Jacqueline Mainwaring, Language College Co-ordinator, describes the significant impact that Vocab Express has had at the Henry Box School in Oxfordshire.

The Henry Box School in Witney in Oxfordshire is a successful 11-18 comprehensive school and has been a Language College since 2001. It has a flourishing languages department with an impressive record of continuing to produce a high number of students taking two languages to GCSE. We are always looking for new ways to engage and inspire our students.

Our initial contact with Vocab Express came in April 2009 with a phone call from the founder, Justin Sycamore. We were very interested in the service he outlined and decided to trial the materials with one Year 7 class for a period of six weeks. At the end of this time Justin visited the school and together with the Language College co-ordinator interviewed the students about their experiences of using the system both at home and at school. The response was overwhelmingly positive from students across the whole ability range. Particularly impressive was the amount of time some students had invested in using the materials at home. The element of competition was very well received by the students and the top positions on the leader board were heavily contested. This is a feature we intend to capitalise on still further in the future by linking it to our newly emerging house system.

From this small beginning we decided in the next academic year to roll out this programme across all of our Year 7 students. Now in our third year we have bought into Vocab Express for both Key Stages 3 and 4 in all three languages we offer.

The success of our initial pilot and subsequent decision to move forward depended largely on the excellent service we received from the company. All our questions have been promptly answered, many of our suggestions have been taken on board and we have received both good training and technical support. Our confidence in the system inspired us to share our experiences with our local Partnership and offer a trial last year with 3 of our local Partner Primary schools. We have now funded the purchase of Vocab Express for Year 7 in our Partner Secondary school and for Years 5 and 6 in all our Partner Primary schools. This will form one of the major elements of our Primary Languages Transition Project.

We look forward to all future developments of Vocab Express with great enthusiasm.

October 2010

Case Study

The Henry Box School

Witney, Oxfordshire
October 2010