Hugh Baird 14-16 College students benefit from online delivery and regular support calls from staff

Despite the challenging lockdown situation, the nation is currently experiencing in order to collectively beat the Coronavirus pandemic, students from across Hugh Baird College are continuing to benefit from daily online lessons and support from dedicated teaching staff.

In particular, the provision being provided to the organisation’s youngest cohort of learners at Hugh Baird’s 14-16 College is bucking the national trend according to a recently released research report.

In the poll, conducted by educational charity and social mobility champions, The Sutton Trust, it was found that many learners were not receiving effective online education from their school during lockdown.

The poll surveyed a total of 6,500 teachers through Teacher Tapp to find out how much support schools were providing their pupils. In addition, 1,508 parents were surveyed by Public First to explore how learning in the home was going.

The polling found over half of students in independent primaries (51%) and secondaries (57%) took part in online lessons every day. This is two and a half times as often as their state school contemporaries (19% and 22%).

However, this is not the case for students at Hugh Baird’s 14-16 College. They are being kept engaged by a team of dedicated teaching staff who are embracing online teaching through Microsoft Teams. Teams enables online delivery to take place through its wide range of tools. These include the delivery of live online lessons, assignment setting and support through messaging and video chat.

All 14-16 College students initially remained on their normal timetable with online lessons being delivered daily for all their selected subject areas, before moving, when ready, to a more flexible, project-based timetable. To add further contact, 14-16 College staff are making twice-weekly calls to all learners to check on their well-being and to assist with issues they may be experiencing academically or in their personal lives.

Hugh Baird College is one of only a handful of colleges nationally that offer full-time provision to students from the age of 14. Students at the Hugh Baird 14-16 College study key GCSEs in English, maths, ICT, and Science whilst also following a vocational subject in one of a select number of hands-on subjects such as Construction or Catering to name just two.

Additionally, 14-16 learners enjoy smaller class sizes and also receive wrap-around pastoral support and access to the main College’s outstanding Student Services function. The function supports learners across a range of areas from careers guidance to health and well-being services. Crucially,students also benefit from the wider College’s Learner Support Team who can provide in-class support, additional one on one sessions and much more.

Andy Howard, Director of the Hugh Baird 14-16 College, recognises that during this unprecedented period the nation and the world as a whole is experiencing, learners at the 14-16 College not only need to remain on track with their studies but must also feel connected and supported emotionally by their tutors and the College in general.

Andy said:

As an organisation, Hugh Baird College prides itself on the level and quality of the support it offers to its students. For learners at the 14-16 College, this support is even more critical, especially during the exceptionally challenging times.

When lockdown was announced the College as a whole recognised it was crucial that whilst the College’s campuses may be closed, our learners should feel comforted in the knowledge that our support and encouragement was still very much present and available to them.

For the cohort of learners we have at the 14-16 College, providing consistency to their normal routine by continuing with their studies has helped to provide structure. It has also been a welcome distraction from the news and developments surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic.

All our delivery has been undertaken remotely using Microsoft Teams. My team of teaching staff have fully embraced the tools the application provides and have become more adventurous and innovative with their lesson plans and delivery as time has gone on.

Feedback from both our students and their parents/guardians/carers has been overwhelmingly positive. With many learners, we have seen them excel and grow in confidence as a result ofbeing taught online. This is extremely rewarding to see, and I would like to thank and congratulate my teaching team for the dedication and support they have shown andcontinueto provide their students.

Soraya Ralli-Stanley, a student at the Hugh Baird 14-16 College, said:

When the college had to close due to the country being under lockdown, I was worried I would fall behind with my work and that this would impact on my grades. I was also worried about not seeing or speaking to my teachers and my friends. But this hasn’t been the case at all. I have still been able to take part in all my classes from home through Microsoft Teams. I get to speak to my teachers regularly, last week I spoke to seven of my teachers in one day! I also use Teams to do group work with my friends. It was a bit strange to start with, but now we have a great time in our virtual class and get to speak to our teacher and friends on group chat. I'm really grateful the 14-16 College put this plan together as it makes lockdown more fun.

Helen, Soraya’s mum, added:

I’ve been delighted by what Hugh Baird College have done and continue to do during the lockdown period. Lessons take place on time and I can see from Soraya’s laptop that most of the class are present and really are enjoying the way they’re learning. It’s definitely helped her to stay in touch with her friends and the calls from the teachers are brilliant for both of us. I get to find out how Soraya is progressing, and she has a one to one opportunity to ask her tutor any questions as many as three times a week. There is also a lot of laughter when she speaks with her tutors and it’s great to see her smiling when she comes off the phone. I am so grateful to all of the staff at the Hugh Baird 14-16 College, moving her to the College in Year 10 has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

Applications are still open for September for all areas of Hugh Baird College. For further information please visit: or call 0151 353 4444.

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