"Romero Catholic Academy is the showcase example of how a school can benefit by hiring apprentices to help with IT."
Based on the success of the Teacher’s Apprentice programme and in partnership with the West Midlands Combined Authority, Primary Goal Ltd is excited to be launching their new Digital Champion programme for schools nationwide.
Digital Champion is a 24-month apprenticeship programme aimed at supporting staff within schools who shall be trained to drive forward and implement digital strategy and transformation at the ground level to benefit teachers, students, parents and the wider community.
The content for the Digital Champion programme focuses on embedding the use and delivery of technology across the curriculum, the adoption of cloud technologies, remote learning and online safety. This links to the school-wide digital transformation strategy and improved Ofsted outcomes.
Teachers have been told by the government that they must incorporate remote learning into their lesson plans, as it may need to be an "essential component" of a child's learning if their school is forced close for a local lockdown.
Schools must have a contingency plan in place for remote learning which incorporates high quality online resources and teaching videos, as well as printed worksheets and textbooks for those who do not have computers. Remote learning must also be delivered for children who are continuing to self-isolate at home.
The Digital Champion programme will enable every school to respond to these online challenges and feel in control of their overall digital strategy whilst sharing and embedding best practice with other schools.
Coventry based Romero Catholic Academy came onboard with Digital Champion prior to lockdown across their eight schools. Romero Director of Operations, Patrick Taggart, explained that previously their teaching staff would have to wait up to a week for IT support, which bogged down the schools’ administrative tasks and affected their pupils’ education. The academy has saved money from this initiative and has created job opportunities for former pupils who have gone into primary education teaching careers or senior technology routes in the secondary school environment.
The Romero Catholic Academy has made significant strides in the IT equipment it uses across its eight schools in Coventry, and in how it is using apprentices to solve IT problems on-site instead of relying on third-party companies.
Primary Goal director Louise Campton said: “Romero Catholic Academy is the showcase example of how a school can benefit by hiring apprentices to help with IT. Controlling costs is such an important aspect in schools and this is actively giving young people clear pathways to improve their own skills with the schools they are in.
“Now is a great time to hire an apprentice with government funding of up to £3,000 available towards the salary of the apprentice.
Primary Goal Ltd and the West Midlands Combined Authority are also working with Coventry City counsellor Kevin Maton, former Microsoft Chief Envisioning Officer Dave Coplin and Technology Innovation Lead Joachim Cohen from the International Department of Education in Australia to launch the Digital Educational Expert Panel (DEEP).
The Digital Education Expert Panel will showcase best practice within schools, deliver bite-sized training, funded support, advice and guidance on all aspects of learning through technology. This will start with a series of educational podcasts to focus on practical digital challenges within schools including remote learning and access to technology.
Digital Champion is available to every primary and secondary school within England and, through the Employers Levy, may be available at no cost to the school. New cohorts start regularly, and schools can get involved at any time. For more information visit www.primarygoal.ac.uk/digital-champion.