Oldham Sixth Form College

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OSFC - Leading the way in digital learning

OSFC - Leading the way in digital learning

OSFC is thrilled to announce that we are winners of the Curriculum Innovation award at the SFCA 2021 awards.

The College’s journey with the use of EdTech innovation started in earnest in 2018, which was a timely decision allowing the College to be well positioned to operate effectively when the impact of the pandemic was felt in the Spring of 2020. G Suite applications had been fully embedded into everyday teaching. They were also used to support staff to deliver remote lessons by developing a Teaching and Learning Google site, which gave access to the most up to date evidence informed practice, bespoke guidance videos and a group facility for staff to post questions about any issues they encountered when teaching remotely; this led to staff sharing best practice and supporting peers. The philosophy to provide staff with a platform to be able to deliver tried and tested Teaching and Learning strategies and to keep things as simple as possible for both staff and students, was at the heart of every decision when preparing for and transitioning to remote learning. As a consequence, the metacognitive strategies, which had been central to the Colleges’ T&L strategy, could still be delivered effectively. Further innovation at the College was seen in the inaugural year of teaching the Digital T level, with the Manchester based company Aucoda delivering a 10 week online programming module from their undergraduate education programme, providing a valuable industry insight for both staff and students. 

The culmination of staff engaging with the implementation of G Suite led to OSFC being selected to become an EdTech Demonstrator School, allowing other schools and colleges to benefit from our experiences and the resources we had developed and were developing during the pandemic. A team of 13 staff led by Assistant Principal, Louise Astbury coordinated bespoke support for schools and colleges via a series of meetings, webinars and access to the most relevant resources via an EdTech Google Site. This has been a huge success, with the College supporting 62 primary and secondary schools last year and 28 schools already organised to take part for 2021-22.

Throughout this difficult period, OSFC managed to minimise disruption to routines and maintain high expectations, ensuring accountability by making sure all tasks and assignments were monitored and/or assessed and to prioritise ‘ed’ before ‘tech’ using research evidence to inform pedagogy.

Chris Arnold, Assistant Principal leading on remote learning for OSFC students feels that the college’s success came from keeping it simple, clear communication and maintaining routine for students. The College believes that ‘live’ interactions are crucial. Peer to peer discussions in breakout rooms, use of chat functions, one to one catch ups with individual students and live remote lessons help to maintain positive working relations with students.

The College’s new offer of T levels further enhances its position as a leader in digital learning. T Levels are brand new courses, focusing on blending college-based learning with industry placements. Students combine classroom lessons with a 45-day placement, giving them core knowledge and on-the-job experience and skills. OSFC is one of only 50 national providers selected to deliver these innovative industry-based courses. The Digital Design and Production T level course is designed to help students gain the skills to prepare for work in the digital sector. They study the skills needed to develop software and apply programming skills to solve problems. The course allows students to take on a fantastic nine-week industry placement. OSFC has partnered with some amazing digital companies across Greater Manchester, to offer students the very best placements. The course is delivered in our new, state of the art digital suite.

Suzannah Reeves, Associate Principal said, ‘The College has been at the forefront of using technology to facilitate outstanding provision for a number of years. Our own journey with using learning platforms to support teaching and learning allowed us to quickly support schools in setting up remote learning provision in a time of crisis. The 62 schools benefited from access to bespoke support and training from a highly skilled team of staff at OSFC and across the Trust. They have been an outstanding team and they, and all the teachers at OSFC, truly deserve this award.’

If any schools would like free support from our EdTech Demonstrator School, please complete this ‘Expression of Interest’  https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=qmjQpA4JVU-pULG5XOoca9hLmRRv4-NOp0MGwI-xON1UQkNPVFAzV1o1MkNBNFpIUlVHTEZSU1RRQy4u