Buzzing with Success: Spellzone Collaborates with St. Barnabas MAT for Spelling Bee Triumph

Bishopston Comprehensive SchoolSituated across five geographic hubs in Cornwall, the thirteen schools in St. Barnabas MAT include large town schools, smaller four-class village schools, and tiny two-class rural schools. The Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 pupil population across all schools is approximately 1300.

For the last four years, students and staff have been using Spellzone to boost spelling attainment across their trust, while also building camaraderie and friendly competition between the schools.

The Backstory

In 2020, in response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 lockdown, Annie Kenton, the Spelling Lead for St. Barnabas MAT, was searching for an online spelling resource to monitor student progress across the trust. She was impressed by Spellzone’s comprehensive reporting features and differentiated learning pathways, as well as the extensive bank of word lists and spelling tasks available to support teachers. With instant feedback on practice activities, Spellzone provided a seamless learning experience during the unprecedented shift to remote education.

"Fantastic customer service, responsive to requests for changes to service and children engaged. One pupil used Spellzone daily last year and closed the attainment gap between himself and his peers to the point that he was placed in the Trust Spelling Bee!"

Annie Kenton, Head of School and Spelling Lead for the MAT, Quethiock CofE VA School. November 2022

To motivate students and to help them continue their learning journeys online, Spellzone worked with St. Barnabas MAT to develop and launch a bespoke league table, allowing the schools, classes, and students within the trust to compete for the top spot on a weekly basis. New printable resources were created to encourage student engagement and free training ensured staff across the trust were familiar with the site’s features.

In addition to this, Spellzone partnered with St. Barnabas MAT to move their annual Spelling Bee competition online using the multi-player game facility.

The competition continues to run online each year.

The 2024 St. Barnabas MAT Spelling Bee

This year, competitors participated in the St. Barnabas MAT Spelling Bee in three groups: Key Stage 1, Lower Key Stage 2, and Upper Key Stage 2. Spellzone collaborated with Joanna Redford-James, the current Literacy and MFL lead at St. Barnabas MAT, to curate tailored word lists aligning with each area of the National Curriculum.

The multiplayer game component of the Spelling Bee event was pivotal in allowing students to participate in real-time interactive spelling challenges from different locations. The event unfolded over multiple rounds, with students competing in class heats, then school heats, and then a trust-wide final.

The Spelling Bee showcased the students' spelling prowess and highlighted Spellzone’s transformative impact on literacy skills within the St. Barnabas MAT community.

The Reaction

Here is what participants from St. Barnabas MAT had to say about the 2024 Spelling Bee competition:

"Every school should use Spellzone!"

UKS2 1st place winner

"I think Spellzone is the best and gets me really good at spelling. The Spelling Bee was really fun and I tried my hardest."


"Spellzone is a fun way to learn how to spell."


"I found the words tricky but Spellzone made it fun."


"I think the Spelling Bee was really exciting because I thought it was cool we might win tickets to a movie and a trophy."


"We love Spellzone."

LKS2 finalist

"Barry and his colleagues have been absolutely AMAZING in helping me to organise our St Barnabas MAT Spelling Bee. It has made a huge difference to spelling in our school. The children have a sense of excitement and it has renewed their interest in spelling games on Spellzone! Barry went out of his way to help me; with excellent communication, his support has been invaluable – thank you so much!"

Joanna Redford-James (Literacy/MFL Lead/KS2 teacher), St Mabyn CofE Primary School. March 2024

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to be a part of St. Barnabas MAT’s spelling journey for so many years – we are already buzzing with excitement for 2025’s Spelling Bee competition!

April 2024

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"Thank goodness for Spellzone during this remote learning phase. The site is easy for students to navigate independently and they're really enjoying the activities and spelling games. You get an awful lot for your money with Spellzone. Really reassuring is the very prompt response with helpdesk queries. I've very rarely needed the helpdesk, but when I have, the issue has been addressed and sorted within a very short time."

Sarah Taggart, Oasis Academy Lord's Hill