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Tollbar MAT Invests In Remote Learning To Keep Secondary Students On Track During Health Crisis

Year 10 students in the classroom at Tollbar Academy take part in a live remote lesson using Microsoft Teams with Art Teacher Tony Davis.

A major investment in remote learning at Tollbar Multi Academy Trust has left teaching staff well prepared for the Government’s announcement yesterday of a staggered return to the classroom in January. 

It means that students in Year 7-10 at all four of the Trust’s Secondary Academies will be able to access live teaching from home during the first week of January before returning to the classroom by January 11. Students in Year 11 and those of key workers and vulnerable children at Tollbar, Cleethorpes Louth and Somercotes Academies will be taught in the classroom as normal. Year 12 students at Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College will also be taught remotely during the first week, but Year 13 students will return to school on the first day of term.

Office365 (through its Microsoft Teams programme) allows all students to access high-quality education from home if, for some reason such as self-isolation, they cannot attend school. It also allows teachers who are isolating to deliver their lessons remotely from home directly into the classrooms at the Academy. 

Oliver Fothergill, Curriculum Leader for Humanities at Tollbar Academy, who has helped to roll out the remote learning programme, said: “Teachers are now confidently using the platform to deliver virtual lessons, share resources with students and set/mark assignments and homework.”

Caroline Yates, Principal of Tollbar Academy, said: “The Office365 environment ensures that all our learners can make the high levels of progress expected by the Academy and that issues that previously may have disadvantaged learners will no longer have this adverse affect on their education. 

“The programme has, so far, been used to great success in a range of different areas, from the delivery of lessons to KS4 students, to running a two-week long Virtual Open Evening for the Sixth Form, which saw large numbers of potential applicants tune in.

“Office365 has now been rolled out to students at the Academy giving them free access to programmes such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel, which we believe are vital for all learners in this day and age. All students have access to detailed guidance on the use of the software provided by the Academy.”

Martin Brown, Chief Executive of Tollbar Multi Academy Trust, said: “Microsoft Teams Remote Learning is a superb resource which is enabling our students to avoid extended breaks in learning during this health crisis. We have been rolling this programme out throughout the Autumn term and so we are confident that we are more than ready to provide live teaching to students during their staggered return to school after Christmas.

“We are currently making use of this resource in all our Academies to ensure that if a teacher is self-isolating they can also continue to teach from home. We will be investing further to make even greater use of this system across the Trust, including broadcasting lessons between Academies to ensure that even at the most difficult of times full-time education can continue.

“We are also looking at the guidance on mass testing of teachers which has been provided by the Government this week to enable us to put plans in place for this in the New Year.”

Tollbar Academy Year 10 students interact with Art Teacher Tony Davis through remote learning, which is ensuring that their education can continue during the Covid-19 crisis.