HOW DID BROWN CLEE C OF E PRIMARY SCHOOL FINISH IN THE TOP TWO SPOTS FOR THREE YEARS IN A ROW?
ENGLAND ROCKS ROYALTY
Brown Clee Church of England Primary School have joined the likes of The Beatles, Queen, Janis Joplin, and many others in becoming Rock Royalty. England Rocks has been running for three years, and in each year, Brown Clee has placed in the top two spots.
After this unique and special feat, which no other school in England has accomplished, we were keen to understand how they approach and run the competition. Moreover, we wanted to share their tips on how to get the best out of their pupils on TT Rock Stars – during tournaments or in everyday classroom activity!
Sue Relph, Headmistress of Brown Clee, has provided us with insight into how this school have become TT Rock Stars (and England Rocks) gurus!
PREPARING FOR ENGLAND ROCKS
The children particularly like the personal challenge of climbing up the ranks and we have a display in each class (KS2) to show them the rankings as they move up. They also get the appropriate certificate when they reach the next level – and we present these at our Friday Well Done Assemblies – so they are celebrated across the school community.
When we first introduced TTRS we did go a bit “Rocky” and had a kick start assembly with loud rock music and some children dressed up as rock stars with guitars to promote it! Since then though it is just a natural part of what we do.
Our Mission is ‘to nurture and empower everyone to be the best they can be’, so a lot of the competition is for the individual to get better – very much a personal challenge! I will often ask what time are they at – and the children get frequent high 5s for improvements!
It’s not necessarily about being a Rock Hero – but on improving your scores – the progress.
We shared it with the children so they understood what the competition was, and we promoted on the website to share with parents to encourage home use as well.
DURING ENGLAND ROCKS
We also posted on the website and Tweeted scores throughout the week to heighten the excitement and show them how well they were doing! We promoted it very much as a team event – emphasising that every point counted so even 2 minutes helped – and we needed everyone’s help! They loved it when they’d get to the top of the scoreboard – and then if they got overtaken they just got more determined to get back to the top again!
These competitions are also great for getting the less competitive players going as they wanted to ensure they did their bit for the class or school.
We give them extra opportunity to play in school. We allow them access to iPads in Care Club (our wrap around child care) as long as it was on TTRS. There would be lots of chat about it in school too from other teachers and myself in the morning as I greeted the children outside.
AFTER ENGLAND ROCKS
Having won it 3 years ago it really showed the children that even though we are a small rural Shropshire school we can still compete nationally – and it worked well with our school motto of “Aspire, Believe, Persevere, Succeed” – because they certainly did all of those things! Last year when we came second the school match funded the £50 Amazon voucher and the class (we only entered one class last year) decided that they wanted a class pet – so we now have Loki the Axolotl in the class as a physical reminder of their success!
What advice would I give other schools? Don’t use TTRS as a gimmick, make it part and parcel of how you get children to learn times tables, and promote that self-belief – it does work.
“In terms of times tables knowledge, TTRS has made a massive impact.”
TTRS has made a big difference as it is our key means of getting children to memorise their times tables – something that in the ‘olden’ days was done through constant writing or chanting to embed in our long term memories. However, this is much more exciting as there is the competition as well as personal challenge to see if you can become a Rock Star, or even better a Rock Hero! They love beating the teachers too!
In terms of times tables knowledge, TTRS has made a massive impact. Children can now use this knowledge in other areas of their maths learning, such as fractions, problem solving and they can do it without taking up brain power trying to work out the times table fact – they just know them now!