Case study: why Severn Bridges MAT signed their schools up to Kapow Primary
The 47 teaching staff at Severn Bridges MAT wanted lessons that inspire children in all their schools. But because of a lack of specialism, as well as a lack of information regarding skills and knowledge progression, the staff were struggling to ensure the units they were teaching were built in a way that was relevant for their pupils.
With the help of Kapow Primary’s specialist-created schemes of work across the non-core subjects, they were able to develop the right sequencing of the curriculum for their pupils and feel like specialists themselves.
What is the Severn Bridges MAT?
Severn Bridges MAT is situated in Shrewsbury and is made up of three large schools. Altogether, they represent 150 teaching staff and 1050 children from Nursery to Year 6. The teaching staff there uphold a wide range of values and also award their children to highlight their non-academic skills in a way that follows them through school.
What problems were the teaching staff facing?
With the schools’ need for schemes of work for the specialist subjects, as well as the staff’s varying degrees of knowledge, teaching staff were finding themselves spending a considerable amount of time researching and planning lessons. As Andrew Morris, CEO of Severn Bridges MAT, said, “where teachers are not specialists, it is difficult to plan the correct knowledge progression and skills opportunities into the curriculum or it requires a large amount of time to do this.” Their lack of knowledge often meant they weren’t feeling confident teaching those subjects.
Therefore the schools needed a scheme of work that enabled them to build their subject knowledge and deliver lessons across the non-core subjects that covered the curriculum, but was also time-efficient.
Additionally, the schools wanted exciting and engaging ideas to inspire children in their lessons. They were looking for lessons that were sequenced and built upon each other to ensure learning was embedded in the long-term memory, with assessment or proof of progress opportunities built into each lesson. The Severn Bridges’ teaching staff also wanted a cohesive package that was logically sequenced and ensured there weren’t significant gaps in coverage.
How did Kapow Primary help them face those challenges?
Kapow Primary was recommended to the trust by a Local Authority advisor as a “useful and supportive tool to planning and teaching the Curriculum in their specialist areas”. Kapow Primary was trialled internally and eventually each school subscribed to the Art and Design and Computing schemes of work, benefitting from a special MAT pricing offer.
“Our coordinators across the three schools meet as school Development Teams. They initially researched the Kapow Primary subject support, then encouraged other staff to try the resources. Staff liked them and decided to subscribe. From then, the MAT school Improvement Teams looked at the Kapow Primary resources themselves and decided this would work well across the MAT. Staff were supported during staff meetings in using the materials to plan lessons building from the planning and progression in the materials. The School Improvement Teams for each subject review and refine materials designed to support assessment opportunities and proof of progress tasks and opportunities or ensure children recall knowledge earned.” explains Andrew.
Now, the teaching staff across all three schools coordinate their teaching plans. Year groups can easily end up teaching the same unit at the same time, though it’s up to each school to choose the theme they want to cover in those lessons. The coordinators also meet regularly as a team from each school to share their curriculum and resources and ensure best practice is continually being upheld.
Since subscribing to Kapow Primary, the three schools have found the resources to be extremely good value for money, offering clear planning as well as a fantastic range of additional resources with built-in CPD. The Art and Design and Computing schemes of work support all year groups, ensure progression of skills and cover the whole National Curriculum.
Using Kapow Primary for Computing has positively affected the teachers’ planning time and budgets. Instead of relying on several resource providers, they can now rely on Kapow Primary to fulfill all their teaching needs. Additionally, this allows for a clear sense of progression across each Key Stage and prevents the revisiting of work often at the same level in different Year Groups, which helps ensure each pupil acquires a range of vocabulary, knowledge and skills.
The teaching staff there are particularly happy with the quality of the Teacher and Pupil Videos, which are an exciting addition to the lessons, and the age-appropriate nature of the units. But above all, they are finding the schemes of work easy to follow, which was essential to them as it reduces time wasted planning units of work and lessons.
When it comes to the children themselves, Andrew says that they “have really enjoyed the videos and tutorials supplied. They feel they are learning more when questioned about their subject during coordinator reviews. They felt they had more knowledge or knew more facts when asked about what they had learned.”
How has Kapow Primary impacted the teachers?
“The staff now feel like ‘specialists’ themselves,” Andrew says. “Co-ordinators feel supported to aid staff develop long- and medium-term plans to support the creation of exciting lessons. The range of subjects are taught more consistently across the school now as some of the ‘fear’ factor in non-specialist teaching has been removed. Staff understand the progression in units and can use lessons more effectively to judge pupils’ skills and knowledge in lessons and help them plan the next lesson more effectively.”