Helping our teachers to be the best they can be

Staff at the launch of the Teaching & Learning Hub March 2020

The world of education is changing all the time and Further Education colleges are no exception. Modern FE colleges like ours teach a very wide range of subjects – from art and design to engineering and from health and social care to hair and beauty – to people of all ages, and at a range of levels, from entry level (the level before GCSEs) and A Levels, right up to degree-level courses. And rightly, there’s an increasing emphasis on making sure that Further Education courses and the curriculum meets the needs of the wider economy – properly preparing students for university or employment.

Teachers and lecturers need to constantly stay abreast of this changing world and ensure that their teaching methods are up-to-date and relevant to students. Our teachers invest time and effort in their own continuing professional development (CPD) and to help them with this, City and Islington College has launched a new Teaching and Learning hub at its Centre for Business, Arts and Technology in Camden Road. The hub is a dedicated space for staff to gather, and exchange ideas and best practice from across the college, to help everyone improve their teaching practice.

The hub has been designed and set-up by the college’s Quality Team. The team includes Rosie Francis (Head of Teaching and Learning), Kerry Vandersteen (Digital Education Co-ordinator), Dawn Duval-Macsporran (Head of Quality), Chris Humphreys (Student Progress Manager) and Daniel Cramp (eLearning Manager), as well as learning enhancement coaches, digital leaders and advanced practitioners. Between them, they have a wide range of skills and expertise to deliver training, support and consultancy to staff.

Rosie explained: “The aim of the Teaching and Learning Hub is to provide a space where staff can come to collaborate, communicate and create.” The team have created a flexible timetable for staff (so it can fit in with people’s teaching commitments), covering a wealth of topics including; Teaching, Learning and Assessment, Student Progress, Management Training, Quality Assurance, Digital Pedagogies and Using Microsoft Teams. Teachers and managers can book training through the online booking system on the college’s staff Intranet, or attend a lunch time drop-in sessions where a member of the team will be on hand to provide inspiration and discuss any questions they may have.

The hub was officially launched on 3 March with staff from across the college attending an evening event. Performing Arts curriculum leader Tim Chaundy provided the entertainment for the evening; with his students reciting poetry and playing the piano. He said: “the teaching and learning hub will be a great place for teachers to refresh their techniques and improve their skills, as well as experiment with their teaching style.”

Student performances included Alex Ifill (Performing Arts) who recited the poem Teachers, Kevin Gomez who played the piano, and A level student Ellie O’Brien who also performed a poem. She told us that: “The hub is a nice way to use the space, and by helping teachers to improve, it would be beneficial for all students in the long term”.

City and Islington College is part of the Capital City College Group, which is London’s largest Further Education college group. The hub’s launch was a great example of collaborative working, as sister college Westminster Kingsway College (which runs very highly-regarded Hospitality and Culinary courses at its Victoria Centre) provided Hospitality students for the event. The students – led by Hospitality lecturer Lindsey Lamont – managed the catering and service for the evening. Lindsey said: “This is a different experience for our students, enabling them to see the other sites and experience a different style of service – it is great to do cross college events.”

Principal Kurt Hintz said: “Our goal is to make a real difference to students’ lives, and by investing in a hub like this where all our teachers and lecturers can share ideas and make continual improvements to their practice, it will enable us to do just that.”

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