We sat down with FlashAcademy® CEO, Veejay Lingiah, to reflect on how the team has supported EAL in schools in 2019. We have also got a sneak-peek of upcoming features for 2020!
Looking back on 2019, what have been your key highlights of this year?
We’ve actually ended this year with double the number of people in the team that we started the year with, largely down to the fact that we’re now also supporting so many more schools and Multi-Academy Trusts with FlashAcademy®. Our trip down to the House of Lords with Sarah (Head) and Claire (Deputy Head) of Anderton Park School certainly has to go down as a highlight. They’ve had such a challenging year with all of the protests at the school, they certainly deserved to receive some praise and recognition for their work with us to improve attainment levels for so many of their pupils with EAL.
We also enjoyed hosting Glasgow Local Authority, who wanted to see FlashAcademy® in action in a number of Midlands schools, as they consider using it across the 60k iPads they’ve recently purchased for their pupils across the LA – with their fantastic mission of becoming the most technically literate Authority in the UK.
There are many more great memories – our work with Nick Bailey, our Education Ambassador, and former EastEnders actor; our work with a growing a number of Virtual schools to help their unaccompanied asylum seeker children; and seeing the ever-inventive work of our team adding even more new content and support resources to the platform, such as the new handwriting lessons that auto-mark letter formation.
What can we expect in 2020?
After 18 months of development, it’s going to be so exciting to launch our brand new English digital proficiency assessment. Teachers right across the country have been asking us for it and after successful pilot testing, we can’t wait to see how much teacher time it will be able to save and what kind of insights it will help to generate.
We’ll also be launching our workplace version of FlashAcademy® in partnership with Make UK, the UK’s manufacturing association and Jaguar Land Rover. This new version of FlashAcademy® will help large scale employers with the challenge of a diverse workforce, where often English skills are poor. FlashAcademy® Workplace will teach Health & Safety and Technical English to employees, helping employers to keep them safe and support their career advancement. For us, this could mean lots of households where children may be doing their homework using FlashAcademy® at the same time as parents are using it to improve English for their own careers!
We’re also working as closely as ever with teachers and SLT to further strengthen the support resources around FlashAcademy® – teacher lesson plans, schemes of work, CPD training and more.
Any New Year’s resolutions for FlashAcademy® HQ?
As a growing team, I’m keen that we continue to have fun at the same time as working hard. We’ve sought to embrace this approach from the beginning, hence a pool table in the office, a Nintendo switch, staff trying out virtual reality headsets and a healthy amount of mixed sport too. Last year, we had team football, basketball, badminton, darts, golf and there’s also talk of volleyball and rounders! In addition to the health benefits, I believe team sports can really support internal communication and given how diverse our team is (coders, designers, linguists, education advisers, marketers, etc), these types of activities can really help.