Multi-academy trust puts student outcomes first: LEO Academy Trust’s story
In the past three years, Nearpod has become a central element of Leo Academy Trust‘s innovative approach to education. Across the Trust’s nine primary schools, students consistently find themselves engaged and motivated to learn at their own pace. Meanwhile, teachers benefit from robust support in simplifying both lesson preparation and delivery. Guided by the Trust’s director of strategic partnerships, Graham Macaulay, in collaboration with Nearpod, educators are empowered to explore fresh teaching and learning methods that extend beyond simple digitization of existing content, all without overwhelming workloads. With Nearpod firmly integrated into its learning ecosystem, the Trust is dedicated to consistently delivering high-quality, engaging, and inclusive education, ensuring no student or teacher is left behind.
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Addressing the challenge: Nearpod empowers Leo Academy Trust in advancing personalized learning
When a district strives for excellence, it must continuously evolve. In 2020, Graham Macaulay brought Nearpod into Leo Academy Trust schools’ (then virtual) classrooms to ease the shock and panic brought on by the pandemic and to ensure engagement and inclusion. By year-end, the Trust’s 60 teachers across six schools were consistently using Nearpod to support more than 3,500 pupils in learning at their own pace … and loving it.
Well into the new normal, teaching has changed, and tools have changed. Nearpod is now at the heart of the Leo Academy Trust’s learning ecosystem. While the Trust continues to empower educators and enrich its curriculum, new challenges have arisen in balancing expectations, as Graham explains:
“Nearpod has expanded opportunities for our students and improved collaboration among our staff. Now, we aim to take it a step further, leveraging the platform to provide even more, higher-quality education while remaining considerate of staff workloads.”
Engagement through immersive learning experiences
Nearpod has become an essential element of Leo Academy’s teaching approach, motivating educators as they witness students actively engaging with immersive learning experiences. Graham has been delighted to see how the process of delivering engaging lessons has become more intuitive, and less daunting and demanding for staff.
“It’s a win-win. Teachers save time, and students enjoy even more engaging and enriching lessons. Nearpod bridges the gap between teaching and learning, empowering teachers with the necessary tools to focus on what truly matters.”
Rather than preparing materials, teachers can now quickly share resources through Nearpod, which acts as conduit between teaching and learning, enabling teachers to create and share valuable resources that benefit them, their peers, and ultimately hundreds of students.
Lessons as diverse as their learners
Recognizing that students respond differently to the tools at their disposal, Graham and the educators at Leo Academy Trust value Nearpod’s versatility in offering a wide range of learning experiences.
“Some students thrive in competitive situations, so they love features like Time to Climb, while others prefer the opportunity to engage repeatedly with the same content on a mini whiteboard,” he explains.
Graham also emphasizes the importance of empowering staff to take risks and embrace a culture of continuous improvement. For him, innovation in education involves risk-taking, self-reflection, and a focus on what truly matters. Rather than replicating traditional practices digitally and doing “what has always been done, but better,” the Trust is now exploring how Nearpod can create truly unique learning experiences, as Graham reflects:
“The minute you change anything in education, there’s an adoption cycle you’ve got to go through. And as you climb that mountain, you make mistakes. As leaders in education, we’ve got to empower our staff to do that, to reflect and even to fail forward.”
Education is asking questions every day
With Nearpod by its side, Leo Academy Trust is more driven than ever to meet the individual needs of its students and teachers today and tomorrow, as Graham concludes:
“Every day, we ask ourselves how we can empower teachers to support students and deliver the best possible education while fostering innovation. Balancing these goals is a significant challenge, but the rewards are immense.”
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About the trust
The Leo Academy Trust encompasses nine primary schools in South London and Surrey. Forward thinking and fearless, the trust strives to provide outstanding education, while fostering an inclusive environment that ensures the well-being of its 5,000 students. With its sights firmly on innovation, the Trust ensures outstanding teaching and learning experiences while addressing the digital divide through a pioneering one-to-one program, giving each child internet access and a personal Chromebook to support their education—regardless of their background or learning pace. Six years into the program, Leo Trust leads the way in personalized learning in the UK, challenging the notion that education is confined to traditional school hours.
About the educators
Graham Macaulay is director of strategic partnerships at Leo Academy Trust. An edtech leader, Google Certified Innovator, trainer and coach, and seasoned primary school teacher, he spearheads the Trust’s support for edtech through the Department for Education EdTech Demonstrator Schools & Colleges Programme. Graham is relentless in his mission to embrace technology to keep the Trust at the forefront of personalized learning while prioritizing the involvement, inclusion, and well-being of every student and teacher.
Nearpod’s award-winning platform is used by thousands of schools around the globe, transforming classroom engagement.