The RM Group
Published 05 February 2014

Chapter & verse - Using ebooks to engage and raise standards in reading at Shireland Collegiate Academy

Using ebooks to engage and raise standards

Shireland Collegiate Academy introduced RM Books to deliver flipped learning, sharply focused interventions, independent learning and transition. We revisit the academy almost 12 months on to see how they've been getting on.

For Shireland Collegiate Academy it was important they found a solution that worked throughout the school and could adapt to a range of strategies. The inner city academy is faced with many challenges:

  • 1,100 students; 11-18
  • Built over 100 years ago and serves an area of substantial deprivation
  • 38.2% of students have eligibility for free school meals (63% Pupil Premium)
  • 22% have Special Educational Needs
  • 15% live safeguarding issues
  • 64.7% have English as a second language
  • Judged as Outstanding in 2006 / 2010 / 2013

I'm very comfortable recommending to other heads that they ought to look at RM Books as a solution which will increase levels of engagement and absolutely will increase levels of achievement.

– Sir Mark Grundy, Executive Principal

The Family Literacy Project


The Family Literacy Project is a really exciting area where the school are embedding RM Books. The goal of the project is to get families engaged in learning. The academy serves many families that don't speak English as their first language so set up this project to draw the families in - getting them to have shared reading experiences with the young people.

As RM Books can be accessed anytime, anywhere, parents are able to access the RM Books account with their children from home, reading and enjoying learning together.

Everybody's being empowered - through a book. How exciting is that?

– Deanne Howe, Learning Intervention Manager


The project consists of:.

  • 1½ hour session once a week
  • 14 families a week, representing some of communities within the academy
  • Combination of Little Bridge online and paper booklets with practical examples to improve their English listening and reading skills
  • 75% of parents think the Family Literacy Project has helped with their English

I like to read with my son as it helps him and me. My English is not good so it also helps my reading and understanding.

– Parent

Year 7


Mohamed Yafai, Year 7 Teacher, has introduced RM Books to facilitate flipped learning. A typical Year 7 reader is below national average, generally disengaged from reading (more obviously in boys) and does not choose to read.

Mo has been using the online reporting functionality to get feedback from what he has been teaching in class. He is able to see how long students have been reading for and how many pages they've read. By sharing the statistics with the class, he is able to motivate even his most reluctant of readers.

Before the introduction of RM Books, only 5% of students read at home more than 5 times per week with the majority only reading once or twice. 75% of students are now reading over 3 times a week with 23% reading more than 5 times..

And the parents are noticing a difference too, their children can access RM Books freely bring about independent reading as well as teacher-led allocations.

The children love working on devices like laptops and anything that's 'click a button'

– Parent


Kirsty Tonks, the driving force behind the RM Books introduction at Shireland Collegiate Academy, commented that RM Books has worked completely for the academy. They are very pleased with the progress they are making and happy at what the future will bring.

What's great about RM Books, is they're not stopping still. So we can see things will only get better with RM Books

– Kirsty Tonks, E-learning & Teaching School Director

To find out more about how schools have been using RM Books, click here

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