Bursley Academy

Bridging the gap between teacher-parent communications 

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Bursley Academy Logo

MarvellousMe is a parental engagement app that makes it easy for teachers to tell parents about their child’s learning and achievements.

Bursley Academy

About Bursley Academy 

Bursley Academy, situated in Newcastle-under-Lyme, is a large two-form entry school dedicated to supporting the educational journey of pupils from nursery through to year 6. Bursley distinguishes itself through its commitment to setting the highest standards for all pupils, offering a diverse range of learning activities and opportunities. Recognising the significance of collaborative efforts, Bursley Academy actively engages with parents to ensure the best outcomes for each child, whilst demonstrating the schools core values of Nurture, Inspire, and Achieve in the day-to-day school experience. 

To other schools thinking about using MarvellousMe, I wouldn't hesitate. I’d say go for it!
Bursley Academy Logo
Debbie Verdiani Office Services Manager

The challenges that led the Academy to MarvellousMe  

The Academy received criticism from parents who felt communication about their child's learning journey and academic achievements could be improved. This was mainly because all communication had to go through the busy school office, creating a high workload for office staff. The Academy's Facebook page for parents also presented challenges, with late-night enquiries often left without immediate responses, adding to concerns. 

Understanding the demanding nature of teachers' jobs, the Academy sought to address this challenge with a simple, quick, and user-friendly communication tool. The school has a diverse and modern demographic (over half of pupils come from blended families) so the parent communication strategy had to cater to every family's needs. The aim was to provide a platform that allowed parents to express feedback through a straightforward ‘thumbs-up’ system, avoiding complex two-way communication. The solution needed to be easily monitored yet uncomplicated, aligning with the Academy’s commitment to improving communication and engagement between teachers and parents. 

The Academy wanted an app that was simple and frictionless, with a comfortable user experience – something that would be easy for both teachers and parents to use.  

Encouraged by favourable feedback from another school in the Trust that was already successfully using MarvellousMe, Bursley Academy decided to explore it as a solution to support their goals of improving parent communications. 

On the Academy’s parent engagement aspirations, Mr Wilkinson, Headteacher at Bursley Academy, said:   

“As a school, we wanted something where teachers could feel like they were improving parental relations by sending out more reward badges and more information about what each child was doing in class. From the feedback from another school in the Trust, we could see that MarvellousMe was amazing value for money and ticked all of the right boxes.”  

A marvellous solution that boosts parent engagement  

After providing Juniper's team with information and detailed requirements, a dedicated MarvellousMe platform was created for Bursley Academy.  

The team designed customised apps, including personalised school badges for subjects like PE, badges for school clubs such as The Eco Council and Young Voices, and individual teacher badges for rewards and recognition. MarvellousMe marked a substantial improvement over the previous system, which included a classroom chart reward system that was difficult to maintain. 

Bursley Image Badges

Juniper also developed a suite of tools specifically tailored to meet the Academy's needs, introducing features like the 'Star of the Week' communication, which was previously communicated offline, and a new House Points feature to improve upon the old system, which was “hard work.”  

Bursley Star of the Week

The Academy had concerns that installing the app might be “too much effort”, especially considering the already busy school office. They were wary of a complicated onboarding process and didn't want a high-maintenance product. Juniper offered an ideal solution, taking care of every detail.  

To streamline the onboarding, Juniper ensured the system was set up and ready to use immediately, addressing all the Academy's requirements. The team also proactively prepared launch communications for the school to share with parents through emails and the school's newsletter. 

Debbie Verdiani, Office Services Manager at Bursley Academy, played a significant role in the implementation of MarvellousMe and shared her thoughts on the support received:  

“The setup by the team made life very easy. The onboarding was smooth and is a testament to how good the setup was that we rarely needed help with support or maintenance. On the rare occasion that we did need assistance, Juniper was quick to respond and help – resolving issues immediately.  

Debbie continued:  

The roll-out process was also simple because we had our hands held all the way through. The communications were already there for us to send out with wording for emails and newsletters, so it was literally just a copy and paste. Our parents were quickly engaged within a week or two. To be honest, it's been seamless.” 

Bursley parents love MarvellousMe 

The data around parent engagement is a testament to how successful MarvellousMe has been in improving the Academy’s school-home communications: 

  • A marvellous 95% of parents have embraced MarvellousMe 
  • The app includes 399 children and 36 staff accounts 
  • An impressive total of 2,000 MarvellousMe messages were sent within a 30-day period 
  • There are 46 additional 'followers,' representing second parents 
  • A total of 34 custom school badges have been designed, with each teacher having a dedicated custom school badge for recognition 

Marvellous outcomes  

The school has experienced several notable benefits from the implementation of MarvellousMe.  

The app has effectively closed the communication divide between the school and parents, with a particular emphasis on providing support to parents who no longer live together. An additional 46 ‘followers’ representing second parents have signed up, ensuring that important updates reach both parents. 

A key advantage lies in its positive effect on the school office's workload. MarvellousMe has significantly reduced the burden on the school office, enabling teachers to handle day-to-day parent updates with less intervention, and without the weight of two-way communication. 

Another significant benefit of MarvellousMe at Bursley has been its impact on encouraging children to complete their reading assignments. Despite the Academy recognising that staff can be hesitant to adopt new technology, teachers have embraced MarvellousMe with open arms. They can now effortlessly send praises for accomplishments, such as for reading homework, and communicate with parents about the school day.  

Bursley Academy Dummy Profiles

Debbie comments on the transition to MarvellousMe:  

“MarvellousMe brought no resistance from teachers, the implementation was seamless, and the app was so easy to use that our teachers embraced it straightaway. MarvellousMe is simple and does what it’s designed to do without interruption or friction.” 

Additionally, the platform has effectively facilitated positive reinforcement for good behaviour and academic success among pupils in the classroom. It is apparent that using personalised badges and introducing house points for pupils has enhanced engagement and classroom motivation, creating a more modern, digital, and efficient reward and recognition solution.  

Senior leaders also use MarvellousMe to boost staff interactions, ensuring each child receives a reward badge at least once every two weeks. 

The Academy state that it is evident that communication between teachers and parents has significantly improved, reducing calls to the office regarding P.E. days, clubs, and other matters. Moreover, there has been a noticeable increase in communication between children and parents regarding various positive aspects of school life, and parental engagement with homework and activities has significantly increased since implementing MarvellousMe.  

Reflecting on MarvellousMe, Debbie asserts: 

“MarvellousMe now literally runs itself. I was heavily involved during the implementation stage, but now, I can take a huge step back. To other schools thinking about using MarvellousMe, I wouldn't hesitate. I’d say go for it!”  

When discussing how she’d highly recommend MarvellousMe to other local schools, Debbie suggested: 

“Schools may watch the MarvellousMe demo and think that’s great, but it’s helpful to actually know what it would look like in practice. We welcome neighbouring schools in and around the Stoke-on-Trent area to come visit and see how MarvellousMe works in action.” 

Better school-home communication for teachers, children and parents

MarvellousMe is designed to help primary schools engage with parents in a positive, inclusive way.

  • Communicate more effectively with your parents with fun real-time updates. 
  • Involve parents in their children’s learning and character growth. 
  • Big impact, no extra workload.