Social Icons

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Google Basics for Teaching Course

Teachers at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy have been taking part in the 'Google Basics for Teaching Course' - link available here.

Today I had an email from Primary Teacher, Nikki Fryer, with her permission I would like to share this with you all -

Gary, I managed to find the time to complete the Google Basics Course today and I got my certificate! Attached as proof! 
I would be interested in other opportunities like this. 
The best thing for me was being able to do this course partly at home, partly in work and partly on the bus!
Incidentally, although I did not in the end do every single bit of coursework, I completed the project and my skills in uploading and sharing not only documents but pictures and music have increased by a mile. I've also learnt to use digital equipment in IPACA that I have not used before...
Thank-you to Nikki for allowing me to share this with everyone, I look forward to hearing many more success stories.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Chromebook Survey RESULTS

Chromebooks were first introduced to the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy as a pilot in February 2013. Following initial positive feedback they were then issued to all students from Year 7 to Year 11 in September 2013. Students are allowed to take devices home to support their learning.

See below for our most recent student survey results (direct link for mobile users - -

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Leap Forward

Learning Ski Jumping takes courage, and this young girl has what it takes to 'leap forward' - 

Love this video! Perfect for use in an assembly.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Fantastic App TeleStory

In case you haven't seen it, LaunchPad have launched a new app recently called TeleStory that enables students to film and broadcast their own TV shows. They can choose from four different themes - Star Adventure, The Band, Eye Spy, and now The News - to create live-action TV shows with digital costumes and special effects.

Apple just named TeleStory one of the "Best Apps of 2014". With The News, students can create a wide range of market, box-office, sports, weather, and traffic reports in the newsroom or LIVE in the field.

This app is well worth checking out!

LIVE Streaming Christmas Performance

Tonight saw the fabulous performance of Osprey Quay's 'FIVE GOLD RINGS', as well as the 200+ people in the audience we were joined by 30+ people remotely who watched a live stream of the performance. These people included family members who live afar, a Mum who watched live on the train back from a meeting in London and a Grandmother who watched from her hospital bed. For the results please click below -

This was all made possible through the use of three Chromebooks and the power of 'Google Hangouts on Air'. See below for more information on how this was achieved -


Use Hangouts to Livestream - To set up a Google Hangout on Air (GHOA) to livestream, just create a Hangout on Air by navigating to, clicking the down arrow by “Home” on the left, clicking “Hangouts,” then clicking “Start a Hangout on Air” as seen in the animated gif below. 

How to Start a Google Hangout on Air.gif

Start your Hangout on air immediately by following the easy to understand prompts on the screen or set the Hangout to air later by clicking “Later” as seen in the image below:

If you want to record the Hangout without anyone being able to watch it live, remove “Public” from the Audience section and add your own email address. Once you have set up your Hangout to begin at a later date, you will see the event page and the “Start” button. You can bookmark this page and return to it at any time to start your Hangout on Air.

Screenshot 2014-11-19 11.50.49.png

Once you've started your Hangout on Air, you will also need to click “Start broadcast” for YouTube to begin recording and your live audience to begin viewing. Just click the green “Start broadcast” button under your video to begin broadcasting. Note: to broadcast videos that are longer than 15 minutes, you will need to verify your YouTube account. Do that here.

After the broadcast is started an identical, but red, “Stop broadcast” button will appear.

In tonight's performance we invited multiple Chromebooks into the call to create different viewing angles. The results are not cinema, but for the relatives of the children who could not attend in person, there was NOTHING like seeing it live!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Blocking - no longer a viable option (CC: @Securly)

A recent survey to 2000 parents of children aged between 11 and 16 has found that 56 per cent felt that using parental web filters could damage their relationship with their children.

The general feeling was that they wanted their children to develop the self-discipline to control their own internet use. What’s more, many parents feel unable to make children study by blocking internet access, as homework often requires online research.

The research also found that 63 per cent of parents said confiscating smart phones and tablets was futile. 70 per cent feared social media could distract children from their work.

"What am I supposed to do? Stop her when she says it's essential for her homework. But when she's meant to be working, she's actually on social media on the computer," said the mother of 15-year-old Elly, from Worcestershire.

The parent of a 12-year-old said an attempt to block the internet had resulted in rebellion: "She just sat there and didn't do her homework for the whole time the internet was blocked."

Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of the parenting website Netmums, said parental internet filters could be blunt instruments, signalling "a total lack of trust and understanding" between parents and children.

Dialogue was better, she suggested, along the lines of: "Come on, let's get this homework done," but she admitted it could be difficult.

One particular parent commented that they now use software that allows their daughter to set her own homework targets, block the internet for the time she needs to achieve these targets and award herself success ratings when she completes her homework in time.

"She's in full control. She loves it. She writes down her goals, puts in the social media sites she wants to block and the amount of time," said Elly's mother.

You can read the full article on the BBC website at

Friday, 14 November 2014


The Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy recently played host to a special event showcasing digital excellence among pupils. The event entitled ‘Kidsmeet’ saw First School pupils from Frome Valley, Damers, Milborne St. Andrew, Cerne Abbas, Cheselbourne and St Mary's Middle School students join together at the Portland Academy.

Host, Academy Director for Digital Learning and Innovation, Gary Spracklen explains how, ‘The event was an opportunity to celebrate and share how Digital Technology is being used to engage, innovate and inspire learning. For over a year now we have been working with schools from the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership to prepare for the new Computer Science Curriculum, together we have shared best practice as teachers and sought effective methods of introducing assessment and moderation into this new curriculum area. The Kidsmeet event today was a celebration of that partnership and an opportunity for our learners to share exciting tools they use to support their learning’.

Speaking about the event, Y5 pupil Finley Short said, ‘It was a fantastic day! We got to share all the exciting work we are doing here at IPACA with other children from around Dorset. My group shared how we can invent imaginative solutions to problems using a ‘Makey Makey’ board. Mr Spracklen explains further, ‘A Makey Makey board is a device which can turn everyday items into an input device. Today you can see how the children have turned fruit into a working electric piano. This technology can be applied in lots of different circumstances to solve an array of problems and when linked to coding can support A-Level and Degree-Level studies and research'.

Bob Duffin, Headteacher of Cheselbourne First School and Leader of the Dorchester Area Schools Partnership ICT Group said, ‘We want to thank Gary Spracklen and his team at IPACA for all their efforts to organise the Kidsmeet today. Everyone has said what a fabulous day it was and it was great to see more of what happens down at IPACA. We look forward to welcoming IPACA students to future events in Dorchester’.

Friday, 7 November 2014

#BYOD Pilot

I am excited to announce that we are planning a BYOD pilot for pupils here at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy. This pilot will start in January 2015 and will be focused on our West Base and West Base 2 superclasses at our new Osprey Quay Campus. The pilot will involve 120 learners aged between 6 and 9.

Last night, we hosted our first parent information session about the pilot, a recording of this session can be seen below -

I look forward to sharing the results with you through this platform.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Miss Heppell selected for Google Teacher Academy

Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy educator, one of 50 Global Educators to be selected for 'Google Teacher Academy'. 

Miss Melissa Heppell, who teaches in a superclass of 90 children at the Portland School's Osprey Quay Campus, said she was  ‘honoured’ to be selected. Miss Heppell is the second educator from the Portland Academy in two years to be selected for the unique opportunity which sees teachers from around the world presented with 'Google Certified Teacher Status'.

The Google Certified Teacher program was launched in 2006 and has since held several academies across the USA, Australia and the UK, expanding the ranks of Google Certified Teachers to over 800 educators worldwide. Miss Heppell is looking forward to attending the two day intensive program that recognises educators who are doing innovative and exciting things in their classrooms with technology. Speaking about the event she said, 'I cannot wait to connect with like minded educators who shared my school's passion for seeing digital technology transform learning'.

Academy Director of Digital Learning and Innovation, Mr Gary Spracklen, speaking about Melissa's selection for the Google Teacher Academy explains, 'For any schools to have a Google Certified Teacher in it's ranks is a significant achievement, to have two represents IPACA's position as a world-leader in the use of Digital Technology to support learning. The transformation we are seeing through the appropriate use of technology to engage, innovate and inspire learning is incredibly exciting and I am so pleased Miss Heppell will have the chance to share this with a global audience at the Google Teacher Academy while continuing to develop her skills'.

Great promotion from Google

New schools purchasing 20+ Chrome licences between the 1st October and the 31st December 2014 from an authorised Google reseller will be able to benefit from a day long Transformational Planning Workshop. The workshop will help school leaders build a practical plan for integrating technology in their classrooms in order to improve learning outcomes.


The workshop is a one day interactive session for a maximum of 2 people per school, facilitated by an educational technologist with extensive knowledge and experience spanning deployment, change management, technical areas and pedagogy. It will be delivered either at your school or a local school and will walk attendees through considerations and practicalities around implementing a technology strategy in their school.

Attendees will get an overview of what a connected classroom could look like and gain a greater understanding of what is possible in this environment. Google’s supported classroom and workflow will be explained, along with what is required to make this a success. Attendees will create a future plan document as part of the workshop which will detail achievable tasks, ideas around how these can be measured and include a list who would be involved in the delivery. A project presentation will also be developed by attendees enabling them to share their learnings with stakeholders in their school.


The Transformational Planning Workshop is targeted at the senior leadership and management team members including any key decision makers involved in technology purchase or those with roles supporting and enhancing teaching and learning.

Attendees will benefit from:

  • A greater understanding of the possibilities of technology in teaching.
  • A thorough overview of Google’s Education Solutions with guidance on how to establish an effective Google supported classroom successfully
  • The development of a practical future plan document with clearly articulated, realistic and achievable goals for technology in their school. This plan will be an invaluable tool to gain the buy-in and support of teachers, parents and stakeholders across the school community.
  • An Implementation project presentation which can be communicated to other staff for their feedback and consideration.

How to take advantage of this offer

  • Please contact your authorised Google reseller. Once your purchase is confirmed, the reseller can sign you up for the Transformational Planning workshop.
  • You will then be contacted by Google’s training partner, Trilby, who will arrange the workshop to take place at a mutually agreeable time, date and venue.

Requirements for school to qualify for this offer

  • Transformational Planning Workshop incentive is only available for new customers who purchase 20+ Chrome licenses from a Google authorised education reseller.
  • Only purchases from schools, academies, colleges or universities that have not bought Chromebook licences or Chrome units previously will be entitled to this free workshop incentive.
  • Management console orders must be confirmed by Google between 1st October and 31st December 2014 to qualify
  • The Transformational Planning Workshop must be scheduled to take place before 1st July 2015.
  • The promotion is only open to educational institutes in the UK

This offer may be removed at any time without notice.

Further questions please contact your authorised Google reseller.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Triss Rossin - Tute, Head of Pedagogy

Just read this great blog post from Triss Rossin who is Head of Pedagogy for Tute (pioneering company providing live online teaching into schools to support learners needing highly-targeted intervention). In the post, Triss explores the changing landscape of education and pays particular attention to 'online-learning'.

He concludes, 'Learning online satisfies an ever expanding cohort because learning can exist anywhere. The world is so vast but so close to learners now that a classroom may be more a collective of their peers rather than a traditional environment for lessons. Flipped learning promises pupils an education they can shape and pace, yet central to the ethos of any independent learning, and indeed any exploration of the world, is the requirement to know what to seek, where to find it and who to share it with'.

At IPACA Sixth Form we are using Tute to deliver three A-Level courses this year, Law, Further Maths and Polish. All three students taking these courses are loving their experience so far and I hope to use this blog to tell you more about the process in the near future.  

Friday, 10 October 2014

Flipped #IPACALearn

Broadcast on Wednesday 1st October, 2014, BBC Radio 4's 'The Educators' focused on Salman Khan, the man behind the world-famous Khan Academy.

 In the programme, full episode available here, Salman Khan talks about how and why he set up the not-for-profit organisation. He tells Sarah Montague why he believes lesson time in school could be spent more effectively if the explanation of new ideas is done at home, with students watching video lectures, in a process known as 'flipped learning'.

 The programme features a lesson at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy taken by one of our Joint Interim Principals Mr. Marklew. In the lesson, Mr. Marklew uses Khan Academy to support his Year 8 pupils understanding of the 'Nth Term'. See below for a short extract -


Friday, 3 October 2014

Why I am at @CEFPI2014?

I am currently in Portland, Oregon for the CEFPI Annual Conference 2014 to present at a Super Seminar on Saturday morning. The visit which has been fully funded by UK Learning will also see me visit a number of innovative schools both in and around Portland and Seattle.
In my Super Seminar session I will be joined by Terry White of Nova Co-Design and Director of UK Learning and Gary Overton of AHR Architects. Together we will explain explain why the vision and approach to learning that is being developed at IPACA is critical for successful  learning for students, teachers and local learning communities irrespective of global location.
We will be joined by Google Hangout by IPACA Patron Stephen Heppell who will identify the need for more collaborative working and team working for both students and staff and demonstrate the value and gains of“real” and empowered student engagement in the design and use of learning spaces. 
I will be discussing how technology is a key enabler for learning and its use and design implications for the organization of individuals and group work activity.
The Primary Objective of this “Portland to Portland” workshop,  will be to demonstrate the importance of a strong vision and pedagogy driving the design and organization of learning. There will be a strong focus on the importance of an integrated design team working with and on behalf of the learners teachers and educational clients and stakeholders. 
We believe this workshop will appeal to a wide range of delegates and place practical examples of   innovation around learning at the heart of what we are creating day by day at Portland UK, Portland, Oregon and internationally. 
The session is intended to be interactive throughout share and building on the contributions of all delegates.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014


Following Google's amazing announcement today I have shared the following with all staff here at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy -

If anyone had any doubts about the use of Google Apps for Education, there has been a HUGE announcement from Google today that from this Autumn all Google Apps for Education Users will automatically have UNLIMITED STORAGE (previously users were limited to 30GB each).

Full announcement here -

I personally believe this is a game changer for Education.

When you couple this with the following -

- Microsoft Office is available now on a Chromebook -

- SMART Notebook (Whiteboard Software) is available now on a Chromebook -

- Photoshop will soon be available for Chromebooks -

These announcements serve to highlight the strength of our decision to go 1:1 with Chromebooks last year.

As we move forward and look towards Maritime House, Chromebooks will be an even stronger feature. I urge you where possible to move ALL YOUR FILES to Google Drive and manage your digital life through this platform.

I also encourage you to continue to share practice with each other, there are some amazing things going on throughout IPACA (check out the Twitter feeds for examples). Attend the Engage, Innovate and Inspire workshops (new timetable coming very shortly) and catch up on those you may have missed at

Google Apps for Education really is the future and we are at the cutting edge in the UK.

Exciting times!

Friday, 19 September 2014

Guest post from James Penny

In the below James Penny, shared his thoughts with me about what makes an outstanding school -

1. Teachers and Leaders are key

Teachers and leaders are the most significant actors in reform. In reforming organisations teachers and leaders are not abandoned or left alone without support and challenge. Teachers are encouraged to work with each other and to ask questions about what was effective and why. Social media is becoming a critical tool for sharing and exchanging ideas on what works. Complacency is not tolerated and there are no assumptions that the personal circumstances of a learner should dictate outcomes. There is no acceptance of a local ‘ripple in the gene pool’ so comments like: ‘This is the best our kids can do’ are not tolerated. The organisation sees their remit extending beyond the physical site into the surrounding community.

2. Professional Rigour

The organisation focuses on high quality outcomes. Difficult questions, like teacher effectiveness, are not ignored. They are tackled head on, quickly and with professional rigour. Organisations ask challenging questions about how resources are deployed, utilised and implemented. Every resource is reviewed from staff to buildings to books to technology. Nothing is assumed and nothing is ignored.

3. Leaders are critical

High quality education leaders are strong and purposeful, they enthuse their organisation with a compelling vision, share insights and expertise, hold people to account, celebrate success and tirelessly focus on Learning, Teaching and Outcomes.

4. It’s All About Learning – Not technology

The organisation understands the difference between technology to run back office systems and technology that is applied to the teaching and learning process. They do not conflate the two. They do not question the role technology has in providing high quality support systems like HR, Payroll, email, communication systems, data tracking, monitoring and analysis. They do not look at the technology to improve outcomes but they do understand that technology is part of the process of achieving outstanding outcomes. They do not allow an individual or personal obsession with a particular technology to dictate the use of technology, instead they evaluate and share the effectiveness of technology on a wide range of activities and outcomes and as part of the other resources they have at their disposal. They do not confuse the process of education with outcomes and they ask reflective questions about why they should use technology BEFORE they ask What technology should be used. Decisions about technology are made by senior leaders, the technology support function implements the decisions. Learning drives change not technology, but the potential for technology to support alternative approaches is considered, understood and embedded into the organisation.

5. Use what works best

‘Physical’ and ‘virtual’ are indistinguishable. Where virtual works best it is used, where traditional works best it is used. Organisations recognise the complexity of the system they inhabit but create simplicity. They are happy to make changes to any part of the system. None of them see technology as a magic bullet, although to curry favour with technology companies they will make statements about the effectiveness of technology if this leads to support or additional resources for less cost.

6. Facilities matter

Buildings and surroundings are important but are not considered to make a difference on their own in the same way that technology on its own is not the key.

Where possible the design of the facilities is carefully considered with an eye on creating spaces where circulation is easy and facilities are well laid out. Buildings are an integral part of the learning environment but success can still be achieved if buildings are not perfect. Attention to detail is paramount with small and cost effective changes being implemented to provide clean and well maintained facilities where people like to spend time.

James Penny is Solutions Director at European Electronique - read James' full biography at - -

Sunday, 14 September 2014

BenQ 70” Interactive Screen supports #Chromebook

Had the great news from BenQ recently that their new 70” Interactive Screen supports Chromebook. Adrian from BenQ emailed me to say -

Just to keep you up to date as I know your students are keen Chromebook users…

We've had the latest BenQ 70” Interactive Screen in this week, which now features interactive touch support for the Chrome OS.

Worked very nicely; simply connected to one of the USB ports and I was up and running. Slight issue that my Chromebook doesn’t have a HDMI output but I managed to pick up a microUSB / HDMI adaptor that worked perfectly.
We’ve also integrated some “eye-care” technology from our desk-top monitor range into the large screens now as well. The screens can be set to reduce their blue-light output, which is what causes head-aches and eye-strain etc.
Cannot wait to try one out!

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Google Classroom - Guest post from @IPACAMath

The following is a guest post from IPACA Maths Teacher and Google Certified Educator, Lea Spencer (@IPACAMath) 

I have had time to see how Google Classroom works now. In simple terms it is a work diary and will set up your folders and documents for the work your students will do, saving a lot of time and emails.

You can set a timed piece of work if you choose over a lesson - the students do the work as they have admin rights to the document (shared with you so you can comment on it). Once time is up they no longer have editing rights. You then mark it.

It is amazingly easy to use, so easy that in five minutes you can have it set up for your classes.

Go to - or type in the search bar.
Choose teacher as you should be logged into your IPACA gmail account already (may need to scroll down to see this). Then google guides you through it, click the + to add a group, then select students to add students. You can give students a code to add themselves to save time should you choose. This is possible to complete in the first five minutes of a lesson and only needs to be done once.

If you speak to anyone using it I am sure they will agree that it is so simple to use. It is taking place of my planner now, homeworks are very trackable through it, and classwork is very easy to set if you are sending them to links online.

Come and see me any lunch apart from Monday and I can help if you get stuck.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Atmosphere London 2014 - Interview

Just found the below in which I take a look into the developments happening across the education sector in response to the technology-rich environment children are accessing -

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Innovative Teaching to Feature on BBC Radio 4

The BBC Radio 4 ‘Educators’ documentary series came to the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy, IPACA, today to record an innovative maths lesson and interview the students taking part. The series, which sees presenter Sarah Montague interview the people whose ideas are challenging the future of education, will feature an episode focused on Salman Khan founder of the Khan Academy.

Khan Academy is used extensively at IPACA as part of our unique learning mix to help raise student progress and attainment. The Khan Academy, a not-for profit-organisation, was created in 2006 by Salman Khan to provide "a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere."
It's website features thousands of educational resources, including a personalised learning dashboard, over 100,000 practice problems, and over 6,000 micro lectures via video tutorials stored on YouTube. The Khan Academy covers a wide range of subjects including; mathematics, history, healthcare, medicine, finance, physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, cosmology, art history, economics and computer science.
IPACA’s rich digital environment and innovative 1:1 deployment of Chromebooks to all secondary phase and Sixth Form students, the first of its kind in the UK, has made effective online learning possible both at school and at home. Director of Digital Learning and Innovation, Gary Spracklen said, “Being able add a mix of superb online resources into a live lesson has a real impact on learning. Our teachers are effectively team teaching with experts in their field from across the globe” he added, “This extra dimension to our teaching and learning improves attainment and it also shows our students and staff that we are truly part of a global learning community.”
Year 8 student, Finley Brown said, ‘Being able to access Khan Academy at home means I can get a head start with my maths’. Rosie Blake, also in Year 8, added, ‘It was great fun having the BBC recording here today to share how exciting our learning is.’ BBC reporter, Natalie Donovan said, “It’s been great meeting Year 8 students at IPACA and to find out how they use digital resources such as Khan Academy to help them understand difficult mathematical concepts.”

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

SMART Notebook for Google Chrome

There are two web-based options that will allow you to take advantage of Notebook on your device, both of which are (currently) available for free:
1. SMART Notebook Express is a “light” version of Notebook available at Here, you are able to open and manipulate existing files, as well as create new ones.
2. SMART Notebook Web Beta is currently available to use at This web-based version of SMART Notebook is still under development, and features are being added periodically. Also note that, because this is a “beta” version, there may be changes, as well as registration and/or licensing fees in the future.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

GEG Meet Up at Google

Today I joined @GEG_UK colleagues for an informal discussion with members of the Google Edu Team at Google’s Buckingham Palace Road Office in London.

The group is a platform for Google Educators in the UK to discuss their work, share ideas and build a community of people with the same interests. GEG UK is essentially a group of volunteers running a community for teachers by teachers.

A video of GEG UK’s most recent Live Hangout can be seen below -


Hopefully in time this is a group that will grow and support the innovative use of Google and Google Education products and services.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Guest post from Angus Dawson - Cutting Edge Target Setting

Being proactive with target setting means that students at IPACA are in control of managing their own learning. Each term students set themselves three new learning targets which will build on their previous goals and add complexity to the way they develop as learners. The use of the Chromebook Target App allows students to record and track their performance data, and provides the opportunity for them to check their progress whenever they want. The Chromebook Target App is unique to IPACA, and is a great example of cutting edge Digital Innovation being used to support students achieving the best possible results they can. 

Angus Dawson is Head of Wren House at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Spell Up from Google

Spell Up is a new word game and Chrome Experiment that helps you improve your English using your voice—and a modern browser, of course. It’s like a virtual spelling bee, with a twist.

Google worked with game designers and teachers to make Spell Up both fun and educational. The goal of the game is to correctly spell the words you hear and stack them to build the highest word tower you can—letter by letter, word by word. The higher the tower gets, the more difficult the word challenges: You’ll be asked to pronounce words correctly, solve word jumbles and guess mystery words. You can earn bonuses and coins to level up faster.

Spell Up works best in Chrome on your computer and on Android phones and tablets. (It also works on iPhones and iPads, but you’ll need to type rather than talk.) Whether you’re just learning English or you’re already a pro,check it out! And if you’re a teacher, we encourage you to try it out in your classroom. 

Just speak to play!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Exciting news from @seangtute and the team at Tute


Tute, the UK’s leading social education platform, has announced that it is broadening its subject range to include both GCSE and A level courses. The extended offer is in response to demand from schools looking to expand their curriculum, as well as from overseas schools looking to deliver qualifications from English exam boards.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Classroom by Google

Super excited about 'Classroom' by Google -

Classroom is a new, free tool coming to Google Apps for Education that helps teachers easily and quickly create and organize assignments, provide feedback, and communicate with their classes. This video highlights the experiences of some of the teachers and students who gave us feedback to help develop Classroom. Learn more:

Coding in Reception

Great work from the new Early Years Blog -

Coding in Reception.
In our learning we have been exploring the Daisy the Dinosaur app on the IPAD.

The children had to use a series of commands to make Daisy shrink and grow.

Progresso - 21st Century MIS Solution

At IPACA (Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy) we put a lot of thought into how we wanted to use data to engage, innovate and inspire learning. To this end, we broke away from our old MIS provider SIMS as we feel it didn't meet our demands. We went with Progresso and we haven't looked back.

Don't get me wrong, changing your MIS is never easy... but, with Advanced Learning the process in moving has been managed carefully and effectively. Support is always on hand when you need it and the company are really keen to develop and innovate their product (something our previous supplier was not prepared to do).

Progresso for us has provided the perfect solution to meet our demands, see why in the video below -

I strongly recommend Progresso MIS and would be happy to talk to anyone about the difference the system is making to teaching and learning.

If you want to find out more I encourage you to sign up to the following event -

IPACA Focus of SWGfL Newsletter

SWGfL (South West Grid for Learning) is a not for profit, charitable trust company, funded by 15 Local Authorities across the South West of England. Recently they made IPACA a feature of their newsletter which is sent to schools and colleges throughout the South West of England.

"Windows to the World" - IPACA leading the way in the digital age

IPACAThe Education team at SWGfL had a great opportunity to visit our inspirational friends at the IPACA Academy on the Isle of Portland last week. We met with Gary Spracklen, Director of Digital Learning at the Academy, whose passion for revolutionising education in this digital age is more than clear.

So what makes the IPACA Academy such an exciting place for children to learn?

Taking your shoes off as you walk into one of the ‘super-classrooms’, it is immediately evident that the Academy is breaking the mould of the traditional ‘30 same-age pupils, 1 teacher’ classroom model. Taking inspiration from IPACA patron and visionary educationalist Stephen Heppell, the school have adopted a ‘stage not age’ approach to progression where pupils are taught in classrooms with up to 90 peers across the age range, moving on when they are ready. This learner-led design ensures that the education experience really is tailored to each individual pupil.

Super Classroom

Embracing and celebrating technology is at the centre of the new approach. Following a successful trial of 16 Google Chromebooks in Food Technology classrooms, the school now provides each and every secondary pupil with their own Chromebook, with all data and applications stored in the cloud. And the best thing? This is at zero cost to families. So in an area which sits within the lowest 20% of child-wellbeing nationally, each pupil now has their own device that they bring to the classroom each day and can take home to use for homework. At primary level, in a cohort of 240 pupils, the school has 90 iPads, 90 Chromebooks and 30 desktop Windows PCs. The aim is for a ‘device agnostic’ approach in which pupils are confident and competent with a range of technologies.
‘Windows to the World’ is now a regular feature in primary classrooms and sees a group of pupils using Skype Education to connect to another classroom anywhere in the world, participating in a game of 20 questions to try and work out where the other pupils are based. At secondary level, YouTube is used in dance classes with pupils filming routines using their devices, applying filters and immediately uploading to the site. Using a cloud-based storage system encourages collaborative working across classes and years as different pupils in different locations can work on the same project, and edits are saved in real-time.

And support for the teachers? Every Tuesday evening at the Academy sees an Engage, Innovate & Inspire CPD session in which teachers are educated in software such as Google Apps and Edmodo, and how they can be proactively used in the classroom.
IPACA img2
For an approach such as this to really make a difference, both staff and students must be engaged, and the support required put in place. This is recognised at IPACA and the school has created a network of 140 engaged ‘Digital Leaders’ across the age range from 3-16 who share ideas around the use of technology and new software. Using Edmodo the group hold meetings online and provide digital support around the school, training parents and adults where required.

As we all know, with great power comes great responsibility. In sequence with all the ‘super-cool whizzy technology’, the pupils at IPACA are also taught how to behave safely and responsibly in our digital world. This is through delivery of the SWGfL Digital Literacy curriculum which provides a structured range of free resources and ideas of how to integrate with other subjects, broken down by year group.

To access the free Digital Literacy curriculum, visit

We came away from our visit with a new appreciation of what is possible in the classroom, provided the vision and passion is there. As the global community becomes increasingly digitised, this is a really exciting time for schools and the next generation, and the pupils living on the Isle of Portland are at the forefront of this.

The Isle of Portland
Published: 5/13/2014