THE WEST BRIDGFORD SCHOOL HELPS BOOST STUDENT ENGAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY SKILLS FOR STAFF WITH RAPID TRANSFORMATION TO ONLINE TEACHING DURING COVID-19

Partnership with D2L ensured the Nottingham school was well-placed to take learning completely online and minimise disruption during the pandemic

Kitchener, Ontario, CANADA


London, July 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- D2L, a global learning technology leader, announced today that its partner, The West Bridgford School (WBS), is celebrating the success of its rapid transformation to online teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

For WBS, adjusting to national restrictions and school closures in spring 2020 meant expanding its existing use of D2L Brightspace to deliver virtual classrooms, online assessments and interactive discussion forums. The high-performing school for students aged 11−18 has used the Brightspace platform since 2017 and this foundation in online learning meant it was well equipped to make a swift and successful adjustment to ensure educational continuity for its students. 

In anticipation of school closures, WBS adjusted lesson plans and timetables for a fully online environment, and teachers needed to rapidly integrate new tools into their delivery of teaching, while balancing various work and home demands. To get ahead, WBS prioritised expanding the range of Brightspace tools to enable a more complete teaching and learning environment, followed by implementing comprehensive staff training to ensure they were supported and prepared for the change.   

“The great thing about Brightspace is that it’s modular – so you can easily add functionality and features as required,” says Mark Deans, Deputy Headteacher at The West Bridgford School. “We were familiar with the Virtual Classrooms tool, the Video Assignments tool and a range of similar features that we could implement as circumstances change. We have a very good relationship with the D2L support team, and their flexibility and responsiveness meant that, in the period before lockdown commenced, we could properly train all of our staff on the technology.” 

A total of 100 staff members were trained in a short space of time and, after a week of preparation, WBS began rolling out engaging online lessons, starting with students in years 10 and 12 who were working towards their final exams this year. Students were taught live, in their usual groups, by their regular teachers. 

The school was also determined to maintain its high standard of pastoral care and support. Video assemblies helped establish important lines of contact while ‘bridging materials’ were provided to years 11 and 13 – the important transitional years between GCSEs and A-Levels – and A-Level to post-school. Weekly drop-in lessons gave year 11 students ‘tasters’ in various A-Level subjects, during which they not only had the opportunity to meet the members of staff who would be teaching them, but also other students considering the subject who would be their classmates. 

The adaptability of the Brightspace platform enabled WBS to meet its objectives in rapidly migrating lessons online and continuing to provide a stimulating learning environment. The platform supported high levels of student logins, students engaged well with a variety of tasks and the school received positive feedback from parents.  

What’s more, teachers who previously viewed technology as a barrier, embraced the transition, citing the live engagements they were still able to have with students as central to bringing them on board. Despite the difficulties, the situation has raised overall skill levels in technology use. 

“Looking ahead to September 2021, all year group ‘Key Assessments’ will be pre-plotted in our online gradebooks, with a clear rationale and revision materials attached,” said Mark. “After extensive surveys of what parents preferred, all ‘Information Evenings’ will continue as online live events, all Parents Evenings will continue as bookable video conferences and all our transition lessons from Year 11 to 12 are taking place as online lessons – the possibilities really are endless. To achieve this pace of change would have been unthinkable 15 months ago, now the shibboleths that have stood throughout my career seem to fall every day.” 

“Building on the excitement and energy generated by our annual Fusion conference, we’re celebrating our customers and the ways in which they are changing the world," says Elliot Gowans, Senior Vice President, International at D2L. “It’s wonderful to see how well The West Bridgford School has adjusted to such a challenging period for the education sector, and how much positive feedback the varied online lessons and interactions have received from teachers, students and parents.” 

Learn more about D2L’s work with West Bridgford School here: https://www.d2l.com/customers/the-west-bridgford-school/ 

ABOUT THE WEST BRIDGFORD SCHOOL 
The West Bridgford School is an OFSTED ‘Outstanding’ school located in Nottingham, UK. With over 1600 pupils and a thriving Post-16 provision, the school has embraced the use of technology for many years, delivering homework, course materials and access to pupil grades via a variety of platforms. The school holds on passionately to the belief that it exists to serve its local community and strive to meet the needs of all the children irrespective of their ability, ethnicity, gender, disability or special needs. Evidence shows that all children who attend the school realise their potential, giving credence to the belief that it is truly comprehensive. 

ABOUT D2L  
  
D2L is transforming the way the world learns – helping learners of all ages achieve more than they dreamed possible. Working closely with clients all over the world, D2L is supporting millions of people learning online and in person. Our more than 950 global employees are dedicated to making the best learning products to leave the world better than where they found it. Learn more about D2L for K-12, higher education and businesses at www.D2L.com.  
  
ABOUT D2L BRIGHTSPACE   
  
D2L Brightspace is a cloud-based learning platform built for people who care deeply about student success and helping to prepare them for what comes next.  
  
It gives faculty across your institution tools they’re going to love, makes it easy to support exceptional student experiences in the classroom or fully online. D2L Brightspace is designed in close collaboration with clients around the world – building a pedagogically rich set of features to improve engagement, retention and learning outcomes. It also makes it easier to do assessment and give feedback.  
  
D2L Brightspace is worry-free with 99.99% reliability. It’s highly accessible and looks beautiful on any mobile device, making it easier for educators to reach every learner.   
  
D2L Brightspace has won multiple industry awards, including the #1 LMS Technology for next-generation online teaching and learning. To learn more, visit D2L for Higher Education

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D2L@finnpartners.com   
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