Fuelling education with strong values
Milton Keynes Education Trust (MKET) was the first multi-academy trust in Milton Keynes, established in 2011 by Walton High. True to their ethos of education being about lighting fires, not filling buckets, the Trust creates and fosters mutually beneficial partnerships between local schools. Committed to providing high-quality education, MKET promotes inclusion, embraces diversity and empowers children and young people to prepare for the future. Since 2011, the Trust has expanded to include four additional sites, with a fifth free school due to launch in 2018.
In every constraint, an opportunity
While bringing together three existing primary schools under the MKET partnership, the ELT wanted to ensure that all sites were equipped to the highest standards. An audit of the ICT provision concluded that the ICT estate across all of MKET’s sites was inconsistent and required a complete upgrade. The boundaries were clear: procurement’s technical and commercial considerations had to be front of mind. A fresh approach was needed.
“We recognised that the mixed ICT estate across all of our sites required a complete upgrade. While my team had the technical and commercial considerations of procurement front-of-mind, we fully appreciated the importance of engaging teaching staff after all, they are the ones who use the technology to enhance the classroom experience.”
When in doubt, ask the end user
The Trust operates a collaborative and engaging approach to working with their school partners. Instead of prescribing what technology they should use, they simply conduct the due diligence on their behalf and make the opportunities available to them.
A trip to the Bett Show inspired MKET to fully involve the teaching staff who would be using the technology day-to-day in decision-making, by establishing an engagement programme.
Two brands of an 84 interactive flat panel were introduced to be assessed against 5 key criteria:
- Value for money
- Training and support
- Warranty provision
- Software quality
- Installation service
A team that finds a solution together, stays together
Meeting with Primary heads in visioning sessions proved to be vital in helping MKET communicate their vision and understand how the ActivPanel fitted into it. By delivering focused orientation training, Promethean ensured that the teachers were comfortable and confident in using the technology.
Both teachers and procurement concluded that Promethean had proven themselves to be a very valuable partner in MKET’s supply chain. It was highly appreciated that Promethean continued to play an active role in ensuring the Trust achieves the progress they had set their sights on. The decision to roll out Promethean’s ActivPanel in all existing and new sites was a unanimous one.
“Promethean have proven themselves to be a very valuable partner in our supply chain and post installation continue to play an active role in ensuring we achieve the progress we have set our sights on.”
Shaping a sustainable future
Today, the ActivPanel is being used in GCSE Chemistry and Physics lessons. Teachers who were formerly advocates of the Bunsen burner and practical experiments now enjoy a safer and more interactive classroom experience. Students view detailed content in true clarity on a 4K display. Using the digital pen, they draw the parts and functions of a plant cell very accurately, and label them by simply dragging and dropping annotation boxes to the correct places.
Student motivation has also been significantly boosted since the ActivPanel was introduced. The ActivPanel allows for natural light to unobstructedly flow through the classrooms, taking blackout blinds out of the equation. This is particularly beneficial for North or South-facing schools, where natural daylight can be disruptive.
Walton High was the first of the Trusts schools to be fully equipped with 69 ActivPanels. This was just the beginning of a long-lasting collaboration. After seeing how much the classroom experience had been enriched and enhanced, all MKET sites decided to also adopt Promethean’s ActivPanels. Starting from seeking a creative approach to procurement constraints, the Trust managed to become a leader in integrating sustainable education technology as an investment for the future. With Promethean’s continuous support the partnership works undistracted on its growth and continues to pave the way for the modern classroom.