When Woodbrook Vale secondary school decided to prioritise pupils’ personal development, their biggest challenges were how to motivate students to engage with an area they wouldn’t get a grade in, and how to make it feel as essential for an 11 year old as for a 16 year old. Staff also wanted an approach which would help students build on their skills progressively as they moved up through the school.
The key, they felt, would be to take personal development online. A web based app was developed, in which students submit pieces of evidence to meet performance indicators linked to specific character skills. Evidence builds to enable students to earn a ‘Futures Award’ at different levels.
Students choose an area to work on from seven options:
They then choose a task from that area and, when completed, upload evidence. Teachers provide feedback; they can also ‘favourite’ pieces of evidence – for example, a poster about resilience that one girl created.
The system allows staff to monitor tasks completed, awaiting feedback, or achieving awards at whole school or tutor group level. They can monitor the engagement of specific groups, such as disadvantaged students eligible for the Pupil Premium.
The approach has been very successful. In its first year, one year group submitted over 1000 pieces of evidence towards their Futures Award and nearly a hundred awards were issued. Most importantly, students engaged, learned and their work was reflected in their behaviours.
Click here for a demonstration of how the app works