Post Created by Adam Robbins, Head of Product Development at iCanLearn & Deputy Headteacher at Richard Alibon School
In a recent meeting with a lead inspector, I was asked the simple question, “What are you doing as a school to help parents support their children’s reading at home?”
Very simple. Yet, despite its simplicity I did not have an answer. I suppose we send home reading records, but that is not enough.
The inspector continued, telling us that reading was top of the inspection agenda, and in line with the national push to improve reading standards. If you read the education press, the national press and the evening news, more often there are news items on reading, raising standards in literacy, reading for pleasure, book weeks etc etc, which all indicate how prevalent this topic is across schools, across the country and across the world!
The inspector then continued and asked us to consider whether we thought, as a school, we were we doing enough to promote this agenda? Again very simple, but my answer was limited.
We then moved on to the topic of parental engagement. What followed was some in depth data analysis, no one’s favourite task, but the results were startling. In schools where parents were fully engaged their children’s learning was significantly improved and rates of progress significantly increased. It does not take data analysis to work this out!
As a parent I was under similar pressure to help my children at home, support their reading, help with homework. But with ever more demands on my time and a limited understanding of how and what my children were learning in school this was also a challenge.
This was now just a problem, a two-fold problem with obvious solution. And so a number of colleagues and I began to discuss this in the staff room, with friends, at meetings and we realised that there was no easy solution, certainly not one that began to tackle these key issues.
When my teaching colleagues and I began working on solutions, we needed to qualify this challenge:
- Engage parents in supporting their child’s learning at home
- Provide convenient and practical solutions via technology for schools and parents
- Provide visionary products for teachers designed by teachers
The aim it to meet all these challenges whilst maintaining our guiding principle of keeping the child at the centre of all that we offer and linking teachers and parents all together in a more efficient and convenient way.
Our first offerings, iCanRead and iCanProgress demonstrate the solutions we have designed so far and we are already developing future products that tackle real life issues in education and offer tools for schools to meet these challenges and improve outcomes for children.
That is why we are The Application of Education…in more ways than one!!