Brighton Hill Community School

Added on 09/12/19

Testimonial by David Watkins, Deputy Head

As an action-research school, we’ve explored various ways to use CENTURY as a tool for developing students.

We were looking for a system that aligned well to schemes of learning and examination boards and could reduce teacher workload but also a system which students would enjoy interacting with. 

What made us choose CENTURY was that it did all that, but it also understands where a student is at. It not only marks the work, but then starts to give feedback on how the student can improve, identifying those areas of strength and areas of development.

Initially we started with a small group – our Year 11 science class.

In Key Stage 4 we have a six lesson science block, one of those lessons effectively became a CENTURY lesson. We had a very small cohort last year and there’s clear evidence showing the smaller the cohort, the greater the negative impact on P8 which is the progress measure that is used to benchmark schools. 

We wanted to get an additional system in place which could boost students’ learning and clearly that happened. During that period our students completed 46,567 nuggets of learning and answered 423,129 questions. While it’s difficult to show causality, it’s hard to imagine that there wasn’t an impact from the amount of use versus the final outcomes that we experienced as a school.

We then embedded CENTURY into our whole-school strategy.

In my experience, you’re always going to have teachers who are eager to embrace new technologies and others who might lack confidence. If you don’t embed new systems in school policy there’s always that option just to leave it. Now Year 7 through to Year 11 use the system as our ‘go-to’ home learning. It is set weekly and students are engaging with it very well. In my classes I have noticed that I’m spending less time chasing students for homework.

The dashboards allow us to have a new dialogue with students.

In my one-to-one catch-ups I show students the intervention graph and ask them, “where do you think you are?” And more often than not, the student knows in which of the four quadrants they sit. This provides the student with greater ownership of their effort and progress. It’s a new dialogue that I can have with the student.

If a teacher is absent through illness or attending a cpd event, CENTURY allows us to see the work students are completing in real-time. In fact, I’ve been to conferences and sat there watching the data come through. It just gives me that confidence. I can look at certain students, see what they are doing and then say to them ‘I saw your work and I was really proud of you’. In the past, you might have set a workbook activity for a cover lesson, but with CENTURY you have much greater visibility as a teacher and you know the students are supported to complete the work.

Our current research focus is retrieval practice. I’m now keen to see how CENTURY can support flipped learning.

The phase we’re in right now is using CENTURY as a retrieval tool. We deliver class based teaching and then set nuggets for home learning to retrieve that learning the following week, helping students to retain it in the long term. Using CENTURY for retrieval is working, that’s definitely one way of using this intervention tool.

Our next stage of research, will explore flipped learning. I’m keen to see whether if I set nuggets on hydrocarbons, when we come to cover hydrocarbons in class, my students be able to move at a higher pace with greater challenge because students have  engaged and completed that home learning.