Aim: To develop a departmental website that will allow pupils to access information and resources, and to interact with one another to provide peer mentoring.
Background: The number of students taking History at GCSE at the school is nearly twice the national average, and in such a large department it can be difficult to provide tailored support to all students.
Year 1: The foundations and structure of the website were completed by the Head of Department, working with a borough IT advisor. Staff worked together to create a significant amount of resources to share online, and the site was advertised and used as a point of communication with parents.
Year 2: The Key Stage 4 section of the website was completed to support GCSE pupils, and resources were designed to engage students with a variety of learning styles and abilities. Pupils and parents were surveyed about their use of the website, and demand was indicated for revision guides and exam information rather than a ‘chat room’ feature. Staff agreed that making these materials available to pupils at home was beneficial.
Year 3: All sections of the website were up and running and it was being used effectively by staff and pupils. Content was continually updated to reflect the new national curriculum and having the material online saved the department £400-£500 that would usually be spent printing and binding revision guides. Pupil and parent feedback was collected to help with future developments and the site was monitored daily, revealing that KS4 pupils and parents made the most use of the site.
Evidence: Pupil and parent questionnaires, website data.
Impact: As exams approached, the website was getting over 150 hits per day, and being able to see which revision pages were accessed allowed staff see where most pupils needed help. There is now better revision and more effective communication with pupils and parents.
Reflections: I believe that this development has greatly supported staff in the delivery of Key Stage 4 History. Pupils often comment on their own use of the resources available, and it has promoted a sense of responsibility and ownership of work within the pupils.
Contact: Jen Sawle, firstname.lastname@example.org