The story of Hable and Bradfield College started back in 2019. Dr Chris Stevens, the Headmaster, had a vision to embrace the opportunities of digital learning to better prepare the current and future generations for the digital landscape. A vision which was validated through the pandemic.
In order to realise this, Bradfield College created the Digital Strategy Transformation Board (DSTB), bringing together the technical and teaching communities (teachers as Digital Champions, enabled by IT) to create a strategy and implementation of a plan. What is unique is that Mark Reynolds (our founder) and Nic Clarke joined the DSTB from its outset, providing wider sector experience with valuable lessons from other institutions. As key members of the DSTB, they were able to help validate (and gently steer) the College plans as they progressed.
As the Bradfield Strategy evolved through 2019, a fusion of four themes became clear: Culture, People, Technology and Infrastructure. Any digital revolution, or evolution, needs people to embrace it, so culture remains the emphasis. The Bradfield DSTB, with Mark and Hable on board, were clear that delivery of digital learning needed to be enabled by superb infrastructure and mobile technology (laptops) – i.e. build the motorway before you start driving.
When the pandemic struck, the College’s foresight to invest in infrastructure and technology provided just the right platform to embark on an ambitious plan to roll out Teams to all of their staff, enabling a fully remote teaching programme. This gave Hable two and a half weeks to help Bradfield College get their technical and governance work sorted, and plan a three day rollout to their teaching staff. We started training sessions on April 15th and ran them for three days, back to back. During this time, we were able to take the College from almost zero to Teams, from the very basics to screen recordings, using forms and all of the features of #Microsoft365.
At the start of the academic year, Bradfield had started to work on their digital strategy, which took them through to 2025…
“This is now kind of laughable, as over the last three months we have achieved all of that. This year, we had a phased roll-out of devices. We’ve been working with Hable for quite a while now, which has really supported what we have been doing this term.”
– Gavin Turner, Director of Teaching & Learning @ Bradfield College
The difference with schools compared to other sectors is that in most other sectors, the average user doesn’t need to reach such a high level of expertise when using Teams. With teachers, they really have to know what they’re doing. They are the owner, moderator and the presenter. So really, it’s quite an amazing process that the staff at Bradfield have gone through. For example, teachers in the art department are now fully utilising video content, recording techniques and collating videos for students. This requires quite a sense of mastery over Teams, the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and in general, technology, so naturally a more bespoke co-operation with individual departments has been needed during this project.
#TeamHable have been delivering training sessions regularly at Bradfield and the dedication the teachers’ have shown has been quite amazing. The teachers have shown a genuine commitment to delivering the best education they can whatever the circumstances. All of the teacher’s training sessions happened during holiday time and they were not mandatory. Yet, a huge proportion of Bradfield staff attended all of the training sessions offered.
Before training, Bradfield collectively had 20 Teams and 10 group calls.
At the time of writing, they now have:
Undoubtedly, these numbers are already much higher. But in short, they are using Teams a lot!
In the making of this case study, we spoke to Gavin Turner, Director of Teaching and Learning, to find out about the impact our work has had at the College:
“The differentiator between Hable and the other companies is that all the trainers have actually been teachers before, this makes such a difference. They get what it’s like to be a teacher, so there is this immediate rapport and resonance between the trainers and our staff. They are like a member of the common room really.”
Impact on Students
“It’s had a really significant impact on the students. Some pupils have taken to it like a duck to water and have said they love remote learning. There is one pupil who can get quite distracted in a classroom environment, since working from home she has told me that she feels like she’s made much better progress, since it’s just her in a room working and learning, she’s far more focused. Many have found it pretty straightforward and have enjoyed the transition. Other pupils need that social environment. When they’re in the classroom around their peers, seeing them working hard inspires them to work hard too.”
While there has been more work to do with the teachers, who at the end of the day are having to grasp a real sense of mastery over the platform, with the pupils the transition to Teams and Microsoft 365 has been almost seamless. Gavin mentioned that for some of the more shy pupils, this has been something of a revelation. Now they can just ping their teacher a message to ask a question, they have actually been far more forthcoming. This wouldn’t have happened a couple of months ago.
“Going ahead, we need to continue with this and build on what we’ve done, not just see it as something to get us through this period.” – Gavin Turner
What results have you seen so far?
“I’ve been absolutely amazed by how some of our staff have engaged with the technology, even those who may have considered themselves technophobes. I think part of it has been the support system around them, between Hable, our in-house digital champions and digital support team. We are learning from each other.”
Excellent innovation in the delivery of Bradfield’s Art classes!
“There are all these crazy questions that we are now having to ask ourselves. How do we maintain the momentum of what we have learned over this time? Hable have a really significant role to play in terms of supporting and developing our digital strategy and keeping our teachers up-skilled going ahead.”
A Blended-Learning Environment
When looking at what the next half of term looks like, it seems that maintaining momentum and looking ahead is key. How can Bradfield make the best use of these tools? How can they create a sector leading blended-learning environment? Schools are not a type of organisation that is used to working remotely, but what is interesting is the way this is undoubtedly going to change education looking ahead.
It’s always a pleasure working with teachers and staff at Bradfield College & enabling the school to continue delivering their world-class eduction during these challenging times. We’re looking forward to developing this relationship further and helping them get to the next stage of their digital strategy. Many thanks to Gavin Turner for taking the time to discuss this project.
Get in touch with our sector lead Chris Thackray to discuss how #TeamHable can help your school!