Changing Learning. Changing Lives. What happens when EdTech becomes PedTech?

Page 1


December 2023


Executive Summary


1 Introduction


2 Research Aim and Definitions


2.1 Lines of Inquiry 3 Methodology 3.1 Data collection and generation

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3.1.1. Documents and existing datasets


3.1.2 Surveys


3.1.3.Observations, Interviews and Focus Groups


3.2 Data Analysis


3.3 Bounds


4 Background


5 An introduction to LEO Academy Trust


5.1 The LEO PedTech Journey


5.2 The LEO digital ecosystem today


5.3 Digital Skill Progression


5.4 Behaviour and Expectations


5.5 Defining Device Use


5.6 Defining Screentime


5.7 Common issues and LEO’s solutions


6 Findings: Evidence of Impact


6.1 Findings about Pedagogy


6.1.1 Supporting Metacognition


6.1.2 Questioning, Feedback and Adaptive Teaching


6.1.3 Inclusion by Design


6.1.4 Impact of inclusive practice on SEN & EHCP figures


6.1.5 Planning for Autonomy


6.1.6 Impact on attendance


6.1.7 Sometimes bigger is better


6.2 Findings about Pace and Productivity


6.2.1 Writing and Typing


6.2.2 Where Pace means Progression



6.3 Findings about Learners with Specific Characteristics


6.3.1 Children who experience mobility


6.3.2 Impact on children with English as an additional language (EAL)


6.3.3 Insights from Early Years and Key Stage 1


6.3.4 Perceptions about gender based stereotypes and assumption


6.4 Findings about English & Maths


6.4.1 Expanding Vocabulary


6.4.2 Reading comprehension


6.4.3 Reducing Cognitive Overload in Reading


6.4.4 Fostering classroom communities of learning


6.5 Findings specific to particular stakeholders


6.5.1 Teacher perception about digital is based on familiarity


6.5.2 Children’s perception of having their own Chromebook


6.5.3 Impact on the role of classroom teacher


6.5.4 Impact on the role of Teaching Assistants


6.5.5 Parental Insights


6.6 Findings about Operational Benefits


6.6.1 School of Choice & NoR


6.6.2 Environmental impact


6.6.3 Collaborative teacher planning


6.6.4 Recruitment & Retention


6.6.5 Working practices


6.6.6 Schools joining LEO


6.7 System Leadership


7 Conclusions


Research Contributors


About the author



“In education we have to be fiercely ambitious for every child we serve. This report is pivotal and ignites a new fire - a new transformation of education in the UK. With a consistency of offer for all, LEO Academy Trust understand that they are here to make a difference and they are already transforming over 4,500 lives every year. But how…? From a secure evidence base, this report demonstrates that with the intelligent approach of PedTech, children’s starting points don’t matter, it’s the journey they head on and where our children end up that count. We have to be bold now and create real equity in our education offer across every school. LEO Academy Trust are doing just that - this report records the journey, and it is a celebration of everything they have learnt and achieved to date for the children across their schools. This report will ignite a new fire in the education world that will burn brightly – making sure that every child or young person has choice and opportunity in their lives, and every child stands tall regardless of where they come from. Our mission is to create the future”. John Murphy, Executive Leadership Mentor, Co-Founder of the National Institute for Teaching and former CEO of one of the largest Multi Academy Trusts in England

“This report is a profound and insightful examination of the impact that effective, well-conceived, and thorough technology implementation can have. This has clearly not been possible without visionary leadership, strong governance, operational implementation but most importantly the absolute commitment to providing the very best education to every child.” John Vamvakitis, Managing Director, Google for Education

“This report provides an exceptional exploration of technology's impact on teaching and learning, raising the bar for depth and rigour in such studies. It maintains a laser sharp focus on pupil outcomes yet stretches to an impressive scope that considers, explores and encompasses every facet of school life. The report shows the transformational realisation of a vision that's evidenced to be inclusive, effective, and sustainable. It’s testament to exceptional leadership that has enabled a culture of relentless enthusiasm and commitment within LEO Academy Trust community that clearly secures the very best outcomes for every one of its pupils.” Patrick McGrath, Head of Education, Texthelp


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY In 2019, LEO Academy Trust embarked upon a journey of digital transformation, investing significant time, money and human energy into an ambitious new future. Every member of staff and every child in Key Stage 2, was given their own Chromebook and every child in Early Years and Key Stage 1 was introduced to on-demand access to an iPad or Chromebook to support their learning. For the price of £12 per child, per month, LEO have implemented a transformational approach to teaching and learning across a trust that now includes 4,500 children and 600 staff across 9 schools. In 2020, a global pandemic struck and the whole concept of ‘going to school’ changed overnight for children worldwide. Since that pandemic, schools nationwide have faced significant challenges ranging from children reluctant to return to school, budget shortfalls, a significant drop in attainment, disengaged learners, rising SEN register figures, and a teacher recruitment and retention crisis. In 2023, despite living within the same political, economic and societal structures, LEO Academy Trust stands in a very different place to the national picture. Evidence in this report details a breadth of notable findings that have emerged as a result of LEO’s journey, including that: The attainment of children at LEO schools significantly outperforms national norms in national tests, with the gap between national averages and LEO widening each year (rising from 14-23% over the last 3 years) The proportion of children achieving greater depth in national assessments in reading, writing and mathematics at LEO being more than triple the national average over the last 3 years, with the outperformance between LEO and national figures widening each year The number of children on the SEN register requiring expensive intervention programmes has reduced by around a third because of embedded inclusive practice facilitated by digital technology Attendance figures across LEO are higher than the national average, and net mobility at LEO just 4% compared to an average of 20-48% across other London schools Teacher capacity repurposed as a result of moving from paper-based to digital tasks equates to 11 full time members of staff across the MAT


Digital tasks increase classroom efficiency by 23%, allowing the repurposing of time for more targeted and inclusive learning - leading to the significant attainment gains outlined above Nearly 15,000 digital badges have been achieved by LEO children, and nearly 75% of staff have certified digital skills - comparable with a MATs 8-10 times the size of LEO - embedding digital skills at the heart of children’s future trajectories Staff satisfaction is consistently 15-20% above national benchmarks with LEO seen as an employer of choice - leading to exceptionally high levels of staff retention (through internal professional growth), high quality candidate appointments, and significant advertisement and recruitment cost savings The reduction in worksheet printing and number of exercise books saves approximately 400 trees per year equating to a trust wide saving of around £78 per child per year (just over half the cost of the Chromebook provision) A consistent and sustained increase in number on roll with LEO schools being targeted as the school of choice by families Children across LEO classrooms being autonomous, independent, supported, capable and confident learners with a sense of belonging and purpose. These headline findings are powerful and persuasive, but they are not simple. Behind each of these findings sits a story about a journey that LEO have undertaken over a number of years and involving a great deal of time, energy, thoughtful reflection and sheer hard work. It has been a fusion of visionary leadership, strategic thinking, operational planning, daily delivery, partner relationships and community mindedness that has led to the significant outcomes seen above. This is not an easy road to travel, nor are any of these outcomes attributable to one single act, intervention, person or project. However, the range and scale of these findings could not have been achieved without LEO’s deep integration and embedding of digital technology. This report opens, unpacks and dissects the ingredients which LEO have put in place, drawing upon a combination of 4,500 survey responses, 606 documents, 154 observations, 65 interviews, 24 focus groups and hundreds of hours of professional discussion and reflection. The consequent report presents a comprehensive analysis as a narrative, a series of findings (about successes as well as about how challenges have been overcome), and a set of recommendations for the future - for the benefit of both the LEO community, and for the wider educational landscape. This research was commissioned by LEO Academy Trust, led by independent research consultant Dr Fiona Aubrey-Smith, and supported by a team of 16 school leadership researchers.


With any impact research there will inevitably be questions raised about the likely independence and impartiality of a report commissioned by the body being examined. These questions are right to ask. The methodology of this report sets out in detail the processes that were put in place during the design, data gathering and analysis, and writing up of this report, to ensure that the findings were credible, trustworthy and justified. LEO Academy Trust have been characteristically open and transparent throughout this study - providing complete access to any data requested, and with staff readily engaging in challenging their own assumptions, findings, and understanding throughout. LEO Academy Trust are a system leader. By embarking upon their journey with confidence, LEO’s leadership and governance set out an ambitious agenda for what the future of schooling could look like. In just 4 years, LEO have seen significant positive impact across a range of trust metrics and descriptors ranging from accountability and inspection to inclusion and equity. But perhaps the most powerful ingredient embedded within every aspect of the trust is that there is a genuine widespread belief every child, every adult, every leader, and every one of us, is, and always will be, a life long learner.

We listen to the measure, but we learn from the story.



Formed in 2015, originally as a single school academy trust, LEO Academy Trust has gradually expanded to become a community of 9 schools located across 10 sites in outer London with over 4,500 children and 600 staff. In 2019, LEO began to introduce a 1:1 device-to-learner ecosystem, whereby every child in Key Stage 2 had access to their own Chromebook. This 1:1 device provision - for both children and adults - has since become a core and embedded part of the LEO offer. The impact of this approach has been noted by the many hundreds of visitors to LEO schools, recognised through the receipt of many awards and accolades, shared through countless conference presentations and case study films, and unpacked through many focus group invitations and partnership meeting discussions. Stakeholders across LEO schools are widely valued, respected and sought after by the sector for their insights and expertise. Over 5 years, the team at LEO Academy Trust have taken a journey from being a small academy trust with traditional ICT suites and various trolleys of laptops, to become a high performing system leader with a robust 1:1 ecosystem and infrastructure underpinning it. All of this has taken place within a national landscape familiar to the rest of the English schooling system - the Covid pandemic, political instability, intense national and local budget pressures and a tight accountability system. By sharing the LEO journey and the impact of embedding 1:1 devices, this research report hopes to offer insights from which its own community, as well as other schools, trusts and policy shapers, can reflect and learn.


2. RESEARCH AIM AND DEFINITIONS The overarching aim of this research is to identify and explain the impact of the embedding of 1:1 devices across LEO schools. The rationale behind doing this is to benefit from insights which can inform strategic planning and operational actions across the LEO community play a role in wider system leadership by disseminating findings to other schools, MATs, policy shapers and academics. In setting out this research aim, it is important to define three key terms Impact - used here to refer to a change to behaviours or practice substantiated by evidence from more than one research method or analysis approach 1:1 devices - used here to refer to the instant availability of a digital laptop or tablet device at the point of need. Embedding - used here to refer to practices that are no longer considered new or unusual by those experiencing them. Furthermore, there are a number of additional words and phrases that are used within this research which carry with them embedded meaning. A great deal of this research is concerned with aspects of pedagogy, the definitions of which have been drawn from Aubrey-Smith and Twining (2023) as below, Pedagogy - this is an umbrella term which incorporates everything that relates to how we support learning. This incorporates ideas around what teaching means and what the role of a teacher should be, what learning means and what the role of a learner should be, the nature of knowledge and the purpose of schooling. Pedagogical Beliefs – these are underlying views or beliefs about the purposes or goals of schooling and how learning should be supported. These beliefs usually align with a theory of pedagogy or a theory of learning but this may not be known or recognised by the person or group of people holding the pedagogical belief (that depends on their awareness of the research literature). Pedagogical Approaches – these are the processes and procedures used to enact particular Pedagogical Beliefs. For example, direct instruction, retrieval practice, interleaving, spaced learning, modelling, call and response. Pedagogical Approaches can be explicitly taught, repeated, observed and verified - sometimes becoming adopted as an institutional pedagogy. When we choose a particular Pedagogical Approach we are committing to a particular Pedagogical Intention. This is not always a conscious or deliberate process.


Pedagogical Intention - this refers to what we plan to do to support learning. Our intentions might be short term (e.g. specific to a moment in time as we respond to a learner), or longer term (e.g. a scheme of work or lesson plan). In order to achieve our Pedagogical Intentions we enact Pedagogical Practices. Pedagogical Practices are the practical actions that we each carry out when supporting learning. For example, processes, routines, particular vocabulary or phrases, body language, and cultural norms. These are often not explicitly associated with values and beliefs but are intrinsically value laden.


In order to achieve the Research Aim, a number of specific lines of inquiry were established.

1. To what extent have teaching and learning been affected by 1:1? a. Relationships between teachers and learners b. Attainment and progression c. Inclusion and meeting the needs of all learners d. Quality of teaching and provision e. Learner identity and internalisation f. Metacognition and self regulation g. Questioning, modelling and explaining h. Feedback and adaptive teaching i. Self direction, independence and autonomy

2. To what extent do digital skills and tools influence learning in English and maths? a. Formative and summative assessment b. Interventions and extension c. Oracy and fluency d. Collaborative learning and group activities e. Ownership, adaptation and independence f. Learning beyond school g. Reasoning and problem solving h. Subject specific knowledge and application i. Understanding and internalisation j. Transcription and composition

3. To what extent are transitions and relationships affected by 1:1? a. Learners transitioning from one year group to the next year group b. Learners transitioning from KS2 to KS3 c. Learners transitioning from non-LEO school into a LEO d. Learners transitioning from supported learning to independent learning e. Learners transitioning between learning at school and learning at home f. Staff transitioning to new ways of working g. Staff transitioning into LEO


1. Staff transitioning into new roles 2. Schools transitioning into LEO 4. To what extent have the operational elements of LEO been affected by 1:1? a. Spending and saving b. Decision making c. Recruitment and retention d. Staff productivity e. Growth and strategic development f. Innovation and improvement g. Accountability and external validation h. Leadership within and beyond LEO



This study is framed within an inductive-deductive interpretivist paradigm (Cohen, Manion & Morrison, 2007 1 ). In other words, the study identifies lines of inquiry, sources meaningful data, interprets findings in order to draw out explanations, and then repeats the cycle to test emergent hypotheses. The design of this study adopts a phenomenological mindset - seeking to surface the implicit influences which have underpinned the evolution of LEO’s 1:1 approach. The conceptualisation of digital technology by those within LEO is a core part of the embedded ‘LEO phenomenon’. In short, there is a cultural view within LEO that digital technology is seen as an enabler for the user, and that the user either holds, or is given, the identity of being a learner. It is important to highlight this here because from a methodological perspective this view is not one consistently held by either published literature in this field, nor across the schools sector, and as such forms a core phenomenological consideration when identifying consequent impact. In other words, the way that those within LEO think about digital technology necessarily shapes the design process of the research itself because of: staff assumptions about cultural and sector norms and benchmarks; inferred meaning attributed to vocabulary; power dynamics and hierarchies within and beyond LEO; inferences about correlational, causal and consequential data; and the nature of stakeholder relationships. To account for this influence, the research was conducted in partnership with 16 middle, senior and executive leaders from across LEO Academy Trust rather than solely by an independent outsiderresearcher 2. The 16 insider-researchers brought expertise and insights from particular specialisms as well as representation from across all LEO schools. Leaders were grouped into 3 research teams, and then coached through researching a specific academic line of inquiry such that the study benefited from specialist insider knowledge as well as providing professional learning for those involved - embedding ethical research sustainability into the design of the study itself. The research took place over a number of phases. Data generation took place between November 2022 and October 2023, with participants including children (Nursery - Year 6), teachers and teaching assistants, leaders (middle, senior and executive), professional service staff (i.e. non teaching roles), parents and families, and partners (i.e. suppliers, professional peers, local and national non-LEO schools). Data was generated through classroom and non-classroom observation, individual and group interviews, focus groups, surveys, document analysis and pre-existing datasets. There were approximately 154 observations, 65 interviews, 24 focus groups, 4,500 survey responses and 606 documents utilised as part of the data

1. Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K., (2007) Research Methods in Education. 6th Edition. Routledge: London. 2. See Research Contributors and Author sections at the end of this report for full detail.


analysis process, as well as a myriad of incidental conversations and discussions by those involved in the research study. Every child, every child’s family and every staff member was invited to participate in the research and offered the opportunity to do so through a survey response or researcher interview. Those invited to participate in observations, interviews and focus groups were purposively sampled 3 in order to address specific lines of inquiry - usually a result of emergent findings from another dataset. The Ethical Guidelines of the British Educational Research Association (BERA, 2018 4) were utilised throughout the research, with specific consideration given to the ethical domains highlighted by Stutchbury & Fox (2009 5) about the inferred consequences and impact on those involved in participating, co-researching or dissemination. Safeguarding and data security considerations were attended to with appropriate agreements and processes put in place. The report refers to children or children’s families only by their year group rather than name or gender in order to minimise identifiable participants whilst maintaining data integrity. LEO staff are referred to by role for similar reasons although for some senior and executive roles this means that participants are identifiable permission has been obtained by the relevant person prior to publication for any scenario that this applies to. Products are referred to by their colloquial product name not to infer product promotion but in order to maintain data integrity. Prior to observation, interview or focus group data generation, school leaders were provided with a briefing setting out the practical arrangements with all logistical arrangements negotiated around existing workloads, school routines and commitments in order to minimise disruption to either children or adults. 3. Patton, M. Q. (1990). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications. Extract for information at 4. British Educational Research Association (2018) Ethical Guidelines for Educational Research. 4th Edition. London. 5. Stutchbury, K. and Fox, A. (2009) ‘Ethics in Educational Research: introducing a methodological tool for effective ethical analysis’, Cambridge Journal of Education, 39(4), pp. 489–504.


3.1. DATA COLLECTION AND GENERATION The data utilised in this study is viewed through a sociocultural lens which posits that all data is bounded by time, location and a set of values which determine its worth and meaning. In order for research to be transparent about the implications of viewing data this way, it is helpful to group data into data that existed prior to the research study and can be collected (e.g. documentary evidence), and data that was created (generated) as part of the process of the research study (e.g. interviews, surveys, focus groups and observations). This iterative process of this research meant that data collection (of pre-existing documents) often led to lines of inquiry which required data generation (e.g. interviews, focus groups, observations). Similarly, data generation (e.g. focus groups exploring a particular topic) often developed lines of inquiry that required further data generation (e.g. large scale surveys). Consequently, triangulation between datasets played an important role in surfacing and testing hypothesis and extracting conclusive findings. Both data collection and generation were conducted by the lead researcher with or without other members of the research teams, or by members of the research teams either individually or in small groups, dependent upon the nature of the inquiry. This approach maximised capacity by offering greatest flexibility about when and where data could be sourced, whilst minimising additional workload pressures for LEO staff. All research teams were provided with research training at a level comparable to postgraduate research programmes as part of their preparation for this process.

3.1.1. DOCUMENTS AND EXISTING DATASETS There were 606 documents utilised as part of the data collection process, ranging from internal assessment and monitoring reports, policies and procedural documents, Ofsted and Challenge Partner reports, MIS reports, lesson planning and curriculum documents, staff training materials and so forth. In addition, a range of existing datasets were utilised in order to provide contextual information, trends over time, data for national comparison and scaled data to triangulate with specific emergent case details.

3.1.2. SURVEYS A number of surveys took place, seeking the views of a range of different stakeholders across LEO, and there were just over 4,500 survey responses submitted as part of this study. Specific surveys were sent to those holding leadership roles, teachers, teaching assistants, parents and families, and to children. All surveys were distributed to individuals using either their LEO email address, or the email address held by the LEO administration system. Surveys for children were distributed through Google Classroom.


It was important to ensure that every member of the LEO community who wished to participate in the research felt able to do so. In order to communicate this effectively, a brief was distributed via existing communication routes through senior leaders and school leadership teams explaining the context of the research and the importance of contributions from children and from staff and families. School leadership teams made time for staff to complete the surveys with a number of opportunities provided to suit the different working hours and patterns of staff. Teaching teams were similarly able to plan classroom time for children to complete their surveys. Surveys were designed using Google Forms, allowing for children and families to utilise familiar tools, including screen readers, voice to text, auto-translate and other accessibility features. There were two versions of the survey for children - one which was designed for children who felt able to complete it independently with or without the accessibility features highlighted above. The other version was designed as a teacher-led group or whole-class survey, whereby teachers would read out survey questions and children would respond with hands up or other visual indicator, and the teacher would collate responses. This provided a greater opportunity for large scale insights from young children or those with more complex needs. Detailed follow-up through focus groups, interviews and observations then probed these findings in greater depth. Survey questions were designed by the research team - bringing together expertise about appropriate lines of inquiry, suitable vocabulary and phrasing familiar to the respondents, accessibility considerations, data formatting and analysis implications, ethical considerations and so forth. This ensured both the robustness of the data generation as well as the perceived relevance and meaningfulness of the questions asked for those responding.

3.1.3.OBSERVATIONS, INTERVIEWS AND FOCUS GROUPS In order to understand the lived experiences of those across the LEO community, a number of research methods were utilised. These included classroom and non-classroom based observations, individual interviews, and focus groups. Participants included children aged 3-11, teachers and teaching assistants, those holding leadership roles spanning middle, senior and executive leadership positions, children’s families, and partners who work with or alongside LEO.


For academic clarity, both observations, focus groups and interviews were all semi-structured (Lincoln and Guba, 1985 6), although the term ‘semi-structured’ is used only to refer to the presence of interview, focus group and observation guides (i.e. stimulus questions or exploratory lines of inquiry). These guides were designed as a set of prompts to aid the researcher/s in terms of coverage of a particular case, and to avoid becoming absorbed or side-tracked by particular events or activities (Yin, 2018 7). However, as all of the research team were experienced education professionals it was important to recognise and respect researcher preconceptions – a repertoire of existing knowledge about what may happen within a learning context, borne out of direct teaching experience, leadership roles and wider professional work or training (Aubrey-Smith, 2021 8). For the research team members who were also LEO staff, specific research training addressed this point - surfacing that as a teacher or school leader, one is trained to look for confirmation or evaluation of specific things during lessons, whereas a researcher lens takes a more exploratory approach. Importantly, that whilst there will always be pre-existing beliefs on the part of the researcher about what teaching is and how it is described and enacted, this may or may not align with what is seen and heard through research data generation (Aubrey-Smith, 2021 9 ). Training undertaken by the research team unpacked how these assumptions can affect researcher responses and can influence consequential discourse and interpretation. For example, a wide range of forms of cognitive bias were introduced and their implications considered (Hattie, 2020 10). To mitigate for potential bias in what was sought, observed, heard, recorded, interpreted and shared, the research team worked in small groups, guided by the lead (independent) researcher. This process was supported by a clear structure which encouraged critical peer challenge to any assumptions made during the process of data generation itself. Similar mitigation also took place during the analysis process. A range of approaches to semi-structured observation were undertaken, including whole-lesson observation, observing specific parts of a lesson, observing pre-identified activities or transitions, tracking individual children through sequences of events, and unstructured observation which allowed for unexpected or unanticipated lines of inquiry to develop. There were 154 observations carried out as part of this study and most observations utilised some form of pre and post observation discourse with a leader or teacher who was able to provide specific insight and context around the relationship of what was being observed with wider practice. This typically included some discussion about tasks or activities and their place within sequences or planned learning, characteristics and context of specific learners or teachers being observed, and background information about lesson planning, features or tools (digital or otherwise), relevant policies and procedures and so forth.

6. Lincoln, Y. S. and Guba, E. G. (1985) Naturalistic inquiry. London: Sage Publications. 7. Yin, R. K. (2018) Case Study Research: Design and Methods. 6th edn. Los Angeles: Sage Publications. 8. Aubrey-Smith, F., (2020) An exploration of the relationship between teacher’s pedagogical stance and their use of ICT in classroom practice. The Open University. 9.ibid 10. Hattie, J., and Hamilton, A., (2020) Why we focus on the wrong drivers in education.


There were 65 interviews carried out by the lead researcher and by the research team, with participants purposively sampled in order to probe specific lines of inquiry. These interviews were typically semi-structured, with lines of inquiry emerging from survey data, classroom observations, documentary analysis or focus groups. The 24 focus groups were similarly purposively sampled in order to probe specific lines of inquiry. Groups typically ranged from 5-8 participants with a shared characteristic or point for discussion. These ranged from focus groups exploring the experiences of children who were new to LEO, groups of middle or senior leaders who were responsible for leading particular subjects or policy areas or teachers who had shared similar training experiences. Parents and families opinions and insights were sought through survey and interview but deliberately not through focus groups because of the very context specific findings which emerged through parental survey data. Individual responses through interviews with the research lead or research team were instead considered more appropriate.


3.2. DATA ANALYSIS The overarching aim of this research is to identify and explain the impact of the embedding of 1:1 devices across LEO schools. In order to achieve this, a number of data analysis approaches are required. However, each of these approaches sits underneath an overarching interpretivist paradigm. In short, this study seeks to explain its emergent trends, patterns and findings rather than just present correlational data and anecdotal narrative. This is important in order to counteract the historical over-dependence of EdTech research on quantitative data and positivist paradigms human behaviour and its consequences are far more complex than that. Thematic analysis was used to analyse data from interviews, focus groups, and open-ended survey questions. This approach, drawing on the guidance set out by Braun & Clarke (2021 11 ), involved data familiarisation, identifying patterns and themes within the data, reviewing those themes in order to surface elements of significance, and then collating themes of significance in order to contribute towards a deeper understanding of the dataset. This thematic approach was used for the analysis of data generated through specific methods, as well as being an overarching approach for the collation of the aggregated dataset. Contributing towards the thematic analysis were a number of specific analytical techniques which help to draw meaning out of small scale datasets. For example, aspects of discourse analysis were used in order to surface embedded meaning within language and communication used by participants in interviews and focus groups. This approach involved identifying the language used to construct and convey meaning specific to the researcher and respondent. For example, Hammersley (2006 12), reminds us that insider researchers benefit from an assumed shared meaning which can be both beneficial in terms of directing attention to salient aspects of data, whilst simultaneously risking familiarisation bias. Thus, to mitigate for this, it is pertinent to utilise elements of discourse analysis that unpack particular forms of embedded meaning such as dialogic undertones - where meaning accumulates as a result of a developing response or discussion (Tannen, 2015 13), and intertextuality where particular meaning emerges from one document only as a result of insight from another document (Hodges, 2015 14). Furthermore, analysis drew upon a number of related theories which help to elicit meaning from interview and focus group data. For example, Centering Theory (Walker et al., 1998 15), posits that when we speak, we utilise a number of specific linguistic tools to direct the attention of our audience towards particular embedded meaning. In a school context this is often most apparent with the choice of “I” or “we” when referring to different aspects of policy or practice - conveying embedded meaning about the relationship between the person communicating and the organisation itself, or the use of ‘you know’ or ‘isn’t it’ style utterances to infer shared agreement (Gordon et al., 1993 16). 11. Braun, V., & Clarke, V., (2021) Thematic Analysis: A practical guide. SAGE: London. 12. Hammersley, M., (2006) “On the teacher as researcher” Education Action Research 1(3). pp.425-445. 13. Tannen, D. et al. (2015) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. 2nd edn. Chichester: Blackwell. 14. Hodges, A. (2015) ‘Intertextuality in Discourse’, in Tannen, D., Hamilton, H. E., and Schiffrin, D. (eds) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. 2nd edn. US: Wiley-Blackwell. 15. Walker, M. A., Joshi, A. K. and Prince, E. F. (eds) (1998) Centering theory in discourse. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 16. Gordon, P., Grosz, B., Gilliom, A., (1993) “Pronouns, Names and the Centreing of Names in Discourse”. Cognitive Science 17(3). pp.311-347.


As part of the analysis process it was important to consider any variance between stakeholder perception - particularly in terms of meaningfully valuing the voice and insights of children themselves (Hart, 1992 17). When seeking insights from learners, it is helpful to understand some embedded issues in this specific space. For example, research addressing the uses of digital technology in schools often conflates teacher perception with children’s opinions resulting in a disingenuous argument made about what children really think about their learning. For example, a TPEA (2021 18) study found asked learners about their satisfaction with the amount of digital technology in their classroom learning. The answers highlighted a perception issue whereby 50% of leaders and 66% of classroom teachers thought that learners wanted to use more technology, yet 95% of learners themselves wanted to use more technology. However, in that study, learners only wanted technology to be used if their teachers had the skills to use it effectively to support their learning. This caveat created a significant disparity between classrooms - with less confident teachers hearing less positive feedback about technology from their classes, and more confident teachers hearing more positive feedback - both embedding confirmation bias to the teacher’s differing existing opinions. The LEO impact study deliberately triangulates responses by children, teachers and leaders to the same detailed questions as well as through comparison of wider data sets in order to either surface or mitigate for such forms of bias. Drawing on published studies about the features of school leader observations, academic researchers have found that school leaders often observe classroom participation with a generalised lens (e.g. Cohen & Goldhaber, 2016 19). In other words, when the majority of children are observed to be doing something in a lesson it is taken by the school leader observing to mean all of the children (sometimes referred to as the mere-exposure effect). This can often embed a particular issue that Sir Michael Wilshaw referred to as ‘Unseen Children’ - those who quietly confirm (or look like they are conforming), yet who are not actually engaged with the intended task (Ofsted, 2013 20 ). By these ‘unseen children’ not being identified at the point of observation, issues are not surfaced and thus responsive action is not taken. This research study intentionally mitigated for this potential issue by designing research instruments which required those observing lessons to (a) observe in pairs or groups - with each focusing on different elements and then consequent triangulation discussion, (b) providing a observation guide that requires a forensic focus on specific interactions or actions, and (c) requiring all observational findings to be justified to peers and an independent researcher through a structured critical analysis process. 17. Hart, R., (1992) Children’s participation: From tokenism to citizenship. Innocenti Essays No.4. UNICEF: Florence. 18. TPEA (2021) Intentions v Reality: What’s really going on for our learners when they use EdTech? 19. Cohen, J., & Goldhaber, D. (2016). Building a More Complete Understanding of Teacher Evaluation Using Classroom Observations. Educational Researcher, 45(6), 378–387. 20. Ofsted (2013) Unseen Children: Access and Achievement 20 years on.


For each line of inquiry carried out through observations, interviews, focus groups, surveys and documentary analysis, research teams used a four step process to collate findings: 1. reviewed the dataset (which often included preliminary analysis such as statistical summaries, or observation/interview/focus group notes to aid this process) 2. drew out key themes, patterns and trends - ensuring a range of perspectives and interpretations were surfaced, considered and discussed as a group 3. identified outliers and potential explanations or queries that required further investigation. The team were specifically asked to consider which additional data might bring further insight to a particular issue, which additional data might challenge any assumptions made, and which additional data might be required to confirm or refute any emerging hypotheses 4. critically challenged emergent hypotheses or findings in order to consider alternative explanations or interpretations, and to actively address any potential insider-researcher bias 21. In order to achieve this critical analysis in a structured and timely manner, the research team each took on roles with one introducing, explaining and detailing a specific dataset, another acting as a critical analyst - challenging assumptions and positing provocative questions, another acting as a task manager to ensure that the detail and nuance in consequent lines of inquiry were captured, and another two acting as scribes to capture different angles of the discussion for later corroboration. Finally, the research teams were taken through a process of critically reviewing the original lines of inquiry in relation to the many actions and interactions which followed thereafter. This ensured that the voices of children, teachers, leaders and families had been heard, findings were clear, objective and drawn from a balanced set of evidence, and as a final check to ensure critical consideration.

3.3. BOUNDS When conducting an impact study of this nature it is important to clarify the scope and context of what is being examined. It is believed that this is the first independent academic research study undertaken into the holistic impact of an at-scale 1:1 trust-wide approach in the UK, and potentially globally. Related research has tended to report on the implementation process (often from the perspective of operational colleagues within a school or organisation or a particular supplier or system), or particular elements (e.g. engagement levels, specific tools or features). Some studies examine particular school improvement considerations (e.g. home/school engagement,

21. Hammersley, M., (2006) “On the teacher as researcher” Education Action Research 1(3). pp.425-445.


exam results, productivity or raising standards), and many depend upon isolated data generation approaches (e.g. over dependence upon quantitative data, or reliance on self-reported narratives). Some studies examine 1:1 provision more holistically yet are limited by scale (e.g. 1 class, 1 school), or scope (e.g. single product, single subject, a focus on attainment, or financial implications). Each of these studies offer valuable insights yet paint only a partial picture because of the limitations of its data or design. The overarching aim of this research is to identify and explain the impact of the embedding of 1:1 devices across LEO schools. In order to achieve this it is vitally important to consider not just the presence, logistics and usage of the 1:1 devices themselves but the many influencing factors that define the landscape that they exist within. Research about the use of digital technology in education consistently tells us that it is not technology itself that has an impact, but the way in which digital technology is used (Luckin et al., 2018 22). All research should start with a critical understanding of what is already known within the space. Consequently, in order for the findings of this study to be contextualised it is helpful first to set out what the EdTech research landscape already tells us.

22. Luckin, R. (2018) Enhancing Learning and Teaching with Technology: What the Research Says. London: UCL Institute of Education Press.



When researching the impact of digital technology in practice, it is important to understand the landscape of similar research in this space. One of the key elements of this is that research findings within the field have not changed substantially over the last few decades (UNESCO, 2023 23 ; Hammond, 2020 24 ; Costa et al., 2019 25, Lewin, 2019 26). This is because the key issues are not technological ones, but issues to do with human factors (Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023 27; Fawns, 2022 28 ). These change much less rapidly than the latest innovations in digital technology and therefore provide much firmer foundations upon which successful approaches and strategies can be built. That said, there is an emerging body of published literature probing the educational impact of digital technology in practice. This space is led by those who have an intelligent empathy concerned with the interplay between the technology itself, the human beings who use it, the organisations within which it is being used, and the appropriate research methods with which to analyse its impact. Leading this space are Educate Ventures Research (EVR) - known for a ‘golden triangle’ approach whereby suppliers, schools and academics work together to forensically probe the lived experiences of those using particular digital tools (Luckin, 2023.29 ), and EdTechImpact which curate user review metrics - both pedagogical and operational - upon which product intentions can be validated and evaluated (Forshaw, 2023 30 ). There are also a vast range of publications which purport to represent research concerned with the impact of digital technology on teaching and learning yet instead focus on operational deliverables and implementation project management (e.g. Cooper Gibson 2022 31). There are three core issues embedded within this research.

23. UNESCO (2023) Technology in Education: A tool on whose terms? 24. Hammond, M. (2020) ‘What is an ecological approach and how can it assist in understanding ICT take-up?’, British Journal of Educational Technology, 51(3), pp. 853866. 25. Costa, C., Hammond, M. and Younie, S. (2019) ‘Theorising technology in education: an introduction’, Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 28(4), pp. 395–399 26. EEF (2019) Using digital technology to improve learning: guidance report 27. Aubrey-Smith, F., and Twining, P., (2023) From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. Routledge: London. 28. Fawns, T., (2022) An Entangled Pedagogy: Looking Beyond the Pedagogy – Technology Dichotomy. Postdigital Science and Education 4(3) pp.711-728 29. Luckin, R., (2023) Educate Ventures Research 30. Forshaw, M., (2023) EdTech Impact: Buyers Guide. 31. Cooper Gibson (2022) Implementation of education technology in schools and colleges. London. Department for Education


First is that such research is often conducted by those from a policy, technology or operational background rather than an educational or pedagogical background. This creates an implicit bias towards tools and processes rather the behaviours and experiences of the humans using them. In other words, a focus on ‘what’ and ‘how’ rather than ‘why’ (Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023 32). The second embedded issue is that such researchers and leaders tend towards positivistic (scientifically oriented) paradigms which do not take account of the complexities of the educational landscape and place an over-reliance on quantitative datasets. These forms of data, whilst valuable, are often misused to infer causation where only correlation should be argued, and focus attention on an increasingly narrow range of variables (e.g. attendance as a proxy for learning and core subject outcomes as a proxy for a successfully educated citizen). Furthermore, as an example, the utilisation of a randomised control trial to investigate the efficacy of a particular intervention is premised on the assumption that all learners likely to engage with the intervention embody the same characteristics - both longitudinally as well as at the point of data analysis. As Zhao (2018 33), argues, the what works agenda, with its reliance on probability based decision making creates a landscape which is premised upon what ‘could’ happen rather than what ‘does’ happen. Finally, the third embodied issue within EdTech research is that of vocabulary (Educate, 2023 34 ). For example, concerns relating to quantity of screentime are often surfaced in discussions about digital technology, with implications about ‘any’ kind of screen use. However, unpacking these concerns, these usually relate explicitly to passive watching without social interaction, social media scrolling or messaging or low level gaming. It does not usually relate to children passively watching a teacher’s presentation on a digital or non digital board at the front of the classroom, device based content creation (e.g. Google Docs, Google Slides, artwork), coding or design. It is not the ‘screen’ - digital or otherwise’ that is being referred to but instead individualised, passive or counterproductive behaviours. This point is specifically addressed later in this report (see Section 5.6). The point about the use of screentime reflects one of the most significant issues with published materials addressing the EdTech space - assumptions made about shared meaning and vocabulary. For example, large scale studies often draw out common themes about the planning and evaluation of EdTech use with conclusions that use widely adopted yet overly generic terminology - such as ‘learning’. This embeds a lack of precision which allows readers to interpret the findings and their consequent actions very differently. For example, in 2023, UNESCO published a Global Education Monitoring Report which set out questions that leaders 32. Aubrey-Smith, F., and Twining, P., (2023) From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. Routledge: London. 33. Zhao, Y., (2018) Why What Works May Hurt: Side Effects in Education. New York: Teachers College Press. 34. EdTech Podcast (July 2023) The EdTech Podcast Episode 270.


were asked to consider whether thinking about technology in education (UNESCO, 2023 35). These questions include When and how should we use technology in education, When does it support learning and when does it distract and Do we need to change what and how we are learning with technology to keep education relevant. Each of these questions uses highly subjective language arguably a necessity given that the report is intended to apply to a diverse range of geolocations. However, this inadvertently allows two teachers to interpret what it means ‘to support learning’ very differently whilst simultaneously reporting on what ‘good’ looks like - thus creating a professional conflict and the reader validating their own beliefs against those inferred by the report authors. Researching is much like learning - we must always start from a point of current (personal) understanding to allow for variance in conceptualisation or capability. Furthermore, any conversation about learning needs to be clear about what it means by learning, how learning is supported and what it means ‘to be’ a learner (Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023 36 ). LEO Academy Trust sits within a national educational landscape that has experienced a great deal of change in recent years. In the period that this research is concerned with (2017-2023), key influences have included a politically prioritised academisation agenda, economic and consequent budget pressures, a global pandemic with its consequent impact on the workforce and wellbeing of both children and adults, complex and changing accountability and governance structures, changes to curriculum and assessment, and a nationally tired and disenfranchised workforce. This landscape will be familiar to all those working within the schools sector where pressures, priorities and politics are part of the rich tapestry facing every leader. However, as is already thoroughly documented by those with specialist expertise in the space, different organisations respond to these dynamics in different ways (Fullan, 2003 37 ). What follows here, is first an introduction to the journey that LEO Academy Trust have taken in the context of the landscape set out above, and then the implications and impact of the decisions made along that journey.

35. UNESCO (2023) Technology in Education: A tool on whose terms? 36. Aubrey-Smith, F., & Twining, P., (2023) From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. Routledge: London. 37. Fullan, M., (2003) The moral imperative of school leadership. SAGE: London.


5. AN INTRODUCTION TO LEO ACADEMY TRUST Formed in 2015, originally as a single school academy trust, LEO Academy Trust has gradually expanded to become a community of 9 schools located across 10 sites in Outer London and Surrey with approximately 4,500 children and 600 staff. The trust has grown steadily by approximately 120% of Number on Roll (NoR) each year to date 38.












The mission of LEO Academy Trust is to develop “a family of great schools, where collaboration makes a real difference for our children, staff & communities” 39. LEO Academy Trust has a strong vision of Great Learning communities; Excellence for all; endless Opportunity.

38. LEO (2023) Pupil Numbers. 39. LEO (2023) Mission and Vision.


In 2022, LEO conducted an Edurio 40 survey which compared the views of LEO staff to the national schools workforce. This benchmarking provides a useful means of surfacing the impact of strategic delivery at LEO. For example, when staff were asked about how clear the Trust vision and values are to them, LEO staff report 15% greater clarity than the national workforce 41 . Furthermore, when staff were asked the extent to which they felt that Trust values were embedded into the culture of the school, LEO staff rated their Trust 16% higher than the national average 42. Within this landscape, LEO’s 9 academies have undertaken their journeys as follows:

Academy Name

Joined LEO in

NoR (2023)

Judgement upon joining and latest judgement (Ofsted 43)

Latest Judgement (Challenge Partner Peer Review 44)

Cheam Park Farm Primary



Outstanding (2019)

Leading (2019) Leading (2022)

Cheam Common Junior



Inadequate (2014) Good (2018)

Leading (2019) Leading (2022)

Cheam Fields Primary



Good (2019) Outstanding (2020)

Leading (2022)

Brookfield Primary



Good (2017) Good (2019)

Effective (2020) Leading (2022)

Cheam Common Infants’



Good (2014) Good (2022)

Outstanding (2019) Leading (2021)

Manor Park Primary



Outstanding (2015) Outstanding (2019)

Leading (2022)

Shawley Community Primary



Requires Improvement (2019)

Effective (2022)

Hurst Park Primary



Good (2023)

Leading (2023)

West Ashtead Primary



Requires Improvement (2019)

40. Edurio (2023) 41. Edurio 2022 Staff Wellbeing Survey Q42 42. Edurio 2022 Staff Wellbeing Survey Q43 43. Ofsted (2023) Inspection of maintained schools and academies. 44. Challenge Partners (2023) Trust Peer Review.


5.1. THE LEO PEDTECH JOURNEY In 2011, Cheam Park Farm Junior School became a converter academy with the original intention to benefit from the freedom and financial benefits that academisation offered (approximately £120k per year at that point). An ambitious school on the cusp of becoming Outstanding, Cheam Park Farm leadership sought out autonomy for developing a more ambitious curriculum and the space to be able to take risks through innovation. A forward thinking mindset shared by both leadership and governance moved away from traditional working practices and took inspiration from global influences and lessons learned from schools across the country and internationally who were achieving the very best for their students. New partnerships were formed with Challenge Partners and Wandsworth Teaching School Alliance which executive leaders described as encouraging a range of perspectives, an outward looking momentum, and improved ways of working. Partnerships, collaboration and scale were perceived by leaders as instrumental in being able to implement ambitious new forms of practice. But these ambitions were hand-in-hand with a mindset of civic and ethical leadership which saw excellence as a moral imperative. Executive leaders talk of growth as the route to making an excellent education achievable for more children and for more teachers. Cheam Park Farm Junior Academy - now known as LEO Academy Trust - moved to become a sponsor as part of an evolution that converted localised high ambition to supportive system leadership. As the CEO described it: “LEO had benefited financially from becoming a MAT with an improved estate, but more important than that was that we had improved, trained and grown brilliant teachers and leaders. We had lots of great people and so wanted to offer them the scope to continue to grow and develop - otherwise they would have left the MAT. As an example, 5 of those teachers are now principals across our schools.” As set out in the timeline above, additional schools gradually became part of LEO, each benefitting and contributing in different ways. For example, Cheam Common Junior School - now considered as a national example of excellence was originally in Special Measures when it joined LEO, with an unstable workforce (e.g. 13/16 teachers were not permanent members of staff), low aspirations, a tired estate and low morale. This contrasted with the high standards, energised workforce and engaged children seen at Cheam Park Farm, yet as executive leaders highlighted, “We think everybody is capable of excellence and if we could do that in one school then, quite frankly, every child deserves these opportunities. We saw the power of collaboration - building a family of schools where working together is at the heart of everything - then we can make a real difference for children, for staff and for communities”.


This focus on excellence and collaboration has been a theme throughout this impact study as will later be demonstrated, but at key milestones in the LEO journey it has been particularly impactful. For example, teachers from LEO (in this case Cheam Park Farm) being deployed at schools new to the trust (in this case Cheam Common Junior), to work within, and alongside existing members of staff. Symbolic activities such as children from across both schools sharing school trips, began to embed a collective mindset that has become a core tenet of LEO’s success ever since. As one of LEO’s senior leaders describes it, “We don’t just think about ‘children in my school’ or ‘in my class’ - we all think about children across classes, across year groups, across schools. That’s really important - because it makes us all think about our role in leading learning - it makes us all up our game”. Reflecting on the influence of the growth of LEO Academy Trust to 4 schools, leaders identified an evolution of their thinking at this stage, shifting to consider the implications of decisions associated with deployment of finances, staffing and strategic planning, and about continuous improvement of teaching and learning. In September 2017, LEO Academy Trust appointed a Lead Practitioner with a brief to expand and reenergise the use of technology and computing. At this time, the central team had a Director of English, Director of Maths and a Director of Teaching and Learning, and building on these core priorities was seen as the next stage of the collective journey. As the Director of Innovation and Growth explained, “Finances were stable, schools were becoming the local school of choice, standards were in place and in some cases in the top 20% nationally. But the model was dated - teachers talking at the front, then children doing activities for 20 minutes. Nothing was broken or needed fixing but it was a dated way to learn”. In the academic year 2018-2019, a strategy was developed which moved LEO to the cloud. This included Management Information Systems (MIS) as well as core infrastructure. Notably, this was not influenced by the actions of other schools or educational organisations but by the corporate sector. As the Director of Innovation and Growth explained, “We wanted to take inspiration from the efficiencies of the corporate world so that we could free up time and energy to focus on our core business - children’s education. We also wanted to be less dependent on some of the embedded sector providers who we felt weren’t really interested in improving or evolving”. This shift from piecemeal localised infrastructure to cloud-based services reflects a global trend over recent years (BESA, 2023 45). However, within education the pace of change has been somewhat slower, often because of uncertainty about the implications and ramifications of 45. BESA (2023) EdTech Leadership: Strategic briefing paper for school leaders giving an overview of the landscape and implementation of education technology (EdTech) in UK schools.


transferring to the cloud. But the rationale of the LEO executive and governance teams was notable - the focus on moving to the cloud with clear operational goals of becoming more efficient in terms of both finances and time, and more flexible in terms of both location and mindset. In turn, that focus on becoming more efficient and flexible was rooted in the strategic intention to look at teaching and learning more innovatively - bringing the education of children in LEO schools into the domain of the very best schools around the world. These kinds of aspirations are rarely achieved without thinking differently - innovatively - about existing practices. The move towards a cloud based infrastructure was gradual, with administrative elements initially prioritised - for example, email systems, file organisation and operational processing. An IT working party was established to provide leadership and governance oversight, and specific expertise in compliance, commercial and finance was utilised in order to build robustness and confidence. In 2018, LEO began to use Google Workspace as the go-to system for operational activities, and provided all adults with access to a Chromebook in order to provide access. Importantly, all staff not just teachers and leaders - were given Chromebooks. This was perceived by the wide range of stakeholders as a sign of intent - both in terms of the strategic direction to move to the cloud, but also about embedding equity across all stakeholders. Narrative from staff who experienced this process recall that Chromebooks were seen as reliable, sustainable and highly efficient for all levels of staff. Furthermore, the shared experience of learning about Google Workspace collectively created a Community of Practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991 46), whereby expertise was shared, support was offered, and peers explored ideas and solutions together rather. Some years later this sense of “we’re all in it together” was experienced by many other schools as they grappled with learning about Google Workspace at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic. Later in the 2018-2019 academic year, the evolution towards working in the cloud was further developed through an investment in a class set of Chromebooks, and as a senior leader at LEO described it, “What we did at that point was what every school does at this stage - we played around with them to see what they could do, people used them in class for research projects, it was the novelty of trying stuff out that started to give us ideas”. Those ideas soon surfaced insights about how classroom experiences could evolve into something more efficient and more flexible - the same driving forces that first began the overarching strategy. Leadership and Governance discussed expanding the opportunity for children’s learning to be improved by exploring a pilot project. The pilot project was conceived as the provision of a Chromebook for every child in Year 4 in every LEO school to begin in

46. Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991) Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


September 2019. The Chromebook would be given to the child to use both at school and home to support their learning, and classroom provision would be evolved to reflect the availability of those 1:1 Chromebooks. The Year 4 cohort was specifically chosen for this pilot phase because (a) children were seen as settled after Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2 transition, (b) the risks to disrupting the existing strong national test outcomes at LEO were minimised during the exploratory phase, and (c) the Chromebook three-year lease would mean that both children and staff would benefit from a stable three-year trial period. (Note: this cohort, and the two after it have been specifically tracked for the cumulative impact of their 1:1 provision exposure - discussed later in this report). Initially, this process was conceived as a pilot project in order to evaluate the benefits and opportunities as well as the risks and challenges associated with 1:1 provision. As strategic leaders from that time recall, “We were going to trustees with quite a bold, costly model of delivering education - and they quite rightly wanted to know what the impact was going to be”. However, insights from research and thought leaders across a range of sectors (not just education), influenced the thinking of leadership and governance at LEO from the outset, and as such expectations were set that this would be the first phase in an ongoing direction of travel. The design of providing 1:1 Chromebooks to every child in every Year 4 classroom in every school, was to ensure that from the outset, a Community of Practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991 47 ) was established. Although not labelled in this way, staff benefited from shared interests (planning and resourcing for the same year group), and from a group of professionals who were all learning alongside each other about what 1:1 device provision might look like. Strategically, given the longer term direction of travel, it also meant that there were teachers in every school who would be building up skills and expertise ready to later cascade out to other colleagues in other year groups at their home school. Similarly, leaders who were working across schools were able to build up insights across and between different schools in order to support and enhance subject leadership, professional development and intervention for specific children’s needs. Momentum and clarity were embedded in the choice by school leaders about which teachers were assigned to Year 4 classes for September 2019 - with each school typically including at least one member of the school leadership team in Year 4 to strengthen the strategic focus. With children being assigned an individual Chromebook from September 2019, parents were also engaged in discussion about home/school agreements which have been maintained annually thereafter (LEO, 2023 48 ). These agreements set out the rationale for the provision of the Chromebook as that “the scheme is being facilitated and funded by the Trust to facilitate

47. Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1991) Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 48. LEO (2023) LEO Academy Trust KS2 1:1 Chromebook Programme - Parental Agreement.


learning”. Families are asked to commit to ensuring that children bring their Chromebook to school each day fully charged, that the child looks after the equipment (with clear guidance provided), and to agree to reporting particular issues (e.g. technical or safeguarding). Parents are advised about the security and safeguarding features which include tracking features and filters, as well as guidance about suitable locations for children to use their Chromebook (e.g. not in their bedroom or on their own unsupervised). Additionally, parents are asked to confirm their understanding of where responsibilities are situated in terms of the actions that children undertake during school and beyond school. The Year 4 pilot phase itself intentionally did not define what ‘good’ would look like in order to encourage professional agency. As part of the procurement process for the Chromebooks, Google offered 5 days of professional development support through a professional development partner, and this was expanded with Google Partner, Canopy, providing 15-20 additional twilights in order to provide a steady bite-size approach including introductory training to a range of different tools such as Google Workspace, Nearpod, FlipGrid and Kahoot. Different teachers used different tools and features in different ways, and during this exploratory stage this was encouraged and supported by the Director of IT and Projects through individual coaching. The mindset of LEO leaders at this stage was important because there was a very clear pedagogical intention set out - that the use of Chromebooks and the associated tools and features that were consequently accessible - was to provide increased efficiency and flexibility in the classroom. The focus was very much on the impact during lessons. There are two important features which have translated this very simple vision into a globally respected success story. First, is the unapologetic focus on Learners and Learning (rather than Teachers and Teaching). Second, is the clarity of intent on increasing efficiency and flexibility in order to meet the needs of those Learners and their Learning. It is not a complicated ambition or aspiration, yet this precision is often not seen when implementing 1:1 programmes. The implications of this focus on Efficiency and Flexibility for Learners and Learning directly impacted the way that implementation took place. For example, teachers approached training with clear 49 pedagogical intentions from the outset. A colleague from Canopy who led much of that initial training for Google explained that, “LEO have been keen to devote time to make sure that teachers understand the tools that they are using - and the pedagogical approaches that are supported by those tools - more than we have seen with other MATs”. The timeline of the next phase of the LEO story is important. The Year 4 pilot began in September 2019, and by early 2020 the world was experiencing the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic with national lockdowns 50. 49. Canopy (2023) 50. Institute for Government (2022) Timeline of UK government coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions


As the CEO of LEO recalls, “you could see what was going to happen so we just had to be ready”. Consequently, the executive leadership team held daily meetings 51 in order to share insights, plan for potential matters arising, and set out contingency plans to ensure that children across LEO schools would not be adversely affected if and when lockdowns were to happen. “This isn’t going to stop us… we’re still going to meet the needs of our children… we just rise to the challenge…” (CEO) Due to the experience and insights of the Year 4 Chromebook pilot that had taken place in the first half of that academic year, the LEO executive leadership team were able to identify an achievable and scalable plan for providing distance learning during the March 2020 lockdown period. Importantly, because of the forward thinking of the team, the cloud based infrastructure was already in place. Two leadership teams were established - with an operations team focused pandemic responses to buildings, safety, staff wellbeing, health & safety etc, alongside a central education team focused on teaching, learning and curriculum being moved online. As the prospect of a national lockdown became increasingly likely, parents across LEO were quickly surveyed in order to identify existing levels of home internet access and device availability. Any child who did not have access to either the internet or a device was provided with that (with dongles distributed to 76 families52) enabling every child to have remote access to Google Workspace. LEO Distance Learning went live on 20 March 2020 with comprehensive educational provision for every child at every LEO school. As Ofqual, 2021 53 shows, this was a stark contrast to the packs of worksheets which so many other schools at the time became reliant upon. During the first lockdown (20 March - 10 May 2020), children were provided with a comprehensive set of learning materials through Google Classroom or SeeSaw 54 . Expectations were set that children should be at least be engaged and interacting with the materials similar in style to traditional homework style learning. As a result of the 1:1 pilot in Year 4 in each school there was already ‘in house’ expertise in place which meant that structures and knowledge were available to support wider groups of staff. As one of the senior leaders at the time described the role of the central education team, “We became content creators, resourcing LEO’s distance learning website by filming lessons, and putting resources out so that everyone could access it and then make it their own with their specific children.”

51. A light hearted reference to the government’s pandemic meetings 52. LEO (2021) LEO Annual Impact Report. 53. Ofqual (2021) Learning during the pandemic: Review of the research from England. 54. LEO (2023) LEO Distance Learning Site.


Many colleagues at this stage were keen to utilise Google Meet for live lessons and some experimentation took place to find out what might be possible and appropriate.

Figure 1: Snapshot of a Live Lesson during the Covid Pandemic In later lockdowns (5 November - 2 December 2020 and 4 January - 8 March 2021), 5 hours of daily live lessons were provided for all children for English and maths, with lessons being recorded for children where live access was not possible (e.g. if family members were all in the same room and a parent had a meeting). Specialist subject lessons were provided through the LEO central team (e.g. music, French) and a choice board was provided for all children for the rest of the day to cover other subjects. This included being encouraged to go outdoors for some learning activities and to take part in PE activities. In addition, social drop ins were established so that every class had a social Google Meet. This provided a gentle way for teachers to get used to the idea of how Google Meets work and so that children had connections with people in their class every day. All children were given three touch points throughout each school day - in the morning, the afternoon, and at the end of day. Each week classes were provided with a timetable by means of a central flyer and special events that would normally be celebrated in school (e.g. book week) were factored into the children’s experiences (e.g. providing children with the option to wear character costumes and talk about them through live sessions). At the end of every live lesson or live session teachers remained on the Google Meet link so that children could drop back in to raise any concerns, ask questions or seek help. Additionally, children were able to ‘book a chat’ with their teacher which provided individual


support and interaction - something particularly targeting children with no siblings or little home interaction. 20,432 online activities were set and completed during this period 55 . As a senior leader recalls, “We were constantly rethinking how we could deliver teaching and learning with distinction making it more effective within the parameters we were working within”. As part of their use of Google Workspace, Canopy were providing training and support to LEO at this stage, and noted that, “Lots of schools start their use of Google by asking questions like ‘what does this look like in a maths lesson’ or ‘how can I use this in a science lesson’ and there tend to be lots of messages back and forth troubleshooting or meeting immediate needs. With LEO, they just moved so much faster than most schools - they moved on to the deeper thinking very quickly - it was very clear that deep thinking about teaching and learning was there right from the start”. Operationally, considerations about keeping children safe were discussed and appropriate mitigation put in place. For example, at the beginning of the remote learning periods, web cams were required to be off because of concerns about background insights for both children and staff. However, the concerns were soon alleviated and/or mitigated and web cams were utilised in order to engage more meaningfully with children. Google Meets initially had 2 adults on each call, but this became difficult to achieve from a staffing perspective and so instead Google Meets were recorded and stored on Google Drive so that staff had an audit trail of what happened in their lessons. Where breakout rooms were used in lessons, the teacher taught the main lesson and then put children in breakout rooms with a TA supporting and supervising. The LEO Distance Learning Programme (LEO, 2020 56 ) was led by the Director of Innovation and Growth, and in the spirit of supporting the wider sector, the curriculum planning and resources57were made available not just across all LEO schools but to any other school who would benefit from access - utilising social media to communicate this offering (#LEODistanceLearning58). Google usage analytics59 from this time indicate just how far afield users were accessing these materials, with access peaking at 38,000 users in the first lockdown and 45,000 in the second lockdown.

55. LEO (2021) Annual Impact Report 2021 56. LEO (2021) School Closure Response to Covid 19 57. LEO (2021) LEO Distance Learning. 58. ibid 59. LEO (2021) School Closure Response to Covid 19


Figure 2: Engagement footprint reflecting the global rates of access to LEO’s remote learning resources.60 Reflecting on this pivotal moment in its digital journey, leaders at LEO observed a number of points. As the Director of Innovation and Growth summarised, “Our results post-pandemic didn’t dip in the way that other schools talked about and we think that was because of the continuity that we were able to provide. We didn’t have to make up as much lost or forgotten learning when we came back into school because we’d been keeping children engaged and focused all the way through.” There were clearly a number of ingredients that made it possible for LEO to offer the continuous provision of learning throughout the national lockdown and then turbulent periods in between. Senior and Executive Leaders reflected on this and spoke about the significance of the investment prepandemic in digital infrastructure - specifically, connectivity, security, cloud, devices and training. In addition, the ethos of the LEO team is notable - the way in which the approach of leaders was to focus on a ‘can do’ approach that ensured continuity of learning rather than a ‘make do and mend’ approach which was sadly seen in other schools worldwide. As a LEO headteacher summarised, “it must have been a bleak time to be a Head in a single school without that level of support”. The pivotal role of the central team was significant. As the Director of Innovation explained, 60. LEO (2021) School Closure Response to Covid 19


“Within a day or two of the pandemic, we were all reminded of the benefits of being part of this wider trust group. As a result of the central team designing and delivering a comprehensive curriculum offer, senior leaders in schools were able to focus on the wellbeing of children, families and staff”. According to the Edurio wellbeing surveys (2022 61 ), staff at LEO are significantly more confident in the benefits of being part of a trust than national averages across other multi academy trusts. Furthermore, Challenge Partner Trust reviews concluded that, “The unifying ethos and culture of one team, one organisation, one budget is a major strength of the Trust. The whole organisational structure is based on effective collaboration and support for each other in teams, hubs and networks and is working for pupils and staff in terms of their. learning and development.62” The centralised provision of operational elements meant that classroom teachers and school leaders could focus on aspects of school leadership that were specific to their student and staff needs. As one of the headteachers reflected, “Classroom teachers could focus their energy on front facing work, keyworker children and parents rather than having to worry about finding resources that worked for remote learning” As one principal explained, “As all our children were given access to Chromebooks and connectivity, it meant that our use of Google Meets, Google Classroom and SeeSaw, allowed us to engage with all children for daily check ins. We were able to provide ELSA support around emotional wellbeing - using zones of regulation as part of checking in. We were able to ensure continuity and familiarity with adults and so a sense of belonging and avoiding feeling isolated - through lockdows as well as during periods of self-isolation. No-one needed to miss out despite all the restrictions so we could minimise gaps in provision” This was particularly important for children with specific needs, as a SENCO explained, “For those of us leading on inclusion or supporting children with SEN, we thought about how to meet those specific children’s needs given the restrictions in place. So we recorded specific instructions or material for children with autism, or provided specifically scaffolded Jamboards for children with cognitive difficulties. It meant that their needs were still being considered - they were still able to participate meaningfully in learning. I think that’s had a huge effect coming back into school because the gap would be enormous for those children otherwise. Interestingly, class teachers have carried on a lot of these strategies even now - because they can see how it helps particular high needs children self-regulate and be more autonomous in the classroom”.

61. Edurio (2022) LEO Staff Wellbeing Survey Results - Staff Experience 62. LEO (2021) LEO Annual Impact Report 2021.


A vital part of this provision depended on staff being willing and able to upskill themselves around new ways of working. To support this process, staff were given targeted support to learn about appropriate tools and skills at a sustainable and achievable pace. In the first lockdown, the central team’s provision of lessons and resources for all children and year groups meant that all staff were able to focus on learning to use specific tools and features in practice. Significantly, LEO saw this as ensuring that all staff continued to receive their CPD entitlement throughout the pandemic ensuring that learning continued for staff as well as for children. This was not seen as something ‘extra’ to learn or do, but important professional learning worthy of investment even if the pandemic were not taking place. This viewpoint again highlights a rather different mindset than so many other schools at the time who perceived learning about technology solutions as a hardship or an extra burden. To support this professional learning focus, LEO encouraged, funded and supported Google Certification for staff - and by September 2020, 46% of the teaching and leadership staff were formally recognised for their new and developed skills. As Google themselves highlight, the number of Level 1 and Level 2 Certified teachers at LEO is significantly higher than the international average, and broadly comparable to a MAT around 8 times larger. As the Director of Innovation and Growth explained, “Digital skills were turbocharged because of the pandemic. But 1:1 would have been rolled out anyway year group at a time, so this was just about doing the same thing at a quicker pace, and all together”. Reflecting on their return to the classroom post-pandemic, LEO teachers shared their perceived impact, “It affected how I think about the role of technology. It felt like. a big deal before, but now, actually, it shows that if we put our mind to it, we can just make it work, and more importantly, we have seen the difference it makes to children’s learning, so it’s worth doing.” Furthermore, “It’s just so much better now. We don’t spend so much time photocopying and trimming, we just use the digital activities and then learning is so much more efficient - we can focus on questioning children, unpicking misconceptions, moving them on, supporting them if they’re having a wobble. The stuff that we know actually makes a difference.” As senior leadership colleagues explained, “It’s so important that we keep the momentum - it’s hard not to see the benefits from the pandemic really it made us really think about where digital adds value and where it doesn’t. For example, short, snappy, pacy teaching was highly effective in the pandemic and would transfer well back to the classroom so those experiences helped us to really unpack that with our staff - we had great discussions about maintaining those insights into effective learning and teaching back in the classroom”


Reflection on the different ways in which teachers, teaching assistants and leaders worked during the pandemic have been significant influences in shaping LEO’s digital development since. As an senior leader explained, “During the pandemic, teachers were doing a lot of training online because of home-based capacity. TAs were in school with small groups and every child had a device so there were safe spaces for experimenting. It created opportunities for staff to talk about what worked and why, and to share ideas with each other about how to meet the needs of individual children or children with particular characteristics. Most staff found this very rewarding professionally - and despite the challenges of the lockdowns and Covid, saw that aspect as a huge benefit”. Whilst not all staff in any organisation will respond in the same way, this majority mindset of focusing professional dialogue on a solution-finding approach to meeting children’s needs is very much a characteristic of LEO schools. Importantly, it affects the relationship between school based staff and central colleagues - with the pro-active dynamics encouraging collaborative and supportive bidirectional working practices. The impact of the LEO approach to remote learning has been substantial and perhaps best summarised by a third party improvement advisor trust review report, "LEO Academy Trust has demonstrated what can be achieved with a strong Trust infrastructure, a “can do” attitude, strong leadership and co-operative working relationships. The Trust provided a lifeline for families throughout the lockdown period and since the children have returned to school. The provision provided met the needs of parents and children and has resulted in the children quickly catching up and staying on track academically 63” Consequently, post-pandemic, the impact of being part of a MAT and of being forward-thinking with the use of technology was clear. As the CEO reflects, “For our team, with every positive experience it builds confidence. Having that wider team - and collective expertise across that group of people enables you to do things that you couldn’t do if you were just a school on your own. We are all constantly learning from each other all the time”.

63. Ollerhead, P., (2021) Impact - Trust review by Philippa Ollerhead, Education Improvement Adviser, PJO Education.

This collective commitment to constant professional learning is a key theme across the schools in LEO. The narrative from teachers and leaders is permeated with an eagerness of all stakeholders to learn. But it is not as simple as employing keen learners or encouraging sustainable professional development the roots of this commitment from staff lie deeper - in a shared belief about their own professional learning being important because of the impact it will have on the learners across LEO.


This appears to have translated an ideological mindset where all staff are genuinely committed to learning, into something that is operationally achievable. Systems and processes have been put in place to ensure that every one of the 600 members of staff across LEO have a personal learning goal which is supported by a simple yet focused coaching model (Growing Great People 64 ). As the Executive Principal leading GPP explains, “Growing Great People (GGP) is LEO Academy Trust’s professional growth policy. It puts establishing, improving and maintaining the very highest standards in our daily work at its very heart. It is a policy that wholeheartedly supports our vision of Learning Excellence Opportunity. Within our trust we have high aspirations for ourselves; a belief and pride that we can be the very best, driven by a sense of moral purpose and desire to continuously grow and improve. It is about ‘Improving not Proving’. Our professional growth processes exist to ensure that all LEO staff, whatever their role, are able to be the very best they can be; leading to every pupil being able to reach the highest possible standards. This policy sets out our high expectations and a clear framework for a consistent approach to professional growth so that our staff may grow and succeed as trusted and valued professionals. It assumes, unless evidence suggests otherwise, that the staff within LEO Academy Trust are meeting their appropriate professional standards.” The Growing Great People approach to professional growth 65 ensures that not only is each member of staff supported to identify a learning goal and guided through the process of how to go about achieving their aspirations, but that it simultaneously contributes to improving their professional knowledge and actions, and that it contributes to improving learning for learners across LEO (not just in their own school). Since its adoption two years ago, LEO’s Growing Great People strategy has replaced the target centred nature of performance management and empowered staff to identify, lead and disseminate personal learning pathways. As principals described it, “I’ve seen a really big impact on teaching and learning because of Growing Great People. We’re doing this because it’s going to help you as a teacher, so it’s much more purposeful. It’s really really good for teachers and for all of us”. Classroom teachers spoke about valuing the process for its personal relevance, “I’m looking at Adaptive Teaching and using specific digital tools to help improve that. I knew what I wanted to work on and I talked through it with my coach which I found really supportive. But I’ve picked my focus because it’s what I really want to work on in my teaching. It’s something that really matters to me”. Furthermore, the nature of GGP projects often means that teachers, leaders and teaching assistants work together across year groups or schools, “One of my teachers is in her late 50s and she says herself that she is not technically minded, but for her GGP she wanted to look at NearPod and understand the impact it

64. LEO (2023) Growing Great People Overview. 65. Moyse, C., (2019) Growing Great Teachers: Improving not Proving.


could make on her children. She knew that some of the TAs she worked with had really good experiences of this in other year groups so as well as the digital CPD and talking with leaders and teachers, she was able to talk about it with TAs and she found that really helpful in shaping her thinking”. Digital technology features heavily in many of the GGP projects that staff identify. For some staff it is about building familiarity and confidence with the practicalities of using particular technologies, whilst for others it is more specific using OrbitNote to support reading strategies for lower attaining children, or utilising Jamboard to support sequencing in writing. In discussion with one TA, she described her initial fear about using digital technology because it challenged the traditional role of a Teaching Assistant. Her proactive mindset played a key role in addressing this and creating a consequent impact on children’s learning, “My GGP was to become more confident in using both the interactive whiteboard for whole class sessions and the Chromebooks for individual learning activities. I made use of teacher training videos in planning sessions, and with my children we now use Google Classroom, Seesaw, Nearpod, Jamboard, and we are just beginning to learn how to use Google Google Docs. The impact is enabling them to access a more diverse curriculum, and preparing them for more digital based learning in Year 2. The use of technology with SEND children has increased their independence and self-esteem. It has allowed them to work on adaptive programs such as Seesaw. It has a speaking option and enables learners to work at their own pace and repeat words and instructions as many times as they need. Headphones keep the children’s needs more personal to them. The use of these adaptive programs are limitless and can be used across all areas of the curriculum.” GGP’s goals, known as individual Professional Growth Plans, are set in October, and then sustained from November to May, with staff sharing mini presentations with colleagues in the summer term 66. As the Growing Great People strategy sets out, “All staff are required to engage in opportunities for learning and experimentation, reflection and evaluation, feedback and coaching. It is intended that professional growth and learning, rather than just being confined to meetings in specific times and places, will become embedded into everyday work practices. This sustained development work will be presented to team colleagues at the end of the cycle for the benefit of reflection, accountability and sharing effective practice.” The relationship between Growing Great People as a strategy, and the digital maturity across LEO is twofold. First, it is a very practical relationship, as an executive principal outlined, “We could do all this on paper at school level, but not trust-wide because of the huge admin implications. The procedures are all through Google Forms or Google Docs so 66. LEO (2023) Growing Great People Timeline.


the impact on senior leadership is significant - we can oversee what’s happening across the trust easily - and that allows us to focus our conversations with senior leaders on support, intervention and strategic decision making, rather than checking who’s done what and that kind of admin” Furthermore, that “Using Google Workspace to support Growing Great People means that we can collate all the details about what people are working on - sharing with key leaders is vital - so we then have better oversight and understanding of the issues and solutions across the schools, and that informs our planning, the support we put in place, funding decisions. Basically, it means that the team are shaping our thinking, and empowering us to make better decisions to help and support them in their roles”. All 600 staff across LEO engage in GGP unless there is a specific concern (where instead a support plan is more appropriate to use). As HR colleagues summarise, this has been instrumental in encouraging innovation, deep professional learning and collaborative development, “GGP has had a huge impact on the culture of our trust because of the culture of coaching - you see that come out in different strands. GGP gives you a coach, and you are required to engage with that and be very self-reflective - and because people are more open to that it opens minds up to other ways of working - the trust really does support that. ” The impact of the Growing Great People strategy has been specifically identified by external reviews such as Challenge Partners. For example, “Senior leaders practise a coaching approach and are hands on in leading improvements in pedagogy and curriculum. As a result, they have skilled up middle leaders to drive forward school improvement within the shared vision and accountability through a Growing Great People Policy. Due to staff’s dedication to their own development, practice has improved and has led to improved pupil outcomes and increased learning opportunities for all pupils.” LEO’s approach to encouraging all staff to be active learners also enables scalable and sustainable approaches to wider training across LEO. For example, Andy Caffrey from Canopy who supported LEO with their Google implementation explained that, “LEO have been very quick to take on a lot of responsibility themselves. They have been keen to do training and keen to devote time to make sure that teachers understand the tools that they are using - and the pedagogical approaches - more than we have seen with other MATs. They have pushed that training to quite a high level - they quickly grew staff training into Level 1 and Level 2 and ultimately the LEO central team to become Google Trainers themselves so that they can make it sustainable. So now I don’t do a lot of training - they do it themselves. They have Trainers, Coaches


and Innovators - that’s quite unusual - to have all three in play. Trainers that focus on group training sessions about tools, Coaches who are supporting teachers on a 1:1 coaching scenario to support in the classroom, and Innovators - focusing on change management - tailored towards senior leaders, the process of change and the broader piece” Finally, reflecting the learner-centred ethos across LEO, over the last 2 years, there has been a deliberate fusion of Teaching and Learning Strategy 67 with Digital Strategy 68 . Led by the Director of Innovation and Growth, Director of Digital and Computing Skills and Director of Education, this alignment has embedded deep pedagogical thinking into the heart of digital practices, at the same time as embedding digital opportunities into the heart of teaching and learning practices. EdTech and Teaching and Learning are no longer seen as two parallel but complementary strands of strategic work, but as one interwoven direction of travel. As one of LEO’s executive leaders explained, “You’re not going to achieve what LEO has done with one person in charge of digital. The real shift that has happened is that the leadership of technology for learning is everybody’s role and that whilst there may be some specialists providing CPD, that has been the greatest shift. This is part of everybody’s role. Where we used to have a ‘technology for learning strategy’ and policy, we don’t any more, we don’t use that phrase any more, it’s now part of our central teaching and learning strategy. Our central directors are leaders of teaching and learning, with specialists for specific subjects, but they are all providing that teaching and learning support within classrooms. At different stages we had things like cloud champions to get things off the ground, but we have now moved away from that because it seems like one person is a hero or the person doing it, rather than an expectation that it is for everyone to do”. In summary, there have been some key ingredients at LEO which have underpinned the significant positive impact now seen in classrooms - directly affecting the learning of approximately 4,500 children. As set out above, these include: An organisation wide shift to a cloud ecosystem - both operationally and educationally creating trust-wide familiarity with digital practices An organisation wide adoption of Chromebooks - where every member of staff and every child has access to a device ‘on demand’ - removing access and accessibility as barriers An organisation wide professional learning mindset - where staff are all actively learning, guided meaningfully through coaching, and supported by a comprehensive professional development programme An organisation wide and relentless focus on improving the learning of all children across LEO. The learning of children attending LEO schools is seen as a shared responsibility, with the focus then more precisely about meeting specific needs. 67. LEO (2022) Teaching and Learning Strategy. 68. LEO (2023) Technology for Learning.


5.2. THE LEO DIGITAL ECOSYSTEM TODAY As at September 2023, LEO academy trust provide all Key Stage 2 children and all teaching staff with their own Chromebook / ChromeTab, and mobile connectivity if required. Children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 are provided with class based iPads and Chromebooks. There has been a steady investment over 5 years to reach this point, with the total number of devices purchased intentionally higher than the number of children and staff to reflect the reality of technical glitches, as summarised below. September 2019

September 2020

September 2021

September 2022

September 2023



















Chrome Tabs






Total Devices






According to BESA (2022 69) national survey of schools, the average primary school has 120 computers. Accordingly to DfE statistics there is an average of 281 children on roll in a primary school (DfE, 2023 70), and approximately 16 members of teaching staff (DfE, 2023 71 ). Whilst based crudely on mean averages, this equates to 120 devices across 297 people (approximately 1:2 ratio). LEO Academy Trust have 4,335 devices for 3997 children and 200 staff which equates to just over a 1:1 ratio. In order to use these devices meaningfully, all staff have access to the LEO Digital Package 72. This provides a combination of text, video and screenshot which set out a very clear explanation of what each available tool is, where to find it, how it works, what features look like and how to use them with a focus on pedagogical approaches, examples of successful use, links to lesson resources, effective ways to integrate it with other tools and apps in the digital package, how to make the most out of the tool beyond initial uses, and insights that it offers for teaching and learning (e.g. data analytics, reporting). For example, for NearPod 73 .

69. BESA (2022) Key UK Education Statistics. 70. DfE (2023) Schools, pupils and their characteristics. 71. DfE (2023) School Workforce Statistics. 72. LEO (2023) Digital Package. 73. LEO (2023) Digital Package - NearPod.


Figure 3: LEO Digital Package > NearPod online introduction and training materials snapshots All LEO staff are encouraged and supported to engage with anytime/anywhere digital professional development. This includes online demonstration videos for each tool - explaining clearly which pedagogical approach is being supported and how, as well as live webinar based sessions run by different LEO staff supporting specific aspects of teaching and learning. LEO staff are actively encouraged to complete Google Workspace Level 1 and Level 2 certification and given staff development time to enable them to engage with this wide range of support. As at 2022, 46% of staff had Level 1 certifications and 16% had Level 2 certifications. By 2023, this had increased to 73% at Level 1 and 23% Level 2 certifications. Furthermore, there were 8 Google Certified Trainers and 1 Google Certified Innovator at LEO. Comparative datasets beyond LEO identify these hard numbers as more in line with MATs 7-8 times larger than LEO (i.e. proportionally significantly higher than an average school or MAT).


5.3. DIGITAL SKILL PROGRESSION Alongside the Digital Package and its comprehensive support for staff, one of the key influences to the successful use of digital across LEO classrooms is the careful and deliberate way that children have been taught about using features of their Chromebooks. The structured and cumulative way that this takes place from Year 1 to Year 6 means that children become exposed, familiar, competent and then confident with a wide range of features. The children’s competence and confidence then allows teachers to utilise features to enhance classroom practice across the full range of curriculum subjects and experiences.

LEO have a specific Digital Skill Progression Framework 74 embedded into the Computing curriculum and the wider curriculum. By the end of Key Stage 1 children become fluid in using a range of tools and features which then support and enhance their learning and thus open up the kinds of sophisticated and embedded practices seen across all year groups. However, skills are taught explicitly, and cumulatively from Reception onwards. A summary of the core skills that have been seen in this impact research to underpin wider curriculum application are below - with a focus on Key Stage 1 (the full digital skills progression framework contains a much wider set of skills and is in place from Reception to Year 6 75).

74. LEO (2023) Digital Skills Progression Framework. 75. ibid


By the end of

Children are able to

Year 1

Log into a Chromebook independently Charge and Put away their device independently Access SeeSaw, find and complete activities and turn them in, independently Take a photo and record a video with their device (using front and rear camera, checking that the image is still, and that it ‘fits the frame’ Use the search tool to find an app on their device Use VR to explore an interactive 360 image (e.g. NearPod, Google Arts and Culture, Google Earth and ThingLink) Create basic presentations that use text, audio and visual material (e.g. Google Google Slides, Adobe Spark, FlipGrid, Toontastic) Begin to identify and locate all the keys on a keyboard with increasing speed (e.g. using Dancemat typing, Typing Club) Use the *spacebar to make spaces and *delete to delete words and letters, and *enter to make a new line Dictate into a digital device - with increasing accuracy and punctuation (full stops and capital letters) Screen record (e.g. on SeeSaw or Flipgrid) to capture learning activities Add labels to an image (e.g. SeeSaw)

Year 2

Independently sign into devices and logins for additional apps Introduction to accessibility features on the Chromebook, Read & Write and OrbitNote Select assignments from Google Classroom and use the Class Stream purposefully for learning Find, open, and turn in assignments in Google Classroom Use Google Google Docs, Google Slides and Jamboard - and achieve Bronze Badges for their Digital Passport Use tools such as Adobe Spark, Book Creator, FlipGrid, Google Google Slides and Sites to compliment learning Identify and locate all keys on the keyboard fluently and with increasing accuracy Use caps lock for capital letters, space bar only once between words, arrow keys, and delete to correct mistakes Copy and paste images and text Take screenshots and crop images (e.g. to share ideas and evidence learning) Dictate longer passages into a digital device with accurate punctuation Utilise picture dictionaries and reading aids when required with support (i.e. Read & Write/Orbitnote) Add voice labels to an image or piece of work (e.g. Mote) Add speech bubbles, images, sound to work to enhance its meaning


As will become clear throughout the findings of this impact research, these digital skills - specific to the digital package at LEO - are a vital underpinning for effective teaching, children’s learning, and the wider educational provision seen across the schools. Canopy, who provide LEO with support as part of their Google package, highlighted the core role that Digital Skills progression plays in the mindset of children and adults across LEO. “We have interactive tutorials that help schools use Google tools, and children are also able to do these tutorials and earn badges to go into their Digital Skills Passport. It was LEO that suggested that children can collect badges and have their skills celebrated in this way.” The impact of children being able to complete these digital badges has been significant with 14,974 digital badges being completed by LEO children over a 1 ½ year period (broadly comparable numbers to a MAT approximately 10 times as large as LEO). As a Canopy colleague explained, “We see a lot of learner autonomy through the way that LEO children approach these badges. For example, to get a Google Drive badge you have to score of 86% - you get 2 scores, competence and efficiency. LEO children tend to want to get 100% on both, so what we were seeing is that they would continue with the tutorial even after they had earned the badge - so that they could get the Double-100%! They were re-doing the same tutorial in order to better themselves. Children at LEO self-direct a lot of their learning - we see that through the badges and also actually we see that on the in-person classroom visits. At LEO there is a lot more learner choice, particularly in the way that they access or evidence their learning. You see one student using Jamboard or the one next to them using Flip or Google Docs or something - teachers are confident with giving them that level of choice, because they have spent time understanding how to use it, when it is appropriate to use and why it adds value to the learning”.


Complementing the commitment for all children to develop a specific suite of digital skills, LEO also have class Digital Leaders. The structured support of these in-class and in-school leaders is vital. For example, at LEO, the Director of Computing and Digital supports a team of Computing Leads and Cloud Champions in each school to provide opportunities for those leading digital practice to be equipped with skills, confidence and leadership knowledge. In turn, this team provide comprehensive support to children in their role as the Digital Leaders. The support systems put in place at LEO is deliberately aimed at both children and adults, as well as being both strategic and responsive. For example, Digital Leaders have worked together to create teacher guides for new resources reflecting the sense of mutual learning community across LEO. Whilst historically Digital Leaders have been children in Key Stage 2 who are technically very competent, this group has gradually expanded to ensure that every class has at least one child trained with relevant skills and confidence to provide specialist peer support. As the principal of one school explained, when a new teacher started in one of their classrooms, “One of our Reception children taught her how to connect the visualiser”. LEO’s approach to introducing and embedding Chromebook use across the schools has intentionally provided leadership and support for all stakeholders. However, it has naturally impacted some staff and children more than others. In order to understand children’s perceptions of having their own Chromebooks requires some understanding of the influences that may affect how children conceptualise this access. As part of understanding the cumulative effect of Chromebook exposure, children were grouped into Cohort identifiers - as seen below.

This coding allowed for specific cohorts to be tracked over time and compared to other datasets. Typical school data does not tend to do this - instead focusing on dynamic year groups. For example, tracking what happens in ‘Year 4’ but with the cohort representing ‘Year 4’, and the teacher teaching Year 4 often changing each year. This makes it very difficult to look at longitudinal impact of meaningful variables.


Longitudinal cohort tracking as part of this study allows closer examination of cumulative impact. For example, Cohort B and C have had access to their own Chromebooks for the entire duration of their Key Stage 2 education, thus normalising access, skills, practices and behaviours - their outcomes and insights may therefore be different to other cohorts. The graph below summarises how each of the cohorts in the table above has gradually had greater exposure to 1:1 Chromebook use over time. Before 1:1 device access was introduced these children had access to digital technology for approximately 4% of their weekly learning time (calculated as their 1 hour computing lesson, in relation to their wider school day, but minus non-classroom learning time such as lunchtime break76).

Figure 4: Device use summary - identifying which cohorts experienced the most access to device use over time. Tracking of these cohorts has therefore been prioritised when examining data concerning impact, and drawn out through the findings set out below. However, holistically, there is a trend that the longer the cohort has had access to 1:1 Chromebook use on demand, the more embedded their digital skills and the greater their confidence in using them in application across the wider curriculum to support their learning. As seen in Section 6.4, not only have these cohorts consistently outperformed the national average in end of key stage assessments, but the gap between these cohorts and the national average has been increasing each year. Furthermore, the attainment of these cohorts in RWM at Greater Depth has been accelerating, widening the gap between LEO and the national average. These findings suggest a direct correlation between digital familiarity and purposeful application within learning, and accelerated levels of attainment outcomes.

76. LEO (2023) Technology access pre 1:1 implementation.


As part of this study, children were asked about their own digital skills, and those of their teachers with 95% (n=1,606) of children feeling that their teacher knew how to use the Chromebook and the apps that they experienced in class most (35%, n=585) or all (60%, n=1,021) of the time. 4% (n=80) of children felt that their teacher sometimes knew, and 0.5% (n=11) felt that their teacher did not know how to use the Chromebook and/or apps on it. When segmented by school, these figures correlated with particular priorities (e.g. where children were regularly experiencing consistent tools and features as part of daily classroom practice). It was interesting to probe further into what children were referring to when they spoke about their teachers knowing how to use the Chromebook or associated apps, Through focus groups and observations, insights included that teachers often intentionally introduced new features through a co-learning approach (i.e. “let’s see if we can work out xxx together), and also that teachers encouraged children to share their own discoveries (i.e. “Child A has just found out that it’s possible to xxx - could you share that with the rest of the class please?”). Thus, some perception about teachers knowing or not knowing about particular features was a reflection of a deliberate classroom culture whereby teachers wanted to be seen as learner themselves in order to encourage particular attitudes and behaviours from children. When children were asked about their knowledge of how to use their Chromebook and its associated apps and features, 93% of children (n=2,349) were confident in their skills either most (32%) or all (61%) of the time. The remaining 7% said that they felt confident sometimes - depending on which feature or app was being used. These respondents were predominantly those with specific characteristics such as being new to the school, having English as an additional language or having particular additional needs (including having a 1:1 adult support). None of the children said that they did not know how to use the Chromebook or its associated apps. Comparing children’s confidence in their skills with their perception of teacher skills suggests that there is a strong classroom culture of digital confidence. It would be unrealistic to expect either of these figures to be 100% given the range of individual needs and experiences that both adults and children bring to the classroom, and the ever changing presence and uses of features and apps. However, data suggests that staff confidence levels are generally high across a wide range of tools, as reflected by a separate staff survey undertaken in January 2023 which sought out and then aggregated individual teachers confidence levels for each tool in the LEO digital package.


Figure 5: % of staff who report feeling confident to use tools in the LEO Digital Package as at January 2023 (Note: 0-1 scale on left represents 0-100%). As seen in this analysis, many of the resources within the digital package saw high staff confidence rates - particularly when utilising tools such as Flip, Mote, NearPod, OrbitNote, ThingLink, Read & Write and Doodle. Staff confidence consequently provides a launchpad for effective and appropriate use, and allows a fusion of skills to be brought together. As reflected by the National Curriculum 77 and the deeper Digital Skills progression framework that LEO embed 78 , it is important to explicitly teach children and staff about the rules and behaviours associated with being safe online. By nature of providing internet connected laptops or tablets in school, this issue is magnified - by both teachers and parents alike. Whilst all schools are required by law to provide appropriate filtering and safeguarding measures underpinning internet and device use, concerns nevertheless remain. No system is perfect. In addition, no child is perfect, and like any kind of behaviour, there are likely to be the majority who adhere to the rules, and a minority that do not. Similarly, for parents and staff - the possibility of deliberate or inadvertent action is always possible. Whether digital or offline, across the world, inappropriate resource sharing, inappropriate language, or negative behaviours have the potential to happen between and including children and adults. It is important therefore to see the presence of digital devices in this wider human landscape.

77. DfE (2013) National Curriculum in England - Primary Curriculum 78. LEO (2023) Digital Skills Progression Framework.


To mitigate for additional risk presented by the introduction of Chromebooks, a number of measures were put in place by LEO. These included a clear Code of Conduct which parents and children were introduced to, and required to sign in order to confirm their understanding and future behaviours. Staff sign a similar agreement as part of their employment processes. Monitoring and reporting systems were then implemented in order to track appropriate use. As one principal reflected, “In the early stages, there were a few incidents where Chromebooks were used inappropriately, but once children, families and staff all realised that the monitoring system was in place, and was used to take robust action, these incidents went down. Now, it’s rarely an issue.” Reporting data from SENSO 79 over this period 80 evidences a steady decline from September to June each year with a slight raise in June/July which LEO DSL’s reported as being when children tend to be pushing behavioural boundaries more broadly. As one DSL highlighted, “When you look at the typical bullying pattern in any school, you normally get a spike in the summer term because Year 6, well they’ve finished their SATs, and they are finding their new identity as they change culture towards going to secondary school - they become this big fish in a small pond” Furthermore, there were some interesting trends in that Tuesdays (followed by Wednesdays) tended to see higher SENSO alerts compared to other days of the week. Furthermore, comparing trends across individual schools within LEO, the longer a school has been part of LEO and/or the more an individual school has embedded Chromebooks into classroom practice as an on-demand tool, the less alerts tended to be triggered. This suggests that cultural expectations around appropriate use, children (and family) familiarity with the safeguarding reporting processes, and embedded behaviour management directly impact consequent appropriate use.

5.4. BEHAVIOUR AND EXPECTATIONS At LEO there is a clear behaviour policy and set of expectations in place which underpins not just digital practice, but all aspects of school life. The approach to behaviour is largely preventative, with embedded inclusive practice and excellent positive relationships between staff and children. The impact of this approach can be seen in the proportionally low number of behavioural incidents that are reported 81.

79. SENSO (2023) 80. LEO (2023) SENSO Data Summary 81. LEO (2023) Census summaries from 2018-2023 and LEO (2023) Behaviour data 2018-2023


In line with the ‘equity not consistency’ approach that LEO takes to providing teachers with professional autonomy in their own classroom, there is a range of ways in which technology is managed. Drawing upon their experiences - both positive and challenging - since the introduction of the 1:1 programme, LEO now have a range of strategies and actions that ensure appropriate, purposeful and positive behaviour around technology. In the most successful classrooms this includes that: Teachers state at the outset of the lesson if Chromebooks will be being used in that lesson or not, with clear explanations about why or how particular tools will support or extend learning, or clear explanations about why a task does not require support from digital tools. The explanation of which tools and resources are going to be used is woven into the lesson introduction itself setting out clear expectations for what is to follow. Where Chromebooks are used for whole-class activities, expectations are set that, When the teacher is talking, children must close their Chromebook to a 45 degree angle (known as ‘PacMan’), or, in some classrooms, turn it to face the teacher. This ensures that the children know who or what they are to look at and listen to. If sound is to be used, then headphones are worn. Headphones are not worn unless sound is being used as part of a specific learning action or activity. Children do not interact with each other’s Chromebooks unless explicitly asked to do so by that child or the teacher (e.g. to provide peer support). The teacher may ‘teach from the back’ - so that everyone looks at the same stimulus (e.g. digital classroom board and/or individual Chromebook), and so that the teacher is able to monitor the behaviour of all children throughout. Where Chromebooks are used as an on-demand resource or support, expectations are set that, All children have permission to use their Chromebook on-demand to access support or lesson resources, but access is only for those purposes. Children do not have to ask each time they want to use a particular tool or feature, but children should only use tools and features that they have been introduced to, or need, for a specific purpose during lesson time. If children identify an unknown tool or feature that they would like to learn about they should do that during an appropriate time (e.g. digital skills development time, early morning task, at home, once their work is completed) - rather than utilise specific subject lesson learning time. At LEO, this approach of ‘all’ children or ‘no’ children was an important aspect of inclusive practice as it meant that children with particular needs were not singled out, nor were children without identified needs at a disadvantage by not being allowed access to support resources or accessibility features. Children are responsible for their own actions, and are accountable to themselves and their teacher. They are aware that SENSO monitors what they


use and when - so they are aware that there is a full audit trail of their activities available to teachers, and that this may be shared with parents if necessary. During activities that use Chromebooks, Where tools have a teacher or student mode (e.g. NearPod) this is deliberately thought about and set. For example, teacher mode may ensure that all children move through a series of screens at the same pace, whereas student mode may allow children to return to previous screens to search for and identify specific pieces of information. Assessment insights are actively used by the teacher to support adaptive teaching during the lesson - ensuring real-time whole-class responsiveness. In order to achieve the above, children are Expected to bring their Chromebooks into school every day fully charged Trusted to take responsibility for looking after their Chromebook both in school and at home. But classroom behavioural expectations are not just about what children do or are expected to do. Notably, in the classrooms where technology was used most impactfully, there were consistent trends across teacher behaviours too. For example, Teachers were confident about their knowledge and skills - both subject specific and digital but articulated to the children aspects that they did not yet know - clearly demonstrating that knowledge and confidence are continually evolving for everyone Teachers were modelling the metacognitive processes of being learners themselves - talking aloud as they identified, addressed, resolved and reflected on practical problems (with and without technology) Teachers referred to digital and non-digital tools specifically in relation to how they would help, support, scaffold, enhance or extend - both in their teaching and as part of children’s learning. Every tool or resource was introduced in context of its purpose Teachers kept the focus on the subject being learned. If there were technical difficulties (digital), practical difficulties (logistical), or otherwise (e.g. typical classroom interruptions), the subject knowledge and lesson focus was always prioritised, and teachers were quick to adapt accordingly. Recommendation It may be helpful to explicitly disseminate these behavioural expectations across the full LEO staff team with regular updates and consolidation. briefings to ensure a consistent level of understanding and implementation over time. In addition, many schools beyond LEO would benefit from this information being made publicly available to support similar success in other schools/trusts beginning their own 1:1 journey.


As set out above, all staff and children across all schools within LEO Academy Trust use Google Workspace combined with Chromebooks. The consistency that this creates for children and adults alike is important in embedding sustainable practices. By means of demonstrating this it is helpful to benchmark the way in which LEO uses Google tools with those of other similar organisations. Comparing data analytics from LEO schools with global Google benchmarking insights 82, there are a number of trends which emerge. 1. Typically, the volume of Google usage by schools increases steadily from the start of term and starts to decrease about ¾ way through the term, with roughly even trend patterns seen spread over each term. However, at LEO, the rate of increase is quicker at the start of the term, and the decrease starts later in the term - sometimes not until the last few days - suggesting much more sustained and embedded practice. 2. Google usage during school holidays is also higher than the benchmarked norm - but this is not attributable just to general web browsing as it includes the full Workspace set of tools (e.g. Google Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive, Classroom). 3. Whilst Google Google Docs, Google Sheets and Files are the most commonly created content on Google Workspace for LEO, there is a much wider range of filetypes than a typical MAT often linking to other online resources or tools. 4. Within Google Workspace, contributions (posts) are usually initiated by teachers. However, during peak usage periods (approximately half way through each term), the ratio of student to teacher posts is closer. In other words, student interaction with peers or their teachers is more intense further into the term. 5. There is a high level of Google Workspace usage across the LEO community. For example, during the period December 2022 to June 2023, there were between 421-3,255 active users per day83 (NoR for this period including Year R to Year 6 was 3,997 84, thus representing 10-81% of children). However, only 2,261 children in this period had 1:1 access to a Chromebook, and as such, even when accounting for approximately 200 teaching staff, this suggests that the number of people at LEO using Google Workspace on an active basis is high. The highest usage periods in this period were January to May 2023 - reflecting what the sector generally considers the most intense period of learning during the school year. 6. In the academic year 2022-2023, Google Workspace analytics indicate that 97% of Key Stage 2 children are actively using Google Classroom each day 85 (145 classrooms accessed by 2,650 children). The range by school is between 82-100% of students accessing their Google Classroom. Whilst children across LEO use a range of devices including iPads and Chromebooks as part of their everyday practice in Early Years and Key Stage 1, the digital provision becomes more personalised as they enter Key Stage 2. Once children move into Year 3 they are each given a

82. Data sourced from Google’s Annual Transformation Reports and Big Query analysis. 83. LEO (2023) Google Drive Active Users 84. LEO (2023) Pupil Numbers 85. Google (2023) Google Classroom Analysis - Transformation Report Overview


Chromebook for their personal use for the remainder of their time at a LEO school. Colleagues working centrally organise the devices, labelling the Chromebooks along with chargers and any peripherals (e.g. stylus, headphones, case), and set up any user accounts or login details. These are delivered to each school at the start of the academic year so that classes can begin their Chromebook induction as part of their first week in Year 3. Class teachers spoke about their appreciation for this level of support, “The central team get it all ready for the children. That makes a massive difference because it means we can get up and running in the first week. Any technical issues, like children new to LEO being on the MIS or glitches, they take care of for us.” The role of parents is important, with all Year 3 parents asked to attend a presentation in early September with their child’s class teacher, supported by the SENCO, in order to go through eSafety, terms and conditions of Chromebook use and acceptable use policies 86 . Parents are required to either attend the briefing workshop, or to confirm that they have read and understood the Google Slides or watched a recording, through signing an online agreement, before children are allowed to take their Chromebooks home. Leaders reflected that in the past these parental meetings had been optional. However, the significance of parents understanding their responsibilities and also the behavioural expectations for children and adults has led to the briefing and acknowledgement of understanding being compulsory. In most cases the process of briefings and signing the agreement documents is straightforward, although there have been a small number of parents who prefer for their child to keep the Chromebook in school rather than take it home. These are usually scenarios where parents are concerned about their skills in managing their child’s usage and behaviour in the home environment, or the weight of transporting the Chromebook to and from school (see Section 5.5). In these scenarios children keep their Chromebook at school in their classroom tray - where they might have traditionally kept pencil cases. At the beginning of Year 3, children are introduced to their 1:1 devices in a very structured way. For example, class teachers spoke about, “We do a whole lesson on getting to know your Chromebook - so things like turning it on, logging in, joining our Google Classroom, talking though different things that can be done - copy and paste, screenshot, searching - simple stuff - and it’s all a recap from their time in the Infants but it means they are all up to speed with what they have got access to and how to use it. But from the outset we also explain things like turn your Chromebook around when the teacher is talking, and hands-off so you can’t get distracted by fiddling with it”. 86. LEO (2023) LEO Academy Trust KS2 1:1 Chromebook Programme - Parental Agreement 2023-2024


Classroom teachers explained that children who are just joining LEO in Year 3, “Get up and running really quickly because we go through everything step by step to recap and build confidence so they are not left behind.” Teachers who have taught Year 3 for multiple years explained that, “Every year the children coming into Year 3 are more savvy. They have so many skills from what has been taught to them in the infants now so we can really build on that very quickly”. Finally, focus groups of teachers spoke about the impact of Chromebooks being consistent across year groups as particularly impactful for some children. “We had a child at [school name] who was generally very nervous even at the best of times, so moving year groups was a big anxiety because of the feat of the unknown. One thing he said helped him was that the Chromebook would go with him - even though the teacher was different, the tools and apps were the same so they knew they had access to things that could help them”.

5.5. DEFINING DEVICE USE At LEO Academy Trust, mobile phones are not permitted during the school day. Children who need to have mobile phones for legitimate purposes (e.g. walking to and from school) are required to leave them in the school office for the entire duration of the school day. This clear view on the appropriateness about which technologies to use, when, and where, takes place in an ecosystem where every child has their own laptop - used specifically for educational purposes. The distinction between smartphones, and laptops/tablets, is important because it demarcates a type of use of technology in schools which publications and speakers often omit to mention. Research undertaken by large international bodies are not immune to this methodological issue. For example, UNESCO (2023 87 ), recently published a comprehensive global monitoring report about technology in education, and drew out a conclusion that “Student use of devices beyond a moderate threshold may have a negative impact on academic performance. The use of smartphones and computers disrupts classroom and home learning activity. A meta-analysis of research on the relationship between student mobile phone use and educational outcomes covering students from pre-primary to higher education in 14 countries found a small negative effect…The decline is mostly linked to increased distraction and time spent on non-academic activities during learning hours. Incoming notifications or the mere proximity of a mobile device can be a distraction, resulting in students losing their attention from the task at hand.” (p.84) 87. UNESCO (2023) Global education monitoring report, 2023: technology in education: a tool on whose terms?


The argument about appropriate volume of use, and avoiding the distraction of inappropriate use, is a persuasive and justified conclusion and which is certainly backed by both theoretical and empirical evidence. However, if one re-reads the quote above, it is possible to see that the argument being made is phrased to infer any kind of ‘device’ (sentence 1). The evidence cited to support this argument is then based upon specific kinds of devices and furthermore, specific kinds of uses (e.g. notifications, and proximity of a mobile device). Thus, the UNESCO (2023) report perpetuates an unhelpful narrative in this argument - whereby the argument about appropriate use tends to refers to generic ‘device use’ (inferring any kind of digital portable device), whilst simultaneously only citing studies which were based upon smartphone use (e.g. Gorjón and Osés, 202288; Bhutoria and Aljabri, 2022 89 ; Kates et al., 2018 90 ). Human conceptualisation of a personal smartphone and thus consequent behaviours are known to be different to those associated with laptops or tablet devices (Steeds et al., 2021 91 ). Thus, this lack of precision is highly damaging to the ways in which nonspecialists conceptualise classroom uses of digital technology. Using that UNESCO report as an example, the impact of the lack of precision in the illustration above can be seen manifesting itself in media portrayal. “​​digital technology as a whole, including artificial intelligence, should always be subservient to a “human-centred vision” of education, and never supplant face-to-face interaction with teachers…. excessive or inappropriate student use of technology in the classroom and at home, whether smartphones, tablets or laptops, could be distracting, disruptive and result in a detrimental impact on learning, it said.” (The Guardian, 2023 92 ) By reviewing this conclusion with its inference about all digital technology - in light of the narrow smartphone-centred evidence base upon which it is drawn - it is important to see how the reporting has collated smartphones, tablets and laptops when in fact the empirical evidence itself only referred to smartphones when drawing out that particular conclusion.

88. Gorjón, L. and Osés, A., (2023) “The negative impact of information and communication technologies overuse on student performance: evidence from OECD countries.” Journal of Educational Computing Research, 61(4), pp.723-765. 89. Bhutoria, A. and Aljabri, N., (2022) “Patterns of cognitive returns to information and communication technology (ICT) use of 15-year-olds: Global evidence from a hierarchical linear modelling approach using PISA 2018” Computers & Education, 181, p.104447. 90. Kates, A.W., Wu, H. and Coryn, C.L., (2018) “The effects of mobile phone use on academic performance: A meta analysis”. Computers & Education, 127, pp.107-112. 91. Steeds, M., Clinch, S., and Jay, C., (2021) “Device uses and device stereotypes” Computers in Human Behavior Reports (4) 92. The Guardian (2023) ‘Put learners first: Unesco calls for global ban on smartphones in schools’. 26 July 2023.


This very minor detail - manifest in only a couple of words - is vitally important to recognise because of the significant influence of media reporting upon the perception and mindset of governance, leadership, the teaching workforce and school communities (e.g. parents and families). A media portrayal that mistakenly argues that laptops and tablets are distracting and disruptive (which instead related specifically to smartphone use), creates a barrier to an open-minded consideration of how and where laptops and tablets do indeed support and enhance learning. These issues often manifest themselves in perceptions which are not necessarily justified by evidence. The solution here is a simple one. LEO Academy Trust, like most other schools and trusts, make a clear distinction between mobile phones and laptops/tablets.

5.6. DEFINING SCREENTIME Closely linked to the sector imprecision when referring to digital devices, a common misconception in this space relates to the use of the word ‘screentime’ when referring to those using any kind of device. Parents, and some staff, sometimes share their concern about children using laptops or tablets in school due to the increased ‘screentime’ that children would experience as a result. There are two important threads to draw out of this conversation. First is stakeholder (and probably societal) understanding about what happens inside school and inside classrooms, with many assuming a passive device use model whereby teachers talk and children just listen/watch. Second, is that some families provide their children with laptops or tablets at home with the specific intention of utilising it for entertainment purposes (e.g. watching television, video games). As such, in everyday life, the term ‘screentime’ is often associated with (a) passivity rather than proactivity, and (b) so called ‘engagement’ rather than meaningful action or interaction. Empirical data shows that this association tends to permeate surface level thinking and discussion, although becomes very quickly dispelled once meaningful dialogue about the matter takes place. It is more helpful to break the term ‘screentime’ down into a number of more precise definitions, and taxonomies of cognitive challenge might be a pragmatic way to do this, and a suggested approach would be split into at least 3 categories 93 : Dispositionally developmental screentime - “Think & Enact” (e.g. synthesis level thinking, metacognition) - where tasks involve sustained periods of critical thinking, problem solving and reflective practice (i.e. the development of specific dispositions) Transactionary screentime - “Sense & React” (e.g. knowledge recall or procedural based task processing) - where tasks involve submission of answers, completion of processes, or familiar interactions (e.g. most forms of games/gaming)

93. Aubrey-Smith, F., (2024) PedTech in Action: Insights, Impact and Implications. Routledge: London (forthcoming)


Inactive screentime - “Stare & Move” (e.g. low stimulus processing) - where tasks involve passive watching, scroll-viewing, low cognition digital activities or games, novelty apps, background entertainment. The nuanced detail that permeates all three of these is the visual and auditory stimulus that can be embedded in digital use. Twani (2021 94 ) refers to engaging on-screen visual stimulus, audio or visual prompts which stimulate user action, and auto-responding reactive events which provide users with the endorphin release that creates consequent motivation to further engage. These create the socalled ‘engagement’ factor that is often associated with ‘screentime’ (Sarma, 2020 95 ). It is important to recognise that this engagement exists regardless of cognitive challenge. In other words, a lowstakes screen task (e.g. passive watching of a slideshow on a digital board) can engage a learner due to the audiovisual stimulus yet still require very little cognitive engagement from that learner. The engagement is often evidenced through the learner focusing solely on the task which can create an attractive illusion that the task has therefore been meaningful and productive. It is perhaps pertinent to highlight research which found less brain activity in those watching television than those who are sleeping (Takeuchi, 2015 96 ; Walker et al., 1980 97). This is precisely why ‘engagement’ - in isolation cannot be used as justification for the use of any kind of digital technology. Recommendation 1. Further research both within and beyond LEO should identify which common digital classroom, homework or leisure activities belong in which type of screentime category. 2. Strategic discussions should then determine appropriate allocations of time to each category - over the course of a lesson, school day and lived day for children (with consideration given to children with different needs) - balancing cognitive development with cognitive load / wellbeing needs. 3. Further research both within and beyond LEO should then examine the proportion of each type of screentime currently used within individual lessons, across the school day, and ideally, across complete day-long periods of children’s lives. 4. These insights should then inform purposeful discussion between schools and families whereby proportions of device use dedicated to each type of screentime is proactively planned and utilised appropriately and effectively to meet children’s learning and leisure needs. (Note: this set of recommendations and considerations - whilst focused on digital - may apply equally to non-digital experiences. This sequence of thinking about digital may be a useful catalyst for a wider conversation about how active/inactive children’s cognition is over the course of each day, and how that compares to what children, schools and families perceive as aspirational). 94. Twani, E., (2021) Becoming Einstein's Teacher: Awakening the Genius in Your Students. Relational Learning. 95. Sarma, S., (2020) Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn. Robinson: London. 96. Takeuchi, H., (2015) The Impact of Television Viewing on Brain Structures: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Analyses, Cerebral Cortex. 25(5). pp.1188–1197. 97. Walker, J. L. (1980). Changes in EEG Rhythms during Television Viewing: Preliminary Comparisons with Reading and other Tasks. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 51(1), pp. 255–261.


5.7. COMMON ISSUES AND LEO’S SOLUTIONS The journey that LEO has undertaken to date has seen significant and sustained impact. However, it has not been without its issues and it is useful to include these in this report - in part as recognition that impact is rarely seen without sustained effort, and in part because staff at LEO have tended to see issues as barriers that can be removed, rather than barriers that prevent. Consequently, there is a solution-focused approach to addressing what are likely to be common challenges. In summary,


LEO Solution

Chromebooks being seen as a novelty / exciting

Children are not given access to the Chromebooks as a ‘treat’ or a reward, nor for unstructured or unsupervised time at the ends of lessons. This ensures that the Chromebooks are seen as learning tools, not as play equipment. It also ensures that offline work is not rushed, nor compromised.

Children forgetting to bring their Chromebooks into school

Instant solution: Each school has a small pool of ‘spare’ Chromebooks which children can borrow from - this means that planned whole-class 1:1 device use is not disrupted by children needing to share. Deeper solution: Children are expected to come to school prepared for learning, bringing their Chromebook along with relevant stationary, uniform, PE kit etc. Forgetting any of these items is addressed through the school behaviour policy.

Children not charging Chromebooks at home overnight

Instant solution: Classes have multi-point chargers available so that devices can be discreetly charged. Deeper solution: Teachers identify whether children are forgetting to charge (behavioural issue addressed under the behaviour policy), or whether there are financial or logistical issues (pastoral issues which are addressed through discrete support/provision). See also Section 5.5 (Insights from parents)


Technical glitches which need an IT specialist to fix (devices, Wifi etc)

Confident children who ‘go off on a tangent’, using the Chromebook for other purposes in lesson time

Children who find having a device on their desk a distraction

Instant solution: Each school has a small pool of ‘spare’ Chromebooks which children can borrow from - this means that planned whole-class 1:1 device use is not disrupted by children needing to share. Deeper solution: Procurement (of both devices and wifi) intentionally sought out and invested in devices which were well known for reliability and long term sustainability - minimising issues around maintenance and replacement and providing better return on investment.In addition, LEO chose a Managed Service Provider that had expertise specific to both Google Workspace and the chosen devices. Instant solution: Identify whether the tangent supports learning for that child or others in that lesson - and if so, utilise purposefully. Deeper solution: Ensure provision is appropriately challenging and purposeful for that child (teaching & learning), that pace is appropriate in the lesson (teaching & learning), and/or identify whether there are classroom behaviour issues which need to be addressed (behaviour policy / classroom management). Solution Part A: Setting an expectation of both teachers and children that for each lesson, only tools and materials that will be used in that lesson should be on the child’s desk. This is likely to be different for different lessons and may include the Chromebook, Stationary, reference books, exercise books, workbooks, drinks etc. Solution Part B: Setting expectations of both teachers and children about when focus should be on the device and when focus should be on people (teacher, peers, self). When focus is not on the device, it should be turned so that the screen faces the teacher, or closed to a 45 degree angle (known as PacMan), and hands-off. Solution Part C: Teaching often takes place ‘from the back’ where the teacher is able to see and control the whole-class board at the front, as well as the devices of all children in the class. See also Section 5.5 and 5.6.


Children using the Chromebook to access (or attempt to access) inappropriate materials - either at school or at home

Solution Part A: Providing children with insights and understanding that reflect today’s world - rather than historical uses of digital - is vitally important. The LEO online safety curriculum has moved objectives to be covered much earlier in children’s lives. For example, objectives from ‘Education from a connected world’ that would usually be covered in Key Stage 3 have been introduced in Year 6 to ensure that children are informed digital citizens. In addition, a greater amount of lesson time has been allocated to these learning points due being able to deliver other areas of the computing curriculum within other subjects i.e. word processing unit. Solution Part B: There are a range of operational measures in place to manage. In School - filters are in place to prevent children from being able to access inappropriate material. SENSO is used to monitor what children attempt to access, with reports about inappropriate searches or clickpaths sent immediately to Designated Safeguarding Leads. DSLs then investigate and follow up as part of the Safeguarding policy. At home - parents are asked to ensure that they have appropriate filters in place to prevent children from being able to access inappropriate material (on the Chromebook, or any other device their child has access to at home), and are signposted to guidance about how to do this If inappropriate material is accessed at home on the Chromebook provided by the school then SENSO reporting will similarly alert the DSL who then follows this up as a Safeguarding matter. See also Section 5.4.

Teacher / TA familiarity and confidence with tools and apps (particularly if/when something unexpected happens)

In Class: Every class has at least 2 Digital Leaders - these are children who are particularly skilled, knowledgeable or enthusiastic about digital tools and take part in a programme led by the Trust’s Digital Lead providing them with specific training, support, and opportunities to explore and innovate. They then provide troubleshooting in class both supporting the teacher and their peers. Beyond Class: All teachers take part in regular professional learning that provides pedagogically led digital skill development as well as practical technical troubleshooting advice and support. In addition, the Digital Package (see section above) provides comprehensive support for how to use tools and what to do in different scenarios. See also Section 5.3.


Concerns about the quantity and quality of screentime

See Section 5.6

Concerns around the impact on handwriting

See Section 6.2.1

Accountability and audit evidence

In class: Teachers and students have developed ways of working which capture evidence of all class activities by photo, video, document or artefact, meaning that any interaction and action can be provided as evidence for audit or accountability purposes. The use of Google Drive, ThingLink, SeeSaw, Tapestry, Usage analytics, NearPod insights and Arbor enable this to be readily available to teachers and leaders, and as appropriate, to parents. Strategic: Leadership across LEO has also taken a longer term approach, ensuring that policies, systems and processes are all suitably designed to ensure that both digital and non digital resources are available, reliable, and trustworthy representations of what is happening in class and across the school communities.

All those who have contributed to this research have acknowledged the time and energy that it has taken to learn how to use new apps and ideas, and that this has taken time to embed meaningfully. Recommendation 1. It would be useful for the LEO solutions set out above to be shared systematically, regularly and repeatedly with staff all and families - in suitably appropriate formats - to inform thinking and practical action. 2. It would also be helpful for LEO to share this with other schools and trusts. The LEO Digital Package may be a useful vehicle for providing this explicit professional guidance. A frequent theme across research interviews and focus groups in this project was that being part of a multi-academy trust has made a significant impact on the pace of implementation of digital mindsets and digital tool usage - partly due to efficiencies of scale and partly due to embedded culture of professional learning. Data was collated which analysed whether each school was considered to be Cognisant (aware of), Competent (trained in) or Confident (embedded use 98 ) with each of the tools in the LEO digital package at the mid point of each term for the last 3 years. 98. Aubrey-Smith, F., (2021) The 3 C’s :Developing Teachers Digital and EdTech Skills. Headteacher Update.


Figure 6: Pace of embedding Digital tools based on the 3Cs model 99 , by school, over 3 years This data suggests that the newer the school to the trust, the faster the pace of progress in moving towards confident use. Probing this finding with senior leaders suggests that this is likely to be attributable to the codification of strategy and operational practice that has come with experience. In other words, the more often LEO supports its own schools and others, the more efficient the experience becomes (see also Section 6.6.6).

Recommendation In the spirit of civic leadership, it may be useful to develop the findings of this report, alongside the (a) LEO digital package, (b) operational guidance and (c) professional learning materials, into a specific set of resources which can be made available to other schools and trusts who are embarking upon their own digital journey. Accompanying exemplification (e.g. through film, class visits and study tours would be exceptionally helpful to help colleagues across the sector see the explicit connections between strategy, delivery, impact and implications).

99. ibid



This impact study has surfaced a wide range of findings touching upon educational standards, quality of teaching and learning, workload, recruitment and retention, professional development, finance, leadership and organisational strategy, operational matters, behaviour and inclusion, partnership and community engagement. Different readers will find combinations of different findings of interests and many findings interrelate with other findings. Therefore, research findings have been grouped as follows: Findings about Pedagogy and Practice Findings about Pace and Productivity Findings about Learners with specific characteristics Findings about English and Maths Findings about Specific Stakeholders Findings about Operational Benefits However, one of the most common questions asked about the impact of digital technology relates to attainment and so it is perhaps useful to forefront findings about this point. The most striking finding relating to attainment at LEO is seen in the graph below - that as a trust, LEO’s year on year improvement, and the trajectory, contrasts strongly with the national trend for the period since 1:1 devices were introduced. Indeed, the gap between the trendlines for LEO outcomes compared to national outcomes is widening every year.

Figure 7: LEO’s three year RWM EXS results compared with national trends Furthermore, when comparing attainment data about children learning at greater depth, LEO significantly outperforms national averages for the same period - as seen below.


Figure 8: LEO’s three year RWM GDS results compared with national trends There are many factors which affect children’s attainment, and there is no single contributing factor which will define whether a child’s learning is successful or not, therefore it is vitally important to interpret the finding above in context of the wider LEO landscape. Equally important, is to consider the many contributing factors - as detailed below - which lead to the results seen above.

6.1. FINDINGS ABOUT PEDAGOGY Pedagogy is an umbrella term which incorporates everything that relates to how we support learning. It encompasses ideas around what teaching means and what the role of a teacher should be, what learning means and what the role of a learner should be, the nature of knowledge and the purpose of schooling (Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023 100). Therefore, when unpacking the pedagogical impact of the use of digital technology at LEO, it is helpful to be aware of the pedagogical lens through which LEO’s strategic thinking looks. Through a number of professional reflective tasks carried out in November 2022, the executive and senior leadership teams at LEO identified as predominantly aligning with social-constructivist views. There are a number of features of these pedagogical belief systems which are significant - most notably the role of the community in the learning of the individual, and the importance placed on the role of dialogue (for more detail see Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023 101 ). These key features underpin significant strategic decisions which have been made at LEO.

100. Aubrey-Smith, F., and Twining, P., (2023) From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. Routledge: London. 101. ibid


For example, one of the common themes which permeates conversation with the executive and senior leadership teams at LEO Academy Trust is ensuring that all the children who attend LEO schools benefit from their school being part of the wider MAT. It is important to note that different MATs view this dynamic in different ways. For example, some MATs operate under a form of franchise model whereby a centrally identified solution is applied at local level. Others operate under a co-existence model where individual schools work in parallel to each other. It is beyond the remit of this research to explore the operating models and dynamics of different MATs (for this, read CST, 2023102; Carter, 2020 103), beyond noting this high level influence. At LEO Academy Trust, it is notable that the children across LEO schools are seen as the responsibility of the whole LEO team - not just the teams in the ‘home school’ that the child attends. This manifests itself in evidence seen at both strategic and operational levels. For example, strategic decision making by executive leaders is shaped by ensuring that every child will have fair, equitable and achievable access to experiences. At operational level this commitment is evidenced through indicators such as the vocabulary that staff use when talking collectively about children - spoken about as “LEO children”, rather than “children that attend school x” or “children who attend one of our schools”. Discourse analysis (see Hodges, 2015 104), helps us to see that the way that an individual speaker frames particular ideas (in this case how learners are conceptualised), surfaces evidence of inner beliefs. These forms of evidence - when manifest across a majority of staff - represent a shared cultural belief and create a sense of collective efficacy towards converting that belief into meaningful action. Through the course of this research, LEO staff contributed their thoughts and insights about a wide range of ideas through surveys, interviews, focus groups and the sharing of internal documents. The collective tone throughout - particularly in data recently generated and more contemporary documents - centred the sense of collective responsibility for all learners across LEO schools. Drawing upon Centring Theory (Nelson et al., 1997 105), the significance of the way that LEO staff talk about learners is poignant because of the way that staff conceptualise their role in meeting the needs of individual or groups of learners, rather than the learners being stakeholders or recipients of the “LEO offer”. The framing centres the learners rather than the organisation. It is a subtle but critically important distinction which vitally underpins a commitment to deeply inclusive practice. Framing LEO’s strategic and operational decision making processes around ‘the learner’ rather than ‘the organisation’ is a common thread through which the following findings emerge.

102. Confederation of School Trusts (2023) Starting with Why: Why join a trust – and why a trust-based system? 103. Carter, D., (2020) Leading Academy Trusts: Why some fail but most don’t. John Catt: Woodbridge. 104. Hodges, A. (2015) ‘Intertextuality in Discourse’, in Tannen, D., Hamilton, H. E., and Schiffrin, D. (eds) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. 2nd edn. US: Wiley-Blackwell. 105. Nelson, T. E., Oxley, Z. M. and Clawson, R. A. (1997) ‘Toward a psychology of framing effects’, Political Behavior, 19(3), pp. 221–246.


Recommendation It may be helpful for all LEO staff to have the opportunity to surface their personal pedagogical beliefs in a similar way to the team involved in this research. (see Chapter 4 of Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023 106 ) These insights may support purposeful pedagogical discussion within existing LEO professional learning activities as well as providing executive leaders with insights about trends across schools and staff characteristics. Through meta analyses of influences affecting student attainment, Hattie (2018 107) identifies teacher efficacy as the strongest variable. However, as highlighted in Visible Learning Insights (Hattie & Zierer, 2019 108), it is vitally important not to depend upon this kind of research finding in isolation of the context in which it belongs. There was widespread evidence across LEO that the approach to using digital technology was having a direct impact on teacher efficacy. This manifest itself in a range of ways and it is helpful to unpack these in detail in order to understand why and how this impact has been so notable. Taking a simplistic quantitative view, 95% of teachers at LEO felt that the LEO approach to using digital technology was making lessons more effective. Segmenting this data further, this figure increases to 96% for teachers who have taught in other schools away from LEO at some point in their career - in other words for those able to make an informed comparison which validates the relative nature of the statement ‘more effective’. Notably, the proportion of teachers who feel that digital technology is making lessons more effective increased to 100% for teachers who speak a language other than English at home (Note: For a definition of what ‘effective’ means in practice, please see Chapter 3 of Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023 109 , and refer also to Section 6.1 above about the organisational collective pedagogical belief system at LEO). To take these findings at face value may be useful if one were seeking justification for the investment in digital technology - this data could be used to argue that the investment correlates with more effective lessons. However, from a methodological perspective it is not advisable to depend solely on respondent perception. There are a range of reasons for this, but in this case survey respondents may answer in the way that they think will either please or refute the researcher, or, in a 110 way that they think will provoke some kind of future change or action (Abernethy, 2015 ). Therefore, it is important to triangulate this perception with other forms of insight (e.g. observations or stakeholder interviews). Furthermore, the idea of a lesson being ‘more effective’ assumes some 106. Aubrey-Smith, F., and Twining, P., (2023) From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. Routledge: London. 107. Hattie, J. (2018) Hattie effect size list - 256 Influences Related To Achievement. Available at: influences-effect-sizes-learning-achievement/ 108. Hattie, J., and Zierer, K., (2019) Visible Learning Insights. Routledge: London. 109. Aubrey-Smith, F., and Twining, P., (2023) From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. Routledge: London. 110. Abernethy, M. (2015) ‘Self-reports and Observer Reports as Data Generation Methods: An Assessment of Issues of Both Methods’, Universal Journal of Psychology, 3(1), pp. 22–27.


kind of baseline upon which to measure an improvement which can be problematic when the teacher’s professional understanding, the learner cohort, the content/curriculum, and the context (e.g. pre-pandemic/post-pandemic) all change within the same timeframe. In order to unpack what ‘more effective lessons’ therefore might mean in more pragmatic terms, it is helpful to break down the components of a lesson and what ‘effective’ might mean in specific relation to those components. The LEO Teaching and Learning Strategy provides means by which this can be achieved as it sets out the ideal, and is used as a standardised means of investigating existing practice.

6.1.1. SUPPORTING METACOGNITION One of the central components of the LEO Teaching and Learning Strategy is the role of metacognition. This is defined by the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) as the processes of learning to learn through explicit adoption of strategies about planning, monitoring and evaluating ones own work (EEF, 2021 111 ). Both children and adults at LEO are encouraged to adopt metacognitive techniques in order to build lifelong learning habits and mindsets. This approach is underpinned by EEF research demonstrating the significant impact that metacognitive strategies can have on learning processes (EEF, 2021 ).112EEF guidance highlights the potential of children using effective metacognitive strategies as raising their levels of progress by an additional 7 months.

Figure 9: EEF Metacognition and Self-regulated learning: Summary of recommendations. The EEF guidance used to underpin the LEO Teaching and Learning strategy highlights a number of key recommendations in order to embed metacognition and self-regulated learning effectively. This impact study found evidence for each of these in practice across LEO classrooms, with digital technology playing a pivotal role in making this achievable at scale. For example, EEF recommends that teachers should “Explicitly teach pupils metacognitive strategies, including how to plan, monitor, and evaluate their learning”.

111. EEF (2021) Metacognition and Self-regulated learning. 112. ibid


As one of a number of ways of teaching this, children in Key Stage 1 were observed using their Chromebooks to support their planning for writing by voice recording their ideas, listening back them, and then self-assessing those ideas against success criteria in order to identify what they should further edit and refine. Success criteria were available on a Google Slides/Seesaw so that children could see the criteria whilst simultaneously hearing their voice recording. Children were encouraged to annotate a copy of the criteria in order to make explicit links with evidence of success in their work. They were also encouraged to identify explicit aspects of the success criteria to then work on further. Children were then observed to develop their ideas into additional recordings, allowing them to compare their initial ideas with two further versions - each building on their own monitoring and evaluation. Children spoke about this process as encouraging them to be more independent, and building their confidence in how to take ownership over improving their own work. Importantly, as teachers reflected, the ability of each individual child to access and annotate the success criteria, capture and listen back to voice-recordings, and have desk based access to each of these ingredients simultaneously embedded important elements of inclusive practice. More confident children were able to extend their ideas, children with English as an additional language were able to record their ideas in their own language, using Google Translate to share this in English with their teacher, and children who needed more time to think and reflect were not placed under inappropriate time pressure. In addition, the voice-recording basis of children developing their planning ideas meant that physical handwriting barriers were removed - ensuring that the focus was on thinking about the content, and metacognitive approaches to improvement, rather than final production. This aligns very much with research evidence used within the Early Career Framework standards which set out that “spoken language underpins the development of reading and writing” 113 . Individual, independent access to success criteria and WAGOLLS (Examples of ‘What A Good One Looks Like), were commonplace across LEO classrooms. Often these were provided through ThingLink - an interactive image that acts as a signpost for children to access a range of lesson support materials. These usually included the lesson success criteria, a WAGOLL, word banks, vocabulary lists, audio or video clips (either of the stimulus or examples), and often different choices of scaffolds that children could then autonomously choose to use. Teachers spoke unanimously about the useful and very visual way in which ThingLink provided access for children.

113. DfE (2021) Early Career Framework, citing EEF (2020) Communication and Language Approaches.


Figure 10: An interactive image, created using ThingLink, signposting learners to a toolbox of lesson materials, support and guidance As one teacher described, “We can use ThingLink to place multiple resources for the children to access. This is particularly useful during the planning and writing stage during English lessons as the children are then able to pick and choose the resource which is most appropriate for them, at their own particular level. This is fantastic for inclusion as the resources are available for all: no child will feel excluded through differentiation - the children take ownership for their learning.” Children highlighted particular aspects of this resource provision which they felt were impactful. For example, during observations, children said that, “It means I can go back and see what I need to do if I forget a part of the task, and I can look at what a good one would look like.” (Year 5) and “I like that I can choose which scaffold to use. Sometimes I don’t want [peer name] to see if I need extra help so this means I can just look up what I need and like, only [teacher name] knows” (Year 6) During this impact study, observations consistently evidenced the benefits of children being able to see teaching and learning materials directly in front of them with individual access. Children across year groups and schools consistently described their preference for viewing whole class materials on a personal device rather than on the large digital board at the front of the classroom. Probing this further revealed a range of reasons, including glare and light distortions,


angle of viewing depending on children’s seating positions, and size/magnification. However, the most consistent and common reason related to maintaining attention and the reduction in cognitive load of accessing materials from a personal device rather than a range of displays at the front of the room (e.g. digital board, flipchart, working walls) - something which evidence elsewhere suggests ought to be explored further 114. This finding was unpacked with a focus group of senior teachers who surfaced that in ineffective classrooms, “Teacher’s boards are often overloaded with other visual stimulus - borders, reminders, timetables, behavioural posters - all that kind of stuff. Children stop looking at them because they are too familiar, but they still provide this kind of visual overload”. Teachers described the change to children’s learning behaviours when whole-class instructional materials are viewed on 1:1 device screens rather than on a digital board at the front - reflecting that, “Children’s pace is better when they can see the input on their own screens - particularly SEND learners. They can refer back to something from a moment ago, or just take a moment longer to read or think about something. They can manipulate what they are looking at more - zoom in, adjust the background colour so you can see it better, go into dark mode rather than light mode, use split screen to see a WAGOLL on one screen image and the work on the other side - all those things. They’re simple but they can make a really big difference.” The process of children choosing to personalise access to instructional materials reflects a broader understanding by the children about which resources they need to best support them with a given process or task. For example, the split-screen choice referred to by the teacher above reflects a child’s recognition that viewing the WAGOLL alongside their current work, or alongside success criteria, enables them to focus explicitly on improving targeted aspects of their work. Whilst this is something that teachers in many schools encourage children to do, the presence of the personal devices enables children to move seamlessly between instructional materials (e.g. Google Slides), success criteria, WAGOLLs, and their own work without juggling a large number of papers on their desk or needing to remember which display board each item is shown on. Accordingly, the cognitive and physical burden is simplified for the individual child, thus enabling greater focus and attention to be paid to their subject specific learning. This provision of dignity within learning - particularly for upper Key Stage 2 children - was a recurrent theme throughout observations. By having access to their own Chromebook, children perceived a sense of equality across the classroom, knowing that everyone would be accessing materials from the same place, but giving each child the choice of which scaffold or resource they used, based upon what they felt their needs were at that moment in time. These embedded

114. Baadte, C., Rasch, T., & Honstein, H., (2015) Attention Switching and Multimedia Learning: The Impact of Executive Resources on the Integrative Comprehension of Texts and Pictures, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 59:4, pp.478-498


Universal Design for Learning principles115 were deeply appreciated by children across the full primary age range. As teachers highlighted, “I don’t have to make 3 totally different versions of WAGOLLs like we used to - we now have 1 WAGOLL but because it’s on ThingLink the children can pick out specific parts at a time - broken down into smaller chunks so that it’s more accessible to them”. As another teacher highlighted, “They all have to access the same text for SATs anyway, so I’m being a hindrance if I don’t give them the skills to learn how to access that - it’s just about scaffolding it in a way that is appropriate for them individually, and that they feel that they can achieve meaningfully. It’s about thinking about how to get each child there - each one of them might have a different journey or different help, but we’ll get them all there”. Another common example was for children to use Google Jamboard or NearPod for ‘drag and drop’ or labelling activities. There were two observed benefits of using Chromebooks for this process. The first was that classroom teachers were able to clearly demonstrate the task, modelling thought processes and decision making. The familiarity that children had with the tool meant that the children’s working memory could focus on the content rather than the task - thus avoiding cognitive overload (Sweller, 1988 116 ). The second benefit was that teachers were able to demonstrate the metacognitive processing of testing and refining ideas. For example, matching parts of a flower with the appropriate technical name by starting with the familiar, and then working through a process of elimination. The articulation of thought processes by the teacher was then replicated by the children. Notably, when children were observed at a forensic level of detail, the proportion of oracy focused on metacognition was higher than the equivalent paper-based versions of the same task. It is likely that this is because of the distractions caused by the mechanics of cutting and sticking, labels getting lost under pieces of paper and the sensory distraction of gluesticks. Fewer items on a child’s desk appeared to correlate with an increase in focus on the cognitive content of the task rather than the operational mechanics of processing an activity. This aligns with wider specialist research in this space where eye tracking has been used to understand student attention and focus (2020 ), and 117 118 education psychology research that explores inattentiveness (e.g. Homayaun, 2010 ). 115. CAST (2018) Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (v2.2) 116. Sweller, J., (1988). "Cognitive Load During Problem Solving: Effects on Learning". Cognitive Science. 12 (2): 257–285 117. Rahman, Y., Asish, S., Fisher, N., Bruce, E., Kulshreshth, A., and Borst,C., "Exploring Eye Gaze Visualization Techniques for Identifying Distracted Students in Educational VR," 2020 IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (VR), Atlanta, GA, USA, 2020, pp. 868-877. 118. Homayaun, A., (2010) That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week: Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life. Penguin: London.


Recommendation As part of the LEO digital package it may be helpful to list specific approaches that can be used to support different aspects of metacognition and self-regulation - detailing LEO specific techniques. Beyond LEO, a common concern raised by those new to the idea of an 1:1 ecosystem is that the digital device itself will become a distraction. A small minority of parents and TAs at LEO raised this as a consideration through research surveys. In order to understand the reality of this perception it is helpful to briefly explore what causes a child to be distracted. Research evidence suggests that this is a combination of: novelty (of an object or stimulus), unexpectedness (of a stimulus), and lack of motivation to engage with the intended focus of attention (North, 2011 119 ). Translated into a classroom context, if an object is on a child’s desk which is not usually available to them, then they are likely to become distracted by it - their working memory is utilised by exploring the new stimulus. However, where objects are consistently on a child’s desk, then they lose that novelty stimulus and thus their working memory is not used in the same way. The solution here is to ensure that the toolkit available to children - whatever it may include - is consistent and familiar. Furthermore, if objects themselves cause some kind of stimulus (e.g. a gluestick rolling off the table, an alert on a device, children moving around to fetch things when they do not normally do so), then that stimulus again provokes attention from the child’s working memory. Their instinctive response is to look at or for the stimulus and their cognitive capacity is momentarily used up trying to ascertain whether they need to engage with it. Children’s ability to remain ‘on task’ has a direct relationship with the quality and quantity of learning and their successful task outcomes (Kannass et al., 2010 120). The solution then is to be aware of how stimulus can be utilised, or reduced, depending upon what we want children’s attention to be focused on. The stimulus can act as a motivator for engagement as well as a distraction from a task - and this can be managed to a certain extent (but not entirely) by how the classroom teacher embraces this understanding. Excellent teachers tend to plan for this kind of stimulus in order to maintain attention, pace or focus at key points in learning. Finally, distraction can be caused by children lacking motivation to engage with the intended focus. There are a wide range of influences that affect motivation, but a child’s perception of how relevant a task is to them is one of the most significant. In other words, when a child can see the direct links between a task and how it will contribute to their personal learning and their

119. North, P., (2011) The problem of distraction. Stanford University Press: Stanford. 120. Kannass K.N., Colombo J., Wyss N., (2010) “Now, Pay Attention! The Effects of Instruction on Children's Attention”. Journal of Cognitive Development. 11(4) pp. 509-532.


current and/or future life, then they are more likely to be motivated to engage with it. Excellent teachers articulate this clearly at the outset of a task, and provide regular touchpoints throughout learning in order to embed these ideas within a child’s mindset. This was - rather informally - summarised by a Year 5 child who had moved to a LEO school and was asked about whether their Chromebook distracted them from their learning, “If the lesson was boring then I’d probably be distracted yes. It was like that at my old school [laughs]. But, like, it’s different here. When we’re learning about something here my teacher likes us all asking questions and I’m allowed to find out things if they don’t know the answer and we get to work with each other so it makes it all interesting. I like learning now.” The more children see tasks as relevant, personal, purposeful and stimulating, and the fewer irrelevant activities or resources are which may disrupt flow121 (sustained concentration), the less likely children are to be distracted. Recommendation It may be helpful to provide some professional learning for staff and families around the causes and origins of distraction. This may alleviate concerns specific to the role of digital technology, but importantly will also address non-digital causes of distraction - both at home and school. In addition, it would be helpful for all teaching staff and families to understand insights about children’s attention span, and its relationship with cognitive load, cognitive fatigue, consolidation, rest and wellbeing. A working group that explores how class time is used for different types of cognitive activity - in detail - would be beneficial (see also recommendation in relation to ‘Screentime’ - and its different cognitive levels).

6.1.2. QUESTIONING, FEEDBACK AND ADAPTIVE TEACHING At LEO, the aim of providing feedback is set out in policy form as, “ further children’s learning. It is an integral part of the learning process and time must be given to it. It provides key assessment information to inform planning. The impact of feedback diminishes over time – therefore feedback within a lesson is more effective than comments provided at a later date. Any written marking must be meaningful, manageable and motivating. Feedback should empower pupils to correct/improve their own work. Staff should be free to select the most suitable form of feedback that takes into account: the subject content; age and experience of learners; context of the learning.” 121. Teacher Toolkit (2017) The Flow Model.


To support this policy intention, LEO staff have identified a number of digital tools and explained how they can be used meaningfully as part of the Feedback and Response Policy 122 , as shown in the extract below,

EdTech Tool

Effective use for feedback and response


Addressing common misconceptions in the moment (whole class) Showcasing good examples of work and using that as a discussion point Sharing children’s work with those in the class - peer assessment


Video response Setting the success criteria based on learning outcomes i.e. technical vocabulary


Personalised Verbal feedback in Google Google Docs, Google Slides, Adobe Spark etc

Google Classroom

Comment banks / Private comments on children’s work Screen Sharing to show and discuss and posting link into comments Instant feedback - ‘Dropping in’ to children’s work in the moment and then giving verbal feedback in the classroom/collaborating on a document.


Addressing common misconceptions in the moment (whole class) Using reports feature to identify and target children who have found the task difficult and inform guided groups etc.


Support the assessment of writing

122. LEO (2023) Feedback and Response Policy.


In order to understand the impact of this approach, survey, interview and observation data was utilised, as well as documentary evidence of internal and external reviews. Observations showed highly responsive feedback across year groups and schools, with teachers utilising the range of tools set out in the policy above as part of consistent and embedded classroom practice. In addition to the independent observations, Leaders of English across LEO noted that, “In observations, teachers were able to use Mote to give personalised feedback to children during the editing stage of their writing process. This is useful as the children do not have to read the feedback they can listen to their teacher’s voice and refer back to this over and over again. This is useful to teachers as they can record quickly as opposed to writing a paragraph of detailed feedback. Technology can save the workload for teachers and still ensure high quality writing.” Similarly, specialist staff working across LEO schools talked about, “[name] recorded verbal feedback for all pupils across multiple schools using Mote. The technology was used to give feedback to multiple learners across multiple schools, which would not have been enabled without the technology. It was feedback on misconceptions which the pupils could then reflect on and action as they began their next task”. There is also a practical element to staff providing audio-recorded verbal feedback. As one teacher explained, it took them 1 ½ minutes to record verbal feedback for each child’s work that day totalling approximately 45 minutes to complete their class set. However, historically it would have taken them at least 2 hours to mark the same volume of work using written feedback. They reflected that, “So not only is it good for saving time, but actually, it is more worthwhile, because children seem to listen to the feedback and take it on board more when it’s through Mote. They seem to understand it better and incorporate into their work.” Furthermore, “The feedback I provide through Mote is better actually, because I can explain more and easily give examples. Children say it sounds more friendly than when it’s written down, so I think that helps too”. Other teachers commented that, “Verbal feedback rather than written feedback is more purposeful. Children appreciate it more and so engage with it better whereas they would previously have been unlikely to read it. 1.5 mins of spoken feedback can convey a lot more information than written feedback as children would lose interest in reading after a while. Also for verbal feedback it can be chunked up - e.g. point 1, point 2 etc. In written feedback children often only respond to one part of it because they forget what they are being asked to work on.”


The role of feedback, formative assessment and adaptive teaching were very closely linked in LEO classroom practice. Tools were used to sequence accessibility, formative assessment and adaptive teaching together. For example, children were observed using TextHelp’s OrbitNote to support them in breaking down vocabulary so that they could understand a particular text.

Figure 10: Child using OrbitNote to support their understanding of vocabulary within a high quality whole-class text In addition, Kahoot quizzes were often used to check specific recall (e.g. reading comprehension) with examples seen across Key Stage 1 to support targeted questions being asked to establish understanding before progressing on to further instruction.

Figure 11: Example of a Kahoot quiz used within a LEO classroom


As well as sequences of tool use, classrooms across LEO also utilised specific tools for instructional based adaptive teaching. A common example of this was the use of NearPod which was embedded across the majority of classrooms. As the Director of Computing and Digital Skills explains, “NearPod has been a key tool for LEO classrooms to ascertain children’s understanding at the beginning of lessons, to monitor understanding at key points during a lesson, to identify misconceptions in order to support adaptive teaching, and to support both formative and summative assessment about particular points in learning. ” Teachers using NearPod were very clear about the benefits of doing so, “I love NearPod. It gives immediate feedback, it can be anonymous for reluctant children, it helps identify misconceptions before moving on, it gives me assessment insights to monitor learning, there is a wide range of activities and it’s easy to use. Love it.” Similarly, “The use of technology has made it much easier to see the interaction of children in a lesson - through extensions such as NearPod I can check the whole class is able to answer questions about our activity and pick up any misconceptions or gaps in learning”. Notably, when asked to consider where it had the greatest impact in the classroom - on Learning, or on Teaching, 54% of teachers using NearPod felt that using NearPod benefitted Learning and 46% felt that it benefitted Teaching. “Questioning has become a lot more focused because as a teacher you have the real time data right in front of you. We don’t have to repeat questions as they’re on NearPod and there is an onus on every child to give a response - they can’t opt out. Children are able to take a risk and they don’t have to worry about what other children say about their answers. They can work to their own pace which allows for different speeds of questioning and different layers or levels of complexity”. As a group of senior leaders explained, the consequence of using NearPod as an embedded whole class formative assessment tool is that, “It allows teachers to probe much deeper in whole-class teaching. The quality of questioning is so much higher and it allows teachers to really embed some of the techniques from the WalkThrus 123 . So we’re seeing more strategies like not accepting first answer, say it again and say it better, no opting out, deeper questioning, think/pair/share, cold calling, scaffold and move on, check for understanding, I Go-You Go-We Go. It allows all of these things to be much more achievable because the structure is there, and there is an expectation that every child will be active throughout. You can see them making so much more progress within lessons as a result”. 123. Sherrington, T., and Caviglioi, O., (2022) Teaching WalkThrus 3: Five-step guides to instructional coaching. John Catt: London.


Figure 12: Snapshots of NearPod activities - showing Matching Pairs, Teacher Insights and Collaboration Board examples. The widespread use of NearPod across LEO has meant that as well as classroom teachers utilising NearPod with their own children, teachers who teach across multiple classrooms can also do so. This vital consideration has been impactful on the sense of continuity between lessons when sequences are taught by different teachers. As articulated by one such teacher, “you know that the children are on the right track - you know where they are in their learning and then you know how best to support them with their next steps”


These findings have been verified by external reviews such as Challenge Partner reports, “Technology is embedded into all areas of the wider curriculum, allowing pupils to collaborate and to work independently and creatively. The use of devices has particularly supported the engagement of pupils who have additional needs and provided teachers with instant assessment and feedback, where misconceptions can be addressed to ensure all learning time is maximised.” 124 Recommendation In order to increase high impact use of NearPod and other formative assessment tools, it may be helpful to ‘zoom in’ and examine the most effective practice for each individual feature within the tools available - drawing attention to ‘what happens as a result’ of the use of each action. This will help focus attention on the links and sequencing between digital and nondigital actions (e.g. the role of talk). These findings can be codified and shared with staff to encourage more precise sequencing of teaching and learning techniques and actions.

6.1.3. INCLUSION BY DESIGN As part of this impact research, 12 days were spent in classrooms, and 154 observations were carried out. As an ‘outsider researcher’ (Hammersley, 1993 125), one of the most striking features of observing LEO classrooms is that it is very difficult for a visitor to identify children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND 126). This is largely because the presence of 1:1 Chromebooks means that teachers are able to provide highly targeted support or intervention. As one senior leader described it, “We have fully embedded inclusive practice now because every child is accessing learning tasks at their own level. They are still scaffolded and supported with additional tools or resources but now they can take ownership of that rather than waiting for the teacher to set everyone else off before coming to them, or having to have an additional adult explain everything twice”. Another leader reflected that, “It’s a bit like Montessori isn’t it - what are we doing for children that they could be doing for themselves?” - if we are there to support their learning we shouldn’t be doing things for them that they can do themselves why would we be getting in the way of their learning?” 124. Challenge Partners (2022) Shawley Community Primary Review. 125. Hammersley, M., (1993) “On the Teacher as Researcher”, Educational Action Research, 1:3, pp.425-445 126. DfE (2023) Definition of Children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.


The impact of providing immediate access to targeted intervention, tailored resources, or rewatchable instructions had a notable impact on productivity for children with SEND. As a principal described it, “It means that SEND children can be fully productive throughout the lesson. That immediately starts to close the gap between SEND children and their peers because they’re not placed at a disadvantage through having to wait for an available adult.” Another senior leader explained that, “Once you have SEND children accessing learning like this it means that they make more progress in each lesson. For these children in particular, those incremental gains in progress really add up.” Furthermore, the importance of children with SEND being able to access additional support without drawing attention to themselves was seen as particularly important. One teacher with particular interest in pastoral matters explained that, “For children in Key Stage 2, self-perception is more positive because of them using the Chromebooks. They’re not “being helped” so publicly. They keep their dignity. They’re not embarrassed to reach out for help”. A child in this teachers class explained their appreciation of this approach, “I used to get anxious… now, because I can access help whenever I need it, and write using voice record, I know I can finish my work and do it well” Teachers also highlighted the simple, but important point that, “Children all benefit from being able to see learning materials right in front of them rather than just on a shared board at the front of the classroom. As adults we like our own copy of what we’re reading, or to be able to follow along with something when someone’s talking so it’s good to be able to provide that for our children in class”. ThingLink was used as a regular means of providing children with a ‘one stop shop’ for different scaffolds to support their independent learning activities (see Section 6.1.1).


In addition, ThingLink is also regularly used to provide detailed scaffold for high quality writing. For example (as seen below), a stimulus image was used both to provoke ideas as part of the creative process, but also to signpost different scaffolds when writing a detailed and descriptive setting description. Children were provided with a high-quality WAGOLL that could be accessed by every child as a result of the assistive technology that Thinglink facilitates. The teacher therefore was able to focus on creating one high quality text that all children can access rather than the production of multiple texts and potential reduction in expectations. In this example, children were able to have the text read to them and could turn on the word class toggles to enable them to see colour codes for different word classes. Furthermore, the children were able to access a dictionary providing definitions of all vocabulary used. As a consequence, all children were able to access a rich text that meets the expected standard and writing requirements for their age group.

Figure 14: ThingLink used as an image stimulus with a range of linked scaffolds and resources Children could choose which scaffold they felt would be of greatest benefit to them for that particular lesson or task rather than scaffolds being assigned on assumptions made by child or teacher about prior lessons or learning. Each scaffold was introduced as part of the teacher introduction with children then able to independently make their individual choices as they began their task. As seen by the sample of images below, this provided different levels of support and different supporting resources.


Figure 15: ThingLink connected resources - providing different writing scaffolds Through a focus group with leadership colleagues from different LEO schools, there was a shared consensus about the impact of this dignified additional help for children with SEND, with leaders sharing insights such as, “I have a child in year 6 - who had a reputation for misbehaviour in lessons because he struggled to read and write - but this year, having that assistive support [through the Chromebook] has given him dignity. He no longer has any behaviour issues. He feels part of the class. He feels he can learn. He is happy to come to school - he says how happy he is to be here - he doesn’t want to leave at the end of Year 6” and, “Historically, there might be a child having a sulk at a table because they feel like they don’t fit into the lesson - you don’t get this now”. Teachers talk about concrete examples of the way in which technology allows them to reframe learning activities around the learner rather than the classroom. For example, as one Year 4 teacher explained, “If a child is really excited about what you’ve just been exploring about the solar system but then they have to go off and write about it by hand they end up being put off the solar system. But now we can give them the choice - to write, to type, to draw, to animate, to create all kinds of different ways of expressing what they have learned. And actually, it usually means that they are far more motivated to really demonstrate their understanding because it’s meaningful to them so you get more out of them.”


Figure 16: Example Science lesson providing children with a choice for evidencing learning 127 As part of the impact research, data from a trust-wide inclusion review was utilised 128 . Leaders who observed a range of classroom practice as part of that review summarised that, “In the best lessons at LEO, every child is using or has access to technology but children are making individual choices about what they individually need at any given moment. They are all self-regulating - choosing appropriate technology to support their learning. This is speeding up the pace of the learning as children are making immediate decisions that overcome barriers. There is no stigma, no embarrassment for children not knowing something or being able to do something. Children are more confident and capable learners as a result”.

Figure 17: LEO children engaging in targeted, personalised, reading activities 127. LEO (2023) Presentation about Science and Digital from LGfL Conference 128. LEO (2023) LEO SEND Review 2023.

As an inclusion leader at LEO summarised, “Think about how you would personally start a writing task. Do you need a desk or not? Do you like background noise or silence? What do you need so that you can do your best work? We’re all most successful when we get to choose how we want to work. Children should be able to do this in the classroom. We need to give our learners the power and the privilege to say ‘This is how I want to learn. This is how I’m going to share what I know. These are the tools that will help me to achieve that’. Techquity helps us give our learners the conditions that they need to be successful. All children should have access to assistive technology.”


At LEO, there is widespread evidence of highly inclusive practice, and embedded Universal Design for Learning an approach which guides educators to provide learning environments where all learners are able to access and participate in meaningful, challenging, learning opportunities something which most teachers aspire to, but which can be challenging to achieve in practice (Cast, 2023 129 ). In short, a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach provides multiple means of engagement in learning (the ‘why’ part of learning), multiple means of representing learning (the ‘what’ part of learning), and multiple means of action and expression (the ‘how’ part of learning). The emphasis of UDL is very much about removing barriers that learners face relating to engagement, representation, action and expression in the design of learning itself - not just as part of individual action, preference or personalisation. Observation data from this impact research surfaced clear examples of UDL in practice. For example, a breadth of methods of engaging children - with and without the use of digital technology - utilising video stimulus, 3D immersive visuals (NearPod), audio roleplay (Now Press Play), photographs and images (often through ThingLink) - as and when they will enhance or extend or provoke a particular learning concept or experience. Furthermore, children at LEO have been taught how to record their learning in a range of ways over time - such that by the end of Year 1, children are able to sound record their own voice through a range of apps, take photographs of offline artefacts or bookwork, film short videos of activities and upload, submit or embed these in relevant digital workspaces (e.g. SeeSaw, Tapestry, Google Workspace). Complementing these input and output experiences, children have also been deliberately exposed to a range of accessibility features from Early Years upwards - and taught how, when and why they may be helpful for supporting their learning processes. For example, the use of Texthelp’s Read & Write and OrbitNote features screen masks, screen readers, picture dictionary, translator, dictation, and vocabulary list. In addition, children Figure 18: Screengrab example of Read & Write and are taught how to use the inbuilt Orbitnote tools used by LEO children features on their iPads and Chromebooks to ensure that their personal experience is accessible, appropriate and achievable. 129. Cast (2023) Universal Design for Learning Guidelines version 2.2.


This has also been identified through interviews with partners with experience of working nationally and internationally in their visits to LEO schools. For example, colleagues from Texthelp sharing that, “The use of technology at LEO really embodies what we have been saying internationally but that so many people struggle to see - that inclusion is about making learning more accessible for every learner, not just those with SEND.” Parents recognise this in their feedback, for example, “I do strongly believe that he would not be in the classroom without that device [and what it enables him to access] - he wouldn’t be in school if it wasn’t for that provision - the device meant that he didn’t need a 1:1 with him all the time - he didn’t need to stand out, he can just do it by himself because he has the tools available to him there and then”. Furthermore, this point has been verified in documentary evidence from external validation or inspection reports, for example Challenge Partners (2022) reviews highlighting that, “The use of technology makes a strong contribution to the pupils’ learning experiences throughout the school” 130 Recommendation Consider how the role of Digital Leaders might be evolved to explicitly champion inclusive and equitable practice, accessibility features and assistive technologies. This should be considered through the lens of both learners and teachers. It may be helpful to pProvide families (and all staff) with an increased awareness of the tools available through Read & Write and OrbitNote, and through device accessibility features, to encourage on-demand use at home, and to raise awareness for family members who may benefit in their own learning and lives. 131

6.1.4. IMPACT OF INCLUSIVE PRACTICE ON SEN & EHCP FIGURES The sector often incorrectly assumes inclusive practice to relate to supporting children with SEND, rather than being ‘necessary for some, but useful for all’ (McGrath, 2023). However, the impact on children with SEND can be particularly significant. To illustrate this it is useful to observe the SEND and EHCP data across LEO schools. The graph below shows the number of children listed on the SEND register for each of the established LEO schools over the last 3 years. It is instantly possible to see that there is a general downward trend over time (the exception datapoint relates to a school at the point of joining LEO and therefore may be attributable to previously unidentified need).

130. Challenge Partners (2022) Cheam Park Farm Primary Academy Review. 131. SEN = Special Educational Needs, EHCP = individual Education, Health and Care Plans


Figure 19: Three year trend for the number of children on the SEN register at LEO (2020-2023) At first glance, it appears that the level of SEND itself has reduced over time. However, when conjoining this data with classroom teacher interview narratives this is refuted. The presence of particular needs still remains, but the impact of those needs on the individual child and their classroom peers is being managed as part of everyday classroom practice rather than requiring a specific individual or group additional intervention programme. This finding is further supported by the reduction in the number of suspensions and behavioural incidents 132 . As several LEO SENCOs explained, “Our children’s needs are being met in the classrooms through Universal Design for Learning which means that they don’t necessarily need to be on the SEN register”. As part of the LEO provision for children with higher levels of need, teachers have been provided with a graduated approach to identifying SEN. First, teachers are asked to identify any initial concerns and then put in place provision for 6-8 weeks before reviewing that provision in conjunction with school leaders and the child’s parents. If the child is making progress with that provision, then another targeted plan is put in place, at which point conversation about the child being considered for the SEN register occurs. This approach is part of LEO’s strategic decision to embed a mindset of deeply inclusive practice for all children. The provision for children with SEN is unapologetically a ‘Quality First’ approach to classroom teaching and learning, supported by targeted support for very specific high level needs. The Inclusion lead for LEO summarised this position as follows,

132. LEO (2023) Arbor Report on Suspensions & Exclusions


“We have more children with SEN needs arriving at our schools than ever before - but they would historically have gone to special provision. There are no special provision places available to them now so we have to cater for those needs here at LEO.” It is possible that the LEO classroom culture of ‘Inclusion by Design’ has resulted in meeting the needs of a greater number of children who might otherwise be identified as having specific additional needs. This aligns with published literature which posits that good inclusive practice impacts all children, but particularly those who might be held back by traditional barriers to learning (Schuelka, 2018 133). To probe this finding, it is helpful to consider comparative data. For example, whilst the number of children on the SEN register at LEO has reduced by about a third over the last 3 years (545-383), it is important to interpret this in context the number of children across LEO with EHCPs in the same 3 year period.

Figure 20: LEO 3 year trend for number of children with EHCPs and number of children on the SEN register at LEO It is possible to see here that the number of children on the SEN register has decreased by a significant margin over the last 3 years, but that the number of children with EHCPs 134 has been broadly more stable. A further breakdown of EHCP numbers by school can be seen below for the last 3 years.

133. Schuelka, M.J. (2018) Implementing inclusive education. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies 134. LEO (2023) Total number of EHCPs across the Trust


Figure 21: EHCP numbers by school for the last 3 years There are a number of external influences to this data, including the increase in difficulty of obtaining an EHCP, and so it is perhaps more helpful to focus on the relationship between the figures. The relationship between the trend on the number of children SEN register and the lack of trends around children with EHCPs suggests that where there are lower levels of need, children’s provision is being increasingly met as part of embedded everyday practice at LEO rather than becoming outliers in the classroom that require targeted individual or small group intervention programmes. As one senior leader explained, “Historically, there was a model where you would walk into a class and it would be obvious to everyone who the SEN children were. They would be either strapped to a TA, or sat at a special desk or sat outside the room. That’s not inclusive - that’s divisive. It makes them stand out and for lots of children that in itself is a huge barrier to learning - they feel different, sometimes for Key Stage 2 children they feel embarrassed and just don’t want to engage because of that. Well, we don’t have that anymore - and technology has been the vehicle that has made it possible for children to feel the same as their peers, and to be able to learn effectively just like everyone else in the classroom”. The key tools observed in practice through observations included, On demand access to digital assistive technologies and accessibility support (e.g. Texthelp’s Read & Write, OrbitNote)


Culture of ‘access at the point of need’ - for all learners (children and adults) Simplifying cognitive overload (e.g. ThingLink or Google Classroom used to provide all resources in one space) The use of image, video and sound to provide stimulus in lessons / activities Screen readers / options for children to hear text (e.g. OrbitNote, Mote) Supporting cognition (e.g. Read & Write picture dictionaries, differentiated or individualised word banks, models and scaffolds) Supporting evidencing learning (e.g. use of speech-to-text, photographs, film, typing) Voice Recording responses (e.g. Mote, dictate-to-text features) Chromebook and iPad built in accessibility features (e.g. display colour, size, magnification) In addition, real-time formative assessment tools such as Learning By Questions, and NearPod quizzes were used to identify success, misconceptions and conceptual issues throughout whole class instructional teaching 135. Teachers felt strongly about this comprehensive provision, with colleagues in focus groups explaining that, “Our children deserve to be in classrooms that reflect a more modern and inclusive way of working - as teachers we are responsible for setting it up for them to be successful. Why would we start with an assumption that they can’t do it rather than a plan for making sure that they can?” It is notable that at LEO, this deeply inclusive practice is embedded across classrooms, year groups and schools. This is unusual in a landscape where inclusive practices are often the preserve of an enthusiastic teacher, specialist provision or single school ethos 136 . A specialist external inclusion review took place in May 2023 137 which summarised that, “Digital learning maximises the opportunities for all pupils to access their education on their own terms, within their own preferred learning style. This particularly enhances the provision for pupils with SEND, resulting in greater access to the curriculum, a more adaptable curriculum content and a “real” opportunity to be included in all aspects of the education that is experienced by their peer group. The academy curriculums are clearly differentiated for pupils with SEND by many factors including the use of adaptive technologies. This differentiation is fully integrated into the classroom, making provision seamless for SEND pupils. Pupils are engaged with their peers and learning alongside them without obvious signs of difference. Adaptive technology supports this process by enabling pupils to choose their preferred learning support and use with confidence to improve their ability to access the learning alongside their peers.

135. Learning By Questions (2023) Inclusive Teaching Strategies for Invisible Children 136. DfE (2018) Implementing Inclusive Education. 137. LEO (2023) SEND Peer Review 2023.


The use of scaffolding and adaptive technology is enabling pupils to create work that will make reaching a high standard possible. This was particularly observed in Cheam Common Junior and Infant Academies where the quality and standard of reading (infants) and writing (juniors) was exemplary. 138 ” Furthermore, as an external specialist inclusion reviewer commented 139 , “One notable moment for me was during an observation during which I was directed to a pupil who had been an academy refuser and had not engaged in education successfully for some time. On that day he was happy, engaged in his lesson and using adaptive technology successfully and independently. The level of care taken towards the education of this pupil illustrated further that the level of empathy demonstrated by the staff in the academies makes a real difference to the pupils.” As a principal of one of the LEO schools summarised, “If we are not here to meet the needs of our children then we’re in the wrong business. Recommendation It may be helpful to capture data specific to types of learning need within each class - whether or not it has been formally recognised or aligns to SEND - and disseminate effective LEO practice about how these needs are being targeted and met through specific use of digital technology tools.

6.1.5. PLANNING FOR AUTONOMY One of the notable cultural features at LEO is the belief that every adult and child is a learner, and continuously evolving in response to the world around them. As part of this, LEO’s provision encourages children to be, (1) increasingly autonomous, and (2) less dependent upon adults in order to become skilled and confident lifelong learners. In a national landscape that tends to focus on leaning within key stages or relative to a benchmark set at an earlier key stage (e.g. value-add, progress measures, end of key stage assessments and accountability measures), LEO takes a very different approach - a longitudinal view on what it means to be a successful learner. Often underpinned by social constructivist beliefs, the LEO approach sets out a clear cause and effect relationship.

138. LEO (2023) SEND Peer Review 2023. 139. ibid


Children are given

This means that children can

The impact of this is

Full access to lesson materials via their Chromebooks

Revisit instructional inputAccess WAGOLLS

Teachers intervene rather than repeatChildren are clear about expectations

A range of support materials(e.g. Google Classroom, SeeSaw, ThingLInk)

Access scaffolds relevant to their starting point Address misconceptions

Children know how to start, what to watch out for, and how to proceed further

Access to all prior lessons as well as the current one(e.g. Google Classroom, Drive)

Revisit prior knowledgeAccess support that was helpful from a previous lessonRecap less secure ideas

Children can reuse materials or tools that they are familiar withTeachers do not have to use valuable lesson time finding specific prior resources

Trust to choose and use appropriate tools (e.g. OrbitNote, Read & Write)

Access what they need on demand - rather than dependent on teacher capacity

Significant increase in teacher capacity during lessons - which is repurposed for targeted intervention

Teacher task instruction provided as video or audio recordings(e.g. Mote, Video, NearPod)

Rewatch if they forget their task instructions Access the learning activity without simultaneously interpreting text based instructions

Reduction in classroom anxietyMore children on task leading to fewer behavioural issuesCognitive focus on specific subject matter / avoiding dual coded cognitive overload

Opportunities to choose and use resources and tools which the learner themselves identifies as necessary(e.g. OrbitNote, Read & Write, Google Workspace)

Practice independence and autonomy within their learning, within safe and purposeful parameters

Increase in confidenceHigher proportion of lesson time spent on application rather than task processing

As one way of purposefully planning for children to be autonomous, teachers regularly use ThingLink to provide structured access to lesson materials. ThingLink is a simple tool which provides one central image (e.g. a text, picture, map, diagram), that can have ‘hotspots’ on it which link off to other materials (e.g. documents, audio, films, websites). Teachers work together as year group teams to create these resource banks for specific lessons, with each teacher contributing specific aspects (e.g. scaffolds, writing frames, wordbanks, extension support for children already working at greater depth).


Figure 22: ThingLink hot-spot resource, linked to further lesson support materials The impact of this type of tool use has been significant for children across the breadth of year groups and learning needs. For example, “I like that it makes everything in one place because otherwise I get lost trying to find things and then forget what I’m supposed to be doing” and, “[teacher name] puts different examples there so I can pick the one that I think will help me with my writing and use that one.” School leaders felt that planning for children’s autonomy played an important role in driving the quality of teaching. As one principal explained, “It allows the teacher to be a professional rather than a task processor. They can intervene when it’s really going to make a difference to that child rather than just helicoptering around checking everyone is doing the right thing”. Another senior leader reflected that, “Teachers feel empowered, more confident, they don’t have that feeling that they haven’t got around all of the children in the class so it’s more rewarding for them professionally”. Importantly, children across the range of classroom characteristics benefit. As one teacher explained, “Now, all children can participate, engage, and get involved in extending quality of thinking it used to be just the uppers, the higher attainers - but now it’s everyone”


Furthermore, “Providing the scaffold - through ThingLink or through Google Classroom or SeeSaw or whatever… The Chromebook is their first stop to keep them on task, and it really works. Behaviour is much better because they are fully engaged with what they are supposed to be doing. It avoids that self-helplessness where children just sit there feeling hopeless and stuck until an adult intervenes. They have another option now that they are familiar with and that they know works”. One of the components of the LEO Teaching and Learning Strategy relates to the important role of modelling and explaining. Teachers at LEO use a number of tools to support modelling, including OrbitNote. For example, observation evidence surfaced OrbitNote being used to model to children how to understand unknown vocabulary. In this Year 6 reading lesson, the teacher demonstrated a first attempt at reading, followed by a search for contextual clues, and then how to look up unknown vocabulary. Importantly, using the Gradual Release Model, the teacher then took children through a process, using the same OrbitNote features, of guided practice, group practice, independent practice and then review. One of the benefits of LEO’s digital maturity is that teachers have become increasingly confident with a wide range of different digital tools. This has allowed them to combine the most appropriate tools for both teaching and learning and with particular attention to targeted groups of children. For example, observations at one of the schools newer to LEO included a focus on children who were working at Greater Depth in an English lesson. The teacher used video explanations embedded within Google Google Slides which children were either individually signposted towards (for targeted intervention), or could choose for themselves (where children were working at Greater Depth). The teacher then benefited from additional classroom capacity as the majority of children were able to access individualised instructional input. This capacity was repurposed through the teacher’s use of a visualiser in order to explicitly model particular points for very specific children, demonstrating clear expectations and providing short, intense, 1:1 support. Purposively sampled children were asked about their experience and the child described the teacher’s use as emphatically beneficial, “I like it because I’m doing stuff that is important for my learning. If the teacher is busy explaining something different to someone else then I don’t have to, like, sit here bored waiting. I can just get on with it or look it up on Google Slides” (Year 6, PP, GDS, SCP)


Another child explained that they valued the combination of autonomous access alongside teacher intervention, “Sometimes if you just need to look something up like a synonym, or you just want to see how to do it again [lesson input], then it’s easier just to use the Chromebook. You can do it yourself. You don’t need the teacher for that. But if you still don’t get it or you have a problem then I prefer the teacher.” The shift from teacher-dependence to independent, autonomous learning has been a deliberate strategy across many LEO classrooms. In a focus group, a principal explained, “The focus this year has led to it snowballing. Staff see it and the impact and how it adds value - and because they’ve seen the impact they want to do that in their own classrooms. They can see that by deliberately planning for the children to be more independent, it makes the whole classroom more purposeful and efficient.” Planning for autonomous learning begins in Reception, where for specific tasks children are given the choice about how to access and engage with their activities. For example, children in Reception were observed taking part in a sorting activity where they had been given a choice about whether to move physical pieces or whether to complete the same task digitally. Of the 11 children who were introduced to this task, 6 children chose the physical version and 5 children chose the digital version. There were enough resources for each version that would have allowed all children to choose the same thing, and children were not steered towards or away from either physical or digital, so this provides a useful mechanism for observing the nature of children’s choices. When children were asked about their rationale for this choice, reasons were given including, “I prefer this one [digital version] where I can make things bigger. [That helps me to] think more about where it should go… I can’t zoom into the card [physical] one so it doesn’t help me like, think.” “I like to hold it [card version] when I’m doing my thinking. Then put it there [sorting] then I will think about this one.”


The choices and rationale of this group of 4-5 year old children is striking because each were able to articulate a link between their activity choices and their metacognitive processes. Evidence of this was seen across year groups and schools at LEO. This reflects the strong relationship that LEO have established between the use of digital and the teaching of metacognition - choosing which tool to use or not use to best match the type of cognitive action required at any given moment in time. This strongly challenges common assumptions made by those less familiar with this kind of practice. For example, the many adults worldwide who assume that all children will default to a digital device and (understandably) fear the implications of an entirely-digital childhood or learning experience. The evidence from this study suggests that where children are taught to understand the cognitive and metacognitive processes required, and how a range of different tools can support them, they then make informed and appropriate decisions for their own individual needs. This certainly aligns with wider published research in this space (e.g. Maher & Twining, 2017). The combination of LEO teachers planning and resourcing to allow this kind of autonomy, combined with the explicit teaching about cognitive and metacognitive strategies, means that children have a fluency about their learning. Notably, they are also able to articulate when, how and why independent work, or teacher intervention is most beneficial for their learning at any given moment. Children across Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 described a preference for being able to access and utilise lesson materials (e.g. Slides, Wordbanks, Writing Frames, WAGOLLS, instructional videos) or particular tools (e.g. OrbitNote’s highlighter and dictionary, dictate screen reader, screen mask), on demand on their Chromebooks. However, they also spoke about a preference for teacher intervention for specific support (e.g. misconceptions). Children across year groups also also notably referred to their ability to access these materials both in class, during morning time (e.g. before class), and after school (e.g. homework, or home learning). As a Year 4 child summarised, “If I can do it myself, I’d rather just get on with it.”

Recommendation It may be useful to create a map that sets out what autonomous learning looks like for each year group (similar to the Digital Skills Progression) - opportunities to be provided, skills and tools to be introduced, and classroom cultures to be implemented. It will be important to take into account the distinctive classroom styles of Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2, as well as the influences from children’s development cognitively and physically. The map should take into account different learner needs and characteristics so that all children can have planned autonomy relative to their needs and aspirations.


6.1.6. IMPACT ON ATTENDANCE In September 2023, the DfE reported that the average attendance across all state funded schools was 89.3% (for 2022-23), with an overall absence rate of 10.7% and persistent absence rate of 22.3% 140 . This reflects a post-pandemic landscape where there has been a significant national concern about the amount of children missing school through non-attendance (CSJ, 2023 141 ). However, LEO ‘bucks the trend’. For the period 2022/23, whilst nationally the overall absence figure stood at 7.5%, at LEO this figure was just 6% (range 5.1%-7.5%). For the same period, persistent absentees (missing 10% or more of their schooling), whilst nationally were 22.3% of the absentees, at LEO were just 11%. In addition, LEO’s persistent absentees have fallen from 16% (2021-22) to 9% (2023) - a decrease of 7%, whereas nationally there has been only a decline of 0.4% for the same period. There are many possible explanations for this. However, narrative analysis of both school leaders, children and parents across LEO suggests that it was the continuity provided by LEO during the pandemic which has underpinned continuous attendance - in other words, the presence and use of 1:1 devices in order to maintain the ‘role of the school’ played a significant part in seeing school as relevant and welcoming post-pandemic. At LEO, 83% of children surveyed directly attribute having access to their own Chromebook at school to support their learning to enjoying their school experience and their intention to go to school. Through focus groups and classroom observation dialogue, children regularly spoke directly or indirectly about their not wanting to miss lessons or school days because they were highly engaged with their learning experiences. To use a modern-day phrase, their attendance was significantly influenced by FOMO - Fear Of Missing Out. As one child who had historically had significant behavioural difficulties put it, “Learning is far more fun and exciting - so that makes me want to concentrate more and be at school more”. A teacher new to LEO articulated the impact of technology being used purposefully to support learning in contexts such as this as, “It fixes behaviour issues - children just don’t have the time or inclination to mess about because every minute is being used purposefully and meaningfully for each individual child.”

140. DfE (2023) Pupil Attendance in Schools. 141. Centre for Social Justice (2022) Lost but not forgotten: the reality of severe absence in schools post lockdown


Examples of the impact of the presence of technology on attendance were shared over a range of contexts, with some notable examples including a child who had to travel to India for three weeks but continued to be part of the class learning through their taking their Chromebook with them. Similarly, a terminally ill child in Year 6 was able to continue to feel part of their class through joining in specific lessons through Google Meet, and another Key Stage 2 child accessing remote learning for a very extended period of time whilst a serious medical condition prevented them from physically attending school. Other forms of evidence support this view. For example, a Challenge Partner Quality Assurance review report (2021) concluded that, “The exceptional support for vulnerable pupils and those with additional needs means that these pupils want to come to school and enjoy their fully inclusive experience.” Nationally, there is an issue with nearly ¼ of school aged children being ‘reluctant returners’ - not wishing to return to school regularly post-pandemic. These children, nationally, are missing 10% or more of their potential schooling time (which equates to about 4 weeks of education a year), and the majority of these are coded as illness related absences. However, empirical evidence from a range of locations across the country suggest that the illness cited by children and/or parents includes anxiety and other mental health concerns regarding attending school and the perception of what school represents. In other words, post-pandemic, nationally, children and/or their families have become disenfranchised with the purpose or perceived benefit of attending school (e.g. Square Peg 142, NotFineInSchool 143 ). Many children in schools across the country are now questioning why they need to ‘go to school’ after such long periods where school attendance was forbidden or discouraged. These concerns are often written off by the sector, with many simply referring to these concerns as generalised anxiety. Yet, the point being made is that traditional ideas about ‘going to school’ and ‘learning’ in a classroom’ have been disrupted. Nationally, schools often citing an increased sense of parental agency in keeping children at home with either physical or mental health issues. Furthermore, schools often cite parental agency in keeping children away from school for logistical reasons (e.g. parents working from home, family holidays during term time). The emphasis is often on children and/or their parents not meeting the school’s attendance expectations. However, anecdotal evidence from families often cites different reasons - ranging from being encouraged to keep children away from school with minor ailments, through to children not wishing to return to school because of significant disengagement with the value in attending. The emphasis is often on the school discouraging attendance in some circumstances, and/or the school not meeting the child’s learning needs. There is then a clear disconnect between parental perception and school perception of the issues which are causing persistent absenteeism and the so-called reluctant returners, with each perceiving the other as responsible for it. Triangulating this with data that unpacked post-pandemic changes to student 142. Team Square Peg (2023) 143. Not Fine in School (2023)


perception of school may be helpful. For example, many children within primary schools experienced a very different kind of learning experience during the pandemic, with greater freedom, flexibility, and more creative uses of technology and time. Furthermore, where formalised national testing and exams were disrupted, many students questioned the need to attend school at all. There is a wide range of published literature that has emerged in this space, but the central thread is very much that many young people experienced ‘something different’ in their education during the pandemic, and as a result of that have a much more philosophical perspective about attending school. No longer is it nearly ubiquitously seen as ‘something you must do’, but now - with young people having experienced ‘school’ in different locations, different formats and with different people, school is ‘something’ - which hasn’t yet been redefined. It is this point which may explain why LEO’s attendance data bucks the national trend. Children attending LEO schools are highly motivated to attend school and see their learning as relevant, engaging, impactful and useful. Recommendation It may be helpful to consider how to codify the LEO learner engagement model in order to share operational steps with other MATs and schools with challenging attendance figures. It would be useful to increase parental awareness about the granular use of classroom time to support the wider work underway about improving attendance. For example, setting out what children will be doing in a typical lesson - broken down by examples of x minutes spent on x cognitive task. This should increase parental understanding of how at LEO, ‘every minute matters’. (See also Section 5.6 relating to Screentime which could form part of parental briefing sessions and communications)

There are also smaller scale examples of where LEO’s focus on continuity of education has impacted the attendance of children. For example, a principal spoke about a child who had received a very serious medical diagnosis and was thus unable to attend school. The school had sufficiently embedded SeeSaw use between home and school that this was able to continue during the child’s treatment, with them joining Google Meets periodically in order to maintain a sense of belonging during an absence of many months. The child was able to take part in key activities and share with their class and later transition back into school successfully both in terms of educational continuity and pastoral care. The focus on the learner’s pastoral and educational needs, alongside planning for longer term inclusion was key.


Recommendation With such significant strengths combining in-person learning with remote learning, LEO may wish to consider developing strategic provision of localised remote learning for children not physically able to attend school (e.g. hospital education, alternative provision, support for home schooling). A local/regional offer that blends LEO’s digital expertise with specialist agencies may be a useful partnership for growth. Similarly, targeted creative provision for children moving into Key Stage 3 may be helpful to consider - potentially expanding the LEO provision from EY-KS2 towards an all-through model over time. This would allow for a greater longitudinal impact on children’s learning - which the evidence seen in this report suggests increases the longer that a child or school is part of LEO.

6.1.7. SOMETIMES BIGGER IS BETTER One of the simplest features on any laptop or tablet is the ability to magnify or zoom, and this seemingly minor tool was observed in LEO classrooms to create quite significant impact in the quality of learning experience. One of the Key Stage 2 history lessons observed included children tackling the provocative topic of the Holocaust. Children were sensitively taken through a range of stimulus including a photograph of a room full of shoes that were forcibly removed from people taken into Auschwitz gas chambers. At first, the photograph was displayed on the classroom digital screen at the front of the room - by means of initial introduction, context setting and initial exposure to the potentially provocative stimulus. As the teacher encouraged children to think about the implications of what they were seeing, the children were invited to view the photograph on their own 1:1 Chromebooks and to ‘zoom in’ on a chosen shoe or pair of shoes that took their interest. Through the act of ‘zooming in’, the children engaged in far greater depth with the stories behind each pair of shoes - noticing specks of mud or paint that might reveal the prior employment of the wearer, or noticing brightly coloured shoes tied with ribbons that inferred the active social lifestyle of another. The impact on children’s understanding that these shoes belonged to people with lives not dissimilar to their own was significant and manifest through the thoughtful and empathetic dialogue that followed. As one child put it, “Writing about the Holocaust has made me think, like, there were children the same age as me. Why were they being killed just because of what religion was in their family?... It made me think about, like, why? Why did none of the adults stop that happening?”


It was the ability to ‘zoom in’ which transferred a surface-level engagement with the image to a deeper level engagement, and the ability to choose ‘which’ shoes which meant that this personal empathetic response applied to every child rather than just those with natural high levels of empathy. It would be difficult, perhaps even impossible to achieve this at scale for a whole class without the presence of the personal technology access. In another very different example, children in Reception were observed exploring place value using digital manipulatives on Mathagon. The children were able to choose whether to use a Chrome Tab or physical resources (e.g. rods and cubes), and most children were observed to use the digital version. When asked to talk about their choices, children in the focus group explained that they were able to enlarge the rods and ones which made them easier to manipulate - highlighting the important consideration of fine motor skills when navigating curriculum resourcing.

Recommendation The simplicity of being able to zoom in/out and magnify images provides a useful vehicle for encouraging oracy, philosophical and other higher order discussions. It may be useful to provide a resource for staff within and beyond LEO which specifically addresses ideas about individual digital manipulatives as a professional learning opportunity/resource - with a range of examples for learner needs, year groups, topics and contexts. For example, this report specifically considers digital manipulatives in maths, and above draws upon historical artefacts (through photos). However, children may benefit from the increased use of manipulatable digital objects to deepen their cultural awareness across curriculum subjects. These might include VR immersion, 360 rotatable objects, interactive images - things which are seen in some LEO classrooms, and which could be expanded further to benefit more children.

6.2. FINDINGS ABOUT PACE AND PRODUCTIVITY A range of data pointed to the increase in pace facilitated by access to on-demand Chromebooks. There are a number of elements of this which are useful to unpack including Attention span of primary aged children Typing speed v writing speed of children Coverage and progression within lessons and across sequences of lessons


6.2.1. WRITING AND TYPING For those familiar with using a keyboard, the average typing speed of a child aged between 7-11 years old ranges from 20-30 words per minute, with 80-90% accuracy when doing so (Honaker 144 ). For the same age group, this compares to a handwriting speed of approximately 8-16 words per minute for writing composition (Amundson, 1995 145 ), 17-24 for on timed copywriting (Graham et al., 1998 146 ), and 7-10 words per minute for presentation handwriting (Findenque et al., 1986 147 ). As Pisha (1993 148), highlights however, there is a ceiling on handwriting speed because as speed increase, legibility decreases. At first glance, there appears to be a small benefit to typing (20-30 wpm) compared to handwriting (8-16 wpm) when comparing similar tasks (QIAT, 2023 149 ). However, it is important to consider how this changes for children over time, underpinned by effective digital skill development. For example, at LEO, children in Year 1 have a mean handwriting speed of 15 words per minute compared to a mean typing speed of 6 words per minute. However, by Year 6, children have a mean handwriting speed of 21 words per minute compared to a mean typing speed of 33 words per minute. The relationship between handwriting and typing speeds is reversed. The impact of this was seen during observations where children typing work in Key Stage 1 tended to spend the majority of their time in production (i.e. typing the outcome), whereas children in Key Stage 2 tended to spend the majority of their time editing - because they were able to more quickly complete the draft production stage. As a Key Stage 2 child explained, “typing helps me because it's quicker and you can see if you've make a mistake.” It may be therefore, that as children’s digital skills increase (i.e. as they learn to type quicker), the time spent recording their work (i.e. handwriting or typing), should evolve. Teacher surveys identified that 63% of LEO teachers noted that typing created an impact on pace and progression in learning. However, to compare like-for-like speeds only addresses part of the situation (i.e. pace of production), and does not take into account the process of producing a piece of work. For example, the planning involved in recording work - whether carried out prior to production or as part of production, and the editing and publishing of work whether this is undertaken during 144. Honaker, DeLana. (1999) Handwriting and Keyboarding Legibility/Speed of 5th-8th grade students, a pilot study. Unpublished manuscript. 145. Amundson, S. J. (1995) Evaluation tool of children’s handwriting. O.T. Kids: Alaska. 146. Graham, S., Berninger, V., Weintraub, N., & Schafer, W. (1998) “Development of handwriting speed and legibility in grades 1-9”. Journal of Educational Research, 92(1), 42-52. 147. Findenque, A., Smith, M. & Sullivan, G. (1986) Keyboarding: The issues today. Proceedings of the 5th Annual Extending the Human Mind Conference. University of Oregon 148. Pisha, B. (1993) Rates of development of keyboarding skills in elementary aged children with and without learning disabilities. 149. QIAT (2023) Handwriting and Keyboarding rates.


However, to compare like-for-like speeds only addresses part of the situation (i.e. pace of production), and does not take into account the process of producing a piece of work. For example, the planning involved in recording work - whether carried out prior to production or as part of production, and the editing and publishing of work whether this is undertaken during production or as secondary task after the content has been finalised. This is where examining the pace of learning over time is important.

Recommendation If children at LEO are able to increase the quality of editing and thus outcomes through the use of typed work, what should the ‘LEO Standard’ be for typing speed for each year group in order to make this an equitable and sustainable aspect of provision? In parallel to the above, it may be useful to review the ideal proportion of English lesson time that should be spent on planning, drafting, editing etc - guiding attention towards how digital tools can support the prioritisation of specific English skill dispositions and processes. The combination of these two recommendations allows for precise discussion about when handwriting is more appropriate, when typing is more appropriate, and when a combination is most suitable - over the duration of a unit of work. Through qualitative survey responses and interviews, a minority of parents and some teaching assistants spoke about their concerns that using laptops/tablets in school might reduce the quality of children’s handwriting. There is sometimes a concern that the LEO approach to embedding technology is about replacing handwritten or paper based tasks. However, the LEO Director of Teaching and Learning challenged this view, “We still have lots of writing in our books. That’s really important so that children can learn and apply a a wide range of skills. Technology is not being used just for outcomes - it’s being used to support t t the process of learning and the journey - it’s enhancing children’s thinking, their planning, their a acc access to useful scaffolds and support materials, so that their written outcome is stronger.” Classroom observations and teacher interviews identified a range of reasons for children using screen or digital tools rather than paper or pencil tools, which pivoted around whether the focus was on production (e.g. a handwriting lesson, presenting a final piece of work) or process (e.g. planning, drafting, editing, evidencing knowledge acquisition). It is helpful to view these findings in conjunction with attainment data. It is possible to see from the graph below that since the introduction of 1:1 devices to support learning at LEO, that the proportion of children achieving Greater Depth in their writing outcomes has increased. Furthermore, that the upward trend in relation to LEO standards sits in stark contrast to the downward post-pandemic national trend.


Figure 22: Comparison of the end of key stage writing outcomes at greater depth for LEO against national averages Related to this, 78% of children surveyed at LEO believe that having access to their own Chromebook at school will better prepare them for getting a job in the future. One of the many themes to emerge from this related to children’s views on the role of handwriting alongside developing typing skills. For some children this was a point that they felt very strongly about. For example, as a Year 5 child explained, “I don’t get why we would do so much of our work in paper [exercise] books. I mean how many adults actually have jobs where they are writing in [exercise] books anymore?” “There was a great deal of opinion from children about the amount of focus placed upon handwritten work. Many children queried why handwritten work was necessary in 2023, often citing that their family members did “all their work on a keyboard”. However, when children in Key Stage 2 across LEO were asked about their preferences relating to handwriting or typing the view was more balanced. Of the children who were sampled (258 children across 7 schools), 5% preferred to handwrite all of their work, 41% preferred working on Chromebooks, and 54% prefer a mix of both Chromebook and handwritten work. However, the rationale to their thinking was significant. During classroom observations spanning a range of subjects, classrooms, schools and dates, children were asked about their preferences. The methodological approach of this triangulation was important in order to encourage children to be open about their thinking. In each observation, a range of children were asked about whether


they preferred working on the Chromebook, handwritten work or a mix of both, and to explain their thinking to the researcher. They were asked to do this midway through classroom activities - and those intervention points were identified to mitigate for forms of bias such as what the child happened to be doing at that particular point in time (e.g. whether they were handwriting or using their Chromebook), and the level of cognitive challenge that they were experiencing at that particular point in time (e.g. if they were struggling, mid way through a task or easily finishing their work). Despite these different lines of consideration, children responded nearly unanimously that for most subjects they tended to prefer working on their Chromebooks during the process of learning (e.g. accessing lesson stimulus, supporting emergent thinking, practising skills and completing given tasks). Exceptions were subjects such as PE, Music or DT where children spoke about physical and practical work rather than handwritten work. Observations also surfaced a minority of exceptions, for example a child with particular SEN struggled with attention span and found the Chromebook more of a distraction. The teacher therefore gave him the same activity in a traditional physical format so that he could alternate practising the specific skill digitally and physically in turn. The combination of both resulted in maintained focus on the subject specific knowledge development throughout the lesson in a way that the teacher reported as otherwise unlikely. Notably, the majority of children in observations, when asked about their preference of working digitally or offline, explained that they wanted the opportunity to work offline specifically to develop handwritten work in order to complete their national tests. The demarcation between preferences that related to the process of learning and preferences that related to the preparation for testing was striking and consistent. To explore this insight further, children were asked, through focus groups and classroom observation, about their preferences depending on specific subjects. The preference towards working on Chromebooks was permeated when discussing subjects which were not influenced by formal national assessments (e.g. History, Geography). The relationship between children’s preference for utilising digital technology to support the process of their learning, and their awareness of the procedural skills that they are required to learn in order to be successful in national tests is important. Extracting this finding from the LEO context, and considering the insight that it provides for those influencing national policy, this highlights the significant influential role that the assessment system plays in the conceptualisation of digital technology to support learning. An embedded issue which is seen in the broader national landscape is that adults (teachers, leaders, parents and policy shapers) become reluctant to embed ways of working that do not align with preparation national testing - the known as assessment washback (Tsaigari, 2016 150 ). In other words, digital technology is less likely to be used in everyday classroom contexts simply because it is not currently used by learners taking national tests. This finding, viewed in isolation may appear to be insignificant.

150. Tsagari, D., Cheng, L. (2016). “Washback, Impact, and Consequences Revisited”. In: Shohamy, E., Or, I., May, S. (eds) Language Testing and Assessment: Encyclopaedia of Language and Education. Springer, Cham.


However, when viewed in conjunction with findings elsewhere that specific digitally enhanced pedagogical approaches accelerate the process of learning, this becomes a provocation. In other words, by not using digital technology during the process of learning because of the perceived detrimental impact on assessment, the assessment that exists to measure that same learning is likely to have lower results than if digital technology were to be used. The parameters of this particular study have not expanded to address this particular issue, but it is an important recommendation for anyone researching or shaping policy. It would be pertinent to consider how assessment processes for mainstream primary aged learners could be updated that learning time and energy which is proven to be highly effective is not diluted by the necessary procedural practice that existing, old fashioned, testing systems still require. This is not about learning how to answer test questions (another assessment driven procedural skill that learners tend to practise), but about the proportional time spent utilising skills which modern day practices no longer prioritise. To use a metaphor, it is akin to a citizen of central London spending time learning how to source food by hunting in the forest, only to return to the supermarket to buy their dinner. The Multiplication check test taken in Year 4 may be a useful proxy to determine what happens when digital technology is involved in both the process of learning and the assessment of that learning. This is because it is one of the few formal national assessments which takes place onscreen (DfE, 2022 151 ). There are limitations to this data because it is a 5 minute test providing a single snapshot of 3 practice questions before completing 25 assessed questions. However, the results do provide some degree of insight. Since it became statutory in 2021, there have been two national cycles of this test, providing data for 2021/22 and 2022/23. In short, when looking at MTC national data, LEO outperformed national average attainment by between 20-30% 152 . Furthermore, for published DfE statistics, every individual LEO school outperformed the national average, with there being a direct corelation between the amount of time that a school had been part of LEO, and the % of children achieving higher MTC scores. For example, Hurst Park, who became part of LEO in 2022, saw a significant increase in MTC results, from 24% of children attaining 20 or more out of 25 marks (i.e. above the national average) in 2022, compared to 72% in 2023. In 2017 the government announced its intention to reintroduce times tables tests due to the role that multiplication fluency plays in wider mathematical application. There was some concern at the time that learning facts by rote had been historically perceived by children as boring, leading to low retention rates in children (Wong and Evans, 2007) leading to the encouragement of gamification approaches to practising times tables which has been seen as more successful (Herold, 2013). The perception of children making mistakes in their recall, and trying again in a risk free environment was seen as a key feature of gamified times tables practice (Gee, 2005),

151. DfE (2022) What is the multiplication tables check and why is it important? 152. Figures calculated are based on DFE published statistics, Arbor national benchmarks, and take into account 20/25 and 24+/25 scores for MTCs in 2021-22 and 2022-23.


and leading times tables retrieval practice tools such as Times Tables Rockstars (TTRS) - used by LEO - find in their own impact studies that students (n=327,000) are 38% faster at answering times tables questions after using TTRS 153 . However, tools or strategies based on retrieval are nearly always likely to produce more efficient recall, simply by nature of practice, so there does need to be some caution when drawing conclusions from this data. A suitable proxy here, is to compare LEO’s outperforming national MTC figures, with the relationship between LEO and national Maths KS2 tests for the same period - better reflecting the application of knowledge rather than just recall. These results show that in 2022, for Maths, LEO schools outperformed national averages by 14% EXS and 19% GDS, and in 2023, by 14% EXS and 23%. GDS. It is notable here that the most significant difference between LEO and National attainment is at greater depth - in other words, application of knowledge. This suggests that the hypotheses set out above seems likely. In other words, where digital technology tools are used to directly support specific pedagogical approaches (i.e. as part of learning times tables), the security of that learning is both greater short term (in MTC tests), as well as greater over time in both quantity and depth (through GDS at end of KS tests). With this in mind, there are implications for aligning the uses of digital technology for the process of learning with the assessment of learning. This may be a key area for strategic consideration because the Education Secretary spoke in March 2022, about the government ‘considering the potential’ of wider use of online testing 154 . The DfE Sustainability and Climate Change policy paper published in April 2022 155 makes specific reference to this “By 2025, we will develop a sustainable assessment model in partnership with the Standards and Testing Agency, considering the environmental impact of digital testing and the trade-offs with existing testing methods.”

153. Shine Trust (2023) Times Tables RockStars 154. Schools Week (2022) Zahami considering potential of more online exams. 155. DfE (2022) Sustainability and Climate Change: a strategy for the education and children’s services systems.


Recommendation At both LEO, and as part of a contribution to the wider education assessment space, it may be helpful to consider monitoring the relationship between how technology is used to support the process of learning something, and how that same learning is then later assessed. For this monitoring, it is important to break down the component parts of an assessed task (e.g. breaking writing down into engaging with stimulus, oracy, planning, drafting, composition, editing, refining, production). In addition, monitoring the embedded nature of learning over time (i.e. the same knowledge but not tied to formal end of year group of key stage testing). It is likely that the depth of this embedding within learning provision correlates with the GDS results at the end of each year group and key stage.

6.2.2. WHERE PACE MEANS PROGRESSION During the early stages of this research, many teachers spoke about the way in which digital versions of activities increased the pace of learning in classrooms. “It just makes everything much quicker. We can get on with so much more in lessons now - children learn so much more”. It was important to triangulate this finding with other forms of evidence because quantity of time and sense of pace can often be perceived with a sense of bias. For example, a lesson can feel like it is moving quickly if there are a lot of actions requiring working memory and less time for consolidation - on the part of the teacher as well as the learner. Observations of lessons were therefore carried out in order to probe this issue further. At surface level, this finding can be tested by timing how long it takes to work through different stages of a lesson. For example, two parallel lessons were observed where a Year 1 class were working towards the same learning objective - in this case sequencing and retelling the story of Handa’s surprise. Two teachers had planned a lesson together and then in one classroom, the activities took place using traditional paper based methods, and in the other classroom, the activities took place using Chromebooks. Differences in timings between the two approaches were measured to the nearest minute and then compared. Some aspects of the lessons were nearly


identical in terms of how long they took, for example, the teaching input, and children moving from the carpet to being at their tables ready to start their task (including getting any relevant equipment). However, there were some noticeable differences in how long it took for particular actions to happen within the lesson itself (e.g. time taken to complete the first independent action, and the time taken to complete the full task). Digital


Teacher input

12 minutes

11 minutes

Children move from carpet to being ready to begin task (including gathering any necessary resources / equipment)

4 minutes

3 minutes

Time taken to complete first action within the given activity

30 seconds(drag picture to correct place)

3 minutes(cut and stick picture in correct place)

Total time taken to complete the task

2 minutes

16 minutes(cut and stick all pictures in the correct places)

Tidy up and return to carpet

3 minutes

4 minutes

Figure 23: Summary of time taken to complete the same learning activity digitally and using a traditional method When timed, digital classroom activities take on average only 75% of the time for children to tidy up from, compared to paper-based tasks. Whilst these differences average only ~2 minutes per lesson, this equates to the equivalent of just under 2 full school days per year of lost learning time. However, looking more meaningfully in terms of children’s independent learning time, this data suggests that digitising a task allowed the children to engage with it in less than 20% of the time, and to complete it in less than 13% of the time. For a 40 minute lesson, the time saving in this same lesson equated to 23% of the whole lesson. If extrapolated, that suggests that using traditional paper based activities uses nearly ¼ of lesson time more than digital versions of the same thing which raises significant questions about lesson efficacy.


Whilst the quantitative metrics around the time saved by digitising activities are attractive in terms of lesson capacity, there is a related finding which is equally powerful. When a digitised version of a lesson was compared with a traditional paper-based version of the lesson, the nature of language in the classroom changed. The most noticeable impact was that dialogue between teacher and learner shifted to higher-order questions. For example, extrapolating trends or patterns (e.g. what does this tell us about…), rather than transactional discussion (e.g. what happened next…). Through observation and teacher interview it appears that this is attributable to the fluency with which children’s thinking moved from the stimulus of the input to the application of the practical task - in other words, they did not have the opportunity to get distracted by their working memory being used for non-learning-specific actions (e.g. cutting out, glueing and sticking). In the context of classroom activity, time was spent learning (e.g. cognitive and metacognitive tasks) rather than doing (e.g. administrative tasks). Digitisation of tasks sometimes attracts concerns that children’s physical fine and gross motor skill development might be overlooked or reduced. However, this can be a misplaced and oversimplified perspective. As with any aspect of child development, explicit and purposeful teaching and learning (e.g. accuracy when using scissors) is key to purposeful learning gain. Incidental use of skills (e.g. ad hoc fast-paced cutting in order to complete a task) is unlikely to contribute towards progression. Arguably, such unfocused practice may even contribute towards consolidation of inaccuracies (e.g. poor quality cutting habits). The increase in pace, and the better use of children’s concentration resulted in improved oracy across a range of subjects. Children were observed across year groups to move fluidly between input, independent work, intervention and extension. The consequence of this was seen through children’s application to their task, and through the absence of disruptive behaviours. Furthermore, observation specifically looked at children who might appear to be on-task, whilst camouflaging offtask behaviours or actions, but there appeared to be very little of this even with children with known emotional or behavioural challenges. Other examples from different year groups and contexts illustrate similar findings.


Example 1: Year 3 objective: Place value. Comparing and ordering numbers Children were timed completing the following task: “Compare 253 and 326. Which number is greater?” Digital version of task

Traditional version of task

3 minutes 30 seconds

5 minutes 15 seconds

Using MathBots, the observed child was able to drag and drop an infinite number of place value counters at the click of a button.

The observed child got to work by counting out the number of hundreds, tens and ones in each number. They put them underneath a post-it note with the numbers written. Once the numbers were made, they moved onto comparison.

When it came to comparing, the child was able to 'select all' the place value counters and drop them underneath the first number they had made. This then made a simple visual comparison that 326 had more hundreds and was therefore bigger.

It was tricky for this child to make a direct comparison of the numbers without moving them to be on top of each other. This was messy and resulted in lots of place value counters being lost or muddled up when being moved.

In this example, the digital version took two thirds of the time of the traditional version of this task, which in itself is a notable time saving when extrapolated across lessons over time. However, similarly to the example above, the greater impact was on the cognitive clarity - due to minimising distraction (see Section 6.1.1) and clearer concept visualisation. Example 2: Year 4 objective: add and subtract numbers with up to 4 digits using the formal written methods of columnar addition and subtraction where appropriate Digital version of task

Traditional version of task

2 minutes 25 seconds

4 minutes 10 seconds

Using the 'split' function on PolyPad automatically converts one ten into ten ones. This is an easy visual reference for children when renaming during subtraction.

The child who did not use Mathagon had to manually count out ten ones and replace one ten. There is the possibility for some confusion here; if the ten is not put completely to one side it can still be counted when subtracting. On the online platform, it is automatically converted to ten ones so there is no chance of duplicate counting.


In this example, digital manipulatives nearly halved the practical processing time, opening up capacity for pace and progression within the lesson. One of the slightly unexpected findings in relation to digitally driven increased pace, was the effect that this had on children’s perceptions of whose learning mattered most in the classroom. For example, as one child explained, “When we get on to the next thing it kind of shows that what we are doing is important. If you have to wait for people to catch up all the time it’s sort of like the teacher is saying their learning matters but yours doesn’t. It’s a bit annoying if you are always waiting.” The allusion here to the mindset of ‘every child matters’ is key, and is reflected across a range of other findings in this report - particularly through the whole-class approach to inclusive practice that is embedded across LEO classrooms. It also relates closely to the role of formative assessment tools enabling pace. For example, in a Year 6 writing lesson, the class were all using a drag and drop activity on NearPod in order to organise the features of formal and informal writing. As a tool, NearPod allows teachers to see every child’s responses and so the teacher was able to adapt her questions according to the children’s responses and feedback. This level of whole-class real time formative assessment data insight scaffolded the adaptive teaching taking place. Importantly, it allowed the teacher to adapt the pace of revisiting and consolidating prior learning, introducing new material, and extending ideas at a pace that matched the reality of that particular class group of children on that specific day - responding to ‘actual’ data rather than assumptions made about which children did or did not understand particular points. As one of the LEO principals summarised, “Teachers felt [before children had Chromebooks] that they were never enough because they couldn’t get around to all 32 children. But now [with Chromebooks] they can all access their learning, teachers can access real-time insights to adapt their teaching, and the children can all access help and support as and when they need it.” Furthermore, as a senior teaching and learning leader summarised, “It allows teachers to be much more data informed, rather than relying on assumptions.”


6.3. FINDINGS ABOUT LEARNERS WITH SPECIFIC CHARACTERISTICS Teachers were asked about the impact that they felt 1:1 device provision had made on particular groups of children. Of all teacher survey respondents, 95% of teachers felt that all children had positively benefited, with 5% feeling that it had not made a significant difference. None of the teachers perceived a negative impact. When asked about particular groups in more detail, 87% of teachers felt that 1:1 device provision was particularly impactful for children with an EHCP, and 88% for children with SEND. Similarly, 88% of teachers felt that the provision was particularly impactful for children with EAL. In each of these cases the remaining respondents felt that it had made little difference - again, with no teachers perceiving a negative impact. There were no statistically significant differences between the perceived impact relating to gender. When asked the same question, leaders perceptions broadly aligned with classroom teachers with two exceptions. Classroom teachers were more likely to perceive a positive impact of 1:1 provision for children with SEND or EAL than school leaders. Segmenting this data, this may be simply attributable to the nature of leadership role and the experience of working with specific pupil characteristics of the survey respondent themselves. For example, teachers working in classrooms with high levels of children with EAL were more likely to perceive a positive impact of 1:1 devices on EAL children than a subject leader in a school with low levels of EAL. It is therefore helpful to consider learners with specific characteristics.

6.3.1. CHILDREN WHO EXPERIENCE MOBILITY LEO Academy Trust, like most other schools, experiences a number of children moving in and out of the schools throughout their primary education. At LEO, aside from natural transition from primary to secondary education, mobility into the schools is greater than mobility out of the schools. This is in part a reflection of the local and regional reputation of the schools, and in part because of the high levels of parental satisfaction with provision. For example, in 2021-22, 273 children moved into LEO, and in 2022-23, 293 children moved into LEO - both representing approximately 7% of total NoR 156 . Approximately 4% of the children at LEO leave the trust each year 157 . Of these children, 11% move from one LEO school to another, reflecting parental choice to move to any LEO school even if it is not their catchment school, and then sit on the waiting list for the LEO school which is their catchment school. Of the remaining children that leave LEO schools, 19% move to schools in other countries, 65% move to other catchment areas within England, 2% move into independent schools, and 3% to a range of different provision (with no statistically significant trends).

156. LEO (2023) Mobility - In Year Admissions from Arbor. 157. LEO (2023) Mobility - In Year Leavers from Arbor.


LEO’s figures of 4% mobility are notably low when compared to an average mobility rate across London schools ranging between 20-48% 158 , (which is about 20% higher than national figures 159 ), suggesting that LEO retain children on roll at rates much higher than other regional schools. There are two lines of inquiry which were explored as part of this research concerning this group. The first was to explore the experience of children transitioning into and out of LEO and the extent to which the LEO approach to digital technology impacted the process and outcomes of that transition. The second line of inquiry was to use the insights from this group of children provide a useful way of benchmarking children’s perceptions about the Chromebooks. This is because most LEO children in Key Stage 2 have not experienced an education without having access to their own Chromebook which potentially skews their perception. For example, initial discussion with LEO children surfaced a perception from many that having a school-provided laptop was a normal part of mainstream education. This meant that these children did not have a concept of the differences with or without access to a personal laptop as part of their learning, and assumed a baseline of every child being able to Google synonyms in an English lesson, re-watch teacher lesson inputs, access materials in their own language, or receive instant feedback or marking to an online activity. Survey data revealed that children who had previously been at a school which was not part of LEO (32% of responses, n=1,723) were particularly pleased to have their own Chromebook with 100% of children being glad to have their own device (compared to 98% of children who had always attended a LEO school). This suggests that exposure to a comparative provision in another school creates a greater positive association with having access to a personal device through school. The perception of Chromebook access played a role with parents choosing LEO, with a number reporting being influenced by this. Parents who had recently joined LEO spoke about feeling better informed about their child’s learning than at their previous schools, the appeal of inclusive practice on ensuring their child did not suffer learning loss due to mobility, and the personalised approach for meeting children’s individual needs. A focus group of children new to LEO shared perspectives such as, “At my old school we didn’t have Chromebooks - we had to go to an ICT suite so it wasn’t really something that helped our learning, it was just one lesson a week” and “My brother is at the high school and he’s dead jealous that I can like just look stuff up if I’m stuck or edit work without writing it out over again and then getting in trouble for it being all like messy”. and “I just started here like a few weeks back… I like that the Chromebook made me feel like the same as everyone else.” 158. DfE (2023) School Pupils and their Characteristics and DfE (2023) Managing pupil mobility 159. London Councils (2016) Pupil Mobility: What does it cost London?


The perception of these children is particularly insightful because they are - unlike long term LEO children - able to compare classroom experiences with and without Chromebook access. The key themes across focus groups, surveys with children and parents, and talking to children during classroom observations was that the digital access enabled learning across the curriculum, autonomous access to help and support, dignity when stuck, inclusivity for different needs, and support for working between home and school. The issue of mobility affects staff too, with a number of members of staff invited to share their experiences of joining LEO from other school or trust contexts. One staff member, who joined LEO as a subject leader reflected on their previous trust that, “By comparison it was just archaic - my old trust had technology but it just wasn’t thought through in the way it is at LEO. You had to book the Chromebooks for specific lessons and then put them back once you were finished, and as a result they weren’t always charged when you needed them because there weren’t processes in place to manage access and charging and responsibility. It meant you couldn’t rely on the Chromebooks being available so you were much more cautious about planning to use them”. Another staff member reflected on their move to LEO “The way technology is used here just makes everything so much easier. Children are taught all the skills they need as they move up through the school, so you know as the teacher exactly what you can bring into your lessons to use. Now that I can see how technology can really be used I just don’t understand why other schools are not doing this. It makes such a massive difference. Other schools who have technology but don’t think it through like this are doing their children a massive disservice - they are not providing children with this individualised experience - I don’t understand why. How can you be an Outstanding school if the only time children use technology is in computing or for the odd bit of presenting work? Because that’s all the schools in my old trust were doing.” Recommendation It may be helpful for LEO to produce a guide for ‘new starters’ - explanations for parents and children to bring them up to speed with Chromebook use in their first week. This guide could also include detail about classroom culture and behavioural expectations and other FAQ and support. A similar guide may be useful to provide to all families at the start of Year 3 when children are given their 1:1 device, and/or at the start of each year group - to include the Digital Skills Progression focus for that year, and how families can support those skills at home. It may also be useful to consider this form of provision for staff (in any role) new to LEO to scaffold a more informed induction - both to LEO as well as ‘new to role’ implications.


6.3.2. IMPACT ON CHILDREN WITH ENGLISH AS AN ADDITIONAL LANGUAGE (EAL) Census data for LEO schools shows that 39% (n=1,566) of children attending LEO schools speak English as an additional language. This ranges from 13%-63% across the schools. As part of this study a survey was also carried out which asked children about their predominant language, with 64% of children reporting that English was the main language spoken at home, and 36% reporting that home conversations mainly took place in a language other than English. The range between the different LEO schools was 49%-85% English, and 15%-51% EAL. For these children, 98% had a very positive association with having access to their own Chromebook. However, there is a caveat to that figure in that the proportion between schools ranged from 95%-100%. The schools with the most EAL children on roll were those with the highest percentages of children who were glad to have access to a Chromebook to support their learning. The use of Google translate (through Google Meet, Google Search and Google Classroom), alongside language settings in tools such as Texthelp and Nearpod were consistently used across year groups and schools at LEO. Children were able to move between English and their first language - with many citing how much they appreciated being able to decide when to use each language. Teachers shared insights, for example that, “translation between learner and teacher and visa-versa has made a huge difference. I feel this has sped up the absorption of new language and also given the learner greater independence.” Similarly that, “The ability to use apps like OrbitNote, Mote and Jamboards has allowed children with EAL and accessibility needs to participate and access the curriculum” The fluidity with which children used auto-translate features in class was notable. Children were moving seamlessly through their activities, either in their first language, or moving between English and their first language. Many of these children spoke about the way in which they valued being able to access and understand ideas in their first language, and then write about or demonstrate their understanding in English - thus developing their subject knowledge and their use of English as an additional language in parallel. The metacognitive skill with which children were able to describe this was striking - across year groups, classrooms and school - suggesting LEO wide practice rather than isolated pockets of innovation or individual expertise.


Children who spoke English as an additional language were asked to share experiences about their use of Chromebooks, with many citing the agency that they had been given by their teachers to share areas of expertise that they could bring. For example, 34% of these children talked about personal learning projects (e.g. Chinese New Year, Japanese Pokemon) where children had been able to teach their classmates about their cultural capital - utilising image, video, auto-translate and links to familiar resources. These experiences were highly valued by these children as well as by their peers and played a strong role in bonding with new friends and classroom communities. Both children and teachers also spoke about creative uses of Google Workspace to support communication - for example, a teacher talked about using Google Meet with 1 EAL child with closed captions on auto translate so that the child - who spoke no English - could follow the lesson in real time. The technology was seen as an enabler - building on children’s existing strengths and breaking down barriers to their consequent learning. There is a range of external review evidence that recognises the impact of this provision. For example, Challenge Partners 160 , who reported that, “The exceptional support for vulnerable pupils and those with additional needs means that these pupils want to come to school and enjoy their fully inclusive experience. Ongoing curriculum enhancements are proactively sought and continue to build pupils’ cultural capital in this forward thinking, creative school. A clear, comprehensive strategy to maximise opportunities for disadvantaged pupils and enable access to experiences that they may not otherwise have, is closely monitored. As a result, pupils’ engagement and enthusiasm for learning are high, their digital skills are exceptional and all children are active participants in lessons.”

Furthermore, parent surveys asking about their child’s wellbeing and school enjoyment found that 100% of parents reported their child as being happy at school (52% strongly believe, and 48% believe), along with 100% of parents believing behaviour to be at least good (50% agree, and 50% strongly agree). Recommendation It may be useful for LEO to provide a specific menu of approaches that can be used to support children with English as an additional language. This menu of EAL specific provision could be shared with both classroom teachers and teaching assistants to increase the consistency and embeddedness of EAL support. It could also play a key role in supporting families - both to support learning at home, as well as to support home-school communications and engagement. In addition, the introduction of these tools may enable families with little English to adopt strategies which help them in their wider lives - thus playing a civic leadership role.

160. Challenge Partners (2021) Cheam Common Junior Academy Review.


6.3.3. INSIGHTS FROM EARLY YEARS AND KEY STAGE 1 At LEO, children in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 do not necessarily have a personal 1:1 device, but they do have on-demand access to Chromebooks and iPads at the point of learning and a culture that supports autonomous access. As at September 2023, there are 1,110 Chromebooks and 225 iPads in classrooms for 1,736 children. As part of this research it has been very important to give all children across LEO the opportunity to share their insights about the role of digital technology in supporting their learning. In order to facilitate this, children in Nursery, Reception and Key Stage 1 were asked to contribute their opinions and insights through a teacher-led survey. 42 classes (equating to approximately 1,260 children) shared their insights in this way, with the majority of these children being in Reception and Key Stage 1. For this age group, 100% of children thought that all children should have access to a 1:1 device to support their learning. When asked to elaborate on this view, 84% of children said that it made their tasks and activities quicker so that they could move on to the next task without having to wait for other children to catch up or their teacher to tell them what to do next. The separation of physical limitations with cognitive abilities was an important distinction, with a Reception teacher pointing out that “Children that find writing difficult due to poor fine motor skills are often able to access activities more easily using the Chromebooks and so then they can play a full part in lessons”. Examples such as virtual libraries, were shared,

Figure 24: Screengrab examples of Virtual Libraries available to LEO children


Children in Key Stage 1 often cited being able to ‘look up’ words for themselves - referring either to finding out how to spell words, or expanding their vocabulary, with 84% of children citing that access to the Chromebooks or iPads enabled them to access help and support as and when they needed it. As a Year 1 child summarised, “It makes me feel like I’m the boss of my own learning”. Children relished being able to use Google Classroom and NearPod to independently launch and work through a sequence of activities in a wide range of curriculum subjects with 91% of children feeling that using Chromebooks or iPads helped them to understand ideas as part of their learning because of the way that interactive or engaging way that material was presented to them. Notably, given their age, 98% of Reception and Key Stage 1 children said that using the Chromebook or iPad meant that they could get on with their learning independently - with children elaborating by explaining that they did not like to be dependent upon adult capacity. Children clearly recognised the limitations of 1 teacher and 30 children in a class, and saw the Chromebooks and iPads as a preferred tool to help to address the false barrier often created by teacher capacity. “If we are doing science - and I really like science - but if the teacher is too busy to answer my questions - then I can look it up instead so I can still learn. That’s better because otherwise my questions just have to wait. Sometimes forever, and that’s annoying.” (Year 2 child) When children of this age were asked to elaborate on these ideas during research class visits, children shared a range of insights including that; “I can draw a picture and record my voice and then my teacher knows what I understand. If I had to write it then I couldn’t tell them as much about what I can do because I run out of time. That’s quite annoying because then they think I don’t know as much as I know” (Year 1 child) Even the very youngest children were able to clearly identify the benefits to their learning. For example, 88% of children felt that instant feedback helped them to know how to improve their own learning (e.g. auto-response apps, auto-marking activities), and 83% of children cited the use of apps and features which showed them what to do if they made a mistake (e.g. on-screen digital demonstration, audio feedback, on demand access to a film of teacher modelling, personalised instruction). However, teacher marking was also a key feature of children’s narratives - with children often citing their appreciation of audio or visual elements to formative assessment. For example, as a Reception child explained, “I like to hear my teacher’s voice when she marks my work. It makes me want to do the changes.”


The impact on children of this age was felt not only by teachers and children, but also by the majority of parents. For example, “My son is in Reception and he is learning so many good skills from digital technology - counting numbers, mathematical order, literacy, drawing and mark making - so many things that he has learned. It is very very beneficial. His learning is really positive. He has access to a laptop at school and understands appropriate use, so now we try to do exactly the same at home - we follow the same routine and use school materials. It’s been really helpful for us”. Recommendation Children in Early Years and Key Stage 1 have significant potential for autonomous learning LEO may wish to consider exploring how EY children could further manage the planning and evaluation of their activities on individual devices. It may also be helpful for EY and KS1 teachers to reflect on the discussions above about teacher capacity and children’s production and to unpack the implications for developing future classroom provision.

6.3.4. PERCEPTIONS ABOUT GENDER BASED STEREOTYPES AND ASSUMPTION At the time of writing this report, there are some sensitive issues relating to gender identity, stereotypes and assumptions. Whilst this report does not probe into these in depth, some aspects of data may be useful to surface. For example, of the children who completed the survey sent to Key Stage 2 children, 47% identified as a boy, 48% as a girl, and 5% preferred not to answer the question. Before drawing conclusions based on data segmentation by gender, it is helpful to understand that responses to this question do not necessarily relate to children’s gender identity. As part of the data analysis of this study, forms of discourse analysis were used to understand embedded meaning (Tannen, 2015 161 ). In relation to the surveys, a number of children were asked to pilot the survey design prior to its wider circulation, talking through their survey responses with a researcher in order to surface any issues around accessibility or vocabulary. As part of this process, a number of boys in Key Stage 2 said (independently of each other) that they were deliberately not providing an answer to the gender question because they did not want their positive responses about the Chromebooks to be discounted on the basis of adult assumptions about “all boys liking technology”. This finding was particularly striking because through further discussion it emerged that these boys were aware of a national media narrative about boys and technology which they felt affected the perceptions and beliefs of their own families, teachers and wider community. The boys had each independently internalised this awareness to such an extent that they were

161. Tannen, D., Hamilton, H. E., and Schiffrin, D. (eds) The Handbook of Discourse Analysis. 2nd edn. US: Wiley-Blackwell.


then adjusting their responses to the survey in an attempt to mitigate for that perceived adult bias. Their overarching intention being that they did indeed feel strongly about having access to technology in the classroom, but it was not because of the engagement and gamification media narrative that they felt somewhat patronised by. Through both their survey responses and the researcher-participant discussion, they were able to clearly articulate how specific tools and features supported particular aspects of their learning in meaningful detail and depth. There are some methodological implications that arise about simplistic associations made between respondent characteristics and other forms of data. These are not unique to this study but are common issues when utilising large scale or quantitative data - a particular historical trend for EdTech research (Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023 162 ). However, the clarity of these 11 year old boys was striking and provides compelling evidence about the importance of researchers (and indeed all adults) of really probing and listening to the views and insights of children, rather than making assumptions about what they mean, and simplistically attributing assumptions to responses such as ‘I prefer not to answer’. Valuing and digesting the insights offered by young people - not just at surface level through simple survey data, but through meaningful questioning and provision of opportunities to shape the discussion themselves - is vitally important. At a time where gender identity is in the news it may be of particular note that of the children who did not wish to disclose their gender in the children’s survey, 100% attributed their Chromebook to their enjoyment of school and 100% cited their Chromebook as enabling them to feel included and supported in their learning (see also Section .6.1.3 and points raised about provision of dignity in learning). Given the above, at LEO it appeared that children’s gender did not play a significant factor in how digital technology was used or conceptualised. Nationally/globally, there has often been a belief that technology is more engaging or suitable for boys. However, the data from this LEO research refutes that and considers it either a misconception or specific to particular kinds of contexts. Recommendation It may be helpful to encourage dialogue about assumptions such as gender bias as part of ongoing professional learning both within and beyond LEO. Families may similarly benefit from becoming more aware about assumptions often mistakenly made about gender stereotypes in relation to the ways that digital is used - this links to raising awareness about types of screentime - e.g. social preferences often differ to educational preferences.

162. Aubrey-Smith, F., and Twining, P., (2023) From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. Routledge: London.


6.4. FINDINGS ABOUT ENGLISH & MATHS As part of this research there were approximately 154 observations, 65 interviews, 24 focus groups, 4,500 survey responses and 606 documents utilised, as well as a myriad of incidental conversations and discussions. The LEO Director of English and Maths as well as senior and subject leaders with responsibilities were directly involved in data generation and analysis in order to utilise subject specialist knowledge and subject leadership expertise. In order to support teaching and learning in maths effectively, LEO have identified a number of specific tools. These include DoodleMaths, Times Tables RockStars, SeeSaw, Mathigon’s PolyPad Virtual Manipulatives, Mote Voice Recordings and Texthelp’s Equatio. There were many findings which surfaced impact on different aspects of maths provision. Broadly grouped, these relate to mathematical subject leadership, the teaching of maths (including assessment), the process of learning maths, and mathematical outcomes. It is perhaps pertinent to begin with the increase in mathematical outcomes seen across LEO over the last 5 years. At headline level, overall standards have been increasing at LEO since the formation of the trust, with a pandemic induced dip as reflected by all schools nationwide. However, what is notable is the speed at which LEO schools have reset the trajectory post-pandemic, and since the implementation of 1:1 devices, as shown in the graph below.

Figure 25: Comparison of LEO and National average attainment outcomes for the last 8 years


It is of particular note that the trendline over time shows an increasing gap between LEO performance and national averages - with LEO accelerating at a faster and more sustainable pace. In addition, the proportions of LEO children attaining RWM at Greater Depth when compared to National averages for the postpandemic period since 1:1 devices have been introduced is striking in its contrast as seen below.

Figure 26: Comparison of LEO and National RWM GDS data for the last 3 years Looking further into the detail specific to Maths, it is possible to see some 3 year (post-pandemic, post 1:1 implementation trends when comparing LEO Maths attainment data to national data). As highlighted earlier in this report, it is helpful to look at this data sensitively due to the large number of influencing factors, but the notable finding is that the gap between LEO’s high performance and the national average is increasing over time.


Figure 27: Comparison of LEO and National average attainment outcomes specific to Maths EXS Furthermore, the gap between LEO and National average attainment outcomes at greater depth averages 25% higher - as seen below.

Figure 28: Comparison of LEO and National average attainment outcomes specific to GDS


Senior leaders responsible for the strategic leadership of maths across LEO attribute much of this to the role that digital technology has played in classroom practice. For example, “There are things that technology make possible which otherwise you just can’t do. For example, we use Learning By Questions 163 which provides us with instant feedback on which children understand and which children need further support. We can use those real time insights to adapt not just what we teach, but who we are targeting and how we are covering something. It means that we are not waiting until the end of a lesson to find out if a child has struggled or if a child needs extra stretch - we have that information in detail all the way through the lesson.” The LEO Teaching and Learning Strategy 164 used relevant high quality research evidence to identify particular pedagogical approaches that would be most likely to result in improvements to learner outcomes. The strategy identifies the role of formative assessment, feedback and targeted intervention as key to this, and the use of digital tools to enact these strategic intentions has proven impactful. This can be seen through the continual improvement of attainment and progress data for Maths across LEO. With classes of 30 children, each bringing different prior attainment and needs, technology has played a key role in providing capacity that is otherwise simply not possible. As one senior leader explained, “The biggest impact has been seen in the way that children practise. We have had a lot of carousel type lessons where the teacher has been able to use formative assessment data to give highly targeted, personalised practice tasks to each child, and then use that valuable teacher time to provide really detailed intervention where it’s needed the most. Independently, children can watch a detailed video of how to do things that they were struggling with and they can use that personalised instruction to keep on practising that specific thing - getting immediate feedback as they do so. It means that even in a classroom of 30 children, every child is getting the right level of challenge and support for their individual needs. You just can’t do that effectively without using technology” However, the use of assigned instructional videos and formative assessment data insights are just two of the many ways in which LEO use digital technology to support high quality maths provision. As part of this research the teaching and learning of maths was observed by school leaders, strategic leaders, subject leaders and non maths specialists (including the independent lead researcher). These observations surfaced a range of findings about specific aspects of maths.

163. EdTech Impact (2023) 64. LEO (2023) Teaching & Learning Strategy.


Children in Early Years at LEO are supported by a range of digital tools as they learn about maths. Children regularly use targeted digital games as they become familiar with numbers and shapes. These are often in the form of retrieval practice (e.g. recall, matching, sorting, creating representations). Within all observations, children were able to discuss their actions and tasks using mathematical language and were highly motivated to engage with these mathematical games. Furthermore, children enjoyed the instant feedback that they received as part of these digital maths games, both in terms of the motivational effect and the formative assessment directive. In Key Stages 1 and 2, the teaching of maths at LEO utilises a Teaching for Mastery approach which focuses on the 5 Big Ideas of mathematics teaching; coherence, representation and structure, variation and fluency 165 . The majority of the schools utilise the scheme Maths No Problem 166 which draws upon Singapore Maths and its origins in Mastery learning 167 and Bruner’s three step learning process 168 . Specifically concerned with Bruner’s theories about the role of representation in the learning of maths, LEO provision utilises a combination of concrete resources (e.g. plastic clocks, dienes & rods) with digital representations (e.g. PolyPad). Depending on the specific context of the task, children access and utilise these individually or in pairs or small groups to support their learning. Some children preferred to use physical manipulatives, but the majority preferred digital versions, explaining eloquently that, “It’s easier to change them when they are on screen. You don’t drop cubes off the table and lose count of what you’re working on. It means I can think more about what I’m supposed to be doing and then my learning is better”. “I prefer the PolyPad versions because it’s easier to try things out and make mistakes and change it - I feel like I can just have a go.” In addition, teachers noted that digital manipulatives provided greater flexibility and range within particular learning activities. For example, “When we’re learning about fractions we can do a whole range of denominators quickly and easily on screen. You just can’t do that with physical resources - you don’t have a class set of 1/14ths - so the limitations of the physical resources can constrain what children are capable of learning about. Digital manipulatives change that - it makes it possible to really push their thinking on.”

165. NCETM (2023) Five Big Ideas in Teaching for Mastery. 166. Maths No Problem (2023) 167. Bloom, B., (1968). "Learning for Mastery" UCLA - CSEIP - Evaluation Comment. Vol. 1. For more practical insights start with 168. Bruner, J., & Kenney, H., (1965) “Representation and Mathematics Learning”. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 30(1), 50–59.


It is notable that both teachers and children preferred to work with a combination of physical and digital manipulatives - choosing the relevant resource to support specific aspects of learning. Notably, even in classrooms where teachers provided children with the choice to use any combination of digital or physical manipulative, children varied in their decisions - with some using digital, some physical and some deciding not to use any, but to instead utilise Google Jamboard as a digital whiteboard to record their pictorial or abstracted thinking. The impact of the use of digital manipulatives related to the pace of learning within the activity. Children were able to access, choose, manipulate and draw conclusions from their digital resources, much quicker than physical objects. This was particularly evident where children were conducting a sequence of tasks - for example, representing a series of 3 digit numbers, or placing clock hands in the correct places, or representing fractions of different denominations. Part of this increased pace was because children were not losing objects mid-task, and part of this increased pace was because children were able to return to previous representations easily - thus recalling prior knowledge in order to support consequent tasks. This revisiting of previous representations was usually not possible with physical objects - for example, if each child has one clock, it is not possible for that child to see what their previous ‘answer’ looked like when they are moving the clock hands as part of their next activity. Thus the impact seen was both greater efficiency, and greater scaffolding within the activity itself. The efficacy of utilising digital resources was highlighted by one subject leader as their preferred option for particular aspects of learning, “Sometimes there are benefits to using only digital manipulatives, things like multiplying fractions. To represent this pictorially would mean drawing out individual bar models, and doing it physically with concrete resources would have meant lots and lots of fraction bars on the table. There would not be enough fraction pairs for pairs of children to work with, and fraction bars usually stop at twelfths and do not include eighteenths so that really limits what you can do. With the digital versions you just don’t have that problem”.


Figure 29: Mathigon digital manipulatives used to support learning about fractions

Figure 30: LEO children moving between physical and digital manipulatives to support their mathematical thinking When looking at published research addressing the impact of digital technology on maths attainment, there are often significant claims associating particular tools with increased


outcomes (EdTechImpact, 2023 169 ). Many studies have identified a correlational link between tools and outcomes which suggest a high levels of product efficacy (e.g. Brown and Culora, 2021 170 ; Hoxton, 2019 171 ; EEF, 2019 172 ). However, as always with impact evidence, it is important to consider the premise upon which product efficacy conclusions are drawn. For example, many digital maths tools are based upon forms of retrieval practice - whereby learners practise the recall of learned knowledge, engaged or motivated by the reward or pressure of pace, feedback or competition. These are efficient behaviourist methods - with learners experiencing a dopamine release (reward) based on their recall of knowledge (retrieval). Given that the premise of retrieval practice is that frequent practice improves knowledge recall, it is unsurprising that there is a correlation between a retrieval based tool and improved recall. Furthermore, neurobiological research shows that once the human brain experiences a dopamine release it triggers a response which seeks to replicate that release (Twani, 2021 173 ). Automated digital tools provided for learners to support their recall are designed to provide real-time indicators of reward (e.g. prizes, levels) and thus trigger that dopamine stimulus. Therefore, any well designed retrieval tool which provides real-time feedback as a form of stimulus is likely to correlate with user engagement simply due to the neurobiological impact on human behaviour. Those behaviours result in regular practice of knowledge recall, thus securing that knowledge in long term memory (Roediger and Butler, 2011 174 ). However, product efficacy studies which depend upon this model tend not to monitor the retention of memory over time on the same participants - instead looking at organisation based cohorts. In other words, rather than research whether a particular learner has retained knowledge over 3 years, product efficacy studies look at 3 year product or school trends - thus avoiding the issue of learners forgetting something once they stop practising it (Murre et al., 2015 175 ). It is simplistic therefore to simply attribute an increase in attainment to the use of digital retrieval products. In particular, because once the learner ceases to use that process (or its equivalent), their likely recall and retrieval is likely to diminish unless they are able to transfer the application of knowledge into another domain (Rohrer, 2006 176 ). 169. EdTech Impact (2023) Use EdTech Impact to find the best Maths resources for your school 170. Brown, E., and Culora, A., (2021) Independent analysis of the relationship between Sparx Maths and maths outcomes. 171. Hoxton Primary School (2019) To what extent does technology enhance the acquisition of times table knowledge and the fast and accurate recall of times table facts? 172. EEF (2019) Using digital technology to improve learning: guidance report 173. Twani, E., (2021) Becoming Einstein's Teacher: Awakening the Genius in Your Students. Relational Learning. 174. Roediger, H.L. and Butler, A.C., 2011. The critical role of retrieval practice in long-term retention. Trends in cognitive sciences, 15(1), pp.20-27. 175. Murre, J., and Dros, J., (2015) Replication and analysis of Ebbinghaus’ forgetting curve. PloS one, 10(7), p.e0120644. 176. Rohrer, D., Taylor, K., (2006). "The Effects of Overlearning and Distributed Practise on the Retention of Mathematics Knowledge". Applied Cognitive Psychology. 20 (9): 1209–1224.


If learning outcomes are conceptualised short term (e.g. end of lesson, end of year/key stage) or for accountability purposes (e.g. performance tables, inspection, monitoring), then digital retrieval products are a reliable tool to use. However, if learning outcomes are conceptualised longer term (e.g. retention beyond the point of assessment or applicable and evidenced in contexts other than at school), then digital retrieval products should be considered in conjunction with other forms of longitudinal and cross-disciplinary consolidation. These considerations are directly related to how the purpose of schooling is conceptualised - emerging from core values and beliefs (see Chapter 4 in Aubrey-Smith & Twining, 2023). Recommendation It may be helpful to consider how to assess children’s recall and application of ideas across subjects and contexts using digital tools - both at the point of learning and longitudinally. (This relates closely to the points made in relation to the MTC above - about short term learning and greater depth over time). In order to support teaching and learning in English effectively, LEO have identified a number of specific tools. These include Google Workspace, Texthelp’s Read & Write and OrbitNote, Kaligo, NearPod, ThingLink and Mote. There were many findings which surfaced impact on different aspects of English provision. Broadly grouped, these relate to Oracy, Vocabulary, Use of High Quality Texts and Writing. It is perhaps pertinent to begin with the increase in Reading and Writing outcomes seen across LEO over the last 5 years, which show a similar story to those of the Maths data seen above. For example, over the last 3 years, the gap between LEO and National averages has widened by 1% each year at EXS, and the gap between LEO and National averages has widened from 10% to 16% over the last 2 years, as seen below.


Figure 31: Comparison of LEO and National average attainment outcomes specific to Writing in Greater Depth, post-pandemic

Senior leaders responsible for the strategic leadership of English across LEO attribute much of this to the role that digital technology has played in classroom practice, with the findings set out below explaining what the evidence shows about these beliefs.

6.4.1. EXPANDING VOCABULARY The role of digital technology in increasing the range of children’s vocabulary was notable throughout observations across year groups and schools at LEO. There was widespread evidence that children regularly used their Chromebooks, Google Search and Read & Write to listen to new words and utilise picture dictionaries to understand the meaning of unfamiliar vocabulary, search for synonyms, and support with understanding definitions of words or concepts. The combination of this rapid access to new vocabulary, combined with being regularly exposed to vocabulary through meaningful contextual examples in a range of formats plays an important role in developing vocabulary (Beck et al., 2013 177 ). The fluidity with which children across year groups and schools carried this out suggests a deeply embedded and confident practice which was seen embedded across both Key Stage 1 and 2. As one Year 2 child explained,

177. Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2013) Bringing Words to Life: Robust Vocabulary Instruction. United States: Guilford Publications.


“I can speak words into Google and it tells me other words so that I can use these in my writing. We have learnt how to use this before and it helps me a lot.” Observing children’s fluency at quickly searching for a definition or a synonym before continuing on with their written work was striking. Across a breadth of ages and schools it was apparent that this on-demand access meant that children were accessing real-time information that enhanced the quality of their written work. Whilst at surface level, this might be argued as a digital version of traditional dictionary or thesaurus actions, the implications were notable. As a Year 6 child explained, “It takes me like 2 seconds just to look a word up so then I can get straight on. If I had to start, like, looking it up in a word book or whatever, well, like, I’ve forgotten what I’m supposed to be doing then. Why would someone think that’s better?” Many observations witnessed the fluidity with which children were writing in their exercise books, and periodically would briefly open their Chromebook, look up a synonym, and then close the Chromebook again. In one Key Stage 2 English lesson this was timed at just 8 seconds (range 5-11). This compares to 51 seconds (range 31-88) for a child to find a word and its synonyms in a physical thesaurus even if it is already located on their desk. If a child looks up 5 words in a lesson, this is a difference of 4 minutes lost learning out of a typical 20 minute activity window - 20% of their writing time. The consequent impact on the pace of activity was notable and is best illustrated by comparison with a classroom where this type of learner autonomy was not so embedded. In a contrasting observation, whilst children had access to a Chromebook, the classroom culture had not yet been embedded to provide children with the autonomy necessary to benefit from it. Consequently, when children were unsure about the definitions of words (e.g. during reading tasks), or wanted to improve their vocabulary (e.g. use a better word than ‘went’), they were dependent upon asking the teacher for an answer or recommendation, or for permission to access a resource such as a thesaurus or dictionary. While children waited for the teacher to respond they became frustrated - commenting on wanting to ‘get on’ with their work, becoming anxious about not completing the task in the lesson, and then sometimes struggling to refocus once their query had been answered due to the time delay and break in their concentration. This point was particularly noticeable for children working at greater depth. In one observation, discrete discussion with Key Stage 2 child surfaced that they did not necessarily want to say out loud to their teacher that they did not know the meaning of particular words. For this child, it was not about the teacher's perception, but about peers overhearing them. This child felt quite strongly about being able to use the Chromebook in order to maintain a sense of dignity. When asked what they would do without access to their Chromebook their response was that they would ‘keep quiet’ rather than be seen by peers not to know something - thus creating an artificial and unnecessary barrier to learning.


The impact on outcomes is notable, as seen in the increase in children writing at greater depth postpandemic - a trend which contrasts strongly with outcomes seen nationally elsewhere. Finally on this point, there were some observations where teachers had deliberately chosen challenging texts or materials in order to stretch and challenge children’s learning in foundation subjects. As part of this process, complex vocabulary was introduced and sometimes the children (understandably) did not know the meaning of the specialist terminology. In these classrooms, the children were able to quickly search for the definitions and share these with peers (and sometimes the teacher). This created a profoundly positive dynamic in the room whereby both children and teacher were learning together. In turn, these teachers skilfully articulated the process that they were going through - teaching metacognitive processes, building confidence and demonstrating that everybody knows something but nobody knows everything. A simple process - searching a word on Google became the catalyst to a much deeper learning process about what it means to be a learner and how learning happens. Children were able to do this because of a classroom culture where Chromebooks are seen as an ever-present tool, suitable for on-demand access to information at the point of learning. The familiarity of having Chromebook access meant that the children were not distracted by their presence - it was not a novelty item - and as such became discerning about when and how it enhanced their learning experience. This is entirely consistent with international research which concluded that once technology is consistently present, the characteristics of the student experience fundamentally change - becoming more focused on metacognitive approaches. In other words, focusing on learning rather than using (Maher & Twining, 2016 178 ). Similarly, children across LEO use Now Press Play to take part in immersive role play experiences moving around physical spaces with headphones simultaneously taking them through narratives. The impact of these physical and auditory combinations was best summarised by one of the Year 5 children with SEND, who explained that, “We use Now Press Play and we did it for English and History. I really like it because it tells us stories about things - like The Explorer. It tells us how they are feeling, what they are doing, all that kind of stuff and they tell us what to do. I get really bored if someone just reads stuff to me just like that but when we act it out it’s much better. I really like it and I want to learn more about it”. Children at LEO also regularly use Lyfta - an interactive hub with resources to introduce children to ideas about the world around them. Children spoke about their different experiences within Lyfta, for example, exploring volcanoes and the resources that enabled them to look inside a real volcano, and then hear about what a volcanologist does during their working day. As one teacher exemplified,

178. Maher, D. and Twining, P. (2016) ‘Bring your own device–a snapshot of two Australian primary schools’, Educational Research, 59(1), pp. 73–88.


“I taught an RE lesson with 4 classes (a 3-4 mix and a 5-6 mix) and it was about faith - about the Holy Trinity. Now how do you teach the Holy Spirit meaningfully from a Slides presentation? It’s such an abstract idea. So we watched through Lyfta a real life story experience and we talked about it and the children really engaged with the person in the real life story journey and then by the end of the story the children had engaged with the boy’s life and cheered him on and they were right there with him. It enabled the children to connect their learning with real life people like themselves. In Lyfta you get to know the person behind the story. That kind of lesson I just could not have done that without Lyfta - it really captured them and got them to learn in a deeper way- it was incredible” Teachers and children alike spoke about how these immersive and interactive resources allowed children to explore aspects of common classroom topics that were specific to their interests, increasing the quantity and quality of dialogue between children as well as the nature of questions raised by children for discussion with their teacher or wider class. The consequent impact was noted as emerging through expansion of vocabulary, higher order reasoning and questioning, and greater depth in speaking and listening across the classroom. Recommendation It would be helpful for English leads to set out which skills teachers should prioritise for children’s classroom time within specific lessons, and consequently identify specific ways in which the 1:1 devices can speed up processing of lower priority tasks, and enhance the quality of higher priority tasks. This resource would support teachers and teaching assistants to think more forensically about the impact of time use on dedicated learning priorities.

6.4.2. READING COMPREHENSION There were a range of ways that children were observed to benefit from using Chromebooks in relation to developing their reading comprehension. Children were able to use tools such as Texthelp’s Orbitnote and Read & Write to break down learning into smaller tasks. For example, a child working at greater depth had chosen to use the screen mask tool to break the learning into chunks and a child working towards age related expectations was able to use the screen mask to read a passage sentence by sentence. “I choose to listen to the text again as it helps me hear the answer, which I can't always find when reading on my own.” (Year 5 boy) Children’s devices were also used as part of scaffolding dialogic forms of pedagogy 179. For example, a class of children were observed to read a text and then contribute to a sequence of pre-prepared

179. Edwards-Groves, C. (2023) Dialogic Pedagogies. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Education


Jamboard prompts - inviting them each to share an idea or perspective about a very specific aspect of what they had read. Either before or after children had contributed to each Jamboard they were then prompted by the teacher to discuss that particular point with a partner or group - utilising not just their own ideas but those of peers. This whole-class visibility on a range of perspectives led to children’s broadening of awareness about the reading material, with consequent conversation taking place at a much higher level as a result. Typical responses from children in this lesson included opening statements such as, “I really like what you have added, and I’m going to build on that by…” In this observation, all children were active participants both contributing to the Jamboard and engaging in dialogue. It is important to highlight here the way in which data was generated in order to be precise about the use of the phrase ‘all children’. As set out in the methodology section at the beginning of this report, observations can often mistakenly conclude that ‘all children’ are doing something when the reality may be that every child has instead mastered the art of ‘appearing’ to do something. This can give a false impression that success is attributable to task design rather than children’s learned social behaviours. This impact study therefore mitigated for this risk by providing a detailed structure for observations which included team observations in order to triangulate perception. In addition, individual children were identified and monitored throughout the entirety of an activity or lesson in order to track their transitional moments (e.g. points of potential distraction). Other common examples observed included using drag and drop style activities to support the planning of writing. For example, Year 4 children were observed constructing complex sentences by first creating parts of sentences, and then dragging those ideas on screen into cohesive full complex sentences. The teacher was able to see every child’s response, yet each child saw just their own and their neighbours, allowing for whole-class formative assessment based adaptive teaching in real time. The teacher was able to target questions that related explicitly to closing the gap between prior knowledge and the lesson’s success criteria because they could always see the children’s work throughout. Recommendation It may be helpful for teaching staff to be aware of, and monitor, that whole-class activities consistently engage ‘all’ children rather than the majority of children. It can be difficult to monitor this meaningfully at the same time as teaching, therefore structured paired professional work may be a useful strategy. In particular, this structured activity should focus very specifically on particular approaches (supported by specific tools) - so that professional attention is targeted to children’s attention and behaviours rather than the efficacy of the tool or approach.


6.4.3. REDUCING COGNITIVE OVERLOAD IN READING Through ReadWrite, children at LEO have access to Screen Masks. This is a simple reading tool that follows the child’s mouse or touch and eliminates page distractions so that they can focus on reading one sentence or passage at a time. These tools are often encouraged to support children with specific visual, cognitive or processing difficulties - as part of SEND support. However, it was noticeable that at LEO, a wide range of children regularly and confidently used these tools by choice, explaining that, “I can read the text, my reading is fine. But I use the screen mask so I can focus on one paragraph at a time. Otherwise I get a bit overwhelmed by all the words and information” Similarly, “I prefer using the Screen Mask. I can change it so that if I am focusing on small bits, or less lines it’s easier to do that. Or, if I want to read more lines at a time - like if I’m doing a skim and scan to find answers quicker or easier. It just means it’s not all there all of the time - I can choose and that’s really helpful.” The metacognitive awareness that children displayed when they self regulated their use of digital tools was notable. For example, “I like using it because I like listening to it being read aloud. Sometimes I can read it on my own, but it's good to listen to make sure I understand it properly.” (Year 3) Children also spoke confidently about using Screen Masks at home both for homework as well as for leisure tasks (e.g. leisure reading). The sense of ownership that children had over their Chromebooks resulted in them seeing them as tools which could be used to support tasks and actions holistically suggesting an internalised sense of ‘anywhere/anytime learning’ that reflected the LEO mission and values. In addition, a Year 5 child spoke about how she found the concept of a Screen Mask so helpful that she had created a physical version - in this case a rectangle of card with a smaller rectangle inside it cut out - to create a sort of window effect. She spoke with delight about how she could use this when she read at home, “under the covers with a torch at nighttime’!” This seemingly simple tool - merely providing a rectangular shape around words on a page - was introduced as part of classroom practice as a tool that children could choose to use as and when they felt it would help them. The consequences of this were both improved fluency, comprehension, confidence, and importantly, transferral into other contexts - all indicators of effective practice. Similarly, to support their reading, 29% of children at LEO choose to use Screen Readers during different points in their learning - even if they had the skills to read themselves. This particularly


supported children who were good at decoding but struggling with comprehension as it separated out the two skills in order for them to focus on one at a time - thus avoiding cognitive overload. For example, “I like listening to the text because sometimes I can't read a lot of text all at once. It's too much and then I worry about doing the work. When I listen, I can pause it and click on words to check what they mean or what it looks like if it has a picture.” (Year 2) Sometimes concerns have been raised about children who can read using screen readers, with fears that the screen reader will reduce focus or progression within the act of decoding, or that children will become deskilled. However, it is helpful to consider these concerns in light of wider reading trends. For example, depending on the source, 60-80% of young adults choose to use subtitles when watching television even though only 10% of those respondents report deafness or hearing loss 180 181 . Qualitative analysis of these trends suggests that the visual-auditory habits of young people differ from those of previous generations, with younger generations preferring the multi-sensory experience of reading and hearing at the same time - something that was not as accessible to generations less exposed to accessibility features and technologies. Whilst this line of inquiry is beyond the scope of this impact study, it is nevertheless an important finding that just under a third of LEO children are aligned with this trend - suggesting deeper consideration may be useful for those supporting cognition and comprehension in the classroom.

Recommendation Many educators make assumptions about which children may or may not use or benefit from audio/visual combinations - often based on generational or historical ideas rather than contemporary evidence. The findings above would be useful to share with colleagues within and beyond LEO - stimulating discussion about how, when and why autonomy and choice of tool use should be provided for children in light of this.

6.4.4. FOSTERING CLASSROOM COMMUNITIES OF LEARNING The Teaching and Learning Strategy at LEO embeds Fullan’s Six Global Competencies - one of which being the importance of collaboration 182 . Fullan describes collaboration as, “Collaboration refers to the capacity to work interdependently and synergistically in teams with strong interpersonal and team‐related skills including effective management of team dynamics, making substantive decisions together, and learning from and contributing to the earning of others 183 .”

180. You Gov (2023) Media Survey Results 181. Stage Text (2023) Subtitles when watching visual 182. Fullan, M., Quinn, J., and McEachen, J., Deep Learning: Engage the World. Change the World. 183. Fullan, M., (2014) New Pedagogies for Engaging Deep Learning (White paper)


The entry point of collaboration is dependent upon children feeling part of a learning community agentive to engage, act and become interdependent. At LEO, 69% of children (n=259) felt that knowing how to use a Chromebook helped them to feel included in their classroom community. Unpacking this finding with a focus group surfaced that this particularly affected those children who felt that speaking up in front of the class was a barrier to being part of, or contributing to, their classroom community. As one school leader explained, “If children do not feel included in the whole-class part of a lesson then it can impact on their willingness to engage in paired work - their confidence with social interaction and communication is affected and that goes with them into other experiences, other activities and other parts of their lives. It’s so important that every child has a way to contribute equitably.” The Chromebooks offer a solution for this. A number of children talked about watching what other children added to a collaborative Google Jamboard first, and then expanding on those ideas, or those ideas acting as provocations to help them identify their own. When asked specifically about whether this allowed them to ‘copy’ the ideas of others, the children were able to articulate the role of other children’s ideas as stimulus for their own thinking - that they were keen to contribute but felt overwhelmed at the start of the task. For example, “Sharing ideas through a Jamboard or NearPod Collab Board means I can disagree or agree with other people in my class without them being annoyed at me” There were also more practical considerations, such as, “Adding ideas using the Chromebook means I can get my point across. Otherwise, I have to put my hand up and then have to wait until the teacher says I can say it and by then I have forgotten my point because I have been listening to all the other ideas since I thought of it. If I type it on the Jamboard then I can write it as soon as I have thought of it. THEN I can read or listen to what other people have put. It’s much better” Similarly, children who were not confident to put their hand up during whole-class discussion, and those who were highly anxious about teachers who used cold-calling strategies, spoke about their confidence to contribute via Collaborative Boards or Jamboards. They felt less threatened when the contribution, rather than the child, was being offered to the ‘public’ for discussion or validation. As one Year 3 child maturely set out, “Why do ideas only count if they are in front of everybody else?” A LEO teacher expanded upon this point by explaining the impact on children they had worked with, “It gives the children the freedom away from being judged. Particularly for Year 6 children, as they are starting to form their identity as they head towards teenage years, how they are seen by their peers is really important to them. Their willingness to share


ideas depends so much on how they think peers might respond or how their peers will judge them. They’re not really so worried about what the teacher thinks at that stage”. This insight into the psychology of children in upper Key Stage 2 is an important contribution to how classroom activities are planned and carried out. For children in Year 5 and Year 6, their experiences when answering questions in a whole-class environment (and indeed in wider groups such as assemblies), is deeply interwoven with their developing identity - as both a learner, and as a human being. Experiences that they perceive as confidence boosting, embarrassing, validating or shameful have the potential to stay with them for life. Whilst this may seem a profound statement, research by 184 Chang Kredl and Kingsley (2014 ) points out that the experiences in our childhood classrooms essentially set our lifelong understanding of what it means to be a learner and to learn, what it means to be a teacher and to teach, and our whole perception about the role and purpose of schooling. Thus, how children experience making contributions in our classroom can be viewed as setting a life trajectory for the individuals involved. As a Vice Principal at LEO explained, “We are changing the narrative about what collaboration means - it doesn’t have to be about discussion all the time - it’s about working together to support each other’s learning more effectively and impactfully. Technology allows us to teach children the skills to do this in a range of ways, with different combinations of other people. These are deeply important life skills”. Observations regularly surfaced children working together on production tasks. For example, children being given a shared stimulus (often a video or image on ThingLink, or a 3D visual on NearPod) then each child or pair of children exploring one element of that stimulus in detail using signposted appropriate resources (provided via Google Classroom assignments or ThingLink), and then contributing their findings back into a shared artefact (e.g. a shared Google Doc or Google Google Slides). As one child explained, “The most useful thing about my Chromebook at school is that we can collaborate with others and combine our ideas to create a better idea” The powerful aspect of this pedagogical approach was in the sequencing, self-regulation and feedback that became possible. For example, children often reviewed each other’s findings, adding comments for each other on their collaborative Google Doc or Google Slides, challenging each other to explain particular details, or elaborate on their findings. This provided

184. Chang-Kredl, S. and Kingsley, S. (2014) ‘Identity expectations in early childhood teacher education: Pre- service teachers’ memories of prior experiences and reasons for entry into the profession’, Teaching and Teacher Education, 43, pp. 27–36.


structured feedback for children to then improve their own contributions as well as synthesise their findings into a shared outcome.

Figure 32: LEO children using a range of digital and non-digital resources and scaffolds to support high quality handwritten work In another observation, Year 4 children were co-constructing a piece of writing about charities and their charitable work through a Google Doc. Children were asked to identify key facts and to sequence them into an appropriate order for non-chronological writing. Importantly, children were asked to edit their collaborative Google Doc whilst talking to their partner about what they were editing and why they were editing it - embedding metacognitive strategies that focused on evaluation, improvement and concrete actions. Once children had completed their shared planning they were then asked to present their plan to the teacher with a focus on what they had learned through the process of this approach - focusing children’s attention on the role of dialogue in challenging their thinking. The dual role of dialogue and technology enabled live editing in a way that encourages children’s formative, forward-thinking discussion. The use of digital allowed children the freedom to edit and develop their work with a shared audit trail through Version History (for the teacher to review if required, and for children to go back to if required), whilst maintaining a polished final outcome. This subtle detail - the ability to edit multiple times without the work becoming untidy - is a key benefit of using technology rather than traditional paper based methods. Findings elsewhere demonstrate that concern about ‘neat work’ can often prohibit children from being willing to edit and improve - with a focus on presentation becoming a barrier to learning content.


The impact of utilising technology as part of collaborative writing has been recognised by teachers within and beyond LEO. For example, “The use of technology has worked wonders in prepping pupils for SATs, especially in writing together with the pedagogical approaches developed by Sue Grief (University of Roehampton) around collaborative writing and vocabulary building. A few writing moderators have asked to visit to see collaborative writing in action.” Typical examples of collaboration observed in LEO classrooms included that, Children contributed a range of ideas from a given stimulus, onto a Jamboard and then chose someone else’s idea to explore or extend Children working on a shared Google Doc to research parts of a shared task, then comment upon each other’s findings in order to extend peer thinking or challenge assumptions. Children working with talk partners to explore an interactive image, 360 view or virtual tour discussing where to look, describing what they find, and questioning each other about their understanding. Children using Google Google Slides to storyboard shared story openings before then branching off to create two parallel sub-plots, encouraging discussion and debate about setting, characters, vocabulary and consequence.

Figure 33: Children co-creating a Google Earth image with hotspots detailing their research findings As a teacher explained, “The technology allows children to refer back to their own learning, the teaching, and the ideas of their peers so that they can really start to think critically about their ideas. It deepens their understanding”


The impact of collaborative working, was seen through wider curricular oracy. Children who were taking part in structured talk tasks as part of digital collaboration were regularly seen to use pedagogically richer vocabulary because rather than discussing transactional matters, they were focusing on metacognitive strategies - collaboratively reflecting and evaluating, extending their thinking, rationalising their thoughts, and identifying consequent actions. The sophistication of the peer-to-peer dialogic pedagogy seen across LEO classrooms was noteworthy, and reflected a very deliberate prioritisation of metacognition in the LEO Teaching and Learning Strategy. A very common simple example of this form of practice, seen across year groups and schools at LEO was the combined use of Jamboards and structured talk. For example, teachers often initiated a discussion through a particular stimulus (e.g. a photo, video, concept, event), and invited children to look at a Jamboard with some initial ideas on and/or discuss ideas with their talk partners, before adding their own contributions to the Jamboard. This freedom to talk and then contribute, or to read the ideas from others before contributing or discussing, gave flexibility to those who are confident and raring to go, as well as those who needed examples, ideas or inspiration. But vitally, in the examples observed, these dialogic Jamboards were used not as an outcome in themselves, but as a launchpad for further discussion - with children challenged to elaborate on vocabulary, build on the contributions of others or ask questions about peer submissions. This meant that the whole-class visibility that becomes available through a collaborative Jamboard acted as a launchpad for deeper and more probing cognitive challenge. In a number of classrooms, Jamboards were additionally used to shuffle and sequence contributions, forming them into writing planners, sets of instructions, or reports about events. This digital sequencing allowed children to experiment, reflect and re-edit their ideas rather than a typical pencil and paper approach which forces either first-idea production or creates a friction between pressure to present neat work and the capacity to edit on the page. Recommendation It would be useful to identify which types of talk should be prioritised for application across the curriculum, and consequently, which sequences of talk and digital tools are most effective in scaffolding their development(see Aubrey-Smith, 2024 185 ). This guidance would be highly valuable both within LEO and also beyond LEO - where may schools use talk strategies and digital collaboration tools and would benefit from increased efficacy and impact.

185. Aubrey-Smith F (2024) PedTech in Action: Insights, Impact and Implications. London: Routledge. (forthcoming).



6.5.1. TEACHER PERCEPTION ABOUT DIGITAL IS BASED ON FAMILIARITY Teachers across LEO were surveyed in order to ascertain scaled insights about teacher perception of children having 1:1 devices. Responses indicated that class based Key Stage 2 teachers were unanimously (100%) in support of children being given their own devices. This was striking because when surveys are conducted at scale, it is usual to expect some variance even when asking about established practice (Morrel-Samuels, 2002) 186 . “All children are able to access the learning when using Chromebooks thanks to the microphone, the text can be read to them, they can see images to support their understanding... All children in my class feel confident to use a computer and they are enthusiastic when they use Nearpod, Kahoot, Flipgrid and other programmes.” When this perception data was segmented by particular characteristics the findings were revealing. For example, Teachers who provide PPA cover or teach a range of classes (e.g. specialist subject teachers) were 100% in favour of children having 1: 1 in Key Stage 2, but only 33% in favour in Key Stage 1. Given that 1:1 provision has not yet been introduced in Key Stage 1 and that children share devices, this may be an inferred judgement rather than informed perspective. In other words speculation. However, notably, 71% of teachers who have their own classes in Years 1 and 2, were in favour of children being given their own devices - suggesting that greater familiarity with everyday classroom routines and practice correlates with raised enthusiasm for children having 1:1 device provision. This trend continued, with 83% of teachers providing interventions across both Key Stage 1 and 2 being in favour of children having 1:1 device provision. The trend across the holistic dataset appeared to be that where teachers had regular experience of children having 1:1 devices over a sustained period of time and as part of everyday routines, then they were more likely to be in favour of the 1:1 provision itself. It is possible that assumptions were being made by those who were less familiar with the practical experience of 1:1 device usage. Teachers articulated this in a range of ways, for example, “All children seem more independent”. “When the children have their own Chromebook they produce better work. It also makes it easier to see who understands and who needs more help.” Teachers were asked to choose one group of stakeholders who they felt benefited most from children having on-demand access to Chromebooks. They were able to choose from children, teachers, leaders or parents. From these responses, 69% of teachers felt that it was the teacher

186. Morrel-Samuels, P., (2002) “Getting the truth in workplace surveys” Harvard Business Review.


(themselves) who saw the greatest benefits. Probing these responses, and triangulating with narrative evidence across interviews and focus groups, this was usually because the teacher felt more able to provide targeted support and responsive teaching (as a result of real-time whole class formative assessment data insights), higher quality resourcing and more efficient planning (as a result of collaborative professional working), and meet individual learner needs more effectively (as a result of increased inclusion and accessibility). Thus the benefits were perceived as to the teacher and their teaching, but pivoted entirely around learners and their learning. It is helpful to triangulate this finding with other insights. For example, 86% of teachers felt that the way LEO uses technology provides more time for teachers to help children. This increases incrementally by year group to become 100% for those working in Year 6. The implications of a perceived positive impact on teacher capacity is significant. Particularly so given that teacher workload and it’s impact on staff retention are issues facing the professional on a national scale. Recommendation It order to help those teachers and teaching assistants who are less familiar with the high impact 1:1 use, it may be helpful to provide a targeted sequence of classroom visits where they are structured to observe very specific aspects of teaching and learning, and then consider how these may apply or translate to their own role or context. Good starting points would relate to whole-class/group formative assessment, embedded inclusive provision through assistive technology, typing/dictation led writing and editing, autonomous resource access and effective search.

6.5.2. CHILDREN’S PERCEPTION OF HAVING THEIR OWN CHROMEBOOK When asked, children are able to articulate the benefit of having their own Chromebook with clear insights into the impact on their learning experiences. For example, 96% of children surveyed at LEO believe that having access to their own Chromebook makes their tasks quicker or more efficient, and 97% of children believe that having access to their own Chromebooks directly improves their learning at school.


When asked, 86% of children at LEO believe that having access to their Chromebook is what enables them to develop into an independent learner, citing the autonomous on-demand access to information, help and support that having access to a Chromebook facilitates. The 14% of children who did not feel this way cited their dependence upon a particular adult (e.g. classroom teacher or teaching assistant). It is helpful to view this figure in context of the number of children trust-wide who have EHCPs or who are part of SEN intervention work - in other words, children who associate themselves working with a particular adult when they are at school. At first glance this can be interpreted as perpetuating the sense of dependency that children with SEND often have. However, additional data insights refute this with 69% of these children explicitly reporting that having access to a Chromebook makes them feel more included in the classroom environment, and 70% reporting that they consequently feel more confident in the classroom environment. These figures align strongly with evidence from classroom observations by the research team, further validated and triangulated with documentary analysis from external reviewers (e.g. Challenge Partners visits reports, and interviews with suppliers such as TextHelp) that children with additional needs do not stand out in LEO classrooms. The deeply embedded inclusive practice at LEO provides autonomous access to tools (e.g. accessibility features), resources (e.g. differentiated support materials), and tasks (e.g. activities pitched at different starting points or with different access gateways). This means that every child in the room may be accessing a slightly different combination of resources, materials, tasks, activities and features at any point in time, but with all of these acting as scaffolds for one overarching lesson objective or outcome. This ensures that the overarching teaching is accessible, meaningful and relevant for all children, that children experience equity through that access to rich texts, topics and concepts, and as a consequence of learner autonomy, the teacher capacity is freed up to provide highly targeted and precise support. As Challenge Partners verified, “The use of [Chromebook] devices has particularly supported the engagement of pupils who have additional needs. Pupils talk extensively about how technology aids them with their learning both at school and at home. For example, one Year 4 pupil with SEND said, ‘I struggle in class, mainly with writing but being able to use the Chromebook tools has helped me to stay on task. 187 ” Of the children who took part in some form of survey as part of this research, 98% of children are glad that they have their own Chromebook. There was little difference between the opinions of boys (99%) and girls (98%). Children who did not wish to identify a particular gender (0.5% of responses) were slightly less keen (93%) - although there are some particular methodological considerations associated with this finding (see earlier section about Gender Assumptions).

187. Challenge Partners (2022) Shawley Community Primary Academy Review.


Notably, children who had previously been at a school which was not part of LEO (32% of responses) were particularly pleased to have their own Chromebook with 100% of children being glad to have their own device. This suggests that exposure to a comparative provision in another school creates a greater positive association with having access to a personal device through school. Much like adults, children are more likely perceive value to something where they have some kind of benchmark or comparator (Brooks et al., 2006 188). In terms of value associations it is therefore helpful to compare children’s perceptions between the different schools within LEO. There was a direct correlation between the length of time that the school had been providing 1:1 Chromebooks with perceived value association by the children. Notably, 100% of children attending the school which had most recently joined LEO (Shawley) were glad to have their own Chromebook. This is most probably explained by their ability to compare classroom experiences with and without Chromebooks. Children across LEO were able to easily articulate how and why they felt that access to a personal Chromebook made a difference to their learning. All children across LEO (n=3,997) were asked about this specific question, with 76% of all children providing clear responses. Of those children in Key Stage 2 (all of whom have had their own Chromebook for 1-4 academic years depending on year group and the date that their school joined LEO), 29% use a screen reader to help them understand what is on the screen 14% of children use auto-translate to help them to understand what to do 27% of children use voice-to-text to speed up written work The use of accessibility features such as voice-to-text and use of screen reader is notable when considered in relation to the proportions of children with identified additional needs. For example, 29% of children at LEO use a screen reader, which is considerably higher than the 12% of children on the LEO SEN register. This is consistent with research elsewhere which finds that accessibility features are regularly and consistently used beyond users who they may have been initially designed for (TPEA, 2021 189 ). One of the fascinating responses was to unpack the rationale behind 26% of LEO children reporting using their Chromebooks in activities outside of formal lessons (e.g. clubs, morning tasks), as well as during everyday classroom activities. Detailed probing through interviews and focus groups revealed that this related to pockets of time throughout the day where children were completing digital “early morning work” before morning lessons began (e.g. times tables practice (TTRS), practice tasks,

188. Brooks, M.E., and Highhouse, S., (2006) "Familiarity Breeds Ambivalence". Corporate Reputation Review. 9 (2). pp.105–113 189. TPEA (2021) Intentions v Reality: What’s really going on for our learners when we use EdTech?


independent work, busy things, finishing work from day before, pre-teaching, interventions etc), or returning after lunch as a ‘settle activity’ (e.g. TTR, Reading eBooks, listening to teacher feedback on previous work). Children did not see these as lesson based activities despite them being curriculum learning tasks, but as a choice, suggesting a more fluid conceptualisation of learning than might typically be seen in primary classrooms elsewhere today. Further survey data revealed that through the use of Chromebooks and the tools it gave them access to, 64% of children feel that they are learning skills that they need for their future (e.g. another year group, or a future job) 65% of children believe that utilising the Chromebook makes completing tasks quicker, so that they can progress onto the next learning task 74% of children highly value being able to look something up straight away if they need to commonly citing synonyms, word definitions, topic information and specific images (including diagrams, maps, photographs, artwork, street view of places). 74% of children strongly believe that having their Chromebook enables them to work more independently and with greater autonomy - accessing the help and support that they need when they need it, and not being held back by teacher capacity or the pace or actions of peers. 55% of children highly value being able to receive instant feedback when working online ranging from individualised pathways, voice-note marking, auto-marking apps etc. 61% of children value being able to collaborate or work with other people. 62% of children reported that particular apps and features enable them to understand ideas better in lessons. 48% of children believe that the tools and activities that they use will help them to get higher test scores. 8% of children find using technology fun but don’t really understand how it helps their learning 5% of children were not able to explain why they use technology. One of the notable responses was that 60% of children value using apps and features which highlight how to improve their work. The qualitative data that sat alongside this figure was revealing. For example, children valued having autonomous access to worked examples (WAGOLLs) so that they could move between their own work and the worked example fluidly. Some remarkable metacognition was surfaced through a number of children’s responses. For example, “Kahoot helps with my learning because you can pick one that you think you know then when the answer comes up it basically you learn if that’s what it really was or if you if your objective is going to be to work on this thing.”


Similarly, children spoke about OrbitNote as helping them to understand unfamiliar vocabulary, “I think OrbitNote helps as you can underline complicated words and look them up on the dictionary button.” “OrbitNote helps me because if I am stuck on a word you can press play and it will tell you that word so then next time you know the word” Of the Key Stage 2 children surveyed (n=1,651), 89% think that the technology is what made it possible to learn in a particular lesson. The average rating on a 1-5 Likert scale was 4 with a slight (4%) positive skew for boys, a very small positive skew (3%) for EAL, and a positive skew for lower Key Stage 2 children (Year 3 = 91%, Year 4 = 90%, Year 5 = 88% and Year 6 = 85%) which may reflect wider levels of accessibility and confidence in accessing classroom learning experiences.

89% of children (n=1,651) identified that through the use of technology they were given, or had access to, individualised resources and help that was specific to their personal learning needs consistently across their lessons. 87% of children (n=1,651) felt that they were able to make meaningful choices in their learning. For example, using accessibility features as and when they found them helpful, using resources that they felt would support them with specific aspects of their learning, and in the production of work that best represented their understanding of a particular objective. 82% of children (n=1,651) felt that having 1:1 device access for learners to transactional support (e.g. watching an input again, accessing additional models or scaffolds, accessing support resources), meant that their teacher had more time to help them with individual and specific learning needs.

6.5.3. IMPACT ON THE ROLE OF CLASSROOM TEACHER When teachers were asked about the impact of children having 1:1 devices, 94% of teachers felt that it had positively impacted upon their own role as classroom teacher, with the remaining 6% feeling that it had made no significant difference. Of those who felt that it had made no significant difference the respondents were all those whose teaching career had been entirely within LEO schools which suggests that the perception may relate to a lack of comparison with what schooling looks like without 1:1 provision. This hypothesis is supported by the parallel finding that 100% of the teachers who had previously taught in non-LEO schools felt that 1:1 provision positively impacted their role as classroom teacher. Teachers articulated this in a range of ways, with themes emerging about embedding inclusive practice, specific support for children with SEND or EAL, equitable access for children from disadvantaged backgrounds, adaptive teaching, individualised feedback, the provision of engaging stimulus and targeted instruction. For example,


“As teachers we can now be more creative with lessons and make them more engaging and immersive.” Importantly, “As a teacher, I have found that the use of technology has made it much easier to see the interaction of children in a lesson. I can check the whole class is able to answer questions about our activity and quickly pick up any misconceptions or gaps in learning . It is also better for sustainability as I can set matching and sorting activities without reams of photocopying.” and consequently, “It’s really upskilled me as a teacher because now I’m thinking far more creatively about planning and how I’m providing learning” and “We’ve been able to work much more effectively with children’s families because we can ensure that children are receiving consistent support with specific strategies and tasks both at school and home. Parents appreciate that support and get more involved as a result”

Across survey responses, focus groups, interviews and as part of classroom observations, teachers across year groups, ranges of experience and schools were asked in detail about their perceptions of the impact of LEO’s approach to using digital technology. The findings were striking, including that 79% felt that children having individual headphones - as provided by LEO for on-demand use were an important factor - opening up opportunities for audio stimulus, auto-translate and screen reader, and allowing for individualised pace and progression pathways. This was seen as an integral part of developing autonomy. There were specific interesting components of this finding including that some SEND children became more likely to wear their headphones as noise cancelling in a classroom where headphone access was ubiquitous because of the dignity it afforded them - i.e. not looking different to other children. Anecdotally, teachers felt that where this happened, the SEND children were less affected by auditory stimulus and more able to self-regulate in classroom environments, leading to a reduction in behavioural incidents and an increase in productivity in learning. The consequent impact of these kinds of simple strategies on teacher capacity is significant. Intentional inclusive practice has a direct relationship with increasing purposeful focus on the part of children, reducing non-learning related intervention time on the part of the teacher, and consequently, creates capacity for higher order interaction and intervention between teacher and learners.


Recommendation Both within and beyond LEO, it is helpful for teaching teams to consider what the role of the teacher should mean, and what it should mean ‘to be a teacher’. This closely relates to the development of Teaching and Learning strategies and policies, but makes the subtle distinction of being about the broader behaviours of the individual professional. Activity 4.2 in Aubrey-Smith & Twining (2023) 190 provides a useful launchpad for these conversations. By examining what the ‘role of the teacher’ should mean - individually and collectively comparison can be made to existing practices, and therefore targeted strategy and practice put in place to close that gap and increase pedagogical alignment.

6.5.4. IMPACT ON THE ROLE OF TEACHING ASSISTANTS The presence of on-demand Chromebooks for children at LEO has surfaced questions about the impact on the traditional role of Teaching Assistants. Historically, like most schools, Teaching Assistants had provided targeted support for particular children, or acted in a troubleshooting role whilst the classroom teacher facilitated the overarching classroom lesson (DfE, 2019 191 ). However, over the last 5 years there has been a national shift towards more targeted deployment, utilising evidence about where and how these valuable colleagues can make greatest impact on children’s learning (EEF, 2022 192 ). Thus, the evolving role of teaching assistants, and the embedding of technology have been taking place in parallel. School leaders spoke about the evolving role of teaching assistants, “LEO have possibly been ahead of the curve in terms of rethinking how we deploy TAs. For us, it’s about which tool or person is the most appropriate to support a child effectively, and appropriately, in any given moment. Sometimes it’s the teacher, sometimes it is a TA, sometimes it’s something on a Chromebook - but it won’t always be the same thing, the same action or the same person - because the child, the lesson and the context change.” Classroom teachers were asked about their perceptions of the impact on Teaching Assistants. 75% of teachers felt that children having 1:1 device provision created a positive impact on the role of TAs with 20% feeling that it made little difference either way. However, 5% of teachers felt that the 1:1 provision had created a negative impact on the role of TAs. Narrative analysis suggests that this perception emerges from the changing role of Teaching Assistants - where traditional tasks and activities undertaken by Teaching Assistants were now being supported through children’s ondemand access to a Chromebook.

190. Aubrey-Smith, F., and Twining, P., (2023) Activity 4.2, taken from From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology. See 191. DfE (2019) Deployment of Teaching Assistants in Schools: A Research Report. 192. EEF (2022) Review of evidence on the effective deployment of Teaching Assistants (TAs)


There was a strong correlation between classrooms with a positive perception of the impact of 1:1 on TAs, and classrooms where TAs were being deployed for targeted interventions or forms of support that were not possible to automate (e.g. task instructions, reading aloud). When asked the same question about the impact on TAs, 82% of leaders across LEO perceived there to be a positive impact on TAs, with 14% perceiving there to be a negative impact. When this data was segmented further and triangulated with narrative evidence, it appears that the positive association correlates with TAs carrying out targeted intervention and more autonomous ways of working, whereas the negative association correlates with specific cases where there had been particular barriers for individual staff (e.g. reluctance to engage with training), or disconnects in the relationship between Classroom Teachers and Teaching Assistants. For example, “Some TAs find using technology very challenging and can get quite anxious” “I feel the TAs have not had as much support and training as I feel necessary in comparison to teachers.” “TAs do not get the same training as teachers so may feel deskilled. However, this knowledge can be passed on…” A survey was sent to every TA across LEO. Of those who responded (n=27), 96% were female, 27% of the TAs surveyed spoke a language other than English at home and about a third of the TAs work in more than one school in LEO - spreading their time across multiple classrooms. In the year 2022-23, 85% provided 1:1 support (spanning Reception through to Year 6), and 96% provided targeted interventions (again spanning Reception to Year 6). Of those who responded, 15% had experience at more than one LEO school, 11% having worked at another school in the local area, 4% having experience in a school beyond LEO, and 22% having previously worked in roles beyond schools/education. Across this landscape, 85% of TAs felt that the presence of Chromebooks was having a positive impact on all children, with 11% reporting that they did not think Chromebooks or other devices should be used at school. 89% of TAs felt that children were learning skills that they will need for their future (either for a future job or for secondary school). Figures were broadly similar for different learner characteristics (e.g. no statistically significant differences for the TAs view on the impact on children with SEN, an EHCP, with EAL or gender). There was one outlier finding which was that 26% of TAs felt that the presence of Chromebooks made no difference to children in receipt of Free School Meals (FSM). This was surprising because qualitative data elsewhere from both Teachers and TAs surfaced a shared view that children on FSM were most likely to benefit from having a personal Chromebook because it addressed inequality of provision - i.e. the ability to access learning at home. For example, TAs commented that,


“Each child having access to a Chromebook means that all children, regardless of their background and home/lifestyle are equal in regards to accessing their learning and navigating their way around the devices.” Similarly, “The difference is feeling equal, as many families cannot afford a device.” TAs felt overwhelmingly that the classroom teachers that they worked with benefited from children having a 1:1 device, and 65% of TAs felt that they themselves benefitted (with an additional 20% feeling that it made no difference either way). It was noticeable that only 2% of TAs saw that the presence of children having 1:1 access as negatively impacting them - inferring that the majority of TAs are either indifferent or positive about the presence and role of 1:1 devices. This is striking given some of the concerns raised by teachers and leaders about a perceived negative stance by TAs - a concern perhaps alleviated by this TA survey data. When asked about the extent to which TAs felt that technology made it possible for children to learn particular things, 72% felt that 1:1 devices were making it possible for children to learn more effectively. 16% felt that children could learn the same things without the use of technology. In terms of specific tools, 41% of TAs reported encouraging children to use a screen reader to help them understand what is on screen. 37% of TAs reported children using auto-translate to help them understand what to do 48% of TAS reported children using speech-to-text to speed up their written work 82% of TAs reported children as being agentive in searching for information, vocabulary or help on-demand 78% of TAs felt that having the Chromebook helps children to work more independently 56% of TAs reported that the feedback children have access to via their devices enables them to improve straight away 48% of TAs reported children’s learning being positively impacted by apps showing them what to do differently when they make mistakes (e.g. formative assessment) 15% of TAs felt that the 1:1 devices were fun and engaging but they did not necessarily understand how they were helping children’s learning. Due to the historical nature of the TA role, these colleagues are often tuned into specific support aspects such as targeted support for children with specific additional needs. For example, “Children with reading difficulties have used the Read Write function to allow texts to be read to them. For these children it has enabled them to be more independent and more enthusiastic learners”. Through a range of research interviews, TAs and HLTAs were asked about their experiences with digital technology as part of their role with many talking about specific case studies. For example,


“I was working with a girl from Ukraine on a poem and she was looking for descriptive words about a rainforest which was really difficult for her - describing a place she had never been to using a language she didn’t speak. But we were able to use Google and find images and then use the translate feature for her to turn her ideas into new vocabulary. It built her confidence up and led to learning that she wouldn’t otherwise have had access to.” Other TAs talked about the influence of the teachers that they worked with, “The teacher was using Google Meet in class with its live translation - for the teaching input and questions that came up. It gave me the idea that I could do the same thing to help children I was working with” An HLTA who shared their insights through a research interview explained a number of elements, “I just think that everyone is learning so much more. We all feel like ‘let’s just have a go’ now - I watch children who had previously been reluctant to write because using a pen commits something permanently to paper and creates huge pressure, but now because they know they can edit or change or delete what they have written they have the confidence to have a go. It takes the pressure off. I think it’s actually probably like that for all of us now - we’ve all become a bit more willing to have a go because if the children can do it then we should be willing to try too. If I’m going to be a successful HLTA or a successful teacher one day then I need to learn how to use these things effectively - like Learning by Questions, OrbitNote, Lyfta. And I’ve just had this epiphany of… I don’t need to absorb everything now I can just see what other teachers are using and what is working well and start from that”. Through a focus group discussion, teaching assistants working with children in Key Stage 2 tended to be more confident in articulating the impact of technology to support learning and often referred to specific apps when doing so. However, teaching assistants also voiced concerns that they did not feel as knowledgeable as they would like about the range of tools that LEO provided. As one TA explained, “we used to be a bit like a dictator - ‘I say this ,you do this…’ but now it’s evolved to be much more collaborative. The teacher is still ultimately in control of the room - but now it’s a more collaborative experience because we are focused on helping specific points in children’s learning - it’s not just about practical support or keeping up with the class - it’s more meaningful than that and really makes a difference”


There was an interesting implication of the evolution of the role of TAs, as explained by a school leader, “It used to be that TAs were not valued by parents as much as the class teacher, but that’s changed. For most TAs, their professional skills are recognised and valued by parents just as much as the teachers and you can hear that in the way that they interact with each other”. Similarly, teachers and leaders both described the impact on their role created by TAs becoming more targeted in their support. For example, “I used to find it stressful to teach because I used to feel really bad that I couldn’t get round to all the children, but now that technology is there to support particular problems or provide particular resources it makes the classroom function in a way that is much more autonomous and professional. That means I can rotate to work with all children at the point that they need my intervention and so can the TAs I work with - we can use our skills much more purposefully to target specific children or specific problems - we are more of a team” Recommendation Teaching assistants should be supported by teachers and leaders to become more familiar with the digital package and its associated training and support. This approach would provide TAs with the insights and support to choose and use appropriate tools in the same way as classroom teachers, and plays an important role in child and intervention specific discussion about appropriate digital support within learning.

6.5.5. PARENTAL INSIGHTS Parental insights were sought in a number of ways, ranging from an online survey sent to all parents, as well as individual informal research interviews seeking out insights from parents with specific experiences (e.g. children with SEND, families new to LEO schools, families who had previously shared concerns or were particularly supportive). In order to surface a large scale summary view of parental feedback, every family was invited to contribute to an initial survey. Within this survey parents were invited to express their willingness to speak to the independent researcher and/or contribute to further surveys. Families from each of the LEO schools responded, ranging from 7-20% of the overall response rate (Cheam Common Infant 15%, Cheam Common Junior 19%, Cheam Fields 11%, Cheam Park 18%, Brookfield 9%, Manor Park 20%, Shawley 7% and West Ashtead 9%). Of the families who responded (n=295), there was a roughly even spread of representation from Reception to Year 6, and some families with children (siblings) who had previously attended LEO and then moved on to Key Stage 3. Of the respondents, 78% of families had only attended LEO schools. However, 12% had previously attended another school in the local area, 9% had attended a school further afield and 1% had previously homeschooled their child. 72% of families who took part in the survey spoke English as their main language at home, and 26% predominantly spoke a language other than English.


When asked about their opinion of LEO children having access to their own Chromebooks, 71% were strongly supportive, and 20% did not have strong view in either direction. The strength of support was illustrated through a range of qualitative survey data and interview responses sharing clear views about the impact. For example, “The Chromebook has been an incredible support to my daughter who previously found engaging in learning difficult. She can struggle with attention and maintaining enthusiasm but the Chromebook has helped to maintain her engagement and given her a sense of independence. She has now been delivering high quality pieces of work on this Chromebook that she never even attempted prior to having one. Since joining [LEO school name] and having access to a Chromebook and this accessible learning she has been fully engaged and participating - at her previous school without one she struggled to even go into the classroom on a daily basis. Not only this but she is opting to spend time on it at home daily to practice her work on Doodle or Times Table Rock Stars, enjoys interacting with her peers in the Google Classroom chat stream and has shown me how to do programming she learnt yesterday. I’m incredibly grateful as this has been such a fantastic tool to help overcome her personal battles and make learning accessible to her again”. Other shorter survey responses included a range of benefits recognised by parents. For example, many parents spoke about how much they valued insights into classroom learning - the ability to see very specifically what children were working on, along with classroom resources. “It has helped my daughter be far more engaged with her lessons in school. It gives me greater visibility of what she’s learning. It also makes doing homework easier and means I can encourage her to do extra work outside of school. Plus it was invaluable during covid!” “It’s the connection between the class and home environment, the ability to research curricular and extra-curricular topics safely online. Chromebooks have become an extension to our son's academic toolsets, and we have always felt that he is fortunate to have been issued it as standard.” “It is easy for them to access the same information they have at school.” Some parents spoke about this giving them confidence in the school as providing high quality education, some spoke about this information empowering them to better support their child at home - either with reminders about homework, or setting aside time for their child to practice something that they found difficult during the day. “He is able to access work easily, it is easy for teachers to set work, and for us to see what he's doing at home.” “It helps with the discipline of doing homework” “Having Seesaw and Google classroom - well your child couldn’t bring all their school books home with them so you wouldn’t otherwise see their classwork. But now, you can see everything


they’ve been doing that day - you can support them, you can talk about it, you can share experiences together and give very specific support or encouragement. You can celebrate success or help with struggles - you just couldn’t do that before.” Many parents were enthusiastic about children using technology as part of their learning because of the permeating role that technology plays in wider life. “My child is learning to use technology from a young age which I think is pivotal in society nowadays” Furthermore, many parents felt that children having their own Chromebook was helping them to learn an important lifeskill of responsibility. For example, “It teaches responsibility and responsible usage” “He has been gaining responsibility to look after properties and to properly use a Chromebook” “She takes responsibility for charging it and putting it in her bag each day” It was particularly noticeable that many parents referred to the opportunities as an equaliser. For example, “As a family we are unable to afford anything like a computer or ipad so we appreciate the Chromebook for our child.” “He is vastly IT enabled in a way I could never offer him at home.” “For work they need to complete via an electric device (ie a laptop), it’s benefited our family as we only have 1 laptop at home and is used for work therefore finding time to give my children access to it is hard” “It helped my child to be independent, gave her confidence and improved skills to use the device and digital literacy.” Furthermore, many spoke about the way in which LEO schools teach children appropriate ways to use digital tools - mitigating so many of the concerns raised by the mass media around inappropriate child experiences. “They are confident to use tech appropriately as part of their studies” A number of families also reported the importance of moving from paper-based resources to digital resources as part of a wider effort to address environmental issues. For example, “Using digital technologies reduce the usage of resources like papers which could intern have benefits for the environment. Also the material can last for much longer and can be reused / referred back as needed without consuming lots of space.” There were a minority of parents (9%) reporting that they did not feel that children should have their own Chromebooks. However, segmenting this data revealed that the majority of the 9% who held a negative opinion of Chromebooks had children in Early Years or Key Stage 1 where Chromebooks were not given to each child suggesting that this view may have emerged from assumptions made about technology use rather than an informed experience of how Chromebooks had been deployed to support learning.


Where parents reported a preference for children not having Chromebooks, there were four common themes. For some parents, the logistics of transferring learning resources between home and school were seen as a burden. For example, “Just a bit annoying (and heavy) to carry it back and forth” “It’s heavy to carry, it seems a bit unnecessary to bring home when we have our own devices on which to do homework” It is perhaps helpful to be aware that the weight of the Chromebook provided by LEO (2,285g) equates to approximately 4 ½ exercise books (502g), or 5 ½ reading books (418g), or 3 copies of Harry Potter (524g). Some parents raised concerns related to the amount of exposure to technology, although as discussed in Section 5.6, there is an important developmental point embedded within this perception - about what ‘screentime’ represents. At present, this term tends to be used by the general population to refer to any activity where a digital screen is involved, rather than separating out passive watching, low-challenge browsing or activity, cognitively demanding activity, and/or emotionally intense activities. Similarly, screentime tends to refer to any kind of device - smartphone, television, tablet, laptop, gaming device, and omits consideration of other digital devices (e.g. voice activated computing such as Alexa). Furthermore, screentime tends not to include the sorts of passive activities that often underpin screen concerns (e.g. passive watching or listening of non digital sources). The generalised terminology of ‘screentime’ by parents (as well as other stakeholders) thus becomes problematic (with solutions suggested in Section 5.6). Specific to parents and families, there appeared to be two trends within home reaction to screentime. The first was to raise concerns whilst often simultaneously distancing themselves from what is arguably parental responsibility, for example, “I wanted to restrict my child’s screen time at home but I felt provision of the chrome books really undermines this. She says she is going to use it for schoolwork but then just goes on YouTube instead, and I don’t have the time or energy to closely monitor her usage. To me it’s the same as giving a child a bag of sweets to take home and asking them not to eat them almost impossible to enforce and really unhelpful to parents.” “It has been tough trying to limit access at home. Hence why we encourage XX (Child’s name) to leave the Chromebook at school during the week.” This trend was seen in slightly more subtle ways in other parental responses that suggested a limited understanding of how children’s learning was being supported through Chromebook use. For example, with concerns that children are, “just playing maths games”


illustrating a limited knowledge of the range and impact of specific tools and features being used by children at LEO. The second trend was of parents who wanted to provide leadership and guidance to their child at home, but who did not necessarily yet feel skilled to do so, and highlighted the need for support from school. “The problem is for us as parents/older generation. We are not equipped to handle the generation who are more technologically advanced… Saying no or judging is more damaging for the kids and then for us as parents. We need more tools/assistance/ open discussion to share ideas/experiences so we can be the more relevant parents.” A very small number of parents raised concern about the impact of screen use on eye sight. For example, “Now needs to wear glasses as is looking at a screen for more hours a day than is recommended.” It is helpful to consider this perception in light of wider research findings and national recommendations relating to eye sight. The World Health Organisation does set recommended limits of no more than 1 hour of daily screentime for children under 5 193 based on their uses of television and low-level games at home - i.e. passive, isolated, ‘entertainment’. For children older than this - the age of children attending LEO schools - there are guidelines offered by a range of ophthalmologists and eye health care specialists that apply to children over the age of 6 194 . These guidelines - which importantly are the same as those given to adults recommend a maximum of 2 hours recreational screentime per day (i.e. passive, isolated or entertainment purposes), and a maximum of 8 hours of study or work related screentime per day (i.e. cognitively engaging uses). Importantly, the influences to these limitations are about (a) ensuring that children and adults blink to avoid eye dehydration, (b) ensuring that children and adults have regular (every 20 minute) breaks where the focus distance changes - from objects close by (e.g. screen, books, desk based tasks), to objects further away (e.g. classroom board, far distance, across the classroom), (c) to avoid sedentary lifestyles, and (d) to avoid unnaturally high stimulus disrupting sleep and rest patterns 195 . These guidelines are not so much about ‘screentime’, but rather more avoiding too much time on any sustained close-focus activity and maintaining a balanced and healthy lifestyle - sometime that applies equally to non-digital as it does to digital activities. As an approximation, a typical school day at LEO sees children onsite for 6 ½ hours. During this time, an average of 3 hours is non-classroom based (e.g. PE or Music lessons, registration, break times, lunchtime, assembly). Of the remaining 3 ½ hours, lessons are typically 20%

193. American Optometric Association (2019) WHO Guidance 194. All About Vision (2023) Screen Time Recommendations by Age. 195. American Optometric Association (2021) Screen use for kids


teaching input and 80% activity time, thus equating to roughly 3 hours of time when there is the potential for children to be using Chromebooks at their desks. However, observations as part of this impact research identified that children rarely use their Chromebook for longer than about 10-12 minutes without an eye break or switching to an offline task (e.g. learning dialogue, handwritten work, physical resource). The accumulated school-based screentime in any given day is therefore likely to be no more than around 1 hour in total spread over the duration of a whole school day - but it is generally screentime based on the development of specific dispositions rather than procedural or passive (see Section 5.6 for definitions of different types of screentime).

Recommendation It would be helpful to identify ‘actual’ figures about how much time children in different year groups, and with different needs, spend using a device in school and at home, and to segment this into different types of screentime (see section earlier in this report for definitions). This could be used to increase understanding by both staff and families, and to structure or stimulate purposeful conversations about how to best leverage device use to meet children’s educational, social and leisure developmental needs. It is likely that there is a correlation between children with specific learning needs and specific uses of dispositionally developmental screentime which may relate directly to closing the gap between children with SEND or in receipt of Pupil Premium, and the national average in terms of attainment.

It is important to be mindful that children’s eyes are developing throughout their primary age range. Whilst the parameters of this impact study do not extend into a literature review on eye health, specialist guidance generally refers to children’s vision developing fully by around the age of 8 196 , and difficulties with sight tending to be picked up between the ages of 6-12 197 . The general advice for developing good eye health tends to be to encourage active, healthy lifestyles with a range of indoor and outdoor play, and a mixture of eye focus on both near and far objects 198 . The approach at LEO has taken account of this research by introducing the idea of ‘Movement Breaks’ - planned time away from desks, outdoors and with physical activity to refresh body and mind. As one senior leader explained, “Movement breaks are something that didn’t happen three years ago but now they happen all the time. All of these things are part of a broader inclusion strategy.”

196. The Eyecare Trust (2023) 197. NHS (2020) Children’s Glasses: Information for Parents. 198. American Academy of Opthamology (2023) Vision Development: Childhood


Finally, a very small number of parents reported concerns with the costs associated with charging Chromebooks at home each day. “we do forget to charge it but also the cost of living rising and parents, especially on key meters for electricity can’t afford to keep charging it.”

For the Chromebooks used at LEO, the electricity charges (with prices correct at the point of writing), are believed to be approximately £6-12 199 per year. In order to mitigate for the financial pressure that some families will face in relation to this, LEO does provide in-school charging provision on a needs-based basis. As a senior leader explained, “The key thing is that we make sure that no learning time is lost because of a device not being charged. We can charge in the classroom or we do have - discretely - some spare devices just incase.” When asked about the systems and processes put in place to support parents with their child using the Chromebook at home, teachers were able to articulate a range of consistent processes including, parents being scaffolded and supported to ensure that: Every Parent and Child understand, discuss and agree: Where the device will be located to charge it up each evening/overnight, and who will be responsible for putting it on charge safely. Routines for ensuring that the device and associated equipment is moved into the child’s school bag before school each morning Where the child will use the device when at home A default place where the child will be located when carrying out learning tasks on the device - where the parent is accessible for the child to talk to about their learning, and where the parent can keep a responsible eye on the child remaining ‘on task’ Acceptable places where the child is allowed to use the device for non-learning based activities (e.g. games, tv) - where the parent is able to monitor and manage the child’s behaving appropriately and taking responsibility for their own wellbeing. What the child should do if they take the device somewhere other than home or school (e.g. to a playdate, club or family member’s home). To include agreement about who is allowed to view / access the device and how the child should take care of, and charge, the device if they are not in their usual home environment. An understanding about who is responsible for making choices about what the device is used for outside of school (both at home, and in other contexts such as clubs, with tutors, when at childminders/after school care, when with other family members).

199. Canstarblue (2023) Laptop Charging Costs


How any concerns or issues are identified, escalated, addressed, and resolved. For example, if the child or parent become aware of any safeguarding issues about their own child or another child, if the child or parent become aware of any technical issue, if the child or parent become aware of any inappropriate use by either parent or child. It is important that both the child and the parent feel able to escalate their concerns to each other, and/or to the school so that in any scenario where either parent or child is at risk, the other is appropriately supported.

Recommendation There are a range of misconceptions that families have about Chromebook use, and an appetite across parents to understand in more detail what is happening, how and why. It may be helpful to share with parents very explicit examples and information - phased over time in bitesize form - demonstrating the relationship between what children are doing, the research evidence underpinning it, and the impact that it is having.

6.6. FINDINGS ABOUT OPERATIONAL BENEFITS LEO has a total MAT budget of approximately £19 million, equating to approximately £4,750 per child 200 . The approximate cost of LEO’s digital provision equates to £12 per child per month (staffing costs equate to approximately £250 per child per month). The overall digital cost per child includes all IT costs (infrastructure, connectivity, subscriptions and systems), Device provision (Chromebook, stylus, case, headphones, charger), Classroom systems (e.g. Digital Board and teacher equipment), Curriculum provision (the whole Digital Package including Google Workspace), and associated staffing and support (e.g. IT suppliers and external CPD provision) 201 . This figure is consistent with other MATs providing 1:1 provision. This cost does not include electricity because analysis shows no material implications on in-school electricity costs since the implementation of 1:1 provision (the total LEO electricity bill has increased by £20k for the period 2018./19 to 2022/23 but this is likely a reflection of inflation and energy costs rising rather than directly attributable to 1:1 provision. A typical LEO device costs approximately £5 per device per year to charge - costs which are largely subsumed into home electricity bills (which 202 for the average family are approximately £769 . Alongside investment in technology, LEO has also invested significantly in staff training and CPD, with approximately £250k spent on teachers and support staff each year for the last 4 years.

200. DfE (2023) Schools financial benchmarketing. 201. LEO (2023) Budget figures 2018-2023 202. House of Commons (2023) Domestic Energy Prices


It is helpful to benchmark financial data to provide some context. For example, according to government financial benchmarking data, LEO has a higher level of teaching staff than other similar MATs broadly equivalent support staff levels to other MATs (i.e. TAs) broadly similar pupil-to-adult ratios to other MATs (in some cases higher) a lower level of supply or agency staff used broadly equivalent admin and central staff to other MATs broadly similar costs in terms of energy, premises and educational supplies 203. As the CEO and COO explained, there are a range of influencing factors which have enabled the executive team and trustees to make specific decisions and investments. These include centralising for efficiency through GAG pooling 204 , staff being employed centrally and redeployed to meet individual school needs, and restructuring which realigned staffing from middle leadership upwards, in order to deliberately align staffing and investment with overall trust vision and values. As the CEO explained, “We pulled everyone’s IT budgets together and alongside doing that had an internal leadership restructure. We did this to provide a trust that wasn’t just an umbrella of schools but one trust, one budget, one vision, one team. We moved away from having Headteachers, Deputy Heads and Business Managers and instead moved to Principals and Vice Principals - that saved several hundreds of thousands of pounds in salaries. We had a lead in time of about a year so that people could make informed decisions about whether they saw themselves as part of that new structure. So we managed to do it without any significant redundancy costs. Together with our pooled IT budgets that gave us that flexibility to embark upon our strategic programme for supporting children’s learning better and more equitably”. It is notable that driving force behind this decision was focused on how to better provide equitable learning for children across LEO schools. As the CEO described it, “We asked ourselves, ‘are we really providing an equitable offer in every school? Is every child capable of excellence within the existing system that we have in place?” Smaller schools didn’t have the same budget available to them as larger schools so children were being disadvantaged just because of which school they were in. We had to fix that. ” Financial data shows that this decision has become a sustainable model because overall salary costs have been reduced. In 2021, LEO combined all budgets with the team all now working from one budget and one bank account.

203. DfE (2023) Schools financial benchmarketing. 204. Optimus (2022) The Pros and Cons of GAG pooling


It is important to highlight that the executive leadership and governance structures at LEO recognise this approach as controversial 205 . A number of national bodies have undertaken surveys of the teaching workforce with some concerns raised about the centralisation approach of MATs and its implications on school leadership autonomy and control. It is therefore important to view the data about LEO’s decision to GAG-pool, restructure and centralise budgets in line with data earlier in this report which highlighted the way in which LEO consistently have much higher staff satisfaction rates, increased staff sense of autonomy and professional empowerment, high parental satisfaction and rising numbers on roll. Schools nationwide are increasingly looking to LEO for support, with a steady stream of new schools joining the trust. It is the combination of the executive decision making, in conjunction with a one-team vision and approach focused on collective responsibility for children’s learning across the trust which has underpinned consequential success and impact.

Recommendation It may be helpful for the executive leadership and trustees of LEO to codify the financial and operational decision making - along with the cultural changes underpinning it - which has been summarised above to share with other MATs and with policy shapers.

6.6.1. SCHOOL OF CHOICE & NOR With LEO schools seen locally as the school of choice, there has been a steady increase on NoR within each school over the last 5 years, as well as holistically across the trust. Notably, schools which historically struggled with low numbers, are now full with waiting lists, and despite the national falling birth rate leading to widespread NoR reductions 206 . LEO has again bucked the national trend by increasing enrolment figures.

205. EPI (2022) Financial Decision Making 206. ONS (2022) Births and Deaths in England and Wales.


Figure 34: NoR figures for 3 year period by school (with 2023-2024 forecast based on historical trends 207)

There are a number of contributory factors - ranging from staff satisfaction and recommendation (see Section 6.6.4), family word-of-mouth (see Section 6.5.5), the social media and wider media reporting about LEO both locally, regionally, nationally and internationally (see Section 6.7), and most importantly, retention of existing families (see low rates of mobility - Section 6.3.1).

6.6.2. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT One of the notable themes across the dataset was the emphasis on environmental impact of using digital technology rather than paper based equivalents. There were a number of strands to this theme - some of which were about climate change and respecting the earth’s resources, and some of which were about consequential benefits (e.g. the cost savings associated with reduced text books, exercise books and photocopying). Different stakeholders contributed different insights in this space. Senior and executive leaders at LEO spoke about their broader commitment to environmental sustainability (DfE, 2023 208), and many leaders highlighted cost savings associated with a shift from physical to digital resourcing. School leaders highlighted less waste as a result of digital resourcing - both relating to paper but also to other materials (e.g. gluesticks, plastic resources and lamination, unused 207. LEO (2023) Number on Roll 208. DfE (2023) Sustainability leadership and climate action plans in education: guidance.


sections of exercise books). Teachers often highlighted the shift away from historical wasteful habits, for example, “The way we used to do it, was that a child would complete a worksheet and then stick it into an exercise book. So actually, that’s 2 pieces of paper just for 1 activity. Looking back it was so wasteful - exercise books were often tatty because pages weren’t stuck in neatly, and all that printing and paper was so unnecessary.” As one school leader put it, “If you think about it, if you stick a worksheet in a book then you’re only writing on 1 side of A4 and you’re actually sticking the back of the worksheet to a blank page. So you’re only ever actually using, at most, ⅓ of the potential available sides of paper.” Children of all ages across LEO were notably vocal about the importance of considering the environment, often speaking at length about their views that schools should continue to reduce the amount of paper being used. As a Year 4 child explained, “Every time we get a new [exercise] book it means that someone has to cut down a tree somewhere. What’s the point when we could just do it online instead and save the trees?” These implications - with both environmental and financial impact are notable. For example, as part of this research, a teacher focus group calculated that there had been a reduction from 17 exercise books per year to 6 books per child, as a result of the introduction of Chromebooks. With the exercise books costing 50p per book, this equated to £24,50 per child over the duration of their primary education at LEO, and a trust wide saving of £97,927 over that same period. Moreover, a typical tree used for making the paper in exercise books can provide approximately 10,000 sheets of paper 209 . Therefore, the saving of 7 books per year per pupil at LEO is saving approximately 21 trees over the course of their collective primary education. Teachers also spoke about the reduced quantity of photocopying and printing of lesson resources. For example, printing and photocopying that no longer takes place due to digital replacements was calculated (per week) as 1 spelling list, 2 homework tasks, 5 maths worksheets, 10 pages of reading or writing scaffolds or texts, 1 WAGOLL, 1 wordbank and 5 foundation subject worksheets. On the assumption that each child in a class had a copy of each of these resources, the total photocopying totalled approximately 1,000 pieces of paper per school year. Across the trust this equates to saving approximately 4 million pieces of paper or just under 400 trees. Furthermore, the equivalent photocopying costs (8p per black and white copy) are approximately half a million pounds (roughly £78 per child per year, which equates to just over 54% of the total cost of 1:1 Chromebook provision see details above). Combined with other paper reduction such as photocopying for newsletters and forms, letters and flyers, printed books and workbooks, gluesticks for sticking worksheets into exercise books and so forth, these implications are significant both in terms of environmental impact, and cost savings.

209. Ribble Pack (2023) How much paper comes on one tree and Key Digital (2023) How much paper can you get from one tree?


As well as the environmental benefits, teachers have identified significant time savings by simply moving activities from paper-based tasks to digital tasks. The time saved appears minimal at first for example teachers were spending approximately 20 minutes per day photocopying worksheets, guillotining pieces of paper for lesson activities, and either sticking sheets into books before lessons or putting into folders after lessons. For each individual teacher this equates to 100 minutes per week, or approximately 11 days over the course of an academic year. If all 200 members of staff across LEO were to save this amount of time, this is broadly comparable to 11 members of full time staff (approximately £300,000 of staff time). Recommendation These figures should be discussed by staff as part of professional dialogue about the relative merits of paper-based and digitised tasks. The environmental and cost saving implications are important for leaders to consider, but this also needs to be balanced with an informed view about when digitisation is appropriate, and when it may not be. LEO should also consider sharing these kinds of insights with other schools and trusts particularly those who have 1:1 provision but have not yet seen these benefits.

6.6.3. COLLABORATIVE TEACHER PLANNING As part of reviewing the impact of the collaborative working that had been made possible through LEO’s use of Google Workspace and the 1:1 Chromebook access, insights were sought from Senior and Executive Leaders, as well as teachers about the impact on their roles. Through interviews and focus groups, a number of findings emerged. A significant theme which emerged about the benefits to leaders was about the capacity it created to work more meaningfully with their teams on specific priorities. As one Executive Principal explained, “By working in hubs across multiple schools, teachers have regular access to a number of senior leaders with particular areas of expertise. Whether it’s curriculum, planning processes, or teaching and learning guidance, our regular collaborative planning sessions provide a way to give instant support. Through online meetings, leaders can support teachers across several schools in a way that isn’t scalable or workable in person. That frees up leadership time to provide targeted support or intervention face to face with teachers”. Senior and Executive Leaders also spoke about the way that collaborative teacher planning had evolved over time - starting as a necessity during pandemic restrictions, and then continuing thereafter once the logistical benefits had been identified. A number of leaders spoke about the surface level benefits of time savings and travel cost savings associated with collaborative online working rather than staff moving between schools for meetings, but the greater emphasis was on the professional benefits to both teachers and leaders. For example,


“Where a year group are planning across multiple schools, if there is a particular discussion that those teachers want to have or that the SLT feel that they would benefit from, then an SLT member will go in and have those conversations. It means that the teachers know that there is always someone who can support them but also it means that the SLT are thinking about leadership across the schools not just for one school - so they are much more strategic. It’s had an impact on the capacity for improving Quality of Teaching because the time with staff is targeted and so the pace of improvement is quicker”. One of the key benefits of LEO’s transition to Google Workspace has been the opportunities that it has opened up for staff to work together more impactfully. For example, the LEO Teaching and Learning expectations 210 include that, “Teachers plan collaboratively in year group teams across the partnership of schools. This allows them to: Provide a space for rich, professional dialogue to ensure the best possible outcomes and opportunities for all children in the partnership Share ideas and expertise Evaluate the week’s learning Use their assessment to plan the content and delivery of the curriculum Plan enrichment opportunities (experiences, trips and visitors) Delegate tasks which eases workload” As an executive leader highlighted, “We are in a fortunate position where we can share the workload of planning and resourcing across the partnership. Consistency is key but this does not mean being identical. No child should be at a disadvantage because of the school they attend and all children should be exposed to the same opportunities and the same high quality teaching. We can make this happen by planning together, reflecting together and sharing the resourcing together”. Teachers appreciate both the workload reduction and the professional learning that this provides. As one teacher explained, “In the past we would have all been planning and resourcing on our own, or there would have been a group of us huddled around a laptop. But now we do a Google Meet and talk about what we are all going to do across our schools - because we’re all teaching the same year group - and then someone will volunteer to develop a resource for a particular set of children’s needs, and someone else will make the Google Slides, and we all just share out what needs to be done.”

210. LEO (2023) Teaching and Learning - Meeting Expectations 2022-2023


As another teacher highlighted, “The key benefits to me are that it’s a significant reduction in workload, and also that I’m learning a lot from colleagues teaching the same year group about how to support greater depth children, or ideas about how to do a particular lesson with my EAL children”. Another senior leader continued, “Staff at one school will say ‘oh i’ve used this and it’s really good for such and such’ and so there are people making links and trying things out and sharing those with other staff in other schools so the ideas spread - and because we are planning across schools the good practice spreads.” An experienced teacher contributed that, “In our new ways of working - because anyone can contribute good ideas to shared lesson planning for your year group, everyone feels ownership over something that is happening - it’s removed that sense of there being some really great teachers and lots of just good teachers we’re all working together on the same thing.” Leaders also spoke about the impact of staff Chromebooks in being able to join a wider range of meetings with colleagues across the trust via Google Meet due to the reduction in logistical considerations associated with physical travel. As one senior leader explained, “It gives all of us more exposure to more conversations, a much greater range of access to professional training and specific discussions about things going on across all of our schools. It’s much more rewarding professionally because you feel part of a professional leadership community. You don’t feel on your own, or restricted just to your immediate team. You can reach out for ideas, support, or advice and there will always be someone somewhere across the trust who can work with you on whatever it is”. Furthermore, staff appreciated the range of Google Workspace tools which supported their meetings to become more efficient. For example, Google Meet transcripts, Google Keep, and Google Docs. As one teacher explained it, “You go to a meeting with schools beyond LEO and you open up your Chromebook ready to capture key points or signposts to resources. You just watch some other schools write it all down on paper and then talk about their plan to ‘type it up later’ - why would you do that? It doubles the workload”.

Recommendation 1) Given the existing benefits of flexible and collaborative working across school sites, it may be helpful for different teams to consider their own developmental programmes. For example, identifying target professional learning specific to a year group team or subject leadership team, as interwoven into their planning and resourcing meetings - ensuring specific contextual conversations and direct application.


2) Tools which utilise artificial intelligence (AI) offer potential time savings - as well publicised at present - these would be useful to explore in terms of repurposing and rechannelling capacity, However, many AI tools are built upon a Traditional or Individual Constructivist set of pedagogical assumptions which may not necessarily align with teacher, leadership or LEO pedagogical beliefs and intentions. It will be useful (vital) to partner investigation of AI tools with discussion about pedagogical intentions.

6.6.4. RECRUITMENT & RETENTION At the time of writing this report, there are significant national challenges affecting teacher recruitment and retention. Gatsby (2023) 211 reported that nationally, half of schools have at least one classroom where children were being taught by agency teachers or non qualified teachers. Consequently, Gatsby reports that 27% of headteachers across the country are appointing candidates who may lack adequate qualifications or who have performed poorly during the recruitment process. In addition, 30% of primary schools reported needing to extend application closing dates due to insufficient or low quality applicants, and 28% of primary schools being unable to take any applicants forward to the interview stage due to a weak applicant pool. In terms of appointment, 23% of Outstanding and 26% of Good schools made reluctant appointments in the past 12 months suggesting that even when teaching roles are filled, the quality of employees is not deemed to be sufficient. Consequently, 89% of senior leaders in the primary sector report being concerned about their teams not having sufficiently qualified and skilled teaching staff - a figure that has risen steadily from 84% over the last 4 years. Combined with data that looks at retention, the picture nationally is a concern. In 2017, 77% of teachers expected to remain in teaching three years later, which has fallen steadily to 59% in July 2023. However, recruitment and retention at LEO bucks both regional and national trends. As LEO’s CEO explains, in terms of the teaching workforce, “We just haven’t felt the recruitment crisis here at LEO.” Furthermore, as Challenge Partner Trust Reviews have consistently found 212 , “The excellent reputation of LEO Academy Trust, its compelling vision for children and its care and support for the wellbeing and development of staff are all factors that contribute to the view that LEO Academy Trust is an employer of choice.” There are a number of reasons for this, which the LEO Director of HR explained. “We started our centralised HR processes in 2019, and since then it has become easier to fill vacancies, and we have become more proficient at filling them. As a result of the culture of LEO we have been able to take a new approach to recruiting - and this is because of what technology enables us to do.”

211. Gatsby (2023) Teacher Recruitment and Retention in 2023. 212. LEO (2021) LEO Annual Impact Report 2021


Executive leaders explained this context, that, “We are a very digitally literate trust which enables us to work in ways that wouldn’t operationally otherwise be possible. We can function as an efficient organisation - which saves time, money and makes us able to focus on the things that really matter” A key element of the LEO recruitment process is the strategic view on what staffing needs may be across the trust as a whole. “We employ our teaching staff centrally and run consecutive rounds of recruitment - from January through to July. That’s completely centralised - you apply to LEO as a prospective teacher and you are given a job with LEO, and then when the needs of a school are identified we do a matching process to identify where to deploy those teachers. It is a risk that we might employ more teachers than we need - but it’s a deliberate strategy to ensure that we get good people. In terms of teaching applicants, we have more applicants than we have places to fill”. The deliberate use of technology to support the full recruitment experience has been significant. “Our set up is so paper-less so the employee experience is entirely dependent on their use of technology. That lends itself towards a particular type of person applying to work with us so our candidates are better with technology than they were historically. Their first hurdle is an online application form so you’re only keen to do that if you’re technologically competent. Then through the process there are are lots of training videos to watch with an online quiz, all of the meetings with HR except for the final ones are online - through Google Meet - so from the outset we are setting expectations and training prospective employees and confirmed employees in a technologically biased approach. That means that when we provide that employee to the school they have already immersed themselves in the way that we use technology across LEO.” The impact of this centralised process, underpinned by the effective and efficient use of technology, has been significant and best demonstrated through two key findings. First, that whilst in 2018/19, LEO spent £10,249 on advertising for staff - this figure fell quickly over the following 2 years and has since fallen to £0. As the Head of HR explained, “Back in the day we used to spend a huge amount of money with eTeach and TES advertising but now we don’t spend that - every position is advertised without having to pay anything at all.” Technology has been a significant influence for two reasons, as HR colleagues explained, “After our website, social media is our second biggest source of incoming interest for applicants. Our marketing team develop an advert picture specifically for social media channels - Instagram, Twitter etc. The digital marketing team have had a huge impact on the success of recruitment campaigns.”


However, the use of social media for recruitment is a strategic one not just for operational purposes. LEO have established a comprehensive set of social media channels and accounts in order to engage with parents and children’s wider families, local communities, prospective employees and partners, and strategic relationships. These social media channels have publicised the many activities that take place across LEO schools, but also highlight the partnerships and impact of LEO’s strategic work. Posts range from sharing snapshots of professional development, sharing everyday classroom activities and circulating celebrations. This creates a brand identity associated with quality, support and community which engages families, existing staff and prospective employees and partners alike. The role of social media and internet profiles straddles both marketing and recruitment processes. For example, when HR colleagues talk about the recruitment of candidates into LEO, “Everyone expects that we have done our research on them online before we meet them. The interview is no longer the first time that anyone has learned about each other. There is a huge amount of research that an employer and applicant have done about each other before we meet now.” Furthermore, when asking colleagues who lead recruitment about the logistics of recruitment processes, “we could never have scheduled people for recruiting at scale without the technoogy - it has led to huge efficiencies”. Additionally, that, “Recruitment based on online interaction is much quicker and more efficient - so the costs less in terms of staff time and associated costs are far less”. The role of technology underpins advertising, pre-recruitment research, the recruitment and appointment process, induction training - all key experiences and influences on staff before they have even begun to work formally for LEO. It affects the nature of candidates applying to work at LEO, and as the CEO highlights, “We get a much higher number of applications for people wanting to come and work with us, and a much higher quality of applications. Teaching staff want to work for an innovative trust that is using technology. They realise that it is part of a wider joined up strategy about putting people at the heart of what we do and that approach means that we are attracting high quality people”.


The choice of a candidate to apply to work at LEO, and the choice by LEO to appoint that candidate is a two-way long term commitment. As the Head of HR explains, “There is a greater focus - more than ever - on retention because they are our most expensive commodities. You can’t just pick teachers up from one employer and plonk them into another employer, because each employer has a USP - their own unique way of working - so our focus is on retention because we want great teachers to stay.” HR colleagues describe the journey that teaching applicants experience through the recruitment process, “Our bread and butter - from a teaching perspective - are ECTs. Where we recruit middle and senior leaders joining us - everyone is focus on technology and understands the role that technology plays in education. They might be on a journey - but they know that’s where we are going. With leadership, because we are on a growth journey, we have a very developed career progression programme - we focus on home grown talent. A lot of that talent moves into leadership positions - it’s part of the culture of LEO. If we don’t have the right fit we look outside - but the majority of our promotion to leadership comes from within. It’s based on multiple years of multiple CPD programmes 213 .” As new staff join LEO, they take part in a full induction programme 214 which includes briefings and support to understand LEO’s overarching strategy (e.g. vision, mission, values), the professional learning and support provision (e.g. Growing Great People, Training and Professional Development), the Digital Strategy, the Teaching & Learning Strategy (including the digital strategy), and targeted introductions to LEO’s approach to English and Maths. The prioritisation of an induction to the digital ecosystem across LEO enables staff from the outset to recognise and engage with the LEO pedagogical intentions, and the support in place to enable this to happen for every child. As a result of this focus on investing in people, retention rates at LEO contrast with the national picture. The proportion of teachers and leaders leaving LEO is very low in comparison to other schools (e.g. 14 teachers across 9 schools in 2023, and only 2 leaders leaving across the trust in the same period). This compares very favourably with a national average workforce of around 15% (DfE, 2023) - which at LEO would represent a turnover of 30 teachers per year. Where LEO are seeing less than half of the national average, it is seen by HR colleagues (triangulated with teachers and leaders) as attributable to staff seeing a career path within the trust rather than needing to go beyond LEO for professional development or career progression. For example, all Directors and Principals have grown into their roles from leadership positions across the trust. The leadership team at LEO have set out clear progression pathways and designed professional learning deliberately aligned with growing staff into new roles and opportunities. These can be seen in the pathway maps below. 213. LEO (2023) Professional Learning Brochure. 214. LEO (2023) Teacher Induction Slides - from Trust wide Induction Event


Figure 35: LEO Teaching & Leadership Career Development Pathways

Figure 36: LEO Support Staff Career Development Pathways

Ongoing support is underpinned by the Growing Great People Strategy with analysis of HR Exit Interviews reflecting that staff wish to stay within LEO, only generally leaving because of domestic arrangements (e.g. moving house) or for specific promotional opportunities (e.g. moving to an inner city school).


6.6.5. WORKING PRACTICES The digital maturity at LEO has enabled far greater flexibility in working practices. For example, HR colleagues explained the impact of technology that, “It’s turned into flexible working being the norm rather than the exception” In practical terms, this means that, “People like a mix of in-person meetings and online meetings. The LEO default is remote because we bring people together across different schools so often. But when it is important to be together in the same room we do that. It’s really important that we are working in the same ways as the children and staff in our classrooms - we each need to understand our colleagues and our children and the ways we can all work together in order to serve them effectively”. Staff feedback from interviews, focus groups and survey data indicates that staff are widely happy with this flexible and blended way of working. Furthermore, that this is widely seen as normal practice meaning that rather than formal requests for flexible working being made, colleagues are empowered to liaise with line managers and peers to make the most appropriate arrangements for each task or duty. The hybrid nature of meetings and collaborative professional working at LEO has also had an impact on the expertise within the trust. For example, “The Professional Services roles - it means we can work from anywhere at any time - and that has a huge impact on recruitment and retention. That’s huge because it attracts people from a range of places - expertise wants to come in. Historically, the person in the office that’s good with figures becomes the bursar, but now we are able to attract people who are experts from industry and it raises the professional skills of the people doing the jobs centrally.” Edurio survey results confirm staff satisfaction, with staff job satisfaction being 15% higher than national benchmarks, and reported levels of excitement about their work being 13% higher. Poignantly, 20% more LEO staff would recommend LEO schools than is typical in other MATs. As one teacher explained, “I am proud to be part of LEO. I would recommend any school to join our trust. I feel that trust leaders have got it 'just right' now and embedded so many good things. The opportunities really are incredible for our pupils”. The perceptions of LEO staff about potential in-house career opportunities at LEO are perceived as 11% higher than national benchmarks, and LEO staff perception of workload being reasonable was 11% higher than national averages.


According to the Edurio wellbeing surveys, staff at LEO are nearly twice as likely to say that leadership always consult them before making decisions that will affect them with 94% of staff feeling comfortable or very comfortable approaching colleagues for any kind of help. As one teacher explained, “I find my role stimulating and rewarding in equal measure. I am as excited by the world of education and pupils' learning now as I was when I first started teaching 30 years ago. The cutting edge approach to education that LEO provides means that there are always new teaching initiatives to be excited by and to champion with colleagues in school.” The innovation and professional growth opportunities are often cited by LEO staff, but so too are more practical elements. For example, staff at LEO report that they spend considerably less time on the manual and repetitive tasks associated with planning, marking and resourcing as a direct result of the digital practices and collaboration that has become possible across LEO. Notably, about 20% more staff at LEO found it easy to access support with planning, preparation and assessment compared to national benchmarks. The repurposing of time from repetitive manual tasks onto professional tasks which lead to an impact on teaching and learning was notably referenced in every research interview conducted as part of this study. As one of the executive leadership team summarised, “There is a genuinely one-trust mindset. We talk about ‘the trust’ and what we want for all children across all the schools, rather than ‘in my school this, in my school that… We are making decisions in the best interests of everybody. We pool resources and allocate according to need - and there is an acceptance that decisions are being made from a school improvement and moral perspective rather than a territorial mindset. We talk about a team of people ‘around’ each school to support it, and different schools draw upon that team in different way at different points in time - but the impact is also different. It just means a really vibrant workplace and successful students”

6.6.6. SCHOOLS JOINING LEO In parallel with the digital technology journey of the last 5 years, there have also been a number of schools who have chosen to join LEO in this same period. By probing the experiences of those schools before, during and since joining LEO, it is possible to surface a number of useful findings.


Shawley Community Primary School joined LEO in 2022. Prior to joining LEO, the school had faced a turbulent time, including falling budgets with little reserves available, undersubscribed numbers on roll and falling standards. A school leader familiar with this period recalls that, “There was never enough money to get out of whichever situation the school faced, so there was little refurbishment let alone investment and this all affected staff mindset which then impacted the children” Following an Ofsted inspection with a requires improvement judgement, Shawley explored academisation with a number of MATs bidding to support, and ultimately chose to become part of LEO. As part of the onboarding process, LEO provided an Acting Headteacher who supported the school over a 15 month transition period as well as significant investment - refurbishing a tired estate as well as providing the same Chromebook access for Shawley children as for other children across LEO schools. “Introducing Chromebooks as part of this process made a massive impact on children’s engagement with learning. It really really helped. For children who were really struggling to be in the classroom they suddenly started to experience something different and it engaged children in learning in a way that was accessible and meaningful to them”. School leaders recalled significant changes, including, “Behaviour had been a massive problem. The high needs children were dominating the school and preventing the learning for other children if they were in class, or were just being occupied with holding activities in places other than their classroom. Their needs were just not being met so they became disruptive. We transitioned these children back into the classroom gradually - and it was about providing specific support for them - so tools and features like Texthelp meant that they could access learning and not get so frustrated, and the technology meant that they could get the help they needed during each task, so they weren’t always in such a deficit mindset” Similarly, there were particular issues across cohorts. Teachers recall that children were not putting their hand up or joining in because they were afraid to make mistakes or get things wrong. Consequently, Jamboards and collaborative working were introduced which supported a wider shift in cultural mindset across the school - to ‘have a go’ - which rapidly saw confidence levels rise. LEOs’s established digital ecosystem meant that staff instantly had access to colleagues and support 215 from across a number of other schools . As a teacher recalled, “We were no longer an isolated school - it meant that we could be part of shared planning - it was all on Google Drive, so we saw an instant workload reduction as well as being able to feel part of a supportive wider team”. Being part of LEO meant access to wider capacity to support both turnaround and sustainable improvement. Teachers and leaders from across existing LEO schools contributed specific expertise (e.g. school leadership, year group leadership) which supported existing teachers and leaders to refresh their practice, add capacity during challenging periods and to provide additional training and coaching. 215. LEO (2023) Membership Package


This instant connection to other schools and colleagues working on the same projects was particularly valuable for a school moving from working in isolation to working as part of a multi-academy trust. As one of the school leaders recalls, “The staff morale was low and they had really felt the impact of that isolation. A teacher said to me that they hadn’t been on a course for 5 years - they were just so grateful to have the opportunity to go on training and learn how to improve their practice - it opened up a world of support to them” Within 15 months, significant impact was seen. From a school rated as Requires Improvement, Shawley’s internal review now considers it to be a Good school and the most recent Challenge Partner review (November 2022) 216 , has already been rated as Effective with technology highlighted as an area of excellence. As the report states, “Staff, using LEO teaching resources, were showing greater levels of confidence and children were engaged and learning without exception. The school was calm and now feels like a LEO school with a focus on quality teaching and learning. The teaching staff described the benefits of team teaching and coaching models, this was observed in a Maths lesson and it was clear to see the impact this support was having on the teacher and on teaching and learning. The LSA in the teaching group described the impact of on-line CPD and how she had completed Google 1 training, which had been very helpful in her role. She also described the outstanding teaching assistant programme which is in place in the Trust. Staff stressed the impact of modelling and what good practice looks like by looking at other staff and schools within the Trust.” Parental feedback reflects a greater cohesion between children’s experiences at home and school. For example, prior to Shawley being part of LEO, homework was seen as optional with historical low levels of engagement. As part of Shawley’s onboarding to LEO, every Key Stage 2 child was given their own Chromebook, along with the means to access internet connectivity at home, and since then beyond-school engagement has transformed. Survey data from children attending Shawley identified that 100% of children were glad to have their own Chromebook. Furthermore, leaders at Shawley have reflected that, “It’s pulled everyone up. The children are more motivated, more autonomous because of being able to individually access what they need when they need it, there is more enjoyment, more independence - they don’t have to wait for the teacher to say yes you can access that resource - it’s just there ready for them so they can get straight on.” Class teachers describe the impact on children’s classroom mindset, that, “We hear things now like ‘can we finish that writing tomorrow?, or ‘we love English’. The biggest change is that we have seen stamina increasing - the ability to keep going on a task. It’s because tasks can be split up more effectively because of the Chromebooks.

216. LEO (2022) Challenge Partner Review - Shawley Community Primary


We can sequence access to texts, scaffolds, WAGOLLS, vocabulary banks - it’s not so onerous for the children so they enjoy the experience far more.” This sense of increased pace, purpose and productivity in Shawley classrooms is reflected in children’s outcomes. As one of the senior leadership team described it, “Writing scores are now the highest they have ever been - despite particularly challenging cohorts”. As an HLTA described it, “We were Shawley. We still are now Shawley. But we are Shawley-with-LEO. We are so proud to be part of LEO because of what it has brought us. Technology is a huge part of that. Children who have gone through the transition and who are old enough to know what learning looked like before, they just know that this gives them choices… choices in their learning… if they still want more, they can get it. They’re not just relying on you all the time. They can just access and challenge themselves further and they really like that. I might be the teacher for those children but they want to learn and they want to make it work. You just have to give them the opportunities and the support. For me the main driver is seeing the reaction from the children and the effect on their learning. I guess, the future hasn’t got to every part of education yet but I really think that LEO is leading the way for the future” Particularly noteworthy are some of the individual experiences that parents, teachers and leaders shared about children attending Shawley whose lives have been transformed by the changes that joining LEO instigated. For example, a very capable boy in Year 5 who found the pre-LEO classroom environment challenging and often started work in the classroom but was not able to complete it within lesson time. Teachers spoke about the impact of his access to an individual Chromebook as enabling him to continue his task at home - with the support of his parents - such that he was able to then progress on with the next task or activity in line with peers at school. Feedback from the child and his parents reflected a deep gratitude for the personalised provision, and the exposure to specific, tangible learning activities in a home environment empowered parents to provide meaningful and directional support. Consequently, the quality of outcomes for the child improved significantly with teachers talking about stamina shifting from him writing a paragraph in a lesson to story-length texts with confidence.

6.7 SYSTEM LEADERSHIP As part of this impact research, suppliers and partners working with LEO were asked about their relationship with LEO and any impact that they felt that LEO were having on the supplier’s company or wider sector. The response was consistently one of professional respect with two very specific themes demonstration of excellence, and civic leadership. Colleagues from Google for Education, LGfL, Canopy, ThingLink and Texthelp, all spoke about the way that LEO has thought strategically about any tool, product or feature in order to understand the direct or indirect benefit to learners and learning. LEO usage of tools was often cited by these suppliers and partners as ‘exemplary’ and the embodiment of how the tools were envisioned and designed to be used. It is perhaps helpful to surface relevant academic research here, because


whilst these kinds of accolades offer justifiable praise, they also highlight the role of system wide collective efficacy. Professor John Hattie - who is arguably the leading voice in educational efficacy - explains that if teachers and leaders are able to choose tools that help them to be the teacher or leader that they want to be, then both the tool and the person become more effective, and that leads us to greater collective efficacy, which we know trebles the impact on student achievement. (Hattie, 2023 217 ). The relationship that LEO has with its suppliers and partners is very much perceived by both LEO and supplier/partner as a two-way relationship. Suppliers/partners benefit from insights into impactful use, product development evaluation and recommendations and exposure through LEO’s recommendations. But LEO equally benefit from insights and support to get maximum value for money out of their investments, and most importantly embed the most effective uses of the tools available. The two way relationship reflects LEO’s ethos that every stakeholder across the organisation can learn and should be supported to do so by the wider community. Reflecting this, LEO have been sought out by an increasingly wide range of stakeholders in order to share expertise in this space - both in terms of exemplary and impactful practice as well as thought leadership. As well as being a Google Reference School (since 2019), and playing a role as a Department for Education EdTech Demonstrator School, stakeholders who LEO have hosted or worked directly with during the period addressed by this research include National and Regional School Commissioners, Department for Education, Department for Culture Media and Sport, LGfL, the Chartered College of Teaching, Challenge Partners, the Worshipful Company of Educators, Google for Education, Edufuturists, EdTech50, RWI, Power of Reading, TES, BETT, TfL, Burnet News Club, Maths No-Problem, REAL PE, The Key, Lyfta, Adobe and many more, along with countless visitors from across the UK, South America, Kazakhstan, Taiwan, France and Singapore.

Recommendation Through its existing work and expertise, and through the additional insights that this report provides, LEO may wish to consider how to codify and share specific advisory packages. This may include the targeted dissemination of knowledge/findings for particular stakeholders in order to inform national policy, inspection and accountability, professional and workforce development, financial efficacy, but most importantly, effective teaching and learning practices.

217. Hattie, J., (2023) Visible Learning: The Sequel: A Synthesis of Over 2,100 Meta-Analyses Relating to Achievement. Routledge: London.


Continued... Through a lens of civic and ethical leadership, LEO are strongly encouraged to offer wider visibility on the relationship between decision making and impact in relation to digital technology at every level of trust life. For example, decisions made by children individually and in groups, families, teachers and teaching assistants, and leadership at all levels. LEO are also encouraged to play a role in ongoing monitoring of the impact of digital technology - by sustaining the research methods and data analysis models used in this research project. This could be achieved through a LEO research coaching programme, an annual update to this report and/or action research cycles carried out as part of Growing Great People.

7. CONCLUSIONS For the price of £12 per child per month, LEO have implemented a transformational approach to teaching and learning across a trust that now includes 4,500 children and 600 staff across 9 schools. Impact in this report has been surfaced as touching upon teaching and learning strategies and outcomes, inclusive practice, SEND and EAL, attendance, behaviour, classroom efficacy, recruitment and retention of both children and staff, working practices, finances and operations. This report offers detailed insights in both quantitative and qualitative form, with significant stimulus for professional dialogue across roles, schools, stakeholders and the wider sector. At the heart of the impact seen across LEO during the curation of this research, there has been a consistent thread that the LEO community focus relentlessly, and unapologetically on how to open up the very best learning opportunities for every child and every adult. Many schools and trusts cite this, but as this impact report has demonstrated, LEO are living this out in practice. To paraphrase McLaughlin (2022 218 ), LEO has long since moved on from asking “What can I do with technology?”, and has embedded a mindset of “What can I do now that I have technology?” The question for LEO now is how to increase the scale of successful strategies, to consider what sustainability and succession planning looks like in an ever-evolving ecosystem, and how to play the most effective role as system leaders in the wider educational landscape.

218. McLaughlin, A., (2023) Using Digital Intentionally


RESEARCH CONTRIBUTORS Independent Research Lead Dr Fiona Aubrey-Smith, Independent Consultant Researcher Co-Research Leads Graham Macaulay, Director of Strategic Partnerships Cheryl Shirley, Director of Teaching and Learning - Digital Research Team Matthew Clements, Year 6 Teacher and Cloud Champion, Cheam Fields Primary Academy Emma Dallimore, Associate Principal, LEO Central Team Natasha Dolling, Director of Mathematics, LEO Central Team Louise Elkins, Year 2 Teacher and English Lead, Cheam Fields Primary Academy Julaan Govier, Year 5 Teacher and Cloud Champion, Cheam Common Junior Academy Phoebe King, Year 2 Teacher and Maths Lead, Cheam Common Infants’ James Lewry, Year 6 Teacher and Cloud Champion, Shawley Community Academy Christopher Perrott, Director of English, LEO Central Team Emma Potter, Vice Principal, Cheam Park Farm Academy Charlotte Satchell, Year 6 Teacher and Cloud Champion, Manor Park Primary Academy Rachel Teixeira, Vice Principal, Brookfield Primary Academy Sarah Wells, Vice Principal and Inclusion Manager, Brookfield Primary Academy Nadine Wiliamson, Principal, Manor Park Primary Academy Shareen Wilkinson, Executive Director of Education, LEO Central Team Kelly Wight, Vice Principal Cheam Park Farm Primary Academy and Director of EYFS, LEO Central Team With grateful thanks to Amy Carlile, Assistant Director of Education Phillip Hedger, Chief Executive Officer Della Horwood, IT Development Manager Kristen Hughes, Director of HR Shan Moylan, Chief Operating Officer Diane Rowsome, Director of Governance and Compliance Beverley Smith, Director of Finance and to the children, staff, families and wider community of LEO, along with colleagues from Google, Canopy, and Texthelp who shared insights with the research team as part of this impact study.



Named by Education Business as one of the 50 most influential people in education (2022), Dr Fiona Aubrey-Smith is an award winning teacher, leader and academic with a passion for supporting those who work with children and young people. As Founder of PedTech and Director of One Life Learning, Fiona works closely with schools and trusts, professional learning providers and EdTech companies. She is also an Associate Lecturer, Research Supervisor and Consultant Researcher at The Open University and sits on the board of a number of multi academy and charitable trusts.

Co-author of the best selling book From EdTech to PedTech: Changing the way we think about digital technology, Fiona is also a regular contributor to events and publications about Education, Pedagogy and Education Technology. She is a Founding Fellow of the Chartered College of Teaching, has been awarded Fellowships by RSA, NAACE and the HEA and was awarded the TPEA Research & Development Award in 2021. In 2023, Fiona was granted Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Educators, City of London and named one of the Top 5 Visionary Women in Education by The Knowledge Review. @FionaAS CITE THIS REPORT AS

Aubrey-Smith, F., (2023) PedTech in Practice: The Impact: An independent research review for LEO Academy Trust. London: LEO Academy Trust. 185pp.


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