In response to the rapid expansion of online education and the proliferation of virtual classrooms, Ofsted (the Office for Standards in Education Children's Services and Skills) is undertaking a national review to evaluate learners’ experience of the online learning available to them. The national review is supported by the Department of Education (DfE) and the cooperation of the Association of Colleges (AoC), the Association of Employer and Learner Providers (AELP) and Holex.
Eastleigh College is one of the 12 FE colleges nationally invited to participate, and the only college from the Solent region. The Ofsted led review is looking at the quality of learners’ experiences of online education in further education and skills settings during the COVID-19-affected summer term. Individual colleges will not receive a report or a grade but the overall findings will be used to develop a national report to inform their future strategies.
Over a two day period, an Ofsted inspector reviewed the remote learning provided by Eastleigh College in a range of subjects during the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown. The inspector met with a sample of Eastleigh College managers, teaching staff and learners, whilst also sampling online teaching resources, assessments and tracking documentation. The College’s Supported Learning curriculum was included in the review.
The feedback received by Eastleigh College was extremely positive about the quality of online learning and support in place, with learners reporting that their learning and progress has not been adversely impacted by the lockdown across a range of levels.
In addition to visiting online lessons the Ofsted review sampled the College’s well established blended learning approach to education where learners have a facilitator or mentor on hand, someone to help with the technology and focus their attention on online educational materials. This combines opportunities for interaction online with traditional place-based classroom methods.
Ashley Vaughan, Curriculum Manager, Electrical, said: “The Ofsted review is a welcome opportunity to showcase the innovative, dedicated and professional hard work that all of our Electrical teaching, support staff and learners have put in over this period of great uncertainty. All our learners have stepped-up in this very challenging time by taking the opportunity to display to future employers that even in the hardest of circumstances they were dedicated and focused on their own development and success.”
Joanne Landon, Curriculum Manager for Professional Studies, Sport, Uniformed Public Services and Built Environment, said: “This has been a steep learning curve in a very uncertain and challenging time. Both staff and learners at Eastleigh College have fully embraced this and worked hard to ensure continued learner success.”
Paul Stannard. Vice Principal - Quality said: “This is a brilliant outcome and a real testament to the hard work that everyone has put in over the last 11 weeks to ensure that no learner is disadvantaged and all have the best opportunity to achieve this academic year and beyond”.
The College’s Supported Learning curriculum was included in the Ofsted review. During the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdown the Supported Learning team has sought to ensure all learners with special educational needs and disabilities are well supported and safeguarded, and continue to receive the highest quality of education. The innovative approach taken by the team includes:
Sharon Baxter, Curriculum Manager, Supported Learning, said: “The whole college approach to excellence and opportunity in education involves tutors, job coaches and learning support staff who all have had a shared focus to ensure that all learners continue to receive a quality education, are well supported and safeguarded. There have been some very innovative and creative ideas to enable this to continue outside of the classroom and in the virtual world.”
[PHOTO BELOW: Ash Vaughan leads a virtual classroom with Oliver Jordan and Sam Cullen who are studying an Electrotechnical apprenticeship through block release. Image © Eastleigh College]
The Eastleigh College Board and Senior Management Team have launched an ambitious strategy for the period 2020-24 that sets out the College’s priorities to see more learners, be more successful, more often.
The College has remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic for many learners and as from September 2020 all learners (including those planning to attend at College House) have returned to a full high-quality education programme as per government guidelines.