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UTCs Go Above And Beyond With Virtual Classrooms

As most schools brace themselves for an indefinite period of school closures due to the pandemic that is sweeping across the world, UTCs are leading the way with pioneering virtual classrooms and initiatives that fit the UTC ethos of practicality and innovation.


Mr Vipond, a maths teacher at WMG Academy for Young Engineers, has created a maths channel on YouTube called DViMaths to help students with GCSE and A-level maths during lockdown. This resource has been made available to the public, as well as WMG students. WMG Academy are also running lessons via Google Hangouts and are holding guidance interviews for applicants by phone this year instead of face-to-face.


Global Academy have been hosting weekly industry Q&As on Instagram Live for current and future pupils with a wide range of creative industry leaders from our employer partners like Global, BBC, IOWA Productions and many more.


Greater Peterborough UTC are setting students an epic STEM challenge that starts on Wednesday 1st April and runs until Thursday 30th April. This challenge will force our students to think hard, encourage them to develop their independent learning skills and keep their brains running. Students will be sent a link to three challenge mats relevant to their year group. Each activity on each mat has a points score. Students will complete the activities to score points! It’s that simple.


Students will be in competition with other students in Year 10 and Year 12 to see who can earn the most points. In addition to the academic work, there will be surprise Sponsor Challenges which are a great opportunity for students to flex their industry-relevant skills. The best responses in each year group will be sent to the Sponsor who set the challenge. This is a great opportunity to impress potential employers and gain skills not usually developed in secondary school.


Students who have applied to join the UTC in September 2020, or do so over the coming weeks, will be set a similar challenge (including the Sponsor Challenges) to complete before they join the UTC.


At Health Futures UTC, staff have been conducting their lessons online with the students, via Microsoft Office 365. Students are required to log in at the start of the day as per their normal school starting time of 8.30 am and register with their teachers online. Lessons will take place throughout the day as per their normal school timetables with various subject teachers who will set tasks at the start of each lesson. Subjects include English, maths, science, sociology, psychology, PE and health and social care. Any questions will be answered online and students will submit their completed work for marking either as an attachment in an email, a photo or any other methods that they can access. Mock exams have also been taking place virtually with the students in order to maintain continuity and to make sure students are rewarded for their hard work over the last year.


School principal, Mrs Ruth Umerah, who initiated this virtual teaching scheme, is extremely heartened by the participation of the students and teaching staff.


Mrs Umerah commented: “During this difficult time, when the nation is in lockdown, we are trying our best to keep the spirits up and there is no reason why the virtual classrooms can’t take place. From the lessons conducted in the last few days, we have been very encouraged by the students and their involvement. We appreciate that not all the students have access to laptops or computers at home so the criteria are that they will minimally have at least a smartphone, which they all have these days. Our parents have also expressed their appreciation and are grateful that their children are engaged all day, every day”


As part of Health Future UTC’s school curriculum, the school launches a project every term with a health and social care related topic. Topics in the past have ranged from disability nursing, care values in the healthcare system, living your best life, to celebrating diversity in the society.


The next couple of months are going to be some of the most surreal and challenging times we as a society will ever have faced. With that in mind, and understanding that this period of time will be taught about in years to come, Health Futures UTC is creating a project this term for their year 10 and 12 students as well as new applicants who will be joining the school in September. Based on the concept of a time capsule, the idea is that students will build a collection of items including video clips, pictures and objects. Every week, they will be given a task to contribute to their individual time capsule. When the opportunity arises, they will be able to present their work in school when the school re-opens.

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