United Learning to roll out pilot satellite teaching for GCSE and A Level students

A pilot scheme allowing students to study for GCSE and A Level courses through satellite teaching is to be rolled out nationally at United Learning schools.

The United Classroom initiative, believed to be the first programme of its kind in the country, by United Learning was trialled at two of its schools – Lambeth Academy and Surbiton High – as an after-school activity.

A group of pupils studying GCSE astronomy at Surbiton with their teacher were joined by students from Lambeth in their own classroom using Google’s “Apps for Education” tools.

Students from both schools were able to ask questions, collaborate on work and present to each other as if they were in the same room.

Following the success of the pilot, United Learning is now rolling out the scheme across all the group’s schools from September with physics and economics A Level among the subjects included.

Chief executive, Jon Coles, said: “Our aim in developing United Classroom was simple: to offer young people A Level and specialist courses in subjects which are not currently available to them.

“Sometimes, an A-level subject cannot be offered either because a suitable expert teacher cannot be found or because the group of pupils studying it would be too small to be viable. United Classroom makes teaching these A Levels financially and operationally possible.

“This isn’t a technology project. It is an educational one. Our concern is to make sure that all young people in our schools can benefit from excellent teaching from subject specialists in a full range of disciplines.

“Nationally, it is difficult for many schools to attract physics specialists; and many schools struggle to attract large enough groups of economists to offer economics A Level. So, we are now extending United Classroom to A-levels in those subjects, aiming to solve those problems for more schools.”

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