Key Facts

• Immediate, positive impact on parental engagement (100%)
• Re-enforces classroom learning at home
• Supports online learning platforms
• Improves homework completion rates
• Improves attainment for all pupils
• Reduces the workload for teachers
• Fully GDPR compliant
• Embraces wider family circles

About Academy 360

Academy 360 is an all-through school based in Sunderland. With around 1000 pupils, Academy 360 teaches pupils aged between 4 and 16 years, 50% of pupils are eligible for free school meals, and 30% of local children live in deprivation.

The challenge

As with many schools during the lockdown, their use of online learning has grown, but earlier than that, the school would set homework using various edtech platforms.  One challenge for the school is getting the online learning completed, as although the homework would be set, the completion rates were low and parental involvement was minimal, as Jannah Davies, Year 1 teacher and Digital Teaching and Learning Lead says:

“The main challenge with parental engagement is lost letters, so our messages were not getting through.  We had previously used another parental communications platform, but it just wasn’t effective. We found that we would set work for the children on one platform, but there was no way of telling parents that the homework was there.  We needed a system which would complement our other learning platforms and that would encourage the home learning that we set to be done.”

Parent power

Like many schools, when homework is set on a system, in primary years in particular, parents will need to remind their child that the homework has been set and when it is due in. 

“The challenge for many of the school systems on offer is that the communication channel is teacher to pupil, sharing content back and forth.  We wanted a system which would complement this and involve the parents much more.  Previous parental communications systems we had tried were too complex.  We wanted something that was easy for the teachers to use and that wouldn’t add to their workload.”

“We looked at various systems but chose MarvellousMe for it’s simple and visual nature.  And we weren’t wrong.  We’ve seen a huge improvement since we started using MarvellousMe as it brings messages straight into the hands of parents to their mobile phones.”

Rewards matter

As a school, it’s great to give rewards to pupils to motivate and foster their love of learning, and it couldn’t be easier than with MarvellousMe, as Jannah explains:

“It’s brilliant that MarvellousMe enriches other systems that we use in school and we can now award badges for children’s progress on resources like SeeSaw, Google Classroom, TT Rockstars and Oxford Owl.  It makes giving rewards for positive learning so easy, and seamlessly celebrates success and positive behaviour in the classroom and progress online.  Our pupils get very competitive about how many badges they have in MarvellousMe; it’s a great motivator.”

“At the end of our lessons I ask the children what message should we send on MarvellousMe to your parents.  The children are involved in the process and can talk about their achievements in school at home.”

A window in to the classroom

One of the great benefits of MarvellousMe is that for parents, it is a window into the classroom, and real-time events from the classroom can be easily shared with parents at home.

“It’s lovely to be able to share our winter walk and hot chocolate photos with parents during the school day on MarvellousMe.  Hearing the parents ask their child whether they enjoyed their winter walk as they come out of school shows that MarvellousMe sparks positive conversations about school at home.”

For the wider family members, parents can invite them to use MarvellousMe to be more involved in the education of the younger members of the family.  A great way for grandparents to see the rewards the children are receiving in school, and to stay in touch, particularly in the current climate.

Improving attainment

For busy parents at home, sometimes a simple reminder is all they need to make sure that online learning is completed, says Jannah:

“Parents now know what home learning has been set on our learning platforms.  They know when it needs to be completed by as we send a quick message on MarvellousMe. We’ve seen a significant uplift in the amount of work being completed, and this can only have a positive impact on attainment.”

It’s been beneficial during COVID, adds Jannah:

“MarvellousMe has been brilliant for pupils who are self-isolating.  We can remind parents what work needs completing and send supporting instructions if needed. Plus of course we can award the child a MarvellousMe badge when the task is done, making them and their parents very proud.”

Positivity and reduced workload

Some schools are hesitant to add new systems as there is a fear that it will increase workload, but this isn’t the case, confirms Jannah:

“Our whole team are using it really well for sending messages, sending reminders and sending rewards, which is essential in the current climate.”

“As a teacher, I love using MarvellousMe.  It’s immediate, easy to use and you can use it on the go, so it doesn’t add to your workload. If anything it reduces it.”

Next steps

As a forward-thinking school, where will technology take them next?

“We’ve had MarvellousMe since the start of the school year and love seeing the latest developments as there are improvements all the time.  We are really enjoying seeing which partnership badges are being released as giving rewards for TT Rock Stars, and our others resources through MarvellousMe, is so quick and easy.   The more it we integrate it with our other learning platforms, the better. It’s such a great parental communications tool and pupil motivator.”

“We surveyed our parents about MarvellousMe, and the feedback was excellent.”

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HeadteacherChat’s Review of MarvellousMe:

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