At The Avenue Primary School
The Avenue Primary School sits in Newham, one of London’s most deprived areas, with around 37% of residents living in poverty and with 44% of the school’s pupils being on Pupil Premium. The school is delivering a high standard of education to its 750 pupils aged 3 to 11, which will help them have better life chances.
The school provides pupils with an education which will give them the opportunities to help them achieve their dreams. It is well known that a child will achieve more in their education if the parents can provide the right support. One challenging area for the school has been engaging with parents, many of whom are recent immigrants and speak English as an additional language.
To drive parental engagement forward, the school looked at pupils and parents’ accessibility to technology. Many did not have laptops or even the internet at home, so the school wanted a solution which would communicate via mobile phones. They wanted all parents to be informed about what was happening in the classroom. The lack of English language for many parents also meant that the system they chose needed to be visual.
As Khalil Hassanali, Assistant Headteacher at The Avenue Primary School, explains: “At our school, many of our pupil’s face challenges; for some, it is that due to their current financial circumstances they don’t have laptops or iPads at home, or the internet. For others, their challenge is that English is not a language spoken at home. This means that many parents, through no fault of their own, were often unaware of what their child was studying at school.
The school selected MarvellousMe, as: “We wanted a solution which would allow us to get up and running quickly. A system which would allow us to positively communicate rewards and praise with our parents in a way which they could receive and access the messages easily. As many of our parents have mobile phones, this was a perfect solution. Additionally, the cost was lower than other solutions.”
“We wanted a tool which would be a positive channel of communication from school to home to keep children motivated. We were attracted to MarvellousMe as we can easily send immediate rewards and praise home to parents, so it is a great way to motivate young people to achieve.
MarvellousMe also helps to start meaningful conversations about education between pupils and parents at home.”
Schools are looking for a way to contact parents in a familiar format which they can easily access. “For our school, it’s been a great way to engage with parents and where parental engagement has been a challenge over the years, MarvellousMe has made it simpler.”
“The parents of pupils have taken to using MarvellousMe very well, and it has been a supportive tool in the way we communicate with them. We are moving away from sending letters out, and using MarvellousMe helps us give parents an insight into their child’s education.”
More than parental engagement
With any EdTech product, the key to achieving teacher buy-in is that the product must have noticeable benefits and that they deliver an improvement quickly.
“MarvellousMe has given our teachers a direct line to parents. Within a few weeks, teachers had received thousands of ‘high-fives ’ back, meaning that parents are not only reading messages, but they are also acknowledging they have read them and are pleased about it, which is lovely for our teachers.”
For The Avenue Primary School, using MarvellousMe has been a supportive tool for parental engagement, but the school have discovered that the app can do so much more than they thought.
“As an Assistant Headteacher, I can easily create or see any learning groups and monitor parental engagement. Our teachers can send messages to these groups, an individual or the whole class or school, and send praise quickly and easily. Recently we have had odd sock day and Children In Need day, and we could send messages about these days easily, in a few seconds.”
One feature of MarvellousMe that schools love is the ability to create personalised badges for their unique school values.
“We’ve created badges for all of our learning values which gives our pupils a wider understanding of them in our daily lives at school. If one of our pupils demonstrates a school value, we can send a badge home immediately. This creates discussion about our school values at home and really brings our school values and what they mean to life.”
As a school using EdTech to help ensure every child achieves regardless of their background, what is next?
“I don’t think we have touched the surface of what MarvellousMe can do. It’s a powerful tool which has helped us engage parents regardless of background and give them a clearer understanding of what their children learn in the classroom. The immediate praise and reward format is motivating our pupils to achieve.”