REAch2 Academy Trust

REAch2 Academy Trust is a charitable organisation that supports around 60 primary academies across England, making it the largest primary-only academy trust in the UK.

Like many organisations in the education sector, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced school closures in 2020, REAch2 Academy Trust needed to adapt its processes to ensure that students didn’t miss out on valuable learning time or become detached from their studies and the classroom. With the help of Phoenix, REAch2 deployed Microsoft Teams to enable simple and effective home-schooling that allowed connection between students and teachers to continue, making a huge impact on the quality of lessons, learning, and its student’s and teacher’s lives.

Facing new ways of teaching and learning, the Trust established a committee of central education team members, headteachers, and school leaders to identify how to approach the challenge, with success for the schools at the forefront. REAch2 already had access to Teams and was using other facilities online to encourage children to engage with learning, but felt it could do more for them and that’s where Phoenix stepped in.

The gaps in the Trust’s employee’s skills and training were identified quickly and as part of a pilot scheme in November 2020, the Trust worked alongside Phoenix to create a bespoke training package that provided the skills the Trust’s staff needed to successfully deliver a remote learning environment.

“The important thing is for us to cut a clear, calm, decisive pathway through all the noise and Phoenix were absolutely amazing in their response.”
Andrew RigbyDirector of Excellence and Standards, REAch2 Academy Trust

With Phoenix’s support, the Trust developed a roadmap that would take staff from the very basic essentials of how to use Microsoft Teams towards utilising more advanced tools to support its students, including SEND pupils and other pupils with specific needs. Jamie Pugh, Deputy Head and Year 6 class teacher at Norton Canes Primary Academy comments, “We had our very first training session with Phoenix, and that changed the game for us really. They equipped us with the skills to go away and use Microsoft Teams as a platform for all our children working remotely. As part of that, we discussed the things that we had been using and they were able to find alternatives to use within Teams that were better.”

Rhiain Cliffe, Sales Executive at Phoenix Software continues, “From here, it has just snowballed and blossomed into the partnership we have today. It is a pleasure to not only work with the wonderful team at REAch2, but also to see what an amazing impact the training has had for them, their pupils, and their staff.”

The training Phoenix provided, empowered REAch2 with the skills to enable the teachers within its schools to monitor the quality of the teaching and learning that was happening in real time. With this information, the schools were able to support and prompt staff with planning, skills, or further training sessions, remotely.

Working with Phoenix, the teachers at Norton Canes Primary Academy also deployed Dictate to help students who are reluctant writers to feel included in lessons and to be able to collaborate with their classmates. The children thrived on the challenge of using computers and using Microsoft Teams, and while it will never replace face-to-face teaching, it connected children with their peers and teachers, and because of this, the work will be continued into the next generation.

Beth Hadley, Head Teacher at Norton Canes Primary Academy describes the positive impact REAch2’s work with Phoenix has had on the school’s students, “It has given our students a sense of normality in a world full of chaos. I dread to think what might happen or might have happened without that lifeline there.”

“Every child has been able to learn and work remotely regardless of their needs and it's quite hard to put into words just how much technology will have saved and enhanced teaching and learning over the pandemic.”
Rhiain CliffeSales Executive, Phoenix Software

As Microsoft’s Partner of the Year, Phoenix is the education sector’s partner of choice to support its organisation’s through digital transformation. Check out our top tips for remote learning with Microsoft Teams or get in touch now to explore your education institute’s remote working strategy and discover solutions to meet your needs.