A PENARTH school has been named one of the most innovative schools in the UK.

Westbourne School, on Hickman Road in Penarth, has been included in this year’s [2021-22] EdTech 50 Awards list which honours the most innovative schools that are enhancing teaching and learning across the UK.

The school has been praised for adapting to the Covid pandemic, launching an online learning platform (Westbourne Online), and implementing Google Classroom during lockdown ensuring 100 per cent live lesson coverage in a single week.

“While schools have undoubtedly struggled over the past couple of years, Westbourne has come back stronger and more united than ever,” said Principal Dr. Gerard Griffiths.

“Our appointment of a director of online learning meant that Westbourne was in a unique position to move to a full online offering from the very moment that schools were told to close.

“This was instrumental in minimising disruption to our pupils and their learning, and thanks to advance trialling of new online technology, teachers were able to deliver their lessons as normal, so the students did not suffer delays to their education.”

Penarth Times:

Westbourne School places a strong emphasis on the importance of personalised learning, with teaching heavily tailored to individuals.

During lockdown, the school was able to provide intensive online learning for all ages, with older students (Year 3 - Sixth Form) receiving personalised academic support through Google Classroom, and younger pupils (Nursery - Year 2) through Seesaw. Westbourne Online delivered classroom teaching, group learning, and a full timetable of wellbeing activities.

Westbourne School also utilises artificial intelligence and neuroscience; through a tech partnership the school delivered a ground-breaking AI online learning platform during lockdown, which is still used in face-to-face lessons.

Penarth Times:

The platform generates mini lessons to complement their studies in class, with full teacher support. If a student needs guidance in a particular area the platform recognises this and recommends mini lessons to help – which it can even do in a cross-curricular manner, for example suggesting English mini-lessons if a student’s misunderstanding of a maths problem is due to a comprehension error.

Westbourne’s Director of Online Learning, Mr Stuart Ayres, said: "AI has become part of the make-up of the school, and we are continuing to use it to enhance learning now that we are back in the physical classroom.

“In doing so we’ve been able to elevate the student experience at Westbourne to a whole new - and very exciting - level that, undoubtedly, supports our pupils to excel."