In the heart of Newham, one of London’s most economically challenged areas, Avenue Primary School serves as a beacon of hope for the community. With approximately 37% of residents grappling with poverty and 44% of its children eligible for Pupil Premium, the school is on a mission to provide its 750 pupils, aged 3 to 11, with a high standard of education that can unlock brighter futures.
Avenue Primary School understands that a child’s educational journey is significantly enriched when parents actively participate in their learning process. However, engaging parents, particularly recent immigrants with English as a second language, posed a unique challenge.
The Challenge: Bridging the Parental Engagement Gap
To bridge this gap, the school embarked on a quest to leverage technology for fostering parent involvement. Recognising that many parents lacked access to laptops and the internet but did have mobile phones, the school sought a solution to communicate effectively via mobile devices. Furthermore, considering the language barriers, visual communication was paramount.
As Khalil Hassanali, Assistant Headteacher at Avenue Primary School, explained in 2021: “At our school, many of our pupil’s face challenges; for some, it is that due to their current financial circumstances, they don’t have laptops or iPads at home, or the internet. For others, their challenge is that English is not a language spoken at home. This means that many parents, through no fault of their own, were often unaware of what their child was studying at school.”
In their pursuit of a transformative solution, the school discovered MarvellousMe. As Mr. Hassanali explained: “We wanted a solution which would allow us to get up and running quickly. A system which would allow us to positively communicate rewards and praise with our parents in a way which they could receive and access the messages easily. Many of our parents have mobile phones, so this was a perfect solution. Additionally, the cost was lower than other solutions.”
Unlocking Motivation: MarvellousMe as a Catalyst
With a student body largely hailing from disadvantaged backgrounds, motivation through rewards and praise became the cornerstone of their academic journey. “We wanted a tool which would be a positive channel of communication from school to home to keep children motivated. We were attracted to MarvellousMe as we can easily send immediate rewards and praise home to parents, so it is a great way to motivate young people to achieve.”
Empowering Parents: MarvellousMe’s Impact
Parental engagement is a universal challenge for schools seeking to connect with parents in a familiar and accessible manner. For Avenue Primary School, MarvellousMe has been a game-changer. Mr. Hassanali asserts, “The parents of pupils have taken to using MarvellousMe very well, and it has been a supportive tool in the way we communicate with them. We are moving away from sending letters out, and using MarvellousMe helps us give parents an insight into their child’s education.”
However, MarvellousMe has yielded more than just improved parental engagement. Mr. Hassanali reflects, “MarvellousMe has given our teachers a direct line to parents. Within a few weeks, teachers had received thousands of ‘high-fives’ back, meaning that parents are not only reading messages, but they are also acknowledging they have read them and are pleased about it, which is lovely for our teachers.”
Beyond Expectations: The Versatility of MarvellousMe
For Avenue Primary School, MarvellousMe has proven to be more versatile than initially anticipated. “As an Assistant Headteacher, I can easily create or see any learning groups and monitor parental engagement. Our teachers can send messages to these groups, an individual or the whole class or school, and send praise quickly and easily. Recently we have had odd sock day and Children in Need Day, and we could send messages about these days easily, in a few seconds.”
School Values Brought to Life
One feature of MarvellousMe that schools love is the ability to create personalised badges for their unique school values. “We’ve created badges for all of our learning values which gives our pupils a wider understanding of them in our daily lives at school. If one of our pupils demonstrates a school value, we can send a badge home immediately. This creates discussion about our school values at home and really brings our school values and what they mean to life.”
The Future with MarvellousMe
As a school using EdTech to help ensure every child achieves regardless of their background, what is next? “I don’t think we have touched the surface of what MarvellousMe can do. It’s a powerful tool which has helped us engage parents regardless of background and give them a clearer understanding of what their children learn in the classroom. The immediate praise and reward format is motivating our pupils to achieve.”
Avenue Primary School is revitalising parental engagement with MarvellousMe, rewriting the narrative for pupils and parents alike, and nurturing dreams of a brighter future for all.
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