@SCLeducation are ‘Innovating to Educate’, staying inside and staying ‘stronger together’ 

In unprecedented times, SCL found themselves in a position where their only choice was to ‘Innovate to Educate’. They needed to accelerate their learning innovation strategy to ensure that their learners' studies were unaffected during the current climate.

One of the most important considerations was thinking about SCL learners' wellbeing and mental health, ensuring we had a strong strategy in place to support all of the young people on our programmes. As a business who puts the ‘learner at the centre of everything’, we knew this was something we needed to activate swiftly.

SCL are a directly government funded private training provider in the UK who specialise in sports education. They are based nationwide, working in partnership with over 70 football, cricket, and rugby clubs, including Premiership Rugby, Leeds United, West Ham Foundation, and Yorkshire Cricket, to help over 2500 young people gain a Level 3 qualification in sport every year.

Using Microsoft Teams in order to ‘Innovate to Educate’, SCL have launched a platform for their teaching, collaborative working, and engagement of students. Thus far, this has been embraced by learners, parents and our teaching staff with open arms.

With all systems in place to ensure learners can continue their education uninterrupted, I worked with the teams at SCL to devise and launch our ‘Learner at the Centre’ wellbeing initiatives.

Working with the quality, curriculum, and Support Centre teams, we discussed some of the challenges our learners were facing. We gave plenty of consideration to our engagement methods for all and how we could utilise the systems we already had in place; ensuring learners were following government guidance regarding staying in and staying safe was integral to our planning.

The result of this was our new learner wellbeing guide, with a key focus on areas which we feel are most prevalent during this time. These will now be heavily featured throughout our delivery going forward, with a special focus on mental health and wellbeing support for people working remotely or in isolation. You can check out our guide for learners here.

All our staff have been trained on the use of this tool and we have shared this with the parents of our learners, giving them reassurance that at SCL we are maintaining the highest level of support and guidance and offering them the tools to navigate through this complicated time.

We have continued to encourage staying physically active and healthy during isolation by using the opportunity to leave the house once per day. In addition, we have created a timetable of fitness activities which will be based on recorded sessions from members of the SCL team; this includes qualified personal trainers who deliver sessions and guests who we have invited in to motivate our learners and keep them moving! We are mindful that staying active is a key component of maintaining positive mental health and wellbeing.

To boost morale, we will be encouraging all our learners to get involved, via our social media and their Microsoft Teams channels, in our themed days which provide a range of exciting content, from careers in sports interviews with key people from our network to funny ‘Throwback’ content. We will be running ‘Monday Motivation’, ‘Tuesday Focus’, ‘Wednesday Wellbeing’, ‘Throwback Thursday’ and ‘Friday Focus’ to generate engaging content for our learners, with lots of opportunities for them to get involved. We will be coupling this with Communication and Calculation content and challenges every week to encourage learners to interact and have fun!

We feel the most important part of ensuring learners to feel part of our community, is to encourage engagement with this content so they continue to feel they are a part of the ‘SCL Family’ but also have the opportunity to have some fun and a giggle with their peers.

Safeguarding remains fundamental to our daily operation at SCL; every consideration has been made to continue our safeguarding culture while we are distance learning. We are continuing to capture attendance and following up with leaners and the parents of our under-18's if we notice an absence from one of the two daily sessions with tutors. All of our staff have 24-hour access to our online portal to report safeguarding concerns or disclosures which instantly notifies our safeguarding team.

Additional sessions with our SEND team for our EHCP and vulnerable learners are available; not only to support with work, but offer a forum to ‘check in’ and try and maintain some normality during this time.

We have provided all learners and parents the access to SCL’s freephone or text safeguarding line, which is manned by a team of safeguarding professionals. In addition, learners are clear on the key contacts available to them for a multitude of different topics which enables them to reach out for more specialist support, if they need to. Our Level 3 Mental Health First Aid trained staff continue to support our learners through the process until we are confident that they are in receipt of the right professional support which will help them.

As a team, we will continue over the coming weeks to work together to focus on learner wellbeing through these difficult times and ensure they are given every opportunity to succeed in their education.

KIM COLLINS, Head of Safeguarding at SCL Education Group


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