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Holmfirth High School Case Study

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The background

Holmfirth High School first opened in 1959.

Originally built as a Secondary Modern School to house 600 students, the buildings have been extended, with significant modification and development, to accommodate the expansion into an 11-16 Mixed Comprehensive School with over 1300 students.

The school is a mathematics, computing and applied learning specialist and is committed to embedding ICT in the curriculum.

Students enjoy access to 5 ICT suites, a library with computing resources and many departments have tablets or laptops to enable ICT to be embedded in the curriculum. Studying online is therefore ‘normal’ and accessible for the ‘digital natives’ of Holmfirth High School.

The challenge

Michele McLoughlin is Head of Enrichment and Business Studies at Holmfirth High with a remit which includes enterprise and gifted and talented programmes.

Michele oversees the extensive work related learning programme for year 9 students which includes first aid, health and safety, food hygiene, enterprise, careers and personal finance. This course has been running for the last four years and helps all 250 male and female students in year 9 to gain valuable preparation for work knowledge.

Based in West Yorkshire and famous for being the location of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’, Holmfirth is a popular tourist destination. The leisure industry in the area offers part-time employment opportunities for students still at school and valuable experience for those who wish to pursue a career in the sector.

The solution

“We use Virtual College’s online food safety and hygiene resources as part of a blended learning solution,” explained Michele.

“Students have 6 weeks to cover this section of the work experience programme. Online learning allows students to work at their own pace.”

“We have supplementary materials available for those who progress quickly but e-learning provides valuable flexibility. “

“Any students who have been absent can catch up on the online learning in their own time at home or in the library.”

The results

Michele commented: ” Our students are accustomed to learning online and also have access to personal finance and health and safety e-learning resources on the popular work related programme.”

“Virtual College’s level 2 food safety and hygiene resources are engaging and also give our students a qualification in the subject which provides them with an edge in the competitive job market. “

“Some of the students have been so enthused that they have gone on to take the subject at level 3 under their own steam. Members of our own staff have also used the resources to update their accreditation.”

What next?

“Delivering learning resources online gives flexibility and is a natural way of learning for young people,” said Michele.

“I can see opportunities to deliver more employability courses using online resources.”

“I would expect that schools’ use of e-learning as part of a blended learning solution will continue to increase especially as economies of scale start to drive down prices.”

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