Impact Report 2020
Invicta Summer Academy is a Community Interest Company which was set up by Cllr Anna Firth and Stephen James to help students catch-up after the interruption to learning caused by Covid-19.
The aim was to offer students from Key Stage 1 to 4 the opportunity to receive free ‘live’ Maths and English lessons, enabling them to grow in confidence and feel prepared to return to school in September, alongside a series of careers sessions inspiring students to aspire.
This initial report aims to summarise the key areas of impact, based upon survey responses from 220 parents and 44 teachers.
A paper from Francis Green (UCL Institute of Education) published by the Centre for Learning and Life Chances in Knowledge Economies and Societies found that 20% of children did no schoolwork at home during lockdown, or less than one hour a day. This is in comparison with 17% who had completed more than 4 hours a day.
86% of students surveyed from Invicta Academy had not had live lessons as the primary means of teaching during the Covid-19 outbreak.3 Looking at the national picture, a report from the Sutton Trust (April 2020) indicated that only 23% of pupils nationally were taking part in live and recorded lessons every day with working class students at 16%4. The report from Green (2020) indicated that there was a country wide average of just 7 per cent of students receiving 4 or more online lessons or meetings a day.
The Sutton Trust report (April 2020) also indicated that in the most deprived schools, 15% of teachers report that more than a third of their students would not have adequate access to an electronic device for learning from home, compared to only 2% in the most affluent state schools. Furthermore, 50% of teachers in private schools report they are receiving more than three quarters of work back, compared with 27% in the most advantaged state schools, and just 8% in the least advantaged state schools.
The Invicta Solution
KS1 - KS4 Live Lessons
45 minute long live Maths and English lessons were delivered by qualified DBS-checked teachers, broken down by Key Stage (KS1, Lower KS2, Upper KS2, KS3 and KS4).
Lesson facilitators supported every class, controlling the Q & A function which allowed students to submit questions, and help with the pace of the lesson. There was a tight child protection policy and strategy.
On Wednesdays we ran ‘Aim High’ Showcase Careers sessions with speakers such as Double Gold Medallist Lizzie Yarnold, Michelin starred chef Mark Sergeant, MP Laura Trott , and the BBC Young Reporter team.
49893 learning opportunities were delivered in 5 weeks, with 645 lessons and 5 showcase career sessions.
Total cost: £53,000
Cost per pupil per lesson: £1.06.
The data indicates that the vast majority of students benefitted significantly from attending Invicta Summer Academy. The results of the survey suggest that students have increased their confidence and feel more ready to return to school, and, in some cases, enjoyed being part of a group of students, and now have reduced levels of anxiety. Most parents feel that their children have improved their understanding and made academic progress. Other benefits revealed by the study include an increased confidence in online learning and digital skills, and increased independence in learning. Note that we were unable to complete a baseline study, so this information is obtained via a parental survey at the end of Invicta Summer Academy.
• NB: 92% of students were from state schools2, 58% of students attended all daily Maths/ English sessions in the week5
• 83% agreed (slightly or strongly) that ‘the online lessons were as engaging as being in a 'live' classroom’
• 89% agreed (slightly or strongly) that “My child has improved their understanding of that subject”
• 88% agreed (slightly or strongly) that ‘The lessons have helped my child to feel more confident in the subject/s’
• 87% agreed (slightly or strongly) that “The lessons have helped my child to feel more prepared to return to school’
• 83% agreed (slightly or strongly) that “The lessons have helped my child to catch-up”
• 77% surveyed agreed (slightly or strongly) that ‘My child to improve their ability to use technology as a learning tool’
• 7.7 on (0-10 point scale) in response to: ‘Reflecting with your child, to what extent do you think your child has made progress, using the Invicta Summer Academy?’
• 58% of parents said their children were more confident learning online as their peers could not see them making mistakes.
Engaging & quality of teaching:
• ‘The kids have loved being part of an online group, able to give answers/comments.'
• ‘He was looking forward to attending the lesson & it was really enjoyable and he learnt well as it was live zoom... not Google classroom. As it was like being with a teacher in a classroom much better and easier to understand and learn.’
• ‘My son is easily distracted however, the engaging, clear and concise Zoom lessons, enabled him to stay focused.’
• ‘Having a ‘live’ lesson has engaged my child far more than I, as a parent, could do. The classes were engaging and it has helped retain some of the knowledge lost throughout this period.’
• ‘The live interaction has kept my child engaged and interested. The format used - explaining with the use of examples and getting students to answer and then going through the answers together really helps things sink in.’
• ‘Both my girls said they would like the tutors to teach them all the time.’
Confidence boost/ school readiness / reduced anxiety:
• ‘My child enjoyed the lessons and found she could keep up (a challenge for her - she has dyslexia). This gave her a confidence boost and helped her in some areas. Something similar over a longer time span would be very beneficial.’
• ‘My child was able to stay in touch with studies and will feel more prepared and less nervous to go to school.’
• ‘Improved focus and more productive. My son has ASD, so was very anxious and apprehensive from the start. However after the first lesson he independently, read ahead about the following days lesson topic and was prepared with pen and paper, daily.’
• ‘He feels much more confident now and it has helped him begin to like English…whereas he found it hard before.’
• ‘Confidence & structure. Before the academy she had started to show signs of anxiety. Her school gave uninspiring lessons via FROG and there weren’t any zoom lessons or live contact. Since she started the IA she has been able to fill in some gaps in her education & feels more confident in her ability to show her workings. More importantly her mental health improved and anxieties subsided. She became more engaged in family life too.’
Improved use of technology & encouraged independence:
• ‘Invicta Academy has helped my child in various ways, improvement in her knowledge of how to use a laptop being one of them.’ Note that we also looked at providing access to technology, delivering a laptop to one family. • ‘Fostered an independent mindset.’
These were the few areas of comment for improvement:
• ‘If they could please go a bit slow for them’ (There were more comments saying pass was too fast than too slow – differentiation always going to be challenging in large class sizes and with reduced interaction) • ‘To share links to any homework sheets mentioned as they were too hard to find.’
• ‘Would be nice to split the group by assessment.’ (A few suggested ability streams)
• ‘My daughter would prefer an online environment where all participants can see each other to make it a more 'realistic' experience.’
• ‘Possibly make recordings available so that when and if some classes were missed, we can catch up on our own time.’
The survey indicates that the majority of teachers (based on a survey of 44) strongly agreed that teaching at Invicta Summer Academy has improved their confidence in online teaching and enabled them to pick up new skills in pedagogy. Most teachers also agreed that teaching at Invicta led them to have a stronger desire to volunteer or contribute to their local community. Many teachers have also noted an increased belief in the potential of online teaching to deliver lessons that enable students to make progress.
NB: 127 teachers in total: 27% voluntary, 66% paid, 7% mixture of paid and voluntary6
• "I have grown in my confidence in online teaching as a result of teaching at Invicta Academy." 89% agreed or strongly agreed (note that 75% strongly agreed)
• "I have picked up new skills in online pedagogy as a result of teaching at Invicta Academy." 86% agreed or strongly agreed (61% strongly agreed)
• "I feel a stronger desire to volunteer or contribute to my local community as a result of teaching at Invicta Academy." 77% agreed or strongly agreed (45% strongly agreed)
Impact upon their teaching:
• ‘I feel much more confident about the advantages of online teaching.’
• ‘It’s made me appreciate even more how vital it is to know the curriculum and age group inside out, to tailor the lessons and understand what each year group are likely to struggle with.’
• ‘As a prep/private school teacher, It has made me more aware of the disadvantaged children who have not had teaching for months and I feel an increased desire to get involved.’
• ‘1 - increased confidence in using online pedagogy and an interest in furthering these skills. 2 - an affirmation that online can help students as a compliment to school provision. 3 - highlighted the need to reach those who need the help most. 4 - that the teaching community can offer more than just classroom lessons to young people. 5 - that I can train and inspire others to work online. 6 - that support (facilitators) are integral to effective online learning with large groups. 7 - that there is a great deal still to be done to increase accessibility.’
• ‘I have been able to up-level myself in terms of my subject content. Being a Year 5 teacher normally, I have taught predominately year 6 curriculum content, so my confidence has increased in this way…I am more confident using online platforms to teach and have learnt how to use zoom and PowerPoint to annotate and explain to the children.’
• ‘Knowing that there are so many other positive, caring teachers who want the best for students despite lockdown is hugely reassuring and motivating.’
• ‘The role of facilitators has been amazing. This is something that I would like to discuss when I return to school.'
Parents all appreciated the free resource provided by Invicta. Benefits for parents aside from providing their child an education also include enabling them to focus on work and removing any pressure to pay for private tutoring.
(Scale of 0-10)
• 8.9 /10 ‘How useful has Invicta Academy been to your family this summer?
• 9.3/10 score for recommending Invicta Academy to others
Some important comments/suggestions demonstrating the role of Invicta Academy in the home:
• ‘A big thank you from a working mum worried about how much six months of no school would have.’
• ‘It was very good, keeping my child busy and learning at the same time.’
• ‘Explanatory sessions for parents would help as some of the maths terminology wasn't around when I/we were at school - so - familiarisation 15 minutes would be good’
Many parents requested in the comments section, that Invicta Academy continues beyond the summer:
• ‘I believe this should be funded to continue as children are so behind in their learning, it would really help them to be able to continue with this.’
• ‘It was excellent, my daughter would definitely be interested in attending again in the holidays....or perhaps the weekends?!’
• ‘Please continue to run the academy, we would pay for the lessons you have provided our children. Thank you to all those involved for making a difference.’
• 96% of parents said that they would definitely or probably use Invicta Summer Academy again, if it could be funded (with 84% at ‘definitely would’).