FLUENT: Perspectives from Softcat

ASPIRE TO CHANGE.

ASPIRE (VERB): DIRECT ONE'S HOPES OR AMBITIONS TOWARDS ACHIEVING SOMETHING.

January has come around quickly, despite what seemed like a very, very long year in 2020. And just as quickly, we find ourselves in another full lockdown. This January was quite different to the last, and the impact of this lockdown, in my view, is quite different to the first, particularly for the education sector.

Schools up and down the country have been in what seems like a perpetual game of ping-pong with school closures, year group closures, bubble isolation and full remote learning. Legislation has now changed such that, whilst ‘best endeavours’ was previously an acceptable strategy, it will no longer suffice, and remote learning is now mandatory. This creates a whole new level of pressure for students, teachers and parents.

EDUCATION INSIGHT GUIDE

Softcat has created a Guide dedicated to the challenges facing the Education sector in deploying remote learning technologies, with key points of advice when implementing new tools.


This lockdown creates much wider implications than just the practical implication of continuing education online. Without class-based teaching, we’ve already seen first-hand an impact on safeguarding, access to free school meals, and support provided out of school hours – not to mention the toll of all of this on the mental health of all involved. All of these continue to be a problem.

So yes, we aspire to a life without lockdown where we can achieve a semblance of normality. Yes, we aspire to a better way to alleviate the pressures created by lockdown on the way that children are educated. But importantly, we also aspire to achieving a lasting change in education so that future generations can learn in flexible, modern and effective ways.

Technology will play a significant role in achieving these aspirations.

ASPIRE: THE EVENT

Because of this, Softcat called its first online, education focussed event Aspire (not just because we aspired to it being a success). Our Education Team and our partners have been working with the education sector – schools, teachers, universities and government - for the last 12 months to work towards these aspirations. We combined the collective learnings of our teams and our customers and delivered it back via an online event packed full of content and insight. Here are my three key takeaways from the event:

1.

The education sector has been forced into transforming their digital learning journey but is still very much in its infancy.

2.

The education industry is still facing the very basic challenges of getting devices into the hands of pupils, so need support in doing this before the more advanced learning possibilities can take hold utilising technology.

3.

As a sector there is still so much we can learn from different countries and different industries. We should still continue to look for inspiration and for the ‘what’s next’ from areas outside of Education as well as within.


Aspire was a great success and, to me, particularly valuable as it was based on the experiences and learnings, we, and most importantly our customers, have had over the past year. If you weren’t able to attend, you can still access the content on this link and I would urge you to take a look.

In preparation for the Aspire event, we created the Softcat Education Insight Guide – where we have pulled together just some of the insights we have gathered and provide some key areas to consider when deploying new ways of digital learning.

WHEN ALL SAID AND DONE,

I’m so glad we called the event Aspire. It’s a fitting name, but more importantly, the perfect verb to describe the sentiment behind the entire education sector and the UK’s student body in general.

A U T H O R

Rachel Clay Education Sales Manager

Rachel Clay joined Softcat as an Account Manager in May 2008. Today her role as Education Sales Manager encompasses the management of all Education, research and charity teams. Rachel also leads several of our Education community programmes and is an active mentor in our Supporting Women IN Business Initiative.


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