From education to employment

Online Vocational Learning courses offer a Brighter Future to Bath’s Disengaged Pupils

E-learning is successfully re-engaging teenagers in Bath & North East Somerset who were once considered unruly in the classroom. The Specialist Behavioural Service (SBS) at the Link School is now seeing the benefits of offering students a series of practical vocational courses available online from Creating Careers, through its ‘vision2learn for schools’ service (

Like other specialist units, the SBS Cherokee Project at the Link School was looking for new ways to captivate the attention of teenagers who, for a variety of often complex reasons, have developed serious aversions to learning, particularly in the traditional classroom environment.

Twenty Key Stage 4 pupils from the SBS Cherokee Project have been enrolled in a range of ‘vision2learn for schools’ courses since the start of the academic year. As all of the subjects are Level 2, pupils are able to achieve valuable GCSE equivalent points in addition to working towards a nationally-recognised vocational qualification. Among the courses that have proved popular with teenagers involved in the project have been Working with Others and Improving your Learning and Performance, as well as other lifestyle-based choices such as Healthy Eating, Healthy Living and an Essential Sports Coaching Skills course.

All of the ‘vision2learn for schools’ courses can be completed online from start to finish, with teachers and tutors available to provide invaluable feedback to students directly via the system’s internal e-mail system.

With the number of truant school children in England still as high as a decade ago, Karen Pollard, Head of Personalised Learning at the SBS Cherokee Project, knows how important it is to find new ways to captivate disengaged teenagers who have fallen out of mainstream education.

She commented: "Many of our students are Kinesthetic learners and so e-learning, particularly the vocational courses from ‘vision2learn for schools’, allows us to meet the development needs of our pupils, both from an environmental and intellectual standpoint. It offers ready-for-work skills which are really important for our students, most of whom are interested in entering the workforce or pursuing apprenticeships."

As all of the learning material and assessment is online, Ms Pollard said the ‘vision2learn for schools’ courses and qualifications have proved popular, particularly with students who struggle with group learning, even in a less structured and formal environment such as the SBS Cherokee Project.

"The pupils like the idea of working independently. As the courses are all online, it means students can also do the work from the comfort of their home. They love the fact that they do not need to be told how to do something and when to do it. The quizzes that are provided are also great as it allows pupils to obtain instant feedback, and if need be, resubmit work."

Ms Pollard added: "A lot of pupils like the fact that they don’t have to be dressed in a school uniform and because they are able to work from home, have access to their own music. They don’t have to worry about bullying or anything, which has been a real problem for a couple of them. It means that students are not distracted by the things that can normally cause disruptions in a normal school environment. Not being in a classroom, we have also found that their behaviour improves markedly and, consequently, they begin to get on better with their family. Because of the positive impact of ‘vision2learn for schools’ courses, some students will not even entertain the idea of group work anymore, because they know that working independently with these online subjects means they are staying out of trouble and getting their work done."

Ms Pollard said there are also clear advantages to working online for teachers and tutors overseeing students at the SBS Cherokee Project.

She commented: "What I like about ‘vision2learn for schools’ is that it provides educators with everything they need. You don’t have to have a large volume of resources upfront, which means unlike the old days; teachers do not have to spend hours preparing teaching materials. Monitoring too is so much easier as all of the learning is logged meaning you can track a pupil’s progress from day to day or week to week. Plus the quizzes are self-marked, so students can check their own progress."

More than 100 schools across the UK are now using ‘vision2learn for schools’. It has evolved out of a demand for more vocational alternatives to traditional subjects. All of the courses lead to nationally-recognised vocational qualifications and offer GCSEs equivalent points.

To find out more about ‘vision2learn for schools’ service, please visit or contact Jonathan Ovenden at Creating Careers, Tel: 07730 402 653; email [email protected].

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