Established for over twenty years, Portland Place School is a leading co-ed day school, based in central London. It is a non-selective school whose philosophy of ‘happiness gets results’ consistently leads to excellent achievement by their students. Launching a new initiative, Portland Online, the school aims to provide a flexible alternative for families whose working patterns are changing as well as widening access to independent education. Portland School Online will share and work to the same ethos and values as Portland Place School – a caring, nurturing, supportive environment where strong academic progress is supported by excellent pastoral care.
Portland Online opened its doors in September 2020. Current students range from Year 7 to GCSEs and are thoroughly enjoying the programme.
What is a Hybrid School?
In the growing array of educational opportunities available to parents and students, the combination of traditional brick-and-mortar instruction and an online model is a transformational educational model now coming to life. Portland School Online is one such example where through hybrid learning, students study four days a week online, with one day a week onsite to provide for the more practical subjects such as Art, DT, Science and Sport. Think of it as a teacher-facilitated online school that delivers personalised one to one interaction for the learner, as well as the opportunity to attend school one day a week and take part in social interaction with their peers.
*If a student is not able to take advantage of a day onsite, the school offers a completely online curriculum for students to follow.
Hybrid Learning: What does it look like?
At the heart of The Portland Online School are live lessons, planned and delivered by expert subject specialist teachers. Predominantly lessons are delivered via recognised video- communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom. While most classes are run synchronously, individual lessons are further supported by adaptive learning technologies, such as Century Tech and Hegarty Maths, which help personalise and differentiate learning. Lessons are timetabled for four days from Monday to Thursday onsite, with the fifth day onsite where all students come together to learn. Pupils use the school virtual learning environment, Firefly, to keep track of their tasks and assignments and are expected to complete their work. Parents also have access into Firefly so that they can be kept up to date with their child’s progress.
Hybrid Pastoral Care and Community
Communication is key and when learning online, it is more important than ever to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle. At Portland School Online, the role of the e-tutor is paramount. Students are encouraged to contact their tutors if they need support. Additionally, an e-tutor maintains regular contact with their tutees, to check in how they are doing and identify any growing concerns. While it is important to communicate with students regularly, it is just as essential to keep parents informed regularly. Online students also have access to experienced counsellors for online consultations should that be seen as a benefit to them. Building an online community is key to the welfare of a child’s learning journey and at Portland Place Online there are a number of exciting online experiences available to pupils, such as the Strive programme, instrumental music lessons, inter-school competitions in creative writing or film making. This has helped encourage students to interact with each other and build new and healthy relationships.
Portland Place Online is a unique offering, delivering a blend of both the traditional and new, through a flexible and accessible approach for all. With the uncertainty of the second wave of Covid-19 and the partial open or closure of schools, more and more parents are looking for alternatives to traditional schooling to sustain the continuity of learning for their children. If the idea of a Hybrid (or completely online) school has piped your interest, you can learn more about The Portland School Online, by visiting https://www.portland-place.co.uk/portland-virtual-school/.