Children look shocked while using Now Press Play

Lanchester EP Primary School: Supporting speaking and listening for all children

Lanchester EP is a now>press>play Flagship School that has used our resources since 2018 to support its pupils speaking and listening, descriptive writing and more. In this case study, Headteacher Jane Davis describes the impact that using now>press>play has had on children both in and beyond the classroom.

How we use now>press>play

We use now>press>play at the beginning or the end of the topic. Every single child is listening and is on task and engrossed in the story. It’s completely inclusive even for children with hearing implants.

Through each now>press>play Experience every child is totally immersed. It captures their interest immediately and it’s never boring. The children are not sitting reading about a topic or watching a film. They are involved and actively moving around, and they’re engrossed in the curriculum-based stories because they are playing the main character.

We often use it at the start of a topic. For example, in history when we do the Stone Age Experience, it gives the children an insight into how life might have been, in a way that would be hard for a class teacher to bring to life, because with now>press>play the children are doing it, imagining it and feeling it.

We use it in different ways; for the younger ones communication is the critical thing. For the older ones, they use it for English and the descriptive work. It’s a cross curricular resource. Even if you are using it for history, geography or science, you can link it to speaking and listening or writing. We’ve had a lot of high quality, descriptive writing that comes out of using now>press>play.

now>press>play’s impact in the classroom

When I look at the impact of a resource, I look at both the impact it has on the classroom and also the enjoyment and frequency of use. Some resources I buy for the school are used perhaps once or twice a term but now>press>play is used at least twice a week, across the different year groups. As soon as you say to the children “we’re going to use now>press>play” the cheer goes up! They look forward to it and are excited.

now>press>play captures their interest so they’re highly motivated and this feeds into their enthusiasm for the work that continues back in the classroom. We see this in the quality of their written work or the descriptive work that they do after they’ve done the Experience.

now>press>play has a lasting impact on our early years children because they act out the story and can remember it much more easily and retell it.

It has certainly made a huge difference to the children’s understanding because they are totally immersed in the subject. They’re right in the middle of it, whether it’s meeting the god Anubis, or they’re under the ocean or outer space, they can actually feel it and you can see it on their faces – it’s hard to describe how much it impacts them. You’ve got to do it; you’ve got to be a part of it, to actually see the full potential of now>press>play.

Pupils can meet gods, pharaohs and more in the KS2 Ancient Egypt Experience...
... explore the creatures and features of the ocean in the EYFS Under the Sea Experience...
... or travel across our solar system in the EYFS Space Experience.

now>press>play’s impact beyond the classroom

An example of how it can impact beyond classroom learning is when we used the Traditional Tales Experiences in Early Years. We invited parents and carers to join in, we even had the dads there and the grandads, and they put the headphones on, and all joined in! They were thrilled because they’d heard their children talk about now>press>play but couldn’t actually imagine what it was until they participated.

Another example, in one of the very first months that we subscribed, one little boy had decided that he was not going to do it. He was quite reserved, quite introverted in all areas. He wasn’t going to join in. He just stood at the back of the hall and just watched the others. And gradually watching them, he became curious and put the headphones on. By the end of the session he was fully involved. For us to see him participate was a huge thing. To see him be able to lose himself in the story with his classmates was wonderful and it was great for his confidence.

For him ‘“communication, speech and language” is one of his main target areas, and after the now>press>play session he actually wanted to talk. As soon as his mum came to collect him, he was all full of enthusiasm and was speaking to her about what had happened. So, for us the impact of this little boy actually speaking about and sharing the now>press>play session with his classmates, as well as his mum, was a huge positive.

“I’ve not come across anything like now>press>play on the market, or anything that engages a whole class so massively in the lesson. It’s an innovative way of engaging the children, capturing their interest and enthusiasm for the subject they are learning about.”

How now>press>play supports and enthuses our teaching staff

In all my years of teaching, I’ve never known a resource to be so well used by 100% of my teaching staff. Usually, if you bring in a new piece of technology or resource there’s a gradual edging in of using it. Teachers think “ooo I ought to use it” or “perhaps I should use it.” But actually, with now>press>play this has never been the case. The teachers have been eager right from the start of the teacher training.

The now>press>play training is clear and effective. They helped us to map the Experiences into our curriculum and lesson plans and this meant our staff could see instantly how it would support their teaching.

If I’m being very honest, now>press>play is an easy lesson from the teacher’s perspective. Because it’s ready prepared for them, they don’t have to plan it or think about it. They just have to read the Experience guide beforehand to find out what will be covered and check which of the follow-on resources they will use back in the class.

Certainly, for me it’s enhanced all of the topics that we teach. It’s had a massive impact on all of our teachers and from a leader’s point of view, it’s wonderful to bring in a new resource and to see it used so regularly. The teachers are having to fight over when they can use it – they now have to email me to say when they want it – because they just see the value of it.

now>press>play has supported our parental engagement, with parents not only joining in with their children but also seeing it on Twitter and commenting on it.

There was a little bit of nervous anticipation when we first started using it, but we are now in our fourth year of subscribing to now>press>play and there is still definite enthusiasm from teachers and children. now>press>play has a massive impact, it’s well worth every penny.

Many thanks to Jane Davis for sharing with us how Lanchester EP supports its pupils using now>press>play. We’re excited to continue working with the school in the future.

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Three boys are wearing pink headphones and doing Now Press Play's Stone Age Experience. They are in a forest surrounded by wolves, with Stonehenge in the background.