Broadford Primary School is a large local authority school that’s part of The Learning Federation, alongside Mead Primary School.

It’s a teaching school and member of the Havering Primary Teaching School Alliance.

Technology strategy at a glance

Broadford used to have a variety of IT systems that had:

  • different operating controls, processes and passwords
  • user rights and permissions that were hard to control
  • limited options for staff to collaborate

The school decided to streamline to just 2 platforms, both of which could be used by teaching and administrative staff. These were:

  1. The school’s existing management information system (MIS)

  2. Google’s G Suite for Education, a free suite of cloud-based tools that enables:

    • teachers to manage classes and provide timely feedback
    • students to collaborate easily and learn on-the-go
    • the school to save money, as it allows teachers to assign work and pupils to complete work digitally, minimising time and money spent on printing

Collaboration and scalability

Broadford was inspired by how the new tools allow teachers to collaborate more easily.

In a new school federation structure, where staff work in a range of different environments, access to everything everywhere was considered crucial. Previously this may have involved using USB memory drives, which could easily be lost.

G Suite also offered straightforward scalability. It simplified administration and integration with social media, making it easier to:

  • archive evidence
  • share information with stakeholders
  • celebrate children’s achievements

Introducing new technology

Broadford decided to start small and increase its use of technology once the benefits were apparent and issues ironed out:

  • teacher champions were chosen so everyone knew who they could go to for support, without overloading one individual
  • consideration was given to having the right equipment. For staff and pupils to access everything in the cloud, the infrastructure and devices had to be fit for purpose

Impact on teacher workload

Lesson planning

The introduction of the new tools coincided with the decision to give all teachers in the same year group - across the federation - planning, preparation and assessment (PPA) time simultaneously. This means:

  • teachers are frequently collaborating on documents and sharing resources
  • work is either divided, where appropriate, or staff work on documents together, allowing teachers to be more efficient and work more flexibly
  • the federation has ensured there are spaces for all teachers to work together both physically and online

In a staff survey:

  • 98% of staff agreed (72% strongly) that G Suite improved collaboration and the sharing of resources across the school
  • 83% of staff agreed (69% strongly) that the new platform reduced their workload

Collaboration and communication between teachers

A range of other school activities have moved away from being paper-based, saving time and reducing workload for teachers:

  • parents’ evening bookings are now completed through Google Forms, leading to a quicker turnaround
  • all school staff have access to G Suite. This allows, for example, kitchen staff to see lunch choices through the system when pupils go on trips
  • year group leaders can see all contact information for their pupils and do not need to chase forms

Recommendations

Remember that file structure and file naming conventions are important. One of the benefits of using technology is that you can use documents again, but you need to be able to find them.

Demonstrate to others how using technology is useful and can save time. Give examples and use champions.

Create policies in Google Docs and link to the document from the school’s website. As you update the policy it will update live on the website. No need to download and upload again.

More information

Contact: Malcolm Drakes, executive headteacher of The Learning Federation, at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The government does not endorse any particular commercial products, and any products named in this case study are provided as examples only.

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