Digital learning and innovation

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Spotlight on innovation

Onscreen GCSE English exam options from 2025*

We’re thrilled to announce that we’re working to offer onscreen exams for GCSE English from summer 2025. 
 
Building on the success of our onscreen GCSE and International GCSE exams to date, we’re excited to be opening up more ways for students to best show what they know and can do in GCSE English Language, GCSE English Literature and GCSE English Language 2.0.

* Subject to Ofqual approval

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Digital learning support

Online teaching and learning support

We’re committed to helping teachers, students and families make the most of learning – whenever and wherever it happens. Our online, remote and blended learning hub is available all year round and contains free support and guidance in one place.

Discover our online teaching and learning support hub

Guides to The Future of Digital Learning

We partnered up with Headteacher Update and SecEd to explore what lies ahead for edtech – from best practice and personalised learning to closing the digital divide.

Primary guide Secondary guide
Listen to the podcast

Research and insights

The Pearson School Report 2023

We asked 6,000 educators and 1,000 students for their thoughts on positives, possibilities and problems to solve when it comes to embracing digital innovation in schools.

Persona Life Skills

Alongside Persona Education and 200 GCSE resit students, we’re exploring effectively life skills can be developed and recognised using digital badges.

More about the pilot

Insights: Onscreen Assessment

Hear from Pearson and schools on our experiences of delivering onscreen exams in summer 2022 and recommendations on what’s next.

Read the report

Spotlight on onscreen assessment

Our report poses some of the big questions ahead for the sector: how do we facilitate change? What are the big opportunities? And what are the barriers?

Explore the findings

Award nominations for collaboration, innovation and impact

Recent news and blog posts

  • 10 universal truths about the summer holidays for Primary school teachers

    1. In a triumph of hope over experience you will be imagining six weeks of glorious sunshine and brilliant blue skies, and will spend most of the break waiting expectantly for summer to actually arrive, before finally admitting defeat on 26 August.

    2. In the first week of the holidays you will get a cold as you finally allow yourself to relax.

    3. Luckily, you’ve got a mountain of chocolate from your pupils to keep your spirits high for at least a couple of weeks. (Oh OK, two nights with the latest box-set on the telly).

    4. The two days where the sun really does put in an appearance you’ll be so unused to it you’ll forget your sun-cream and end up just a tiny bit crisped (in spite of all your warnings to your pupils over the last term!).

    5. If travelling anywhere by ferry you are bound to bump into one of your pupils past or present (and their parents…), especially if it’s a long crossing. Get a cabin!

    6. You will lose track of the number of people who tell you how lucky you are to have such a long holiday, but lose the will after the first one to explain how many extra hours you put in the rest of the year.

    7. No matter how good your holiday was, that first night back in your home and your own bed is as comforting as hot chocolate and marshmallows.

    8. That Sunday evening feeling will probably start somewhere around the time you finally realise that summer’s not going to show. Although if you have children of your own, you may actually be looking forward to going back to work…

    9. You secretly love it when the shops fill up with stationery. Ooh, all those different coloured gel pens, geometry sets and pristine pads of paper... it’s like Christmas, but better.

    10. You’re feeling a little bit sad about the children you’ve just got to know over the past year moving on, but also excited about getting to know your new bunch. They’re the reason you do it, after all.

  • Setting the scene for SATs '16

    With SATs over for another year, the countdown to a new brand of tests covering the content of the 2014 curriculum has begun.

    Complete with a new floor standard for school accountability, pending decision-making on performance descriptors and controversy over SATs re-sits, the new age of assessment promises to be an interesting one.

    Progress versus attainment

    From 2022 schools that have elected to adopt the Reception Baseline check from September 2015 will be able to be judged on the progress that their children have made rather than on their final attainment.

    However, as the first eligible cohort work their way through the Key Stages, the measure for school accountability over the next 7 years will remain attainment. As we know, the DfE has set the bar high - 85% of pupils reaching a level equivalent to a 4b (in old money) in the core subjects, meaning that SATs pressure is about to ramp up another notch.

    The weakness of this plan is the absence of information or support relating to how schools are to achieve this, beyond a notion that by expecting more of pupils they will strive to meet up to them.

    Official figures from the DfE show that around 100,000 pupils a year currently are failing to achieve the required standards in English and maths, and with pupils now facing tests based on harder curriculum content this figure is likely to grow. Which could be a problem in light of the policy announced in April that pupils who do not pass their end of KS2 SATs will be required to re-sit them.

    Resisting resits

    It is fair to say that SATs resits have not been well received by the teaching community. First and foremost, it is in direct contradiction of the original intention of SATs to benchmark school performance, not that of the children. Even the kindest of critics believe it’s an idea that has not been fully worked through.

    Rhetoric around the time of the election was unhelpful, obscuring the intention of this policy to give children a further chance to catch-up before they get stuck into their Secondary education. Language such as “zero tolerance of failure and mediocrity” and claims that Conservative educational policy would not allow children who failed their SATs to drag down standards for brighter pupils (reported in the Telegraph) came off to many as discriminatory.

    However, removed from all of the pre-election bluster, the policy is at its core about a pre-emptive strike to help pupils destined for poor performance at GCSE. “We know that the biggest predictor of success at GCSE is whether young people have mastered the basics at age 11. That means if we fail to get it right for young people at the start of secondary school they’ll struggle for the rest of their time in education,” argues Nicky Morgan.

    Not many could argue with the sentiment. There needs to be more of a focus on supporting struggling pupils, particularly as the harder curriculum may mean this group becomes more numerous, pulling in pupils previously considered ‘middling’ into its orbit.

    A policy with potential…?

    In an extremely well-argued article, Laura McInerney, editor of Schools Week, concludes that there is potential to the policy – as long as certain ‘sticking points’ can be overcome, and it comes with ideas and resources for support, rather than becoming a stick to beat schools with.

    McInerney’s conditions really are the key, of course. The ‘sticking points’ are substantial: relating primarily to the increased pressures on both children and teachers.

    Although children will be taking the resits once they start in Secondary, and therefore the onus is on their new school to help them pass – the threat of resits increases the pressure on children to succeed first time round, and the pressure on Primary teachers to ensure they do so.

    Whereas previously the impact of poor results would be felt largely by the school, in future they will also be borne by the children themselves.

    A stressful start to secondary

    In a worst-case scenario, we may see desperate secondary schools seeking ways to minimise their intake of children with weak results or ability-streaming enacted from the very start of Year 7.

    Children starting their secondary lives in the position of having to retake their SATs could feel stigmatised – a failure from the start, which can only exacerbate the growing social problem of anxiety and depression in children. The NSPCC reports a 200% increase over recent years in calls related to exam stress.

    We must therefore find ways to relieve the pressure on the children. This may take the form of pastoral care, a focus for PSHE lessons, or best of all by removing the pressure from the whole of the accountability chain, so that it doesn’t trickle down to the most vulnerable. In this regard, it might be helpful if the DfE would reconsider the target for the number of pupils expected to pass re-sits (currently set at 80%, criticised by the ASCL as ‘arbitrary’) and the obligation on Secondary schools to report on these results.

    All this being said, there are mitigating factors for the re-sits: they will be slimmed down versions of the actual SATs, and will be internally marked, which might help make them slightly less of an administrative burden.

    Children will have two opportunities in the year to pass them, but crucially will not be held back if they persistently fail. And finally, contrary to the furore over resits penalising those with Special Education Needs, there is in fact no requirement for this group to take them.

    Support and direction needed

    Beyond this, there is also the information and support gap already mentioned. What needs to happen to help children pass tests that they failed only a few months earlier – that has not already been attempted by talented and hard-working Primary teaching professionals?

    How will secondary teachers close a gap potentially made worse by summer slide? Will there be any central recommendations or co-ordination?

    Early intervention seems a better route: it feels less rushed, and less stigmatising than an all-or-nothing Year 7 sprint. But in a world of overstretched class sizes, overworked teachers and dwindling budgets – still more investment in resources and training is needed.

    Let us hope that having announced the birth of this particular policy, Nicky Morgan’s department has spent the intervening time working out how to bring it up.

    It is a policy that comes from a good place, but which risks sinking - dragging pupil and teacher morale with it – unless it can be buoyed by some real investment in resource and some rethinking around whether there is any real benefit in setting reportable targets for the resit pass rate.

  • Pearson Primary manifesto: #3 We work with charities that really make a difference to children's lives.

    Alongside our commitment to making resources that have a measurable impact on children’s lives, we seek out and support charities that are equally dedicated to helping people make progress in their lives through learning.

    Feeding imaginations (and tummies)

    We know for example a child’s ability to concentrate is seriously impaired when they come to school hungry, as sadly an estimated 700,000 children in the UK do each day. So we’ve donated over £64,500 to Magic Breakfast and voted them our charity of the year for three years running. Donate to Magic Breakfast.
     

    Reading for pleasure isn’t just fun but also a key indicator of future academic success; that having books at home and being read to from an early age is crucial to making this happen. That’s why, through Booktime, we’ve given away over 10 million books to Reception-aged children, and why we’re extremely proud to sponsor the annual national Read for my School competition that has over 200,000 children in over 3500 schools reading one million books each year.

    To help facilitate the sharing of outstanding teaching and leadership practice, we’re working with the Cambridge Primary Review Trust to help schools to build an outstanding, creative curriculum in a principled, evidence-based way. Plus we’re proud to sponsor the Pearson Teaching Awards, giving a platform for rewarding and recognising the unsung heroes that are so vital to our children’s futures.

    So many children all over the world are far less privileged than our own children, which is why Pearson has been working with Book Aid International since 1980, donating over 2.5 million books, including many of our primary titles.

    Literacy is the key to transforming lives. So, Pearson has embarked on a campaign to inspire new collaboration on the evolving challenges and opportunities around literacy. If Project Literacy was to achieve one thing in the next five years, what would it be? Do share with us at #projectliteracy.

    And lastly but certainly by no means least, Save the Children and Pearson have launched an ‘Every Child Learning’ partnership, to help out-of-school children caught in the Syrian refugee crisis access quality education.

    Providing education for children in conflict and emergency settings presents many unique challenges. Over the course of the three year partnership, Pearson has committed £1 million to work with Save the Children to identify and develop solutions for delivering education in emergencies, drawing on the expertise and assets of both organisations. Of course, the credit for all these achievements goes to the wonderful organisations we work with. We are honoured to be able to play a part in making them happen.

Policy Watch

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