Barnsley company launches digital hub to make teachers’ lives easier

26 August 2014

A Barnsley education company has worked with a digital design agency to create an innovative online resource which helps teachers prepare high quality lessons more quickly.

Cornerstones Education supplies more than a thousand schools with creative curriculum teaching and learning materials in hard copy format. It has now launched a digital hub to be used alongside these resources and save teachers hours of planning time.

The ‘Hub’ has been developed for Cornerstones by Barnsley-based design and digital agency DMSQD. The work has been supported through the Enterprising Barnsley business support programme, delivered by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council. DMSQD brought their expertise to the project as Enterprising Barnsley’s specialist business coaches.

The Cornerstones Hub brings all the education company’s curriculum projects together online with easy-access tools for lesson planning, curriculum review and pupil assessment. It features forums for sharing good practice, and a range of ready-made teaching resources such as bespoke videos, presentations, images, poems and innovative learning game boards.

Cornerstones managing director Simon Hickton said: “Put simply, the Hub is designed to save teachers time in the preparation of high-quality learning experiences. We hope it will give teachers more time to spend in the classroom with children - and give them their weekends back.

“Our Hub provides them with the digital tools they need to carry out many of their own essential lesson planning and assessment tasks at the click of a few buttons.

“Tasks which took hours before, such as checking National Curriculum coverage across planned projects or tracking pupils’ progress in key skills, can now be done quickly via the Hub.”

DMSQD worked closely with Cornerstones over a year to develop the complex digital resource which is now available to schools across England and will be customised and rolled out across Wales in the near future.

Mark Asquith, director of DMSQD said: “The Cornerstones Hub had over a thousand page views within 20 minutes of its launch which led to more than 12,000 page views by 900 active users within three hours. It was amazing to see and a pleasure to work on something which was so well-conceived by the company and so well-received by its customers.”

Development of the Hub has also involved the incorporation of security software to protect against copyright infringements.

DMSQD and Cornerstones will continue to develop more digital content for the Hub including additional premium teaching resources such as historical character story-telling videos and ‘how to..’ video guides, which schools will be able to access for a small fee from January 2015.

Enterprising Barnsley’s creative and digital industries sector specialist Tracey Johnson said: “The Cornerstones Hub is a perfect example of a digital innovation tailor-made to improve a company’s offer to its customers and to add value to its existing physical products.

“It gives Cornerstones a new way to deliver useful and inspiring creative learning resources directly to customers, some of which represent an additional revenue stream.

“We are delighted to support Cornerstones’ development of this innovation working with one of Barnsley’s leading digital design agencies and hope its on-going development will attract more business in the education sector.”

Cornerstones was set up in 2010 by a team of three experienced teachers and now employs a growing workforce of 30 at its Goldthorpe headquarters. The company writes a range of creative teaching and learning materials designed to help teachers deliver engaging and rigorous lessons, which provide comprehensive coverage of the new National Curriculum.

Enterprising Barnsley is supported financially by the European Union and has attracted £2,259,511 investment from the European Regional Development Fund as part of Europe’s support for the region’s economic development, through the Yorkshire and Humber ERDF Programme.

Notes to editor

Attached photograph shows Mark Asquith of DMSQD, Julia McInally of Cornerstones, Ed Townend of DMSQD and Simon Hickton of Cornerstones celebrating the launch of Cornerstones’ Hub, on screen.

For further information, please contact Julia McInally on 0844 335 0300 or j.mcinally@cornerstoneseducation.co.uk. Cornerstones is based at Fields End Business Park, Goldthorpe, Barnsley, www.cornerstoneseducation.co.uk

Cornerstones produce a range of educational resources and their primary product is a creative curriculum package of 70 projects for three to 11-year-olds packed exciting and effective ways to help children learn; encouraging them to engage; develop skills, knowledge and understanding; innovate and express themselves; as well as provide comprehensive coverage of the National Curriculum.

DMSQD is a design and digital agency based in Victoria Road Barnsley, telephone 01226 73350, www.dmsqd.com

The Enterprising Barnsley programme is part financed by the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the managing authority for the European Regional Development Fund Programme, which is one of the funds established by the European Commission to help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support local businesses and create jobs. For more information visit www.gov.uk/browse/business/funding-debt/european-regional-development-funding

For information about Enterprising Barnsley go to www.enterprisingbarnsley.co.uk or contact Tracey Johnson on 01226 772648 or at traceyjohnson@barnsley.gov.uk

Additional media contact: Steph Pollard at steph@capitalbmedia.co.uk or on 01226 766900/ 0776 196 4492.

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