The leadership team at Bournside School pursues initiatives that have a basis in research and maximise learning time in the classroom.
Smart Revise resonates strongly with our school ethos because of its unique connection with academic studies that have identified the best learning practices. It is the only application built to specifically address the forgetting curve and provides our teachers with time-saving ways to introduce more examination questions into their lessons – both of which raise the attainment of students.
Our latest Ofsted inspection report from September 2022 highlighted that, “…in a few subjects, leaders need a closer focus on the key concepts that pupils need to know, and when. In these subjects, pupils, especially disadvantaged pupils, are not remembering key facts over time.” We are adopting Smart Revise because it was built to address this very issue.
We are also looking to embed more good practice into our day-to-day teaching and ensure consistency across the Computer Science team. Smart Revise quiz is a huge part of our plans because it is important to us that students are engaged right from the word go. Our site is so large, students arrive at different times to a lesson, negatively impacting learning time. With Smart Revise quiz, our students can start an effective but low-stakes recall activity immediately without any preparation required from the teacher.
Since the questions never end, no student can finish the task early. Every student is engaged until the teacher decides to start the next phase of the lesson. As a bonus, reports allow us to identify the outcomes from this activity very easily. The impact is that students will have regular recall activities, established routines, high expectations, and an evidence-based approach to intervention. As a school leader, I also have oversight of the data to take to leadership meetings.
Every teacher is extremely busy going from class to class, which creates its own challenges, and good practice can often be forgotten in the day-to-day hullabaloo. Smart Revise eases this considerably by automatically selecting questions for teachers. Peer marking is another feature not offered by any other product, and although we are only just starting to investigate this, we can see clear potential for it to reduce marking while having a positive impact on students.
We know educational research indicates that doing more exam-style questions and peer assessment has a positive effect on student performance. Smart Revise allows us to quickly and easily integrate this into our classroom practice. Assessments can be generated in less than two minutes, and with peer marking, there is less onus on the teacher to mark the work. Instead, we can manage the marking within the lesson, as well as addressing questions and misconceptions from students as they arise – far more productive than teachers spending hours marking work in the evenings.
As the content in Smart Revise is written by experienced teachers that we trust, we have confidence that it delivers exactly what the curriculum requires. Too often, applications don’t have a precise focus on the specification, including content outside the boundaries of what students can expect to be examined on. While this is good for general learning, it is less useful for the examination preparation Smart Revise excels at.
Our next goal is to establish consistency across the team so that we are all maximising the benefit of Smart Revise. The product authors are visiting the school to lead department meetings, introduce new features and share best practice from other schools. This has also had a positive impact on us working as a team and not getting lost in our own individual priorities – especially important given we have recently had new staff join who are less familiar with our resources and ways of working.
Robert Waters, Assistant Headteacher, Cheltenham Bournside School & Sixth Form Centre.