31st May 2024

Teacher Case Study: A Level Physics at Oasis Academy

About the school

Oasis Academy South Bank is an Ofsted-rated outstanding school serving over 800 students, with around 60% of students in the lower school on Pupil Premium. As part of the Oasis Trust, students at Oasis Academy South Bank have been using Up Learn across the A Level sciences for 3 years, during which they have been achieving some particularly impressive results.

About the teacher

Stanton Wertjes has been a teacher for 11 years, with the past 5 years spent at Oasis Academy. He currently oversees Year 10 and Year 11 as Head of KS4, as well as being KS5 Physics Lead at the school. After studying Music at University, he pivoted. His music degree has informed his pedagogy immensely, seeing him encourage his students to see the power in exercising the practice-based mentality of a musician. 

We spoke with Stanton about how he has been utilising the Up Learn platform for optimum results in his Year 13 class, by implementing a system whereby students must hit certain percentage goals as part of their Physics revision and homework. Oasis Academy emphasises the importance of setting high standards and targets, with Stanton highlighting Up Learn’s ability to drive students towards meaningful, independent learning.

The story

Up Learn has been a daily part of Stanton’s routine since the beginning of January. Starting from when the students returned from the Christmas break, he told all of his students that they would now have to earn 1% per day. He told us that “Immediately they came back to me the next day – and this is the really beautiful thing – there was just a palpable shift. There was just a feeling in the room that was different. You could see the perspiration on their faces, as if to say ‘we worked really hard on Physics last night in order to earn our 1%’.” 

The extensive work required to gain percentages, the rigorous focus on Physics, and the complete coverage of the specification made the Up Learn approach highly valuable to Oasis Academy. Stanton emphasised the intense effort driven over the past five months to integrate Up Learn. As a result, the students have “a library of information really well organised in their brains”. Thanks to this mastery learning approach, they have better exam pacing, increased confidence, and the ability to quickly adapt to challenging questions. He said that “without such a tool, it would be impossible to provide enough Physics practice within the school day alone.” 

Previously, the students’ mock exam results included Cs, Ds, and Es. After extensive Up Learn practice, they saw remarkable improvement with 2 A*s, 2 As, and 2 Bs in the next round of mocks. One student even improved from an E to an A. Four out of seven students scored over 90% on Up Learn doing Paper 1 and 2. “No other intervention had such a significant impact as Up Learn”, said Stanton, now deeply invested in using the platform.

Going forward, they plan to use Up Learn as a core learning tool and the “engine of all A Level Physics classes” at Oasis Academy, with the school excited to implement it with Year 12s and 13s across the sciences in the upcoming year. He finished by stating “I feel that my students are really well prepared for this A Level Physics exam, largely as a result of all the time they’ve spent on the platform. I’m really grateful to Up Learn.”

Benefits for the teacher

  • Able to set students impactful work with specific targets
  • Less time spent marking
  • More time spent engaging with the class

“I either have to do tonnes and tonnes of marking to support them in their independent work, which I don’t always have time for. Or, I can use something like Up Learn, that is giving them automated feedback, it’s really hard to earn points on, and I can see how much work they’re doing.” 

Benefits for the students

  • Clear guidance on the work they should be doing
  • Strict routine and habit making
  • Exam readiness and confidence

“Their pacing in exams is better. Their confidence in exams is better. They’re able to pivot more quickly when they see questions they don’t understand and balance. There was a student who got an A who was on an E, it was just this huge shift.”

Tips & tricks

  • Setting percentage goals for students as homework tasks
  • Students are congratulated & awarded prizes for hitting targets
  • Students must complete their targets, otherwise they are reprimanded

“All the kids who have got 90, I gave them a little crown and we did a whole ceremony in class. If you haven’t earned a percent today, you are all going to be on Up Learn after school. Then I know they’re going to spend an hour doing deliberate practice, and that practice will be really high quality.”

Impacts & outcomes

  • The majority of students achieved 90% when doing Physics Paper 1 and 2 on Up Learn.
  • One student previously on an E grade achieved an A in their mocks.
  • C, D & E grades transformed into A*s, A and B grades. 

“No other intervention had such a significant impact as Up Learn”

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