Thorpedene Primary School: Encouraging engagement in a broad and balanced curriculum

Thorpedene Primary School, a three-form entry school in Southend, subscribe to now>press>play through their sports premium funding. Deputy Headteacher Stephanie Champney saw a clip of now>press>play on the internet and was intrigued to look into the pink headphones to see how it worked. She booked a free trial and was impressed by the levels of pupil engagement it created.

The impact of now>press>play on pupil engagement

We were keen to provide a broad and balanced curriculum, and now>press>play was perfect as it provides an engaging way of learning for the pupils whilst having educational links to the curriculum areas.

Initially, we thought that we would only see an impact in engagement and participation in the foundation subjects and that now>press>play would stimulate enjoyment and creativity in children’s learning. But since using the now>press>play headphones, we have seen a wide variety of uses across the curriculum, especially in English — the immersive and active Experiences provide excellent opportunities for discussions, and this also feeds into their writing.

We had some reluctant learners who were disengaged in the curriculum. However, now>press>play has supported these pupils in participating and learning across the curriculum. The links and outcomes in literacy have shown an impact in supporting pupils’ writing development and encouraging children to share their ideas with the class based on what they have experienced.

A group of school children act out being dinosaurs during their Now Press Play Experience. They are wearing pink headphones and snarling.

How now>press>play has supported our staff

The ease of use is great — it is simple to set up and use as an enhancement to the curriculum; the training provided was good, so all teachers have an understanding of how it works.

now>press>play supported us to create an overview of the Experiences for the year to ensure there is a spread across each year group, and we have been able to find links to all of the Experiences in our school curriculum.

What our children think of now>press>play

The children have loved learning with now>press>play! The excitement on their faces during the Experiences whilst they are listening has been lovely to see as teachers. Initially, there were some children who were reluctant to participate and join in, but they soon become immersed in the Experiences and are now always asking when they can use it again.

We have one disengaged Year 3 child who during the trial session did not want to join in and participate. However, since we subscribed and the class has been using now>press>play regularly, he now takes part in the sessions with great enthusiasm.

At first, we were unsure how the older children would respond, such as the Year 6 pupils — we wondered if they would be self-conscious and not want to participate fully. But since using the headphones, we have seen that this is not the case and all pupils participate.

Two young school students use Now Press Play. They look shocked while listening to a lesson through their pink headphones; one of them is covering her mouth in shock.

Our future plans

As we move towards our second year of using now>press>play, we will start to explore how we can use the headphones with parents and with our own resources, to record children reciting poetry, retelling stories, and for intervention work with smaller groups in Maths and English.

Thorpedene Primary School have been using now>press>play since November 2017, continuing to use it as part of their sports premium package. Many thanks to the staff and students for sharing their experience with us.