New academic year checklist - Sparx Classroom

NEW We've made some changes to how you set up your Sparx site, giving you more flexibility and control over how Sparx works for your school. We've also created some new resources to use with students and parents.

Please look out for the NEW sign in the checklist items below for details of these changes.

Key Tasks

Add your holiday dates - NEW

Prepare your Schemes of Learning - NEW

Add new staff members to your Sparx site

Set up your classes and students - NEW

Train any new staff

Plan communication for both existing and new parents and carers - NEW

Organise devices

Start Planning your lessons

Introduce students to Sparx and get them logged in - NEW

Reintroduce SLT to Sparx

Additional Activities

Think about individual and department practices

Plan motivation and monitoring strategies

Choose the best homework hand in and hand out days

Look out for updates

✅ Add your holiday dates - NEW

Add your school holiday dates to your site to help you build your schemes of learning and to decide when you want to switch homework on or off:

How to set up holidays in your Sparx site - Video NEW

How to set up holidays in your Sparx site - Article NEW

 

Homework will now be set every week of the year unless you choose for it not to be. To find out how to STOP homework going out during your school holidays watch our How to build Schemes of Learning video below.

 

✅  Prepare your Schemes of Learning

    • Choose whether to make SoLs from a template, create a completely new one, or copy them from your Archive (this is where you will find schemes from last year).
    • NEW: If you do not want homework to be set then choose No homework for the relevant weeks in the Scheme of Learning builder before you publish them.

Use the following resources to prepare your schemes of learning.

How to create a scheme of learning - video NEW

How to create a scheme of learning - article NEW

How to move Schemes of Learning from one year to the next - article NEW

✅  Add new staff members to your Sparx site

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 - article

✅  Set up your classes and students

Please note: we have removed the option to set a Diagnostic first homework to ensure that students get the teacher planned topics from the first week of homework.

For Schools with an MIS sync

1. Import your classes - NEW 

You will now need to import your own classes into your site. Find out how to do this here:

How to Import your classes from your MIS - Video

How to Import your classes from your MIS to Sparx - Article

2. Finish setting up your classes and turn on homework

Once you have imported your classes you will need to finish setting them up: 

How to set the first homework (MIS) - Video

How to set up and manage classes with an MIS integration - Article

For schools without an MIS sync

You will need to:

1. Remove old students from your site - NEW

2. Create your classes

3. Move existing students to their new classes

5. Add any new students to your site. 

6. Finish setting up classes.

Find out how in these resources:

Moving Students into the new academic year in a non-MIS school - Video

Preparing students and classes for a new academic year in a non-MIS school - Article

✅  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 training video to help you train and we also run webinars throughout the year that you can attend for free.

Find out more below:

Classroom training video

Homework Training Video

Sparx Webinars

✅  Plan communication with both existing and new parents and carers

There are a few key messages to share with parents and carers:

    • That students will be using Sparx in their lessons
    • 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, meaning they can answer 100% of the compulsory questions correctly.
    • That parents and carers should not answer questions for their child as that could make the homework become too hard

NEW We have created a Parent Video that you can share with parents explaining what Sparx Homework is and how it will help their child improve their maths.

We also have further resources for parents in: Documents for parents

✅  Organise devices

Students need a device each for every lesson they do using Sparx Classroom so plan how you will arrange these in the new year, including charging facilities.

✅  Start planning your lessons

Prepare and run some lessons and note down the lesson codes ready to share with your classes. Use our Building a lesson - article if you need a reminder of how to do this.

 

✅  Introduce students to Sparx and get them logged in

Note: Once a homework is set it can't be deleted so make sure students are ready to go before you turn homework on.


  • Explain what Sparx homework is and that, unlike in Sparx Classroom, all questions are personalised, and how that means students are expected to answer 100% of questions correctly because they are at the right level for them
    • Once students have logged in get them to use our new Practice Homework feature, which they will find on the left-hand side of their dashboard, to have a go at doing some practice homework.
  • If students are not able to set up their account in school, give students a copy of this PDF to take home: Student guide to logging in

✅  Reintroduce SLT to Sparx

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 that use Sparx that working alongside the leadership team is vital in embedding the use of 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
    • Hosting assemblies and rewards ceremonies for individuals and classes
    • Helping to offer after school clubs with devices for students to use

      Additional activities

      ✅  Think about individual and department practices

      Decide if an agreement is needed amongst all teachers about:

        • Whether to use Sparx Starters and Plenaries in lessons
        • How planning lessons and following the Scheme of Learning will work for shared classes

      For individuals think about:

        • How you will get students to collect their devices and hand them in at the end of the lesson
        • When you will end your lessons. Objectives will only be added to Sparx Homework automatically if they are taught and the lesson has been ended. Find out more:

      When is an objective taught?

      How to end a lesson

      ✅  Plan motivation and monitoring strategies

      How will you link Sparx with your school reward policy?

      Research shows that using Sparx Homework 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:

      Reports page

      How do I interpret data in the homework completion report?


      ✅  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.

      ✅  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: