Barton Peveril’s Continued Response to Covid-19

News Covid Response 0002  UMB2551

Barton Peveril Sixth Form College continues to deliver a high quality of learning to all students, throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. After transitioning all of its lessons online during the spring lockdown, the College has welcomed back each of its 4,000 students for a blended timetable of online and on campus lessons and is equipped to tackle any challenges the pandemic may impose.

Currently, students at the Hampshire-based College have two thirds of their lessons on camps and one third of their lessons online. This has limited the spread of the virus as the number of students on site at any one time has been significantly reduced, minimising the opportunity for any students with a positive case to come into contact with other students.

The College has implemented a series of measures to ensure the safety of its students and staff is upheld when on campus; face masks are mandatory in all indoor spaces (except in classrooms when seated during lessons) and have been since the start of the academic year, one way measures are in place throughout campus, hand sanitizer stations have been installed in multiple locations in each building, and two outdoor marquees have been constructed for students to use during break times to prevent gatherings taking place indoors.

Online lessons continue to take place using Google’s G Suite for Education. Google Classroom is already used college-wide to empower learners, support independent learning and deliver flipped classrooms. Through it, teachers communicate, post resources and prework, manage assignments, and offer written or audio feedback alongside their use of Google Meets to teach lessons live. The library also offers 50 Google subject sites with 24/7 access to academic e-resources.

This use of technology allowed students to attend lessons taught by the College’s teachers (over 140) for each of their subjects, with no disruption to learning during the lockdown earlier this year, and gave them continued access to the College’s Counsellors, Student Progress Advisers, Nurse, and Careers Department. 

Barton Peveril has since been named College of the Year in the Edufuturists Awards 2020, and was shortlisted for a national Times Education Supplement (Tes) Award for Outstanding Use of Technology for Improving Teaching, Learning and Assessment, for its use of technology to deliver learning online.

Speaking on the College’s ongoing success in delivery learning throughout the pandemic, Barton Peveril Principal, Jonathan Prest, said: 

‘I have never been more proud of the skills, professionalism and flexibility of the staff at Barton Peveril. The onset of lockdown on March 23 compelled all our teachers at Barton Peveril to move from using Google Classroom as a repository of supporting materials, background information, exam questions and course information, to the interactive vehicle through which lessons could be delivered. Due to the circumstances, staff were able to experiment with the art of designing and running online lessons. In this, they were so well supported by regular training from in house experts in Google Classroom technologies. 

In a typical online lesson students might click on a posted link, complete a short questionnaire which doubled up as a register and a check of what had been learnt in the lesson before. Staff became familiar with how to pre-record explanations which students could watch as the teacher used the time to speak to some individuals.  Students found they could watch explanations over again in their own time to reinforce understanding. Far from that sad image of students isolated in their own bedrooms, classes could have whole class discussions as well as smaller break out groups with pictures and sound, and opportunities to type into a shared document with a cursor indicating who was writing what! Clever pieces of software allow students to place electronic post-its on a communal board, allowing the teacher or other students to answer questions on points students haven’t fully understood. Students were able to submit homework online and get recorded oral feedback in files from their teacher – no red pen required!  Online lessons came alive!

The college taught every lesson through lockdown, determined that our students’ education would not suffer.  By September, when staff and students returned to the classroom, teachers and learning support assistants had embraced the potential of using online learning alongside conventional classroom based teaching, as a new but indispensable tool. It is no surprise that the College has  been nominated for, and won, national awards for our use of technologies in learning, and that several individuals have been singled out and nominated too.  Perhaps necessity really is the mother of invention?’