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Scottish online learning programme wins transformation award

SWConnects team receiving award
Image source: East Ayrshire Council

The education teams of a group of Scottish local authorities have won the Digital Transformation Award of the Municipal Journal.

The SWConnects programme, which delivers live online teaching for advanced highers and highers to pupils in 40 secondary schools, also picked up a highly commended award a few days earlier at the Local Government Chronical Awards.

Dumfries and Galloway and East, North and South Ayrshire Councils are involved in the programme.

East Ayrshire Council said that SWConnects provides learners with more choices in their studies. Previously many pupils would not have been able to study a subject locally and it would not have been feasible to travel a large distance each day. But they can now study virtually in classes and courses run by teachers from all four local authorities.

The MJ judges said the project provided “a direct and measurable impact on students at no incremental cost”, and that they would recommend it to other councils with similar challenges.

Broadening the offer

Dr Gillian Brydson, executive director of education, skills and community wellbeing for Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: “Winning an MJ Award acknowledges the tremendous effort of all the staff and learners within the four local authorities and shows what can be achieved if we are brave and work together.

"To be able to offer a broader range of qualifications to pupils in rural areas has meant they’ve had the chance to go on to study courses at colleges and universities that would not previously been possible. A sincere thank you to all the teachers, support staff and learners who have made it such a success.

“This model has proven that online delivery of learning towards qualifications works, and we look forward to expanding this approach with our colleagues across the councils."

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