The benefits of setting up an Academy Trust Learning Platform

November 3, 2015

The real benefit of an Academy Trust learning platform is to allow schools to come together and support each other; whether that’s by exchanging resources, sharing facilities or collaborating on initiatives.

In the UK, Academy Trusts – or Academy Groups as they’re also known – are one or more self-governed schools, and where there is more than one school in the Trust, a structure of working is generally shared. In this sense, an Academy Trust allows a number of schools to create a real community. It’s with this approach that a learning platform shows its true potential.

Having spoken to and worked with a number of Academies and Academy Trusts, we’ve developed an understanding of how an online learning environment can be a real asset to a Trust. In this blog post, we’ll explain a little more about how Academy Trusts can benefit from a learning platform.

Academy Trust Leaders are in a position to promote a new learning platform within the schools, encouraging its use, and use it to monitor each school’s performance.

This can be done via useful reporting tools that will provide the performance information of each pupil, plus overall grades and attendance for each year, and then each school overall. Reporting tools like this provide at-a-glance data for Trust Leaders, allowing them to see instantly where improvements need to be made.

Additionally, integrating your learning platform with your MIS system, like SIMS or CMIS, allows for greater ease of reporting and a seamless all-in-one administrative and learning system for multiple schools.

For teachers, the VLE is where ideas, resources and plans can be swapped. A learning platform makes the exchange and sharing of information instant and easy.

From lesson plans to YouTube videos, teachers can use the learning platform to upload content for students, and, cutting down on lesson planning time, share it with other teachers within the Trust. This approach means, ultimately, less stress and time spent lesson preparing, as all teachers can share material for the same subjects and classes, rather than them all searching individually.

Teachers can use the VLE to moderate online discussions between students, too – who will find the ability to message each other anytime, anywhere a real advantage.

Head teachers can use the learning platform to see how their school is performing, with both at-a-glance, and detailed reports on the performance of pupils, classes and year groups.

Students can take responsibility for their learning, with the VLE allowing them to access classes from both inside the school and at home.

This is also a golden opportunity to build a strong community amongst students between the schools in the Trust. It’s not that common for students from different schools to work together, interact with each other regularly and learn from each other – but an Academy Trust learning platform allows this.

Cross-school tasks and projects can also be set up within the learning platform, giving students greater opportunity to mix with each other. Again, this is also an economical use of resources, as learning resources and materials for one school can be used across the same year groups in the other Trust schools.

Additionally, the reporting tools available for teachers to see are also accessible to students – albeit reports of their own performance only. This, however, is another feature that encourages them to take ownership of their learning, to improve their grades and ultimately have better performance results on their profile within the VLE.

As well as messaging allowing them to interact with other students, the learning environment will provide video conferencing facilities, meaning group and class discussions – even cross-school debates – can take place anywhere, anytime.

Finally, the VLE is a place that can be of benefit to parents, too. Parental log-ins can be provided and will allow them to access their child’s learning and performance tables. Parents can then see how well their child is doing, use messaging to contact teachers, and ultimately be part of the Academy Trust community you have created, with notice boards, announcements and open discussions all making the VLE an ‘inclusive’ learning environment.

If you’d like to find out more about setting up an Academy Trust learning platform together for the benefit of everyone, please get in touch with us here.

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