What if there was a way to make the EYFS and primary school observations and assessment process simpler? What if there was a way reduce the manual burden on teachers, but at the same time, allow them to achieve more?
These were just a couple of the questions that the software gurus at edtech software development company, NetSupport, were asking as they considered creating a new education app that would save time for teachers – as well as provide them with simple ways to gain more insights into the attainment and progress of their class.
After close consultation with teachers and school leaders throughout the whole development process (plus extensive classroom trials), the end result is ReallySchool: an convenient app for primary school teachers that streamlines the observations and assessment process that needs to be completed for every pupil each day – with a comprehensive bundle of bonus tools that maximise the learning evidence that they are required to collect. And it’s already making quite an impact! Let’s explain…
A new way to capture learning
The ReallySchool app has been designed to be intuitive and easy for teachers and teaching assistants to use, without any formal training required. Teachers can begin using it in their classrooms straight away: photographing children’s skills acquisition on a tablet or smartphone and assessing it in a couple of clicks by applying statements from the in-built frameworks, spotting any learning gaps from timelines and class overviews and being able to share pupils’ achievements with parents and guardians via student journals or messages.
The feedback we’ve had from the teachers already using ReallySchool in their classrooms is outstanding, with many saying that it saves them approximately two hours per day; cumulatively, over a week, that’s a significant amount of time that can be reinvested into teaching and learning to benefit pupils. As the app has been designed in the style of many common social media apps, it’s intuitive and easy to learn as you go. Some schools have told us that even their most technophobic members of staff who wanted to continue using paper journals for pupils’ observations started to use ReallySchool when they saw how quickly their colleagues were completing theirs – which is great news! What’s more, it’s extremely accessible to schools and early learning institutions due to its budget-friendly cost.
A treasure trove of tools
Sometimes, classroom learning can take an unexpected twist and teachers need to go with the flow. So to ensure that ReallySchool is as responsive teachers need it to be, we designed its tools to be as flexible as possible. So what if, instead of photographing evidence of learning, a child wants to tell you about it or show it to you instead? Simple – just click the audio or video icon, then ‘Record’, and it’s captured. What if you need to quickly add a student to a group observation? Just click and add them in, without having to re-create groups from scratch. Assessments in ReallySchool are extremely flexible and convenient, with teachers being able to include multiple frameworks, age bands and learning areas all in a single observation.
To give teachers the extra insights and overviews of whole class attainment that they need (or, alternatively, whole-school views for senior leaders), ReallySchool’s complementary desktop portal has a dedicated Reports Dashboard. This can provide class attainment, class progress, baseline reports showing EYFS pupils’ skills on entry and more – as well being the area where teachers can create student journals; an individual in-depth achievement report for each pupil that can be shared with parents at parents’ evenings. Class overviews showing which pupils are emerging, developing, expected and exceeding in their skills acquisition are also a great way for teachers to spot where any learning gaps are – allowing them to plan their instruction accordingly and ensure that all pupils are on track. For convenience, teachers can also access these reports and overviews on the app, enabling them to easily spot and address learning gaps during the lesson.
To reward pupils for good progress, behaviour choices and more teachers can give badges for achievement which are appended to their students’ observation records. These cover a multitude of topics and act as a great motivator for the pupils – and teachers can share news of any award directly with parents and guardians (to their own version of the ReallySchool app), so they can celebrate and share in their child’s success. And to encourage parental engagement, ReallySchool allows teachers to send messages and/or audio clips to parents, which can sometimes be helpful for those whose first language is not English and who may understand the spoken word better than the written one. Both parents and teachers can comment on observations and have a dialogue about learning, progress and how best to support young learners.
ReallySchool: now UK-wide
NetSupport focuses on continuous development and innovation to ensure all its solutions deliver exactly what schools and teachers need, so regular updates are the order of the day.
ReallySchool’s latest tools include Leadership Reports for school leaders – including SOAP, whole school attainment and more. We’ve also added new assessment frameworks to the in-built list: the National Curriculum for Wales, The Digital Competence Framework, the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and the Northern Ireland Curriculum for Primary – to make it even easier for teachers across the whole of the UK to apply the appropriate assessments to their pupils’ observations. And to help them make their judgements at the end of each key stage, we’ve incorporated the National Curriculum End of Key Stage 1 and End of Key Stage 2 assessment criteria too.
There are already many ways that ReallySchool helps senior leaders, teachers and teaching assistants by maximising the data that schools are required to collect as evidence of learning – and more functionality is being developed and added all the time.
To discover more about ReallySchool’s features and to sign up for a free trial for your school, click here.
See us at Bett 2020
Even better, to see all ReallySchool’s features in action, visit us at London ExCeL for Bett 2020! This education technology extravaganza will run from 22ndto 25thJanuary 2020 and you can find ReallySchool on NetSupport’s exhibition stand, NM47.Come over and have a no-obligation personalised demo to see how much of an impact ReallySchool can have in your classroom and how much time you can save. We look forward to meeting you there!
NetSupport has been producing tried, tested and trusted education solutions since 1989. From market-leading classroom management to IT management and safeguarding solutions, NetSupport’s education technology is used in schools all over the world and has achieved numerous award recognitions from the education sector, with ReallySchool achieving five in its own right so far in 2019.