City College Peterborough

City College Peterborough was founded in 1944 and has been providing adult learning ever since. Today, they have expanded their offerings to include college courses, apprenticeships, 16-19 full/part time courses and workplace training for the Peterborough community. This includes school leavers, apprentices, businesses, adults and families in over 60 communities, faith centres and schools throughout the city.

The College prides itself on the important role it plays in the Peterborough community, where it works with people and organisations of all shapes and sizes, and from all backgrounds, to achieve their goals. When asked about how she views the colleges Pat Carrington MBE, Principle at City College Peterborough, had the following to say:

“Our ethos is about being accessible and looking at how we can enable people to achieve the best that they can achieve. Through the use of technology and looking at different ways of working, we can make things bespoke to each individuals needs and what we’ve seen with the investment of the new equipment and the use of Teams is a transformation in the way that we’re operating.”

Phoenix have worked with City College Peterborough since 2009, but in Spring 2019 discussions started around them moving to Microsoft 365 as they had a digital strategy that they wanted to roll out to support both their staff and students in terms of a modern learning environment and support package. Phoenix then worked with City College Peterborough to look at what they wanted to achieve through the use of technology which initially resulted in various workshops, Customer Immersion Experiences (CIEs) and end-user training sessions.

The creation of virtual classrooms and virtual curriculums means that if a learner hasn’t been able to engage in the classroom, later on that evening if they want to catch up on some work they can. Teams allows them to communicate with their tutor, with our wellbeing team and that keeps them part of the college community, which also means they’re part of the support package which we can offer and get them back on track.
Tasha Dalton-Winterton BEM, Assistant Principle, City College Peterborough

This phase of the project was key and helped shape a strategy moving forwards with Microsoft Teams seen as an intrinsic part of the college’s digital future. Further training sessions were arranged with Phoenix’s strategic partner, Purify, where they delivered dedicated sessions for each subject lead and a ‘Teams Champion’ was selected to assist each of their departments as the solution was rolled out.

Following on from the positive feedback from the Teams rollout, a decision was then taken to look at the devices used within the organisation from both a staff and student point of view. As part of the CIE and training sessions, Microsoft Surface devices were used and this prompted an initial test of 50 Microsoft Surface Go devices to see the impact this would have on the learners. The results were overwhelming and led to further rollouts in the college of Surface Go’s for students and Surface Pro’s for the staff. Tasha Dalton-Winterton BEM, Assistant Principle at City College Peterborough commented:

“The idea of using Microsoft Surface devices means that learning can become accessible anywhere within the building. If you’ve got a learner that’s in crisis and they’re doing some work on a desktop, when they leave the classroom that learning and what they have been engaging with has to stop. So, by investing in the Surface Pro’s every learner at any time, no matter where they are in this building, can access their virtual learning environment.”

The staff feel both valued and proud to be using these devices and can already see the positive impact in their classes with Deepika Pathak, Tutor at City College Peterborough, saying:

“If work needs to redone or rectified it doesn’t lower their self-esteem or confidence seeing this in class and other people noticing it. It allows me to be more confident when doing group work and collaborative work with them in my classroom and has ensured that no one is left behind. It allows them to take charge of their work and understand that this is their learning journey, from the start of the qualification to the end of the qualification. This gives them more confidence and it can help them to plan for their future.”

The previous learning environment at the college was mainly on-site servers with the work printed off as paper copies that would be completed and then handed in. All students now have access to a Surface Go which are kept in chargeable trollies and then wheeled out to the class with all the tutors and department heads having a Surface Pro.

Since implementing Microsoft Teams and the Surface devices, the college has been able to change this environment to be digital with the work now completed on the Surface Go’s and submitted to their tutor via Teams – saving both print and paper costs as well as time. So far, they’ve seen cost savings of around 48% and a 38% reduction in paper usage across the last year.

Making the switch to Surface devices has seen the user adoption levels soar with staff embracing the new systems and ways of working as well as the students having Surface Go’s at their fingertips on a daily basis. This has also opened up new ways of working and distance learning to ensure that no one gets left behind.

In one of our lessons a student was on holiday in America and she didn’t want to miss it so, through Teams, she managed to dial in and take part in that lesson while being in another country.
Scott Fidoe, ICT Technician, City College Peterborough

But this project means so much more as well …

Utilising Microsoft Teams has meant that the College has one platform as their internal communication strategy that all staff can access as well as holding the learner files – enabling them to do their job and do it more effectively. They are also able to better support their learners and those in need of additional support whether that be time out of class, help with a project or assistance due to a learning difficulty or disability. One such student is Ziah.

Ziah is 24 years old and in his third year of his Level 2 Certificate ‘An Introduction to Caring for Children’ course, meaning that he will be leaving the college in the Summer. Ziah’s journey started in the Schools for Independence Group where he was using a frame to walk due to him being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.

Every year the college have seen him excel and get better and better and this year, having the opportunity of using the Surface Go and Teams has fully ensured that he is independent and ready to leave the college. He is currently out on work placement – and the college know that the use of Microsoft Teams and the Surface Go is the best thing to help him excel now and in the future.

This is just one life that City College Peterborough has impacted through their vision and strategy. We know that there are countless others studying with them now as well as future learners that will benefit from their supportive, inclusive and accessible environment to enable more and more people to reach their full potential both in education and as they move to their working lives.

When everyone is included, supported and treated the same, amazing things can happen and this is true of City College Peterborough – they are making a difference and in the words of Ziah,

“I feel the same as everyone else. This makes me feel very happy.”

It’s better as I do more work on the computer than writing by hand, which helps me be more independent. I like that I can chat and send messages to my friends in the classroom. It means I can ask for help from Dee if the classroom is too busy or noisy. I feel happy as I can complete the course on my own.
Ziah, Student, City College Peterborough