Strategic Partnerships and Research
Burton Joyce Primary School has been the base for Nottingham’s Apple Regional Training Centre since 2014. We share our expertise in using Apple products for education with teachers from the Nottinghamshire region and to date we have trained over 350 teachers. Recently, we have established a new partnership with The University of Nottingham to enhance the reach of our impact for teaching and learning with technology to schools across England.
Professor Nicola Pitchford, a developmental psychologist from the University of Nottingham, first met Burton Joyce Primary School staff in 2014 and introduced the Early Years teachers to a maths app developed by UK non-profit ‘onebillion’ (www.onebillion.org). onebillionhave developed this app for teaching basic math skills to primary school children in different countries around the world. The app is currently being implemented in over 100 primary schools across Malawi, a very poor country in Sub-Sahara Africa. Professor Pitchford has been evaluating the effectiveness of the app in Malawi for the past 5 years (www.onebillion.org/evidence). She has shown the app is highly effective at raising early maths skills in Malawian children attending the first three years of primary school, giving children at risk of underachievement in maths a necessary boost in learning maths at an early age.
Understanding if the onebillionapps could also be effective at supporting young children in the UK to acquire basic maths skills was a primary focus for Professor Pitchford and her PhD Student Laura Outhwaite. At Burton Joyce, they conducted a pilot study of the onebillion maths apps during the 2014-2015 academic year. The pilot study was successful and showed that children in Nottingham benefited from using the onebillion maths apps, just as the children in Malawi did. This research was published Computers and Education in May 2017.
The outcome of this pilot study lead to the University of Nottingham applying for funding from the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) to carry out a larger scale research project. With only 4 pilot studies carried out in the UK at the time, the EEF application was not successful. However, with the expertise of the Early Years teachers at Burton Joyce Primary School, the network of schools attending the Nottingham Apple Regional Training Centre, and the evaluation team at The University of Nottingham, a strategic partnership was formed to implement a larger scale project without EEF funding. The Nottingham Apple Regional Training Centre recruited 12 schools in the Nottinghamshire region and staff from Burton Joyce Primary School trained those schools to deliver the intervention as part of the Apple Regional Training Centre programme. The University of Nottingham evaluated the effectiveness of this trial. Results showed the onebillion maths apps were effective at supporting learning of early maths skills, when implemented as part of the standard maths curriculum. This trial has now been published in The Journal of Educational Psychology (May, 2018).
As the outcomes of this larger study were so effective, a new EEF funding application was accepted. The EEF funded a national trial that is based on the strategic partnership between the Apple Regional Training Centre, The University of Nottingham, and Burton Joyce Primary School. Working together, these organisations made best use of their networks and expertise to recruit 113 schools across England and design training materials for 57 trial schools and 56 control schools. Training took place in February 2018 and was carried out by Early Years teachers at Burton Joyce Primary School, the Nottingham Apple Regional Training Centre and The University of Nottingham. There is more information about this EEF funded trial here.
Following several high impact academic publications and effective regional and national trials with The University of Nottingham, Burton Joyce Primary School is proud to announce that this strategic partnership has been formalised with an official partnership agreement between our organisations. Burton Joyce Primary School will continue to support The University of Nottingham with its research into technology, mathematics, and education, building on the success of our previous work to maximise impact for young children in Nottinghamshire, the UK, and other countries around the world.