more students, and help support that balance between class-based and home-based learning, whilst involving parents and carers in this process as much as possible.

Book a demo to find out how CENTURY can help your students to get exam ready this year.