The surprising truth about what drives Sixth Domain

Education is being disrupted and market forces are in action. Of course, they always were but the new buzzword “social enterprise” seems to being used by organisations regardless of their efficacy. At BETT I heard a number of suppliers quietly say “we’re agnostic to the quality of our resources as long as it sells.”

This attitude frustrates us at Sixth Domain, because it fundamentally starts from the wrong premise. The premise for us at Sixth Domain is that were here to improve education, and to help solve problems in education that we’ve picked to solve, not solely to make money to pay the bills. For us that’s a by product of doing the right thing. If you’ve ever watched Dan Pink’s fantastic TED/RSA talk “The surprising truth about what motivates us” you’ll know exactly what I mean.

As a relatively new startup in the schools market, gaining traction is incredibly difficult. First you have to weave a way through the firewall of the receptionist, once you’ve done that, you have to be lucky enough to catch the person you want while they’re not teaching, on lunch duty, or in a detention with year 9. As an assistant head teacher the lucky salespeople who did manage to make it to me usually got stunted by the question, “How is this going to improve things for our pupils?”

Pupils and young people are our stakeholders, they are the reason teachers stay up until midnight planning, the reason teachers feel burnt out, the reason teachers care about their jobs in education and schools. Pupils are also the the group of people that the education market needs to ensure they can prove products have an impact on. Simply selling to schools to make money is not enough. If you sell to schools to improve their culture, their ethos and the provision for their pupils, and can prove it, you’ll sell more and make a difference.

Reward System’s aim is “to improve behaviour in schools”. The biggest barrier to academic attainment is the quality of teaching. The biggest barrier to that according to many teachers is behaviour. If Reward System doesn’t improve behaviour, doesn’t improve outcomes for young people and doesn’t make teachers lives easier then we’re doing the wrong thing, we need to pivot, we need to adjust, we need to re-evaluate.

We want to know that Reward System has an impact and we’ll be designing studies and working with schools to help us show this. We want to:

  • Improve behaviour in schools
  • Reduce the number of bullying and racism incidents in schools
  • Increase the frequency of communications between schools and parents
  • Reduce the time it takes to engage meaningful interventions for the most challenging pupils

You can help us by using Reward System in your classroom, for free. If it works, and behaviour improves, let us know and we’ll help provide you with some data to show exactly how it’s worked for you and your pupils, so you can help your pupils further and help us to improve Reward System even more. If it doesn’t, we definitely want to know. If behaviour declines, if it’s too complicated, if it takes too much time: let us know so we can improve it.

Our drive to improve behaviour in schools and to measure and reflect on how we do this to help all schools improve is what will define Sixth Domain as a social enterprise and not simply a business in education.

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Reward System is an online behaviour management and reward system for schools.

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