The Bolsover School
Selecting new technology for your school or college is a big decision. But even once you have made the decision, the implementation side can also be a daunting experience. Here’s how one of our long-standing partners handled the process with enthusiasm and ease.
We recently caught up with The Bolsover School’s Careers Advisor, Debbie Crossley, who told us all about how they successfully implemented Xello at the beginning of the lockdown and, within the first two weeks, had over 1/4 of their students using the program.
Hi Debbie! What was it about Xello that immediately drew you to the product?
‘I wanted a platform that would withstand the test of time and that would engage every year group with age-appropriate lessons and content. I could see straight away that Xello would deliver that for me. It’s easy to use and the students love it!’
‘Selfishly, I also jumped at the chance to use Xello because it helps me to meet the Gatsby Benchmarks.’
‘I can prove student progression and understanding from the data in the Educator Tool. Pulling reports is simple! What’s more, I have access to student profiles so I can understand their interests and skills individually.
My colleagues and I are continually developing support for our students on their career journeys. With Xello, administrative tasks are easier, freeing me up to deliver more personalised guidance to support our students’ individual needs.’
What advantages did you recommend to your senior leadership?
‘The Bolsover School is part of The Redhill Academy Trust, which supports 10 secondary schools and 2 primary schools. When I first saw Xello, my immediate thought was ‘here is a product that provides a wealth of information and enables our students to take ownership of their own career planning’.
I could see how student activity in the product could help me evidence the achievements of our school careers programme to SLT, but also allow me to easily support my colleagues at different schools with valuable insights.
Xello provides a lot of useful information that my colleagues and I would otherwise struggle to aggregate across multiple sources.’
What challenges has Xello helped you overcome since you on-boarded?
1 Increased student engagement
‘We’ve recorded an increase in student engagement already.
Initially, I was a little apprehensive about rolling out Xello immediately, especially because we purchased the software at the beginning of lockdown. But, it actually turned out to be the ideal time because Xello is so intuitive for students that they are able to work remotely in the product with ease and minimal direction.
The ready-made reports in the Educator Tool mean that I can see, at a glance, how students are progressing and track those that might need additional support.
I have already measured a 19% increase in student engagement. That is all down to Xello’s interactive content and lessons.’
2 Time savings for educators
‘Xello actually takes work away from me. With the integrated lessons and ready-made reports, I have more time to work on the delivery of our careers programme. I have more time to spend on face-to-face interventions with our students, in particular those that need extra support and guidance.’
3 Raising student aspirations
‘The Bolsover School is located in a disadvantaged area, where the aspirations of students is assumed to be low.’
‘I can see Xello is relighting a flame in them. The students are starting to understand the reason for careers and future planning and recognising opportunities that are within their reach.’
‘The students are loving it! My colleagues and I have already included Dream Job and CV Writing assignments that we were able to customise within Xello. And students find it easy to keep in touch with me using the two-way messaging functionality. That’s a relief for me because I feel I can support them in real-time, every step of the way.’
‘Students are not seeing Xello as academic work – it’s different – they are investing time in themselves.’
‘We are even seeing students logging in at the weekend.’
And long term, what are your plans for the future of Xello at The Bolsover School?
‘We’re going to continue to carry on embedding Xello as a central part of our careers programme and beyond. I want students to recognise Xello as a support tool to help them confidently explore and develop for their future in the world of work. My ambition is for Xello to become an essential tool for all students throughout the school, from Year 7 to Year 11.
Also, I’m looking forward to training our tutors! They will really benefit from using Xello’s custom lessons and assignments to support their tutor group needs.’
What would you say to another school or college looking to get started with Xello?
‘I can already see how Xello is raising the aspirations of our students. I wanted a platform with longevity and one that complements our school’s values and goals. Xello does just that and I’m excited to get more and more students actively utilising the product.’
Debbie’s inspiration and enthusiasm shine through and we’re excited to be joining her and The Bolsover School on this journey. We’re with you every step of the way, too.