The LEO Academy Trust serves 3,500 pupils throughout the London Borough of Sutton. Formed in 2015, the Trust has over 400 staff, and values learning, excellence, and opportunity for all. This is driven by the shared goal to give every child a first class education.
A key part of this is technology for learning, as CEO Phillip Hedger comments:
“EdTech underpins everything we are trying to do. It’s changing the way that children learn and the way that teachers teach. It’s driving more creative practices to tasks and sits at the heart of each classroom.”
Since 2018, Phillip and his team at the Trust have been putting together their digital strategy. For them, this is all about teaching and learning. They look for tools that will help both teachers and pupils. That’s what led them to purchase Read&Write, EquatIO and Fluency Tutor.
The Trust's Director of Technology, Graham Macaulay comments on how important working with others is to their digital strategy:
“When we were looking at tools, we wanted a tool that would help all of our learners. More than that though, we wanted to buy a tool from a company which has a similar ideal to learning as ours. And we very quickly realised how in line Texthelp is with our own beliefs about education.”
Since working together, Texthelp tools have helped the Trust to support all of their pupils.
We're using Read&Write the most across the Trust now. I think the reason behind that is the range of tools that it has and what it offers the children. It's helping our English as an Additional Language pupils by having Text to Speech and translation tools. It's also helping our Special Educational Needs children and children that struggle with reading and writing. All of our children use Read&Write for multiple things.
One of the biggest impacts that Texthelp tools have had on the Trust, is helping pupils become more independent. Such as pupils being able to get help when teacher support isn’t at hand. During remote learning the Trust used Fluency Tutor to listen to children reading aloud even though they weren't in the same room.
Texthelp tools also help free up teacher time across the Trust by putting students in charge of their own learning:
‘There was one child who I was talking to recently, and she said that, "I really struggle with my reading. I used to need the teaching assistant next to me. Now I can get my Chromebook and with my headphones on in class it will read it out to me." That level of independence is a really fantastic part of the Texthelp tools.’ - Phillip Hedger
Moving forward, the LEO Academy Trust plans to recreate the success they’ve had with EdTech tools, in the maths' classroom. With the aim of EquatIO becoming part of the daily teaching and learning of maths. In the same way that staff and pupils use Read&Write and Fluency Tutor for reading and writing tasks.
This commitment makes it clear that the Trust sees EdTech as an enabler of success. Especially as they plan to grow the Trust from 6 schools to 12, in the next 3 to 5 years. As Philip explains,
“We want to have everything that we have now across 6 schools, across 12. The key to doing that is drawing on the skills of everybody who's using Texthelp tools."
While our tools are helpful to all, we know that they are necessary for some. That’s why we love hearing stories like this from LEO Academy Trust.
"We've got a pupil in Year 6 who has dyslexia. She told me that at school her teacher can't always get to her. We know teachers are busy, and they have other children they need to help. Now she can use Read&Write and is much more confident.
She uses the Picture Dictionary if she finds words that she doesn't know. She will highlight paragraphs of text that she wants to listen to, to help her to process it. She'll take photos of things that are in the classroom and use the Screenshot Reader to have them read aloud."
"This child was not one that wanted to come to school, because she didn't have that help before. Now she loves school, because she can use Texthelp tools to access learning in her own way and at her own speed."