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Working in Partnership with SmartPass

Posted on: 28th Apr 2021

Our English Department were delighted to work in partnership with award-winning educational company SmartPass during lockdown, who provided the school with access to their revision tools, offering students the ability to listen to key scenes from Macbeth and listen to a teacher’s commentary of their import.

We caught up with one of our partners at SmartPass to find out more….

SmartPass guided audio dramas have engaged, entertained, and educated countless students for the last 20 years. And having been developed as an independent study guide, they came into their own during lockdown by bringing literature alive at home, enabling students to continue their classroom studies.

Created by enthusiastic teachers and theatre-in-education specialists, supported by full casts from the Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre and BBC Radio repertory, our audio dramas not only present the closest thing to live theatre but in seamlessly moving between drama and commentary, we explore and explain why it’s worth listening to! 

Imagine reading the novel, play or poetry you’re studying with a teacher whispering in your ear. Then imagine its cast of characters speaking aloud, as the text becomes a lavish drama. Luckily for you, you don’t need to imagine as SmartPass has done all the work!

Combining full-cast audio drama with expert commentary and analysis, SmartPass audio education study guides open up the word of English Literature, exploring and explaining everything a student needs to know to achieve their potential, whatever that may be.

Our friendly and conversational commentary – presented by Joan Walker in the role of the PassMaster – not only demonstrates critical thinking skills but in diving into the social and historical worlds of a text and its author, it becomes more real, more relevant, and more enjoyable. And it’s our hope that through this greater understanding and appreciation of studied texts that today’s students will become tomorrow’s experts and enthusiasts, as they continue to embrace and enjoy great literature.

Ideal for revision and independent study, SmartPass guides encourage listeners to take control of their learning, moving at the pace they need to, recapping and re-listening when they want to, pausing the guide to make notes, take breaks, or carry out suggested tasks.

In sharing their SmartPass experiences with us, parents, home schoolers, teachers and students have highlighted their usefulness:

  • For accelerated learners – as the tasks can be as challenging as they want to make them; and our nuts-and-bolts approach to essay writing allows high flyers to excel.
  • For students who may have missed out on school or dropped back in class – as catch-up tool, as they can move at a pace their comfortable with and concentrate on tasks to build their confidence.
  • For auditory learners.
  • For students with a visual impairment or, for whatever reason, cannot access conventional reading materials.
  • For families to listen and learn together.

With a selection of popular titles from ground-breaking writers – often chosen for literature study as their timeless stories have so much to say – we’re proud to express their words and ideas in such a powerful and accessible way and thrilled to have received three Spoken Word Awards in the categories of Drama, Best Original Audio and Publishing Initiative; not to mention the SmartPass audio education study guide to Romeo and Juliet being voted 3rd best audiobook by The Guardian. 

‘Clear and lively… a stimulating study aid.’  Sunday Times

‘A brilliant way to revise.’  The Daily Express

‘A super resource for anyone studying the play.’  InTeractive

‘Audio guides offer unique access and insight into great literature. Each is a vivid walk through the imagery, themes and background.’  SEN

‘High quality and extremely good value. These guides would enthuse and actively involve students of all abilities.’  SNIP

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