Highams Park School is a mixed secondary school in London with academy status, as well as specialisms in technology and sports. They have over 1,600 students, including 500 in their 6th Form. It’s a popular school, receiving around 5 applicants for every place.
What was your situation before Firefly?
As a school, we were struggling to secure widespread adoption for our digital learning programme, this was impeding student centred learning. Our learning platform at that time was clunky and difficult to use, and had a confusing and unordered filing system. This resulted in a lot of time wasted trying to retrieve documents and ultimately a negative impact on the overall school performance, including exam revision.
Why did you choose Firefly?
We were introduced to Firefly at Bett, and were immediately impressed with its ease of use. Firefly stood out because it allows you to create your own internal pages, rather than just uploading a resource for download. The process of creating and editing pages using the Firefly editor with its drag and drop functionality is easy and really impressed us. Firefly has become the digital hub within the school. The process of creating and editing pages using the editor with its drag and drop functionality, is easy, and really impressed us. We checked with colleagues in other schools who were already using Firefly, the feedback was very positive, which certainly helped guide our decision.
What has been the outcome?
Our approach to using Firefly has been a little different to traditional learning platform use and roll out. We have student digital leaders, who are involved in planning the structure of our Firefly pages and lead its development when it comes to curating content and learning resources. This, we believe, is the very ethos of student centred learning. The digital leaders are selected via a rigorous application process, which starts with students applying online and nominating a teacher referee. Initially applicants were interviewed by staff, but newcomers are now selected by the existing digital leaders. After which, the digital leaders work in teams to create and ensure digital content is both rich and engaging.
We acknowledge this is a huge task for the digital leaders, but they have really benefited from it. They enjoy showing their skills and knowledge to teachers in weekly drop in sessions, and also help out during staff training sessions. These students are very much the driving force for Firefly use, and putting them in charge of so much Firefly development has reduced the burden on teachers. It’s also resulted in a Firefly setup that really works for students.
What are your future plans for Firefly?
We rolled out Firefly for KS4 and 5 during our first year, and KS3 the year after, our focus is now on encouraging more interactive use of Firefly, such as through polls and forms. Our digital leaders have also identified an opportunity to revamp some areas, and develop Firefly for new GCSE and A level courses. Our continuing teacher training on INSET days and CPD sessions will allow teachers to develop their own use of Firefly, while benefiting from what is already in place. We also want to recruit more digital leaders and get more students involved in creating on Firefly, such as by running more Hackathons and similar events.
4,934,690 total visits to Firefly resources in the first two years
Supported by a team of student digital leaders
Firefly is the digital hub within the school