Hurstmere School is a respected non-selective secondary school for boys in Sidcup, in the south-east London Borough of Bexley, and attended by approximately 1,050 students.
The school provides students with a broad range of resources to support different learning styles, and uses a wide range of digital technologies, particularly eLearning resources.
Why did the school choose LiteracyPlanet?
The school was looking for new and engaging resources to support students in English, and chose LiteracyPlanet due to the gamifed nature of the programme and the ability to use it to focus on specific needs of students and close gaps in their understanding. The main focus students were those eligible for Literacy and Numeracy Catch Up and Pupil Premium Grants.
How the school uses LiteracyPlanet
Hurstmere has been using LiteracyPlanet now for three years. Originally implemented as a literacy intervention for about 100 Pupil Premium and Catch Up students, it was quickly introduced across the whole of Year 7 and used as a regular part of English homework.
The Heads of English and SEN then decided to deploy it across all of Key Stage 3. Initially they set up task templates containing all the exercises for each year level, which were then assigned to students for them to work through.
Over the last two years they have taken a different approach, and created task templates focused on specific skills. For example the ‘Year 7 Introduction Template’ is focused on spelling, grammar and comprehension skills, with Years 6, 7 and 8 tasks. A ‘Year 7 Challenge Template’ runs alongside this, for students who want to push themselves. This has been replicated for Years 8 and 9, and teachers can reuse the templates from year to year.
Teachers like the fact that they can set homework for the students that is fun and engaging, and also helps them develop their English skills. They have found that a lot of students actually spend more time than directed completing tasks.
The Head of English particularly likes the comprehension activities, which have aspects that are similar to the new GCSE specifications.
Students enjoy the short tasks and the fact that they are gamified which means that they are having fun whilst learning. The variety of tasks also keeps the students engaged and wanting to master the tasks, rather than giving up if they find something difficult.
Specialist Sports and Science Academy for boys, part of the Penhill Trust.
Years 7 to 9 (Stage 3).
All literacy skill areas, task templates,
Engaging, versatile and effective.
LiteracyPlanet works well as a literacy support provision, and through our deployment method we have seen some fantastic improvements with some of our key target student groups. There has been a clear correlation between the students who are using LiteracyPlanet the most, ultimately scoring the most points, with an increase in their English Average Point Score.