The Latest Podcasts from the School Jotter Team

Published: October 13, 2020

There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic, and resulting guidance from the Department for Education, has continued to effect the way our schools are able to run now and will do so moving forwards.
When it comes to working with our school customers, we want to help you stay on top of what’s happening in as many ways as possible, so as well as ensuring you have regular contact from our team direct, whether that’s by email or phone call, we’ve also continued to create some great and informative new episodes of the School Jotter Podcast. Here’s an overview of some of the latest episodes, available on Google Podcasts and on Spotify.

New Coronavirus Act 2020

Sean talks with Sharon and Lawrence about the new Coronavirus Act 2020 and about how schools need to ensure education continues.

Parents Evenings

Sean talks to Arthur and Lawrence about how schools can handle parents evenings in the current social climate.

Remote Education in Local Lockdowns

We examine different approaches to remote education during recent local lockdowns. We explore the use of video, learning platforms and the use of off-line work packages.
There are many more episodes of the School Jotter Podcast available, if you’d like to find out more about any of the topics covered or you’d like to suggest a topic yourself, please do contact us.

How effective communication can help MAT’s to support student wellbeing

Category: Uncategorized

Published: May 18, 2020

Supporting wellbeing through meaningful communication during lockdown is important for all schools, and plays a vital role in MAT’s strategies for coping during lockdown. posted a case study on the 5th of may outlining how schools can stay in contact during lockdown. This outlines effective communication strategies that schools are using to maintain contact to support students wellbeing in both primary and secondary academies in trusts (read full article). 
The article highlights how the use of calls and consistent text messages are helping schools to continue to support student wellbeing. This highlights the reliance of some schools on text message systems, which are designed for regular use – and get very expensive when used to message large numbers of students daily. Online messaging systems with unlimited messaging, such as the School Jotter app messages add on, allow the schools to have the freedom to send persistent messages without worrying about high cost message packages.
On top of the cost of texting, privacy issues may arise with increased communication. With teachers and safeguarding staff working at home, making calls to vulnerable students could easily compromise the personal data of staff. To overcome this, School Jotter is adding a calls function to the mobile app, facilitating video or voice calls between staff and students. This is integrated with your schools MIS, so there is no unnecessary data sharing.

Alongside this, the School Jotter Mobile App lets schools share news updates, notices and newsletters through push notifications. This is a great way to share information with parents, getting messages directly to their phones.
Until the end of July, we are offering our online spellings software for free to any school who purchases the School Jotter Mobile app with messaging and calls, and the first 5 orders will gain free access to our internal communications platform, Watch and Learn, which is perfect for inter-school communication in a trust during lockdown.
Get in touch here to find out more

Jotter Learn vs Google Classroom

Published: April 27, 2020

During the current school shutdown, teachers and parents are trying to find the best solution to suit them in an effort to continue educating children around the UK. There are a range of types of solution, ranging from simply emailing worksheets, to using a full VLE. A popular choice for many is somewhere in the middle of this, the virtual classroom. 

We provide our own virtual classroom platform, Jotter Learn (find out more), alongside many other companies, including american multinational, Google. We were interested to see such a huge company getting involved in helping schools. To help schools figure out which platform is best for them, we put Google Classroom up against our very own Jotter Learn to see which one came out on top:

So it’s clear that google has a good product, which allows good, safe, access to online resources for schools, although the set up may not come with such ease, with no MIS integration, and G-Suite for education required to give access. Jotter Learn is easy to set up with groupcall MIS integration, and no prior accounts required. 
For easy-to-make, interactive, and fun online learning, get in touch now!


Fun family activities for Easter Weekend!

Category: Uncategorized

Published: April 9, 2020

This year, a four day weekend seems more daunting than ever, and it would be easy enough to call defeat before it’s even begun. We don’t want to let lockdown ruin your Easter, in fact, why not make this year one to remember for all the right reasons? Call the family you were going to see, FaceTime friends, make the best Easter Sunday lunch you’ve ever had! With all that in mind, the kids will need entertaining too, so let us help with that – here are some easy lockdown-friendly activities to keep everyone busy

Easter Egg Hunt 

An easter egg hunt is a great activity to do with children, and is probably something that you would be doing if it wasn’t a lockdown, so it will feel like a welcome moment of normality over the weekend. If you can’t find any eggs, don’t worry – turn the easter egg hunt into an Easter-themed scavenger hunt, hide sweets or any chocolate you can find. If all else fails, hide prizes such as 1 hour tv time, or half an hour playing video games, get creative and your kids will be sure to enjoy themselves!

Draw an Easter Egg

Over the past few weeks, children have been drawing rainbows to put in their windows to spread hope and keep morale high. Why not carry on with that and make it Easter themed? An Easter egg (or bunny) in the window will let you share the easter spirit with your neighbours! Download our Easter egg template by clicking here. Make sure to share your creations using the hashtag #schooljottereaster !

Cook (and Eat!)

Easter Sunday lunch doesn’t have to be the only food to get excited about this weekend! Why not get the kids involved making some sweet treats, such as easter rocky road from BBC good food. You could get even simpler and teach your children to make a cooked breakfast! You never know, by the end of lockdown they could be cooking roast dinners for you!

Watch Some Films 

If you get worn out from hiding Easter eggs and wiping chocolate smears off every surface, why not join the kids in front of the TV and enjoy some Easter weekend films? Here’s a few recommendations from us:
Hop (2011) – ITV2 5.15pm-7.15pm
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968) – Channel 4 4.40pm-7.30pm
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) ITV 2.35pm-4.30pm
Shrek (2001) – ITV2 4pm-5.50pm

Welcome Wiktoria Plata, our newest intern!

Category: Uncategorized

Published: July 10, 2018

We were excited to interview our newest Marketing Intern, Wiktoria from Keighley’s Holy Family Catholic School. Although she has been with us for a short amount of time, we have had a blast getting to know her!
Wiktoria is an incredibly fast learner and has impressed us with her ability in completing tasks quickly and efficiently. She helped us publish content on our blog and organise an event that some of the biggest companies in Leeds will attend tomorrow. She is also learning how to build school websites with School Jotter.
We got a chance to interview Wiktoria, and are excited to introduce her to our readers!

Tell us something fun about you.
Hi, my name is Wiktoria Plata, I am 14 years old and I come from Poland. I live in Keighley with my younger sister and my parents. I am in Year 10 and go to Holy Family Catholic School.

What do you hope to learn by the end of the internship?

By the end of this internship, I hope to learn how Webanywhere works with and helps schools through education websites and apps.

What is your favourite thing to do outside of school?

Outside of school, I like to meet up with friends and do something interesting.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In 5 years, I see myself at university studying a degree that will help me get a well-paid and helpful job.

What would be your ideal job?

My ideal job would be to do something that hopefully helps people.

What is your favourite book and why?

My favourite books are written by Michael Morpurgo, because his books are always adventurous and usually have a meaning behind them.

What kind of music do you like and who is your favourite artist and why?

I like listening to pop and sometimes some country music. My favourite artist is Sia because of the way she sings and writes her songs.

Introduction to Blogs

Category: Uncategorized

Published: June 16, 2017

Jotter Blogs enables you to create multiple different blogs. A blog is like a folder or container. Within each blog you can have multiple posts, which are like individual diary entries. You can create as many blogs as you like, and post as many entries as you like.
For example, you might have a blog called Class page and inside that blog add posts about what you’ve done in class. You might have another blog called School events and then post things that have happened at school in there.
As soon as blogging is switched on for students, they will all be able to create their own blogs and posts, which everyone else in the school can see and comment on.
The word blog is the bringing together of two words, web and log. A blog started out as being the work of a single person recording information about themselves or their interests, sort of an online diary. With web 2.0 technologies allowed the blogs readers to post comments and thus start a conversation about a post, making blogging a way to engage with like minded people and interactive, rather than the reader having just a passive role.
Today blogs are used to collaborate, collect information in one place whilst brainstorming and reach out to others that share your interests.
Blogs have now made it into the classroom and have become a useful tool in many ways. Firstly as a communication tool and a way of recording events and more recently as a way to encourage collaboration, engage boys and improve literacy skills. In your blog you can encourage peer support, everyone taking an active role, whether as a teacher or a learner and hopefully both!
Blog posts can be made up of text, images and links to websites and files.

Everything you need to know about your Jotter Mobile v1.8 Update

Published: April 28, 2017

Jotter Mobile just got even better with the release of v1.8, which will roll out across all apps by May 5th.
After lots of market research our developers have created the features you most requested, and we hope you will benefit from this free update.                     
Here are some of the changes you can expect to see:

Custom apps:

  • Custom sections in the navigation structure. Each custom link consists of a name, icon and an URL. You can define up to three custom sections.
  • Reordering and disabling of sections in the drawer menu and the dashboard tray. These are edited from the Mobile Centre module.


All apps:

  • Notification badges on sections within the app. These show that new content has been added but not read by the user.
  • New expanding dashboard tray option. This can be configured at the delivery stage or can be added with PCR.

If you would like more information about v1.8 or Jotter Mobile please call 0800 862 0492 or fill out our short contact form.

School Jotter 2.5 – a One-stop Solution for Schools

Category: Uncategorized

Published: March 6, 2017

In 2007 we launched the original School Jotter website system. Since day one we have received praise for how the system makes it easy for teachers to manage their school’s website. In 2012 we released School Jotter 2, which further tailored the system to the needs of our thousands of customers.

Introducing 2.5

Our latest product innovation, School Jotter 2.5, expands on this by pairing our class leading website system with a range of eLearning software, which empowers schools to bridge the gap with parents, governors, and students.


With School Jotter 2.5, our platform now includes extra modules which ease communication, such as a Surveys module to gain feedback (perhaps for a parental survey) and a Blogs module which headteachers and other staff can use to engage parents with day to day school life.

According to The Joseph Rowntree report, engaging students and parents with a child’s learning is one of the key influencers on student attainment. Using the School Jotter 2.5 eLearning software, such as Jotter ePortfolios, students can showcase their work, and this can be shown to parents, while teachers can give online feedback.

Amazing Value

Our new School Jotter 2.5 offering represents great value, as it saves money compared with buying the equivalent products separately. With unlimited users, storage and training, upgrade to School Jotter 2.5 TODAY and your school can save £500 on the recommended retail price. Please call use for more information.

Closing the Gender Gap in Literacy

Published: July 19, 2016

As a retired primary teacher I find it unsurprising that numerous studies show a gender gap where girls are significantly outperforming boys in literacy. One of the latest studies, commissioned by Save the Children, has found that the female advantage is established even before they step foot in the classroom. Understanding the Gender Gap in Literacy and Language Development was undertaken by researchers from Bristol University’s Graduate School of Education. Apparently in the 2014/15 school year, one in four boys were behind in language at age five and started Reception without being able to follow simple instructions or speak a full sentence. The report also states that for those children who start school behind, few will catch up.
While the gap appears to exist for all socio-economic groups, it was wider for those children eligible for free school lunches. Whereas the overall ratio was 25% of boy starters unable to answer simple “how” and “why” questions compared to 14% of girls, this escalated to 35% and 23% for lower income families. Several of the schools where I taught had ‘breakfast clubs’ before school, run by volunteers. It was a sad fact that this club was bursting at the seams. Whether this was simply due to poor time management by parents or because of economic factors, cereal and toast were gobbled up greedily. Once the children’s blood sugar levels rose, behaviour improved and they stayed on task longer. But where gender difference is concerned, evidence from the Save the Children study couldn’t definitively point to biological, developmental or social causes. An earlier study in 2008 by the Institute of Education (part of the Millennium Cohort Study) found that for both sexes attainment was better for children with two working parents, particularly if they held qualifications. Pupils in stepfamilies or with one parent had lower achievement.
Department for Education
The DfE produced a report in 2009 entitled Gender and Education – Mythbusters Addressing Gender and Achievement: Myths and Realities where they tended to refute most of the gender gap findings, however the evidence spoke for itself when it came to girls attaining higher in English. At key stage two, the gap is considerably wider for writing than reading but this is hardly news to me, as I repeatedly felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall trying to get boys to write. The DfE say that increased provision has been made for Early Years practitioners to try and redress the gender gap but is it too little, too late?
I recall an old study that maintained girls were better communicators because female babies tended to be carried facing inwards, whereas boys faced outwards. Facing inwards allowed babies to see their parents’ faces and be spoken to directly. They would learn to read facial expressions and understand nuance more quickly than if carried outwards. Somewhat controversially, the Save the Children study advocates treating boys more like girls. Girls tend to be sung to and have nursery rhymes recited to them. The researchers want to boys to experience this in equal measures, as well as having storybooks read to them and being given rewards for good performance. More creative activities such as painting and drawing are also seen as a way to help with cognitive development. But is it fair to lay all the blame at parents’ feet for the gender gap in attainment? Schools need to build a trusting relationship with parents and carers, working with them to promote the importance of one-on-one activities at home. Pupils need to be taught the value of being self-reliant and independent learners, which will raise self-esteem.
Role Models
There are relatively few male Early Years practitioners in UK schools. It’s more typical for men to teach at secondary level, with a view to obtaining headships. With so many single parent families where dad is seldom seen, a positive male role model is vital. In my last primary school they had no less than four male teachers out of 12, one of whom was in Early Years. This state school had some of the best behaviour I’d experienced and the male teachers certainly contributed to that. They provided a different caring style and allowed children to see a more natural gender mix, representative of society. Surely the DfE should do more to recruit male teachers into primary and particularly Early Years.
Methods of Delivery
There is little doubt that even the youngest pupils relate to technology, as it can be exciting and varied. In my KS1 class, while girls would often grab a book and sit in the reading corner, the boys competed for the two computers where they could play games, albeit with an educational objective. More provision should be made at Foundation Stage for pupils to have access to a virtual learning environment. Lower achievers could work through specially designed modules to help them catch up with language skills. As many schools may not have the funds to provide sufficient portable devices to use, a BYOD (bring your own device) policy could be introduced, so that pupils could bring in a tablet or smartphone from home. If boys are more reluctant to read and write, interactive storyboards and gamification could provide the catalyst needed to spark their interest. The beauty of BOYD is that any elearning content can be easily accessed at home as well as at school, hopefully encouraging parents to get more invested in their children’s education.