A HIGH school in Woolston has managed to maintain a full remote timetable for pupils during lockdown, and is now seeking to share its digital skills with others.

King's Leadership Academy created a 'virtual school', with all pupils accessing six lessons per day thanks to video conferencing.

Teachers worked to their normal timetable on a secure, online format, with mandatory attendance and the ability to share documents and feedback with students.

Benjamin Barker, vice principal explained: "We knew the lockdown was coming and had our plans in place, and we were thinking, how can we keep our lessons going?

"The buy-in from the staff and the parents has been great and we just transitioned our lessons over to online and kept the same timetable.

"It was all about having that interaction with pupils - we all love teaching and we wanted pupils to feel that.

"We saw it as a win-win, as the staff were still able to continue their teaching and we also thought it was good for the pupils' mental health to have that same routine."

There was an average of 97.8 per cent 'online' attendance during lockdown, with the highest recorded at 99.22 per cent at the end of March.

While operating online, King's Leadership Academy was even able to provide virtual transition days for prospective year seven pupils, including digital tours of the school.

The site still remained open for the children of key workers and those who are vulnerable to attend in person.

Now, it has received funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to help other schools and colleges develop their own digital and remote teaching - the EdTech Demonstrators Programme.

"Since opening in 2012, we have operated a one-to-one device scheme for all our students and staff and this has allowed us to develop proficiency in digital systems," Benjamin said.

"Alongside that, we've been able to finely tune our systems around the Google Suite of resources to facilitate cloud-based learning.

"This experience places us in a position to support schools where digital learning is already established, or those about to embark on their journey.

"We are now able to offer a range of resources and guidance to other schools, namely written guides and policies, online webinars, as well as video-conferencing training for groups and individuals schools.

"The focus is on improving remote learning for children across the country and supporting social mobility for the most disadvantaged children."

Shane Ierston, principal at King's Leadership Academy, added: "By going remote with Zoom we took the initiative, we didn't drop a single lesson from the point of lockdown as anything less than full teaching would not have been good enough for our children, parents or teachers.

"I am proud of what the staff and our community have achieved together and we now have a platform to share what we have learnt with other schools.

"Where there is digital inequality, disadvantaged and vulnerable children suffer most.

"We must establish a 'new normal' that prevents anything like this happening again."

To learn more about the EdTech Demonstrators Programme, visit edtech-demonstrator.lgfl.net/home or edtech-demonstrator.lgfl.net/demonstrator-schools-and-colleges/gst-kings-warrington.