Connected Colleges reach enrolment milestone just days after launch

Truro and Penwith and Callywith’s Connected College initiative has reached a milestone this week as the number of Year 11 pupils across Cornwall registered to access its ‘Digital Campus’ passes the 700 mark. Learners from 35 secondary schools have now signed up.

This new service for prospective students is in addition to the full online timetable provided to existing learners. At the outset of the coronavirus lockdown the College adapted very quickly to provide new ways of delivering teaching and learning for its 1,300 staff and over 5,000 students.

Partners at Callywith College in Bodmin are providing similar services. Latest figures show that combined, the Colleges’ have 6,400 active online users and are delivering 1,000 Microsoft Teams lessons and meetings daily.

Wednesday, May 13 saw levels of sign-up exceed 700 school pupils. Having enrolled in its online learning resource, Digital Campus, those learners gain access to virtual teaching rooms which include learning resources and information to help pupils in Years 10 and 11 plan and prepare for post 16 options. There is a particular focus on keeping Year 11 students engaged in learning, allowing them to be well prepared for a move into further education in September.

Truro and Penwith’s and Callywith’s Digital Campus, which can be accessed via the Colleges’ website, has been welcomed and promoted by headteachers from schools across Cornwall.  As with the College’s online delivery to present students, these facilities are part of the ‘Connected College’ initiative which allows Truro and Penwith and Callywith to keep working with all its stakeholders across Cornwall during the lockdown and throughout the period of emerging from it. 

Hundreds of prospective students, unable to access conventional open events, have also been accessing ‘Subject Spotlight’ videos created by tutors at both the Truro and Penwith College campuses. These allow would-be students to learn more about the exciting range of academic and vocational post-16 provision available. This facility has had over 1,500 views just three days after launching this week.

Additionally, the College’s award-winning Health, Wellbeing and Sport has been delivering online fitness session to staff, students and the public since April 20 and these videos have so far had 2,500 video views with 174 subscribers. The initiative has been shared nationally as an example of best practise and Truro and Penwith and Callywith College is unique as the only institution in the country to be delivering live stream classes on their own YouTube channel every day.

‘Connected College’ has also seen social media, live question and answer sessions hosted by staff members on subjects such as T Levels and careers guidance and these too have been busy forums for engagement and interaction with young people and their parents/carers from across Cornwall and beyond.

At the start of the crisis we moved very quickly to providing both online learning for present students and online advice to future ones.

David Walrond, Principal of Truro and Penwith College and Callywith Chair

"This was only possible thanks to an extraordinary collective effort by teaching and support staff at both Colleges.

“We knew from early feedback that the quality and volume of what we had produced was being well received but the subsequent levels of take-up by current and future learners across Cornwall have genuinely surprised us. We’re delighted by the degree of engagement. These are very challenging times, but they are producing great innovation, resilience and resourcefulness in further education, and not just from those who teach, but from thousands determined to keep learning.”