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MINTclass has all towers' teachers behind it 
All of Tower's Teachers are behind MINTclass, 95% positive feedback was received instantly!
Background
Towers School works on the ethos that anyone who attends will achieve their full potential, and staff work hard to ensure that behaviour, conduct and manners are excellent. As part of this, Grant Wilson, lead practitioner, who holds responsibility for innovation within the school, is always researching ways to make teaching and learning more effective.

It was on Twitter that Mr Wilson first came across MINTclass, after he'd seen another teacher positively recommend its continuing professional development (CPD) training. After researching and realising the benefits of using digital seating plans, he brought the idea to the deputy headteacher and the MINTclass software was introduced shortly after.

Before it was implemented, teachers has been creating data sheets and seating plans manually. Mr Wilson explains, "It was a laborious task. Staff were having to take data from SIMS, export it, and put it into Excel as well as downloading photos and trying to put it all together. It was very time consuming and then within a week of doing that, it was pretty much out of date and we had to go through the whole process again."

Mr Wilson believed that MINTclass would help make the whole process a lot smoother, and would save teachers' time. During the initial stages, online training was provided by the MINTclass team to ensure an easy and smooth transition. Mr Wilson explains, "It was all relatively easy. It took me a little while as the administrator to set everything up, although a lot of the work was done by out SIMS expert in school, Suzanne, but for general staff it's so intuitive and easy to use. It wouldn't have been worthwhile to send teachers offsite for training; doing it online and through a conference call was simple and definitely saved time."

18 months later, and Towers has never looked back
After introducing MINTclass to staff, Mr Wilson says, "I got about 95 percent positive feedback instantly. Virtually every teacher in the school could see that it was useful and that it would save time. Of course, there is always a tiny minority who struggle to adapt to new ways of working and would prefer to stick to their own way of devising seating plans." However, the school set a policy that all staff had to use the software to position their students. As soon as those who were initially sceptical used it and realised that it really did save them time they were completely bought in. Mr Wilson continues, "Within the next couple of weeks, 100 percent of staff were behind it and I still get told how useful it is on a regular basis".

The software is incredibly popular among staff, to the extent that volunteers have set up their own MINTclass helpdesk which operates within the school to help any teachers using it.

 As well as using the software for standard seating planning, Towers has also used MINTclass to look directly as low-level disruption across the whole school. Mr Wilson explains, "One of our teachers got all of us to use MINTclass and colour code students in each of our classes as to their responsibility for disruption levels. From this, he was able to examine the results and generate results including who was causing the problem and assessing where the disruptions were coming from. It was really interesting to be able to capture the data across the school and make teachers aware of who was causing the most distractions; we were then able to move students around in accordance".

Mr Wilson believes that having an online seating plan helps students' behaviour too as he says, "it takes away any unsettling behaviour at the start of the class about who is sitting with who. It sets the tone and means we can start teaching right away. We can also comment on any bad combinations we see around the school, allowing us to make any necessary adjustments. It's also useful for cover teachers; I took a cover lesson the other day and the students were all in the wrong seats. Thanks to the plans, I could quickly and easily pull the data and within 30 seconds, they were all in the right seats and the lesson could begin!"

"One of our advisors recently visited the school and I showed him MINTclass. He was very impressed and thought it was incredibly valuable for observers visiting; being able to instantly identify students using specific data relation to individuals, vulnerable groups or pupil premium students."

Looking ahead
Mr Wilson continues to receive positive feedback from colleagues and believes every school should have a resource like MINTclass. He says, "By having all your data to hand, and being linked with SIMS, MINTclass was a no brainer. It saves us so much time straight away. It was quick to set up, easy to put your class data in and instantly all the data is there, within your seating planner."

He adds, "What I like the most is how easy they are to work with, how receptive they are to feedback and how quickly you get a response. I can't praise the MINTclass help service enough, it's fantastic."

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