Last weekend I visited the Royal Academy of Arts in London to see the new David Hockney exhibition.

David Hockney is considered one of the most influential British artists of the 20th century and has had a varied career as a painter, photographer, printmaker and stage designer. Over recent years he has worked extensively on his iPad, producing pieces of art using an app called Brushes.

The exhibition I visited on Saturday was titled The Arrival of Spring, Normandy 2020. In the midst of the recent pandemic, David Hockney captured the unfolding of spring in Normandy, creating 116 new and optimistic iPad paintings looking at the natural world.

The iPad paintings were amazing to see up close, and I’m looking forward to using Hockney’s style and techniques when I teach our Year 10 and 11 GCSE art students. The exhibition also made me think about how our students can utilise their own iPads to create work, develop their talents, and most importantly enhance their own learning.

Technology is always developing and during the pandemic we used technology in completely new ways, changing the ways we worked, communicated, learnt, studied and revised.

Last year saw the Apollo secondary schools begin their partnership with GCSEPod, an online tool which supports and enhances our students learning. GCSEPod is an excellent resource to help our students learn, retain and recall all the information they need to achieve their Key Stage 4 goals, and it is something we offer for free to all of our students in Year 9, 10 and 11.

On average, regular users of GCSEPod across the country achieved more progress, and at least 1 grade higher per subject, than non-users. The website includes over 6000 Pods and they are designed to squeeze exactly the right knowledge needed for exam success into short 3-5-minute chunks. They can help with learning, homework and revision.

The Pods can be downloaded on any device so our students can watch them online or offline. An expert reads and explains everything clearly and precisely with all the right facts, quotes, keyword and annotated diagrams on screen.

The website also includes a number of resources and webinars for parents, please have a look at the website for more information on how you can support your child through their Key Stage 4 qualifications and exams.


Our Year 11 students will be sitting their mock exams prior to the Christmas break, and Year 10 will sit theirs when we return in January. We will be sending out information regarding these mock exams soon, but in the meantime we urge all of our students to take responsibility for their own learning and spend time revising outside of school.

Success at Key Stage 4 unlocks more opportunities for our students, whether that be within our own Apollo Sixth Form, gaining a place at a vocational college, or being successful in acquiring an apprenticeship.

On the 7th October we will be holding our Tutor Parent’s Evening, both Mr Rowbottom and I are looking forward to getting the opportunity to meet some of you at this evening, and will both be available should you have any further questions regarding GCSEPod or the upcoming exams.

Mr M Gamble