Guest author, Gary Perkins, Owner “Supporting School Leaders”
I have worked in education for my whole adult working life. I know from personal experience (and believe passionately in) the power that education has to effect a positive change to the lives of so many, especially the most disadvantaged. I have worked as a teacher, subject leader, key stage team leader, deputy headteacher, headteacher, Ofsted inspector, senior regional adviser for the Primary National Strategies, senior school improvement adviser, head of school improvement and assistant director for education. I have worked in four local authorities and, currently, own my own company called “Supporting School Leaders,” which sees me working with schools as an independent education adviser. My special interests are in the impact of leadership and management at all levels upon improving and ensuring high quality learning opportunities and outcomes for children and young people.
So, having spent more years than I care to admit to in the “front of house” and “hands on delivery” side of education, it was both a pleasure and a surprise to receive a message from the Group Managing Director of NetSupport asking me if I would be interested in working alongside NetSupport staff as they develop and finesse a new product called “ReallySchool”. I had never really previously considered what contribution I could make to the “backstage” element of developing educational resources.
Learning about ReallySchool
“ReallySchool” is an online and cloud-based support package for primary school teachers and school leaders that saves huge amounts of time and energy by delivering a suite of resources to make, record and report formative and ongoing assessments. It’s invaluable for teachers in being an easy-to-use application for recording the achievements of children. For leaders and governors, there are a range of reporting applications which save time and energy because they produce the reports for you, leaving you free to discuss, debate, analyse and act!
From the very first meeting in February 2019, I was hooked! NetSupport is such a fantastic company, and Al Kingsley (Group Managing Director) is both inspirational and realistic (not a common combination, in my experience!). I was so impressed by the potential of ReallySchool to make a genuine difference to the lives of teachers and school leaders. Kat Cauchi, ReallySchool’s Product Manager, is fantastic to work with and brings her knowledge from the primary classroom teacher perspective – and I was asked to contribute from my experience of what requirements school leaders and governors might have.
I have learned so much about the creation of online and cloud-based resources and the immense thought that goes into their development; the conscientious and thoughtful approach of the developers; the absolute need for genuine teamwork and empathy.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with Al, Kat and the Development Team so far. As we approach the excitement of our appearance at Bett in January 2020, the work continues – testing, designing, ensuring nothing has been missed, amending to reflect the latest educational landscape and changes to the inspection regime – and involving schools in feeding back at every stage.
I honestly believe that ReallySchool is a product that will transform the work of primary school teachers and other staff: saving them huge amounts of time, generating high quality and meaningful reports, enabling contact and communication with parents, involving children in self-assessment and recording – the list is almost endless! Given my leadership background, I particularly like the way in which ReallySchool allows Governors to see the school’s complete context and trend of outcomes in one place (“School on a Page”), with comparison to national averages. Plus, its ability to support school leaders by automatically providing attainment and progress reports for all groups within the school, saves time and effort in producing them manually! And there are more great developments in the pipeline and possibilities yet to fully explore.
Take a look…
These are very exciting times for ReallySchool – do not miss out on your opportunity to become involved and help to further shape a fantastic product! Please do explore the ReallySchool website’s features page and try the online demo. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll be excited and impressed, like me!
Owner “Supporting School Leaders” – A brighter tomorrow for children, today! Doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right place
Former Headteacher, OfSTED inspector, NS Senior Regional Adviser, Head of School Improvement and Assistant Director (Education)