Situated in Hong Kong, Mount Kelly is a British international school where 90% of staff are British. Mount Kelly operates on an all-through school basis and has a primary and secondary section. There are small class sizes, and 90% of the students are English language learners (ELL).
The school was established in 2017 and opened with 52 students in Years 1 to 6. Currently, the school hosts 220 students from EYFS to Year 9 and is accredited teaching to the Cambridge IGCSE.
Finding a Solution to Provide A Different Dimension to Learning
Upon the school’s opening in 2017, staff recognized that they needed another layer of learning to support student attainment. Mr. Rothwell, Deputy Head, says, “it was evident we needed another layer of learning, particularly for ELL students, and something we could use to assign homework with. Having software such as EducationCity was really important for this reason.
“We found EducationCity, and it was there to reinforce learning during the day and assess understanding. It covers the three core subjects which are really important and links directly with the British curriculum, which is what we needed.”
Importantly, too, parents of students at the school were keen to have an additional learning tool they could offer to their children to help them with their progress as a supplement to the school day.
Mr. Rothwell, therefore, says, “EducationCity was key for us as it has lots of interactive activities and games, and the children love it.”
Integrating EducationCity into the School Day at Mount Kelly
In 2017, EducationCity was rolled out at Mount Kelly, with Mr. Rothwell commenting, “it was quick to roll out to students once we had signed up.”
Staff at Mount Kelly were keen to implement EducationCity within everyday learning. During lessons, EducationCity is used on the whiteboards and for individual or group learning on iPads.
Mr. Rothwell says, “it was really important that EducationCity was iPad-friendly, and that’s made it useful for our students. We use it at the start of topics to assess understanding, and then we use it again to revisit those topics taught in class. It’s great for lesson starters too. EducationCity has been really vital for us.”
The program was also rolled out to ELL students, and this was an area the school particularly wanted to focus on. Mr. Rothwell says
“As a school, we are open to all different abilities of students with English as an additional language (EAL). EducationCity has been particularly useful for EYFS and phonics and learning these from the beginning. The phonics area has been particularly beneficial as students have a resource to continue learning their letters and sounds inside and outside the classroom. We can also use it with our Key Stage 3 children who need help with English learning too.”
Transitioning & Adapting to Remote Learning
Mount Kelly found success with using tools such as EducationCity for their remote learning efforts during the pandemic.
Mr. Rothwell says, “EducationCity formed a hub to our online learning and has been very useful and powerful for us at the present time.
“During the pandemic, we had to come up with a home learning program and adapt to the new situation quickly within a few weeks.
“EducationCity’s been with us from the start, so it made sense to take advantage of it, and we used it more and more during the pandemic.”
In light of COVID-19, the school undertook a process of putting together a home learning plan. These plans included staff at Mount Kelly pre-recording lessons for Key Stage 1 and then for Key Stage 2, performing live lessons. The school had to consider the amount of screen time children were to have, factor in student age and relevance of resources, and accessibility to resources.
Commenting on the school’s home learning plans and the change to remote learning, Ms. Jackson, Key Stage 2 Phase Leader, says, “it’s been the perfect time to use platforms like EducationCity. Children can also use EducationCity while we give sessions to other children, and we can allocate different tasks to different students.”
Echoing this, Mr. Rothwell adds that “reading has actually improved because the children have had more time for one-to-one learning and to focus on certain areas they need to.”
Similarly, in Key Stage 1, Mr. Beaumont, the Key Stage 1 Phase Leader, has commented, “we would set maybe one or two Maths or English games over the weekend before the pandemic, as well as use EducationCity in class. However, we definitely increased usage of it during the pandemic. As EducationCity follows the British curriculum, you can easily search for something, and you know it will be relevant. For the children, EducationCity was a great way to break up their learning and add more of a gamified element so we would make sure to use it for each lesson, as a starter and follow-up.”
The school would also deliver children’s resources via their school buses to parents during the pandemic to ensure children still had their learning.
Likewise to Key Stage 1, in Key Stage 2, EducationCity was mainly used as a plenary or a starter for lessons before, and work was set to follow up on what was done in the week.
Ms. Jackson says, “since we moved to online learning, we have changed the way we use EducationCity. We set certain activities throughout the week that links to each lesson. We often set activities on EducationCity, and this pairs well with one-to-one learning.
“Now, we use a wide range of resources such as the Learn Screens, Activities, and ThinkIts to encourage critical thinking. We do use assessments too at the end of a unit to check for understanding. We use the data from these and scores to help us with our planning. Therefore, we’ve embedded EducationCity more into our learning rather than as an addition.”
Success with EducationCity Usage at Mount Kelly
The school has seen great success from using EducationCity for their students’ learning, both in and out of school. Mr. Beaumont says that
“We’ve found EducationCity very useful, and the children do get a lot out of it. It’s so language-rich and not just dependent on the children having good reading skills, so it’s been really helpful in a subject such as maths for our ELL children. They can have the question read out to them, so they are not hindered by their knowledge.”
Ms. Jackson has found the certificates really helpful too to motivate learning: “we have also given out certificates for achievements on EducationCity and have some editable ones from Edmentum too. We can track who has achieved what and who has done what, and it’s so popular with our students.”
For the Senior Leadership Team, the various reports on EducationCity are beneficial for them. Mr. Rothwell says, “it’s been vital to see how many people have been using EducationCity, and we get a report monthly. We can see what areas we need to work on, which subjects to focus on, and this is great feedback for our teachers to help them.”
Looking to The Future
Mount Kelly has exciting installments in place within the next year, such as expanding to open two more schools in Japan and Malaysia.
Regarding these plans and in the future, Edmentum will continue to support Mount Kelly with their teaching and learning through EducationCity. They will also collaborate together to ensure all teachers, parents, and students feel supported, and the school has the assistance they need to achieve their goals.