Online Education Service Secures Government Grant
An innovative digital platform which was created by a former Derby headteacher to safely share quality teaching between the classroom and the kitchen table has attracted £50,000 Government funding.
You Teach Me (YTM) has been awarded funding by Innovate UK which aims to drive productivity and economic growth by supporting businesses to develop the potential of new ideas.
The grant will enable YTM to re-build onto a cloud-based system. This will increase capacity and pave the way for more schools, parents and children of all ages across the UK and then worldwide to access the online materials through lockdown and beyond.
YTM is the brainchild of Paul Rose who quickly turned around a failing Derby infant school and saw how technology could help all schools to improve.
He resigned his position and set up the company six years ago with a vision of breaking down physical restrictions to all children receiving a high quality and personalised education regardless of their individual needs.
YTM was initially set up to enable teachers in mainstream, special and deaf schools and experts in their field to share best practice through short, engaging videos of lessons and tasks.
There are currently more than 6,000 videos available on the platform which won coveted Edtech 50 status in 2018 and partner schools have used these effectively during the pandemic lockdown.
Furthermore, for a subscription of £10 a month, parents have access to more than 5,000 videos on the You Teach Me Too platform to help them to home-school.
Paul Rose explained: “The pandemic lockdown has brought into sharp focus the need to empower teachers and parents to embrace resilient technology that bridges the gap between the classroom and home.
“During recent weeks, options for schools and children learning at the kitchen table have involved live streaming which presents serious safeguarding risks or paper-based and revision materials – neither of which deliver quality teaching at home.
“You Teach Me is a simple ideal – supporting schools to watch and learn from each other – and has come into its own during the current situation. You Teach Me Too is even simpler as it enables parents and carers to lead their child’s education by bringing the work of UK schools into the home.
“The inbuilt safeguards in our service allow it to support learning in every Key Stage, from the Early Years onwards, and enables the continuation of high quality teaching and learning, regardless of the location of the pupils.
“The innovative schools who have already incorporated You Teach Me into their current teaching methods have successfully navigated the current Covid-19 lockdown.”
Among the schools already benefiting from YTM is Royal School for the Deaf Derby. Headteacher Helen Shepherd explained: “Using You Teach Me to support our learners at home was the obvious solution to the coronavirus situation.
“YTM has a wealth of resources from all schools in the system allowing a sharing of information and approaches. We are also sharing our videos to others which allows mainstream schools with deaf pupils to access learning.
“With YTM, all staff are able to communicate with pupils in the method that matches their needs. Staff video themselves teaching the lesson and this can be differentiated to match pupil needs.
“This clearly visual resource has allowed pupils and parents to not only learn at home but to remain in contact with staff and their peers. As many of our parents are also deaf, the explanations in BSL help them to support learning too.
“A further clear and additional benefit is that this has stopped any live streaming and therefore reduces opportunities for safeguarding incidents. Pupils and staff have clear lines of appropriate communication and lessons can continue as much as possible in these difficult times.
“It also means that lessons can be accessed when needed rather than at a specific time – giving flexibility to parents as well as pupils who are also finding home schooling a challenge.”
Jonathan Crofts, Headteacher of Wilsthorpe secondary school in Long Eaton added: “As a result of the ongoing closure of schools, Wilsthorpe School has significantly increased the use of the You Teach Me platform to teach, support and motivate our students and families.
“In these difficult times, when students can’t communicate with their teachers in person, a video explanation of what the teacher wants students to do is invaluable. The video can teach the students but also help the parents with their new role in the kitchen classroom.”
Mr Rose continued: “Although restrictions to school attendance is starting to ease, the continued development of online services will remain a reality for many children and their parents in the short term.
“Longer term, there is widespread recognition that all parts of society need to prepare for future pandemics. Indeed we anticipate that Ofsted will be evaluating online learning as part of its inspections from September 2020.
“This grant will enable us to continue to be innovative in our approach long-term to support more schools and parents now and in the future.
“We aim to have the system re-build completed by September. This will enable a national rollout with an initial focus on working with local authorities in the Opportunity Areas, including in my home city of Derby, where schools and families are facing the greatest challenges.
“With the increased capacity, we can then offer YTM to potentially every school in the UK before expanding overseas to countries such as China, India and the Commonwealth who consider UK education to be of the highest quality.”
For more information and access to the videos available to parents please visit https://www.youteachmetoo.com/start and register with email for a free trial; the schools’ site is https://www.youteachme.co.uk/