Health and social care staff at Portsmouth College
Teachers of Cambridge Technicals in Health and Social Care at Portsmouth College, part of the Wessex Group of 6th Form Colleges, have reflected on how they responded to school closure during the pandemic. Thinking about what they had put in place to support their students made them aware of the journey they had been on collectively and as individuals. We are so grateful to them for an opportunity to step into their lockdown world.
Catherine teaches this unit, often one of the first units taught as the content is mandatory and provides underpinning knowledge. Getting this right helps set the trend for students as they move forward, so remote teaching adds a layer of challenge for students new to the subject.
To support students new to this qualification, Catherine realised that she needed to find a way to provide them with a complete picture of the unit and activities combined. She created two booklets for unit 3 and used these with Nearpod slides during live lessons for students to take notes and complete activities.
Catherine explained that this was useful because: “it helped to guide the students on what they needed notes on in order to complete the assessments”. It was also useful if students missed a live lesson: “I was able to give these students a copy of the Nearpod as a student-led session so that they could still complete the booklet and the tasks set in the slides”.
Catherine put the booklets on Google Classroom as an assignment and made a copy for each student. This allowed her to see what they were writing on the document in real time, and make comments herself. She could also offer help if they seemed to be struggling with a task, or give a student a nudge if they were not participating. Catherine combined her usual lessons with new slide-generating software and shared them on Google Classroom.
Connie teaches unit 5, which had a lot of relevance to the situation we were in during the worst of the pandemic. Her reflection was remembering how she approached the teaching and learning requirements of LO2.
For unit 5, Connie wrote a presentation and a handbook. Also using Nearpod, she delivered the presentation and included tasks such as collaboration boards, polls, matching pair activities and effective note taking. Connie varied the learning outcomes using Bloom’s Taxonomy to support the needs of different learners.
Students were given the opportunity to create SMART targets when they prepared their second assignment. This helped them become aware of the importance of managing projects – a useful transferable skill for Higher Education or the workplace. A handbook was created to support students with their workshop lessons. Connie says: “I felt this would be beneficial to offer them further guidance as they may have lacked classroom teacher-led support”.
The students learnt about how infections spread and Connie used relevant topics for discussion including Covid 19 to ensure their learning was contextualised, meaningful and offered real life comparison.
For unit 7, Maria also reflected on addressing LO2 – the factors which make abuse more likely. The students learnt how to take effective notes and completed a range of activities to prepare them for assessment. They completed individual note taking in booklets that she had made for them.
For one homework activity the students were asked to watch a documentary, ‘Abused by my girlfriend’ to apply the key terms and knowledge learnt. Midway through the booklet they also had exam questions to prepare them for the examination to come.
Maria supported the students to create their own revision tools to prepare for their assessment, which was a two-hour timed test in controlled conditions. She encouraged the students to work independently to find information, as well as collaboratively on tasks where they could join in verbally and have their knowledge tested. Maria put the work on Google Classrooms so that her students could access it easily.
Unit 1 was taught by Kerry, who reflects on the work the students did for the P5 criteria. Kerry decided to put in a group task – in their groups, the students were asked to share a Google Doc that they all could work on. This helped to develop the students’ IT skills – an essential transferable skill today.
A ‘group hangout’ was made for each group. This meant that while on a call they could work together and update the document in real time. Yet another transferable skill – communication (written and verbal). Kerry could also join the call to see the shared doc and support as needed.
The students had one lesson to plan their interaction using the brief that she had provided. The following week Kerry set up a call with each group on Google Meet. The students joined the call and completed the meeting that they had planned. She was delighted to achieve 100% attendance, and to see that the groups of students all took part and worked well together. This is not something always seen in the classroom during group work.
Kerry recorded the Google Meet calls, then shared the recordings with each group so they could review their own communication skills for the M3 task. This worked really well as students were able to plan together using the call and shared doc.
Jordan teaches this unit and reflects on how she helped her students meet the criteria for P2: to explain the individual rights of people using a service. Within the lesson Jordan made a point of focussing on the key terms: protection from danger and harm, the right to be cared for in a manner that takes into account of their needs, treating people with equality and diversity and ensuring they are respected as individuals and not discriminated against.
To prepare for this she used flipped learning. Before the lesson, Jordan gave students a document that they could edit before the lesson. She decided to use Jamboard, a collaborative workspace that students used to share their feelings and opinions after watching a documentary on Baby P (the abuse and death of Baby Peter).
The learners found this really useful as they could put all their findings together and expand their knowledge. They told Jordan how much they enjoyed this type of learning as the Jamboard approach was collaborative and discussion based.
For this unit, Rejean created a booklet filled with activities combined with a PowerPoint. She taught the content in online lessons and then guided learners to complete specified activities in the booklet. This was uploaded to Google Classroom before the lesson and each student had a copy made for them to start the work. Rejean could check that everyone was on task and she could easily monitor and see each student’s progress.
She found this a useful way of getting students to do the work during online lessons as at times they forgot or failed to upload the work for the lesson. This way she could check their progress and participation. Moreover, adding the links/resources into one document helped students to get on with the activities if they missed part of the lesson or if they had wi-fi issues.
All the staff reflected that they had become agile in their teaching practice. They had learnt how to use presentation packages they hadn’t heard of before. They also understood how best to use online lessons and make them useful. They became creative and adaptable to an unprecedented situation.
As they move forward they can see these new ways of teaching and learning become an integrated part of how they teach. Emily Poutney, Vice Principal of Portsmouth College, said that students excelled in their writing skills during lockdown – something they could not have anticipated. Emily also felt that students showed greater understanding of the topics being studied and that online learning had a lot to do with that. “It was a collaborative space and the students bought into online working in a way that they don’t in the classroom”. The staff at Portsmouth College are proud of how their health and social care students adapted.
This blog shows how the Cambridge Technicals in Health and Social Care provides a broad knowledge base and develops transferable skills that students can use in Higher Education or in employment. The teaching staff were able to take the specification for the units being taught and apply these to the current context, demonstrating its diversity and adaptability.
If you are thinking of teaching the Cambridge Technicals in Health and Social Care, take a look at the summary brochure.
We are really grateful to the health and social care staff at Portsmouth College for sharing their approaches to teaching.
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