Whitkirk Primary School is a two-form entry school with approximately 400 pupils aged 4 to 11 years old. Since September 2018, Whitkirk has been part of the Red Kite Learning Trust, a 13-school multi-academy trust in North and West Yorkshire. We spoke to Natalie Tomlinson, a Year 3 teacher at Whitkirk, about how they are already seeing results improve after a quick and simple CENTURY rollout.
CENTURY presented at a conference for Red Kite and our head teacher found it really interesting. We investigated further and then invited one of your team members to present to the staff during one of our training days. We were all really on board with it, so that’s why we chose to give it a go.
Like anything initially where people are not really sure how it is going to work, they can be apprehensive. A member of CENTURY’s team led a whole-staff training session, showing us how it would work, then I did some extra research and spent time with our account manager looking at it in more detail. Then we sent all the logins out to the children. We tried it in class first, and it worked really well, so we started using it for the homework straightaway. The rollout process was really quick because CENTURY is so easy to use.
We’ve only been using CENTURY for a half term for homework, and parents absolutely love it. We had a couple of drop-in sessions to talk the parents through the process. They love that there’s a video to watch, so the children are actually being taught something rather than just being left to do an activity. A lot of parents have asked for logins themselves because they said it was an amazing way to improve their knowledge on things that have changed throughout the years in how they are taught. They’re really, really enjoying it.
They can see the progress the children are making on the dashboard as well. They like to see the gaps that the children have, and then they can direct them towards those nuggets. Some parents really take on board the child's progress, particularly in Years 5 and 6 as they approach their SATs. Those parents really love that.
Have you seen any impact from CENTURY?
Definitely. When we did the first addition and subtraction diagnostic test before half term in Year 3, a child in my class scored 18%. We did it again, about four weeks ago, and the same child scored 80%. CENTURY really complements what we teach in the classroom, especially as we follow the White Rose Scheme for maths, with which it goes hand in hand. If there is an area the children are not sure of, we just set a nugget for them and they can have extra practice on CENTURY. To go from 18% to 80% in a few weeks is just amazing, and that's not just one child, we're seeing patterns like that across the school.
We also have some harder-to-engage children in our school. One child in Year 6, for example, finds it difficult sometimes in some lessons, and that child has just absolutely flown using CENTURY. He loves it because he can just take himself off on his own, at his own pace, and that's really worked well.
The teachers in general really love CENTURY too, particularly in Year 6 where they can specifically target groups of children. It will only get better the more we use it, as we're still in that first period. The support the school has had from CENTURY’s team has been amazing: they're always just an email or a zoom call away, and any questions have been answered straight away. That support is definitely a huge benefit as well.
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