In the summer of 2018 Thamesmead SCITT decided to investigate the use of technology to support their trainees, mentors and assessors, to streamline processes, reduce workloads and improve communication and collaboration. They initially contacted some of their associates and partners to see what they were doing and how they approached some of the challenges they faced. Based on the recommendation of a long-standing customer of New Era Education the SCITT management team approached us to see whether we could meet their needs.
At the initial meeting between the SCITT and New Era it became clear that the SCITT could benefit from two initiatives.
Firstly, they wanted to develop a secure area where their trainees could access materials of value to them, find support and to save and share materials with a restricted audience based on access management. They wanted mentors and assessors to be able to view what specific trainees had shared and to contribute where necessary. Finally, they wanted to be able to effectively track what activity was taking place online.
The second area of benefit was the creation of a new website. Their existing website was not only dated but also difficult to manage and required the hosting company to manage the content on behalf of the SCITT. It was imperative to the SCITT to have a site that was professional looking, but which could be easily managed locally.
It was evident from the initial meeting that ease of use was a key requirement, but that the solution required significant sophistication to meet the needs.
Working in collaboration
Having worked with several SCITTs across many years the New Era team were well-placed to be able to interpret the specification and create the unique solution for Thamesmead. The project outcome is an integrated website and online portfolio solution that gives single sign on between the two elements.
Each element was built separately around the specification provided by the SCITT. At each stage elements were trialled and shared with the SCITT team, who then checked and evaluated them. Based on the feedback, New Era would then make changes if necessary. The collaborative approach worked well and within a matter of weeks the new website and the online portfolio were successfully launched.
The solution has now served the SCITT for an academic year and its impact has been evaluated by the SCITT Director, Karen Hall and Operational Lead, Donna Mansell.
They report that they have found the website and eportfolio to be a great success. Their users have engaged with it really well and found it to be extremely useful. All areas of the site have proved easy to navigate and enable the trainee teachers to keep an accurate record of their progress and for the SCITT team to monitor and support them in a timely fashion. There have been no issues with any aspect of the site and it has been well received by trainees, mentors, professional tutors and assessors.
Just as important as the technology however has been the support provided by New Era from the initial build to the day to day management. Karen states that the support they receive is very helpful. It enabled us to jointly create a portal that is user friendly and reflects the core principles of our work. Whenever we contact New Era with a question or query the response to us is very quick and the guidance is always second to none.
You may visit the website here: www.thamesmeadscitt.co.uk
If you are interested in a new website or an upgrade to an existing one please contact us.
If you have any specialist technology needs for access and identity management solutions please contact us here.
Thamesmead SCITT is a teacher training partnership, based at Thamesmead School, Shepperton, Surrey that strives for excellence in all areas and works to provide trainees with the opportunity to develop into reflective and innovative practitioners.
Karen Hall is the SCITT Director.
Donna Mansell is the SCITT Operational Lead.