The education sector faced one of its biggest challenges in 2020 with lockdown and issues surrounding exams and results. The team at Croydon College however rose to the challenge bringing in new procedures and using innovative technology to support students and staff throughout.

The College was already using a centralised Virtual Learning Environment system. This meant all learners work – formative and summative – was kept centrally as a digital record of their progress allowing for quick identification of evidence and justifying the Centre Assessed Grades. The platform was then used for students to access their exam results, so where changes were made by the awarding bodies these were updated live on the system, enabling students to be kept informed quickly and efficiently throughout the time, so they knew their grade was accurate and could respond accordingly.

For new students starting at the College, alongside progressing students, a new online enrolment process was created. This enabled all students to enrol remotely, while still gathering all the relevant documentation needed for funding. This sped up the enrolment process and ensured learners were placed on suitable courses quickly. Teachers were also able to make course change requests online, and the systems updated in real time. Where the system also fed into the exam results, if grade were altered, the system flagged those immediately, ensuring students were always placed on the course best suited to their needs.

Following the A Level exam results and subsequent confusion, UCAS placement reports were collated internally and reviewed to quickly identify learners not placed on suitable courses as a result of the grades awarded. This enabled appeals and challenges to be made swiftly to ensure learners achieved the qualifications they deserved.

The College didn’t just focus on the data for exam results as part of its Virtual Learning Environment either but continued to use the platform into the summer providing materials and online sessions, to support students. The College created an in-house online learning platform enabling teachers to deliver classes online, an invaluable resource during a difficult period, to help try to ensure that there were no gaps in learning and staff could still identify academic process in the absence of external exams.

Caireen Mitchell, CEO and Principal said: “I cannot thank my staff enough for putting together such a comprehensive programme to enable students to access their results, future placements and learning seamlessly during what has been one of the most difficult times for schools and students. To provide this level of support to students has meant that what was a stressful situation was dealt with swiftly, carefully and most importantly had the student’s best interests at heart, reducing the stress as much as possible. Our forward thinking of having a virtual learning environment before COVID hit has put us in a really strong position to not only use this now but as a very effective tool in the future too that we will continue to work together to strengthen as an additional offer to our students.”

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