Discover how schools in Pontefract Academies Trust are using Lyfta’s human stories and cultural experiences to make a positive impact on students' global perspectives. See how the trust successfully incorporates Lyfta into the curriculum and what students have to say about their enriching learning journey.
Students taking part in a Lyfta lesson
In this earlier blog we explored how Pontefract Academies Trust are creating impact with Lyfta by widening their students' experience of the world. We have since had the pleasure of meeting with Emily Starkey and Connor McMahon, two of the trust's school Lyfta leads, to learn more about how they are working towards the overarching goals with Lyfta in their own schools.
Supporting staff in implementing Lyfta
Connor and Emily emphasised the importance of all staff gaining confidence with Lyfta in the classroom. To achieve this they adopted a strategy of selecting one storyworld per half term for the whole school (an approach we have seen work effectively for other schools using Lyfta like Foxborough Primary School).
Each week, classes spend approximately 15 minutes exploring the chosen storyworld. Teachers were able to leverage the adaptability of the platform and decide which aspects of the storyworlds they would explore. For KS1, the emphasis might have been on the sights and sounds of the 360° environments and meeting new people, whereas for UKS2 the focus might be on deepening their understanding of the wider contexts of the stories. Different classes often explored very different aspects of the stories. Sometimes the different explorations culminated in a shared assembly, where classes had opportunities to share their learning.
"It's been enjoyable to hear how different classes took their learning down different routes. For example, from 'One Billion Trees' one class focussed on China, another on life in deserts, another about climate change. This level of depth and repetition has supported student understanding of the story and the context around it."
Embedding Lyfta: the two pronged approach
A student doing a follow up writing task after a Lyfta experience
In addition to the shared learning experiences mentioned above, Connor and Emily are now working with subject leads to weave Lyfta throughout the curriculum. By incorporating explicit links to Lyfta lesson plans and storyworlds in the curriculum documents, staff have easy access to the resources they need to support planning and enhance their curriculum topics. This is the current focus in their Lyfta journey, in order to be ready for the next academic year.
Emily and Connor actively sought staff feedback to enhance the rollout of Lyfta in the trust. The valuable input they received was shared with Tom, Director of Improvement for the trust, enabling them to collaboratively develop the next steps for the schools and trust as a whole.
"The survey showed that staff enjoyed using the Lyfta globe and the resulting class discussions, it also showed that pupils were more engaged when Lyfta stories were linked to their current learning. We also found that we needed to support in making the curriculum links and suggesting more accessible content, particularly lower down the school."
Students at Orchard Head Primary
As part of Orchard Head's monitoring and self-evaluation processes, Emily conducted learning walks and interviews to assess the impact of Lyfta on broadening the students' horizons. Her line of enquiry was 'to monitor the impact Lyfta is having on the cultural capital of the children'. During her visits, she observed classes from reception to yr 6.
Through her analysis, Emily concluded that “pupils show a strong knowledge of global issues and their impact on the lives of others' and that 'students can recollect the places they have been and the people they have met, as well as the impact this has had on them.”
Pupil voice at Orchard Head has shown that Lyfta is providing children with additional essential knowledge needed to be educated citizens. It is also stretching the 'total learned experience of the child' beyond the learning that takes place within lessons. This is supported with the following quotes from students:
"I like Lyfta because I have never left England before so it is exciting to see places that I don't get to. We see places we have never even heard of."
"I like Lyfta because we get to explore new countries and it teaches us about new places. It tells us all about countries we have never heard of. We see the lives of other people who are different to us and we can learn about them."
"Lyfta teaches us about respect for other people and the world. Some videos challenge our expectations and stereotypes."
"We get to explore new places that you might not get to go to on holiday."
Other aspects that teachers at the schools commented on:
Lyfta provides a simple and effective way to expose students to other languages.
Both staff and students using Lyfta found it engaging and enjoyable.
The stories sparked detailed discussions in the classroom and helped students to share their thoughts and opinions with others.
Children were able to effectively link their use of Lyfta to other learning.
Lyfta has been effective for sharing key messages in assembly, linked to annual celebrations and dates of significance
For us at Lyfta, to read through the pupil voice developing from reception to year six was a real honour, and we thank both Emily and Connor for all the amazing work they are doing with Lyfta at Pontefract Academies Trust.