The leader who took control over school innovation

Innovate My School

Innovate My School empowers educators to think beyond traditional boundaries, lead proactively and, most importantly, feel inspired. It now entertains an audience of 50,000 educators through its weekly content, with 1,300 guest bloggers and over 2,500 articles published to date.

Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On Friday 7th July, Shireland Collegiate Academy in the West Midlands hosted their very own Innovate My School LIVE event. This was the first stop on a school budget-centric roadshow showing school leaders how to do more with less.

The Innovate My School LIVE roadshow is a series of events showing school leaders how they can do more with less. Each gathering brings together SLT from across the region to discuss how their school is innovative, be it via resources or practices. The roadshow will continue on to wow schools in north-east England (29th September), Cheshire (18th October), Southend (20th October) and Oxfordshire (15th November), with more dates to be announced soon. These events are being held to help schools accommodate stretched budgets, showing educators that there are numerous, first-rate resources available at a reasonable price.

“We were all so pleased with just how well our Innovate My School Live event went,” says Shireland Technology Primary principal Kirsty Tonks. “What a success! It flowed really well, and those who came seemed to really enjoy the day and found it valuable. Every single person found me at the end before they left to say what a great day it had been, and how useful it had been to attend. I think they each went away with at least one action to follow up.”

Kirsty Tonks presents her favourite innovations to attendees

Kirsty and her colleagues amazed local school leaders with the likes of successful flipped-learning projects, most rewarding resources and their tips for “scaling up” innovation. What’s more, Shireland staff brought guests into their incredible immersive learning environment.


Kirsty continues: “Hosting an Innovate My School event was so easy to do. Given that it was so close to the end of the school year, we weren’t sure how much work was involved. However, the IMS team were fantastic, and everything was more or less done with nothing to worry about.”

A large inner-city Secondary school based in Sandwell, Shireland Collegiate Academy has a strong reputation for effective use of edtech, creative curriculum-design and embracing new strategies to improve teaching and learning. The Academy has been judged as Outstanding by Ofsted in 2006, 2010 and 2013. Every Shireland pupil has their own device to access the school’s online platform, the Learning Gateway, through which they can record work and access online resources. The platform also contains a wealth of tools for Shireland teachers to utilise in their lessons.

It is this embracing of technology that led to a particularly bustling speed-dating session, where the school leaders sat down with some of the most exciting innovators in education. As Kirsty puts it: “The actual speed dating session was down to a fine art in the expert hands of Jan. It was a chance to get real, focused time with companies that already had been vetted by IMS.”

The event came hot-on-the-heels of two Microsoft in the Classroom sessions held at Shireland, itself a Microsoft Showcase School. In 2015 they were the West Midlands winner of the National Pupil Premium awards, and are currently running an edtech-oriented research project in collaboration with both the Education Endowment Fund (EEF) and 24 local Primary schools.

This desire to embrace the best edtech on the scene was demonstrated by Shireland on the day:

“We placed an order there and then for a fabulous new Design & Technology product that fits in with our Key Stage 3 curriculum,” enthuses Kirsty. “Another product we were introduced to was like nothing we’ve seen before; it was hugely impressive piece of software that helps with the whole Appraisal and CPD process.”

The enthusiasm and expertise illustrated by the host school has all-but-ensured future Shireland Collegiate Academy / Innovate My School collaborations. Bett, the lunchtime sponsor, presented ‘What children teach us about careers’, while headline sponsors Tute Education made one attendee very happy by facilitating the prize draw. Kirsty continues:

“All in all, this was a great day for everyone involved. Each of the different parties - whether a school or a company - got something out of it, and I love it when you can tick more than one box at the same time!

“For me, the Innovate My School speed dates take the hard work out of the search for new and effective solutions. As a school leader that helps me enormously, leaving me with the final decision with no pressure to say yes.”

Are you a school leader looking to innovate on a budget? To take part in your nearest Innovate My School LIVE event, or to even host your own, visit See you there!

Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support us.
When you register, you'll join a grassroots community where you can:
• Enjoy unlimited access to articles
• Get recommendations tailored to your interests
• Attend virtual events with our leading contributors
Register Now

Latest stories

  • How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country
    How to handle stress while teaching in a foreign country

    Teaching English in a foreign country is likely to be one of the most demanding experiences you'll ever have. It entails relocating to a new country, relocating to a new home, and beginning a new career, all of which are stressful in and of themselves, but now you're doing it all at once. And you'll have to converse in a strange language you may not understand.

  • Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?
    Is Learning Fun for You, Teacher?

    Over the weekend, my family of five went to an Orlando theme park, and I decided we should really enjoy ourselves by purchasing an Unlimited Quick Queue pass. It was so worth the money! We rode every ride in the park at least twice, but one ride required us to ride down a rapidly flowing river, which quenched us with water. It was incredible that my two-year-old was laughing as well. We rode the Infinity Falls ride four times in one day—BEST DAY EVER for FAMILY FUN in the Sun! The entire experience was epic, full of energizing emotions and, most importantly, lots of smiles. What made this ride so cool was that the whole family could experience it together, the motions were on point, and the water was the icing on the cake. It had been a while since I had that type of fun, and I will never forget it.

  • Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2
    Free recycling-themed resources for KS1 and KS2

    The Action Pack is back for the start of the brand new school year, just in time for Recycle Week 2021 on 20 - 26 September, to empower pupils to make the world a better and more sustainable place. The free recycling-themed resources are designed for KS1 and KS2 and cover the topics of Art, English, PSHE, Science and Maths and have been created to easily fit into day-to-day lesson planning.

  • Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu
    Inspire your pupils with Emma Raducanu

    Following the exceptional performance from British breakthrough star Emma Raducanu, who captured her first Grand Slam at the US Open recently, Emmamania is already inspiring pupils aged 4 - 11 to get more involved in tennis - and LTA Youth, the flagship
    programme from The LTA, the governing body of tennis in Britain, has teachers across the country covered.

  • 5 ways to boost your school's eSafety
    5 ways to boost your school's eSafety

    eSafety is a term that constantly comes up in school communities, and with good reason. Students across the world are engaging with technology in ways that have never been seen before. This article addresses 5 beginning tips to help you boost your school’s eSafety. 

  • Tackling inequality in EdTech
    Tackling inequality in EdTech

    We have all been devastated by this pandemic that has swept the world in a matter of weeks. Schools have rapidly had to change the way they operate and be available for key workers' children. The inequalities that have long existed in communities and schools are now being amplified by the virus.

  • EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab
    EdTech review & The Curriculum Lab

    The world is catching up with a truth that we’ve championed at Learning Ladders for the last 5 years - that children’s learning outcomes are greatly improved by teachers, parents and learners working in partnership. 

  • Reducing primary to secondary transition stress
    Reducing primary to secondary transition stress

    As school leaders grapple with the near impossible mission to start bringing more students into schools from 1st June, there are hundreds of thousands of Year 6 pupils thinking anxiously about their move to secondary school.

  • Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?
    Generation Z and online tutoring: natural bedfellows?

    The K-12 online tutoring market is booming around the world, with recent research estimating it to grow by 12% per year over the next five years, a USD $60bn increase. By breaking down geographic barriers and moving beyond the limits of local teaching expertise, online tutoring platforms are an especially valuable tool for those looking to supplement their studies in the developing world, and students globally are increasingly signing up to online tuition early on in their secondary education schooling. 

  • Employable young people or human robots?
    Employable young people or human robots?

    STEM skills have been a major focus in education for over a decade and more young people are taking science, technology, engineering, and maths subjects at university than ever before, according to statistics published by UCAS. The downside of this is that the UK is now facing a soft skills crisis and the modern world will also require children to develop strong social skills as the workplaces are transformed by technology. 

In order to make our website better for you, we use cookies!

Some firefox users may experience missing content, to fix this, click the shield in the top left and "disable tracking protection"