14 May 2019
West Bridgford School, a co-educational academy in Nottinghamshire has 1,650 students aged 11-18 and 91 staff.
It was formerly a grammar school, then a secondary, before achieving academy status in March 2011.
Among its former students are the historian Lucy Worsley, actress and barrister Justine Thornton and TV journalist Owen Thomas.
It had used an open source learning management system and a separate mark book and grading platform for many years.
However, the school reports that they were high maintenance, too rigid, and required too many clicks and logins for access, which led to very low usage. It said that just 10 per cent of students were logging in a few times a week. In addition, it needed a product that would engage and inspire parents, helping to foster a strong school-to-home relationship.
It turned to a company called D2L and its Brightspace product which can be used by students and teachers on any device, including smartphones, tablets and desktop PCs.
The school’s deputy head teacher, Mark Deans, said: “The students of today have every part of their life immersed in the most up-to-date technology, so it is only natural that their school life would reflect this.
“Students will very quickly lose interest with slow, high-maintenance platforms that appear out of date; therefore, we needed a modern platform that would inspire both students and teachers, and would be flexible enough to meet our specific requirements as opposed to making us conform to a rigid structure.“…usually we have to push these things through, but the staff are driving the implementation themselves. The teachers have particularly been enjoying the grading app.
“They can mark students’ work onscreen with written and verbal feedback via voice recording, and can even see how the students have responded to the feedback, saving them time and enabling them to engage with a generation that often feels more comfortable with technology…and it is genuinely exciting for us as an educational institution.”