Spellzone is the perfect fit for high performing academy

Millthorpe School, York"It is saving huge amounts of time as well as directly supporting learning."

Alison Ridyard, Director of Literacy, King’s Leadership Academy


King’s Leadership Academy in Warrington is the area’s first free independent school.  The academy opened its doors in September 2012 with 32 students and now has around 400 students in Years 7-10 (it will become an 11-18 school by adding a year group with each academic year).  It already has a national character award under its belt, is greatly over-subscribed for the next academic year, and became a multi-academy trust in September 2015.

Committed to building strong moral values and character in all students, King's firmly believes that strength of character is the fundamental cornerstone of academic success.  Its ethos is to help students develop the highest aspirations as they seek places at university or enter the world of work, becoming confident contributing citizens and fulfilling their potential. 

Having previously experienced a number of literacy interventions, Director of Literacy Alison Ridyard was looking specifically for a spelling-based programme.  She discovered Spellzone via an online search in spring 2015, and immediately signed up for a free trial.

I ran the trial with a small group of students over three weeks before the summer holidays. I quickly saw the benefits, and signed up.”  Although Alison has only been using Spellzone for a few months, she says it is already delivering significant benefits in a number of areas within the academy.

Supporting individual learning

Alison says that the ability to readily create individual spelling lists supports the academy's goals of developing students' individual ability.  “The search function is great,” she says.“The ability to find specific content for individual students and tailor learning support accordingly is superb.  We’re very keen to make sure that work is specifically targeted to relevant age groups, and Spellzone makes this very easy to do.

Being able to set tasks is another great tool, as it allows staff to set and mark homework quickly and easily.

Mapping the curriculum 

“The support we’ve had from the Spellzone team has been fantastic.  As well as providing us with in-depth training to help us appreciate the full range of functions Spellzone offers, they have also uploaded keywords for specific texts we’re studying.

“This enables staff to create word lists, quickly and easily, and to set homework for students.  It is saving huge amounts of time as well as directly supporting learning."

What’s next for King’s Leadership Academy?

Alison says that the comprehensive Spellzone user guide has been very useful in supporting staff as they work their way around the programme, but also for highlighting currently unused tools and functionality that she believes will become widely used in future.  She says that the focus from here is firmly on putting some structure around Spellzone’s use at the academy and on actively monitoring and measuring the impact on literacy levels.

“The more we use Spellzone, the more potential we see.  Staff are already using Spellzone throughout the school and, whilst it’s still early days, I can see it becoming an indispensable tool for us.”

King’s Leadership Academy

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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