Getting to know you: Emily Prentice, Edusites


We talk to Emily Prentice, one of the directors at Edusites, to find out how they are supporting top UK schools and teachers.

What do you currently do?

Edusites supports teachers. Edusites is used by 2/3rds of the Top 100 schools for staff training and classroom practice. Using expert understanding of marginal gains in exam performance, Edusites is a provider of outstanding teaching advice and resources for English Language, English Literature, Film, Geography and Media Studies. Edusites continuously uses the most up to date research on learning to develop outstanding teaching materials for GCSE, IGCSE, IB and A Level teachers. We support schools to develop practice, save time and boost results.

At Edusites each of our subject sites is different because the subjects themselves need different kinds of resources. Working in a fraught environment with multiple issues to deal with senior leaders often look for a one size fits all approach. Some of our competitors offer this approach and while this, initially, promises to solve problems too many compromises are made attempting to recruit experts and maintain the integrity of subject expertise. At Edusites we have worked for more than ten years with a range of experts including government advisors, outstanding teachers and heads of department as well as senior and chief examiners. For example with the new 9-1 English Literature GCSE students and teachers need experience and practice analysing and writing about unseen texts while A level Film Studies requires students to make in-depth analyses of Films with which they are very familiar. These are two different skills which need teaching in different ways to enable the very best outcomes for students. At Edusites we build highly developed skill sets using a range of teaching methods for both student and teachers.

What’s your inspiration in business?

In our business our inspiration is the business of schools. Education has the future of all business at its heart through two planks of government education reform; providing an educated adept workforce and working to take young people out of the poverty trap of poor education and lifelong reliance of social systems. One of two directors Emily brings to Edusites her innovative research into the application of government reform in schools and passion for learning. Backed with qualifications largely gained while a full time teacher. Emily is herself a lifelong learner and holds a BA, MA, MSc, PGCE and NPQH with a background in secondary teaching and educational research at Oxford University and the Nuffield Review. Teaching since 1994, Emily was a Deputy Headteacher in an outstanding-in-every-category school before moving on to take on the role as a secondary head in a challenging school. Emily has been with Edusites for two years listening to the needs of teachers and students and providing workable, cost effective and relevant solutions.

Who do you admire?

At Edusites we admire all teachers working everyday with students. Teaching can be a fantastically rewarding profession but more support and positive encouragement is needed. Teachers are working in extraordinary environments keeping young people focused, happy, and calm.

We only have to walk around in public during school holidays to see parents dealing with teenagers and imagine what that is like with thirty of them in front of you needing direction, engagement and secure progress! No mean feat. While teachers are doing this everyday, many of the schools are facing unprecedented changes including ‘churn’ in the teaching workforce. Early retirement options, systemic change and rapid staff turnover has effected the delicate balance of support and professional development within teaching teams.

Teachers need access to expertise when faced with challenge and responsibility earlier in their career. In a recent headteachers conference the biggest concern voiced loud and clear was staff recruitment. The teaching recruitment industry is growing at a fast pace but this is not a sustainable trajectory.

Edusites is providing support to teachers at the grass roots to help them to not just manage but enjoy their work. As a tiny single example of the support we offer we have lots of examples of marking that students can do themselves after taking one of our exam board simulated assessments.

What defines the way you do business?

High Quality

We are a highly skilled and efficient small team using technology to expedite that expertise to as many teachers as possible. On average each of our subscribers login at least once every week. Our subject sites are not a superficial promise but are energetic and project possibilities and futures; exactly what teaching is all about.

Non judgemental

Teaching is rewarding but hard with pinch points that can be overwhelming. At Edusites we want teachers to stay in the profession and to help this to happen we provide support with questions our subscribers have about teaching, career progression and departmental leadership. Any departmental member can access this expert subject support and it comes free with a subscription.

Cost effective

In a department of 10 teachers joining our provision costs less than 25p per week for each teacher. An increasing number of schools are finding a subscription is an excellent departmental thank you from senior leaders which won’t break the budget.

Looking back, given the chance, is there anything you would have done differently?

Last year, Edusites subscribers included two thirds of the top 100 (attainment measure) state schools in the country (The Telegraph) as well as a good proportion of the Top Ten Progress 8 (value added measure) schools.  Eduscribers consist of less than 10% of the whole English cohort market for the three subjects we currently deliver but 67% of the Top 100 schools. These numbers suggest that early adopters and successful teachers and departments use and value our resources.

The Edusites team are great at knowing and creating support for teachers but we have been really poor at sharing our vision and marketing ourselves. For ten years we have been choosing to spend resource monies on new ways of thinking about teaching and resources and most subscribers hear about Edusites through word of mouth. We are in the process of overhauling our marketing strategies to raise awareness with senior leaders and teachers so more students can benefit from our expertise and cost effective whole departmental support.