Working together as EdTechSheff, King Ecgbert School and Notre Dame High School were part of the first wave of Demonstrator schools who were about to launch holistic support for school improvement around capitalising on the potential of EdTech when the pandemic struck. At that point they pivoted to provide a year of very responsive support to schools around remote learning. Notre Dame, as an associate research school with John Coats at the helm of their system leadership work bring a strong grounding in the use of evidence and the EEF implementation cycle to effect sustainable school improvement. Paul Haigh, Headteacher of King Ecgbert, has long been a fixture on the EdTech scene- a published author and regular speaker on the subject he leads a school that makes great use of technology as part of its success.
Throughout the pandemic EdTechSheff provided short term and responsive support to primary and secondary schools around their use of technology to provide remote learning. Principally around Microsoft Office 365 (Teams) but also Google Classroom and Seesaw. They provided a very popular YouTube channel where teachers explained how they used technology to manage remote learning. In addition, they ran weekly webinars sharing advice from EEF, Ofsted and others about what worked best and formed facilitated work groups of teachers facilitated by Alastair Gittner where increasingly schools looked at the gains they had made due to the pandemic and started to apply the learning to longer term strategic school improvements. Behind the scenes EdTechSheff were instrumental in writing the DfE's self-review tool to allow schools to judge the quality of their remote learning during the pandemic and were consulted for the DfE School diagnostic tool for the 2nd year of the EdTech Demonstrator programme.
Both schools have traditional academic curriculums, and their success has been based on a core offer of an excellent curriculum and very strong classroom teaching wrapped up with a caring ethos and supportive pastoral teams.
New technology has been a large part of their success but not central to it- they both pride themselves on making appropriate but innovative use of technology in running the school as an organisation as well as enhancing teaching and learning but never using technology for its own sake. Since the shut-down of schools it is their expertise with remote learning over the web that has come to the fore.