New academic year checklist (MIS schools)

Prepare your Sparx Site

1. Add new staff

2. Set up new Schemes of Learning

3. Finish setting up your classes

Department preparation and processes

1. Train any new staff

2. Plan motivation and monitoring strategies

3. Get your SLT on board

4. Look out for updates

Get students on board

1. How will you introduce (or reintroduce) Sparx to your students?

2. Plan how to get new students logged in

Engage with parents and carers

1. Plan communication for both existing and new parents and carers

 

Prepare your Sparx site

1. Add new staff

If new staff have joined at the beginning of a new academic year (or indeed any time of year) you will need to add them to your Sparx site.

Find out how to do this here: How to add or edit staff members, and assign them to classes

2. Set up new Schemes of Learning

Schemes of learning (SoLs) exist in a specific academic year so at the start of a new academic year you will need to create a new version of each Scheme of Learning.

If you want to use similar SoL content as in a previous academic year you can simply copy the original SoL and link the copy to the new academic year. We would recommend that you name each version of the SoL clearly with the new academic year date.

You can find out more about how to make a SoL here: How to build a Scheme of Learning

Remember, it is not possible to switch a SoL from one academic year to another so make sure you leave enough time to do this task.

3. Finish setting up your classes

At the start of a new academic year you will need to complete some additional tasks to the imported classes before they should be used. Find out more in these resources:

Department preparation and processes

1. Train any new staff

If you have new staff then we highly recommend you set aside plenty of time to train your team. We have a wide range of resources available to help you train and we also run webinars throughout the year that you can attend for free.

Find out more in our Training and Webinars sections:

Training presentations

Webinars

2. Choose the best homework hand in and hand out days

We recommend setting your homework hand out and hand in day to be towards the end of the week. doing so means that there is plenty of time at the start of the week for teachers to look at the hand in page to see which students can be praised and rewarded for completing their work early, and which students need a reminder to complete their work on time.

3. Plan motivation and monitoring strategies


  • How will you link Sparx with your school reward policy?

Research shows that using Sparx actively for an hour each week will improve progress in maths. Sparx schools have come up with a range of methods to help motivate students to complete 100% of their homework each week which we have summarised in this article: Motivating students to complete homework on time

  • How will you monitor homework completion?

Our Homework report can be used to view and analyse data on homework completion to aid you in tracking how students are doing and to identify students and groups that would benefit from extra support. You can find out more about the data available in the following articles:

4. Get your SLT on board

Sparx works best when it has a high profile in school because it helps to demonstrate to students that this is work with value and therefore worth doing regularly and well. We've heard from schools who use Sparx that working alongside the leadership team is vital in embedding the use Sparx within your department. Here are some of the ways your SLT could support your work:

  • Joining with the maths department in the belief that every student can get 100% of their answers correct because of Sparx personalisation
  • Supporting the HoD in picking the best hand in and hand out days (as mentioned in point 2) even if they are different to what was originally planned
  • Hosting assemblies and rewards ceremonies for individuals and classes
  • Helping to offer after school clubs with devices for students to use

5. Look out for updates

We are always improving Sparx based on your feedback and this means we often have new information to share with you. Look out for updates in the What's new section at the top of the screen when you are logged in to Sparx:

Get students on board

1.  Introduce (or reintroduce) Sparx to your students

  • Explain Sparx homework, including personalisation, and how that means students can answer 100% of questions correctly
  • Explain what Bookwork checks in Sparx are: Student Bookwork video
  • You might want to use the following login details to show explain Sparx to your students, but remember, they won't see these particular questions when they log in as themselves:
    • Url: demo.sparxmaths.uk
    • Username: demostudent
    • Password: tiny28car

2. Plan how to get new students logged in

If you have new students or classes starting then you will need to plan when you will share how to register and log in before the first homework is set.

Remember that once a homework is set it can't be deleted so make sure students are ready to go before you turn homework on.

You might find the following resources useful:

  • Show students how to log in with this video: How students log in
  • Give students a copy of this PDF to take home: Student guide to logging in
  • Let students know your expectations for completing homework on time right from the start.
  • Share your chosen rewards system with your students

Engage with parents and carers

1. Plan communication for both existing and new parents and carers

There are a few key messages to share with parents:

  • That Sparx homework is personalised to their child, and should offer them just the right level of challenge, based on the topics that their teacher has set.
  • That students receive XP points for the questions they answer which are (hopefully) linked to the school rewards system.
  • That complete homework means 100% of questions answered correctly, which should be achievable because homework is bespoke.
  • That helping their child is likely to result in the homework becoming too hard.

You might want to use some of our resources to help communicate these messages:

Sparx Parent Letter Template and our Top tips for parents PDF.