Djanogly Learning Trust has eight academies with over 36 languages spoken by its diverse student body across the institution. The Trust prides itself on providing every child with an education that gives them the best opportunity to succeed and places great importance on values such as innovation, resilience, and excellence.
"We want our students to be respectful human beings, who care about the world locally and internationally."
ASSISTANT HEAD TEACHER - DJANOGLY SHERWOOD ACADEMY.
Djanogly Sherwood Academy
In September 2021, the Trust rolled out Lyfta's immersive, storyworld platform across all its schools, including Djanogly Sherwood Academy. Composed of interactive 360° spaces and soundscapes of real homes, workplaces and environments from around the world, Lyfta features a range of human stories. Students are invited to explore new places, unlock rich media content, and get to know real people through powerful and inspiring short films.
With a "high number of EAL (English as an Additional Language)" KS1 and KS2 students from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, it was important for school leaders at Djanogly Sherwood Academy to develop cultural capital, encourage children to celebrate their differences and empower them to make positive changes in their community.
Djanogly Sherwood Academy's curriculum is based upon 5 Conceptual Strands, interlinked with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
The 17 SDGs
Power – SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions)
Environmental concerns – SDG 13 (Climate Action)
Nottingham – SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities)
Innovators – SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure)
Women in History – SDG 5 (Gender Equality)
As a cross curricular tool, Lyfta was the perfect fit for the school. Linked to the SDGs, every storyworld can cover topics from Citizenship to SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural Development). This allowed teachers to easily integrate Lyfta into lessons and deliver their curriculum in an innovative and impactful way.
Just one year after its implementation, Djanogly Sherwood Academy, noted among its children, sustained improvement in engagement with the curriculum, teamwork, embracing diversity, community involvement, teamwork and leadership skills.
Teachers were able to bring the Curriculum strands to life with Lyfta's storyworlds. Beginning with "Beachcomber", students were introduced to Rob, an artist and environmental activist. Rob, who lives in Cornwall collects ocean plastics, transforming them into eye-catching works of art to raise awareness of plastic pollution.
When describing the impact the storyworld had on children, Curriculum Assessment Lead Michael Brothwood categorised their reactions in three ways:
Amazed - many children had never visited a beach before,
Shocked – at the level of plastic pollution on beaches right here in the UK;
And lastly, inspired –Rob's actions made students want to find out how they too could be environmental champions.
Michael Brothwood speaks about how Lyfta inspired his students to take action
Having been inspired by Rob's climate positive behaviours and supported by staff, students went on to create a Climate Action group. In the past, teachers found that students were often inspired to act on several initiatives but inevitably they would lose the spark, and momentum would quickly fizzle. This time however was different.
"Lyfta teaches me about how other people live around the world."
Students continued to explore more Lyfta worlds every week, getting to know real people and their stories. This allowed international students to meet people who looked like them or came from similar cultural backgrounds and provided a sense of belonging.
These children went on to form a Global Goals group and plan a Global Goals Day, where they would extend an invitation to the wider community to discuss the group's sustainability initiatives and find out ways everyone could work together to protect the environment.
"Lyfta has made me feel like I can make a difference."
In March students held the Global Goals Day at their school. They sold cakes and hand decorated tote bags to fundraise for their chosen charities. They invited members of the community, Sports for Good Nottingham, local councillors and the Lyfta team!
"We feel involved with making decisions."
Fired up by seeing the impact of their Global Goals Days, many students wanted to know how they could do more to support their local community. During an assembly on British values and a discussion on democracy, they reached out to their Local MP, Nadia Whittome, via Twitter and invited her to the school. During her visit, they had the opportunity to talk with the MP about future plans around climate positive behaviour and to find out ways they could take meaningful action in their community.
To empower their children further, school leaders went on to involve students in curriculum changes and future planning, equipping them with the knowledge and tools needed to make a lasting impact.
"Lyfta gives us the chance to talk about important things all together."
The Global Goals group still exists today and has now expanded to regulating the school's green initiatives which includes efficient energy use, litter picking during school breaks and reducing lamination.
Listen to students at Djanogly Sherwood talk about their experience with Lyfta
EAL and SEND children who typically found traditional classroom lessons challenging were now able to participate actively with the help of Lyfta's videos and rich content.
Students were also inspired to share their own stories. After being exposed to Lyfta storyworlds, children felt more confident about their diverse backgrounds and began recording themselves at home and sharing their own stories.
Many international students felt their opinion mattered and believed that they could be agents of change after participating in the Global Goals group. Their fundraising for charities and their impact on their community did not go unnoticed and as result, the group was invited to a celebration held by Sports for Good. They're now frequently visited by local councillors.
Just like Rob, the children also created their own art piece made from plastic they collected. Using a recycled canvas, and ordering litter pickers from the local council, students created a map of the world made entirely out of plastic pollution.
Students are generally involved now more than ever before, not just at Djanogly Sherwood Academy but the entire Trust.
Each school has a change for good group and they are involved in student leadership conferences where they regularly deliberate about what changes can be implemented to make a difference at each school in line with their individual vision.
"Lyfta has made our school a better place and the children feel like they have a place they belong."