Wey Education PLC (LON:WEY) Chief Executive Officer Jacqueline Daniell caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the approval of a new Teaching Online qualification.
Q1: In your recent interim results, you mentioned that you’ve recently received accreditation for your Teaching Online qualification. Can you tell us briefly what this qualification is and who it’s for?
A1: This is of course for teachers so in this instance it’s the teachers that are the students. Essentially, it’s a qualification that demonstrates an ability to teach not just in a traditional physical setting but also in an online virtual environment.
Wey Education already employs fully qualified teachers but going forward this will no longer be sufficient, all our new teaching staff will be required to gain this qualification during their probationary period. It’s also for others, teacher or trainers outside of Wey who might be undertaking either a fully online or a blended learning programme. It’s designed to be flexible so for use in different sectors, whether that’s schools, further education in training or higher education.
So, externally it’s a qualification open to any educator who already holds a Level 3 or higher qualification in teaching, Ofqual do recognise an equivalent professional experience and typically, that’s a minimum of 3 years full-time equivalent teaching in a secondary or post-secondary institution.
Q2: So, why did the company decide to create this qualification?
A2: Our experience in delivering online education means that we know that highly effective teaching and learning in an online environment requires specific skills and expertise. Through our recruitment and performance review procedures, we make sure that our teachers have these but until now, there has been no course or qualification that evidences this.
So, it’s the very first of its kind and the aim of this qualification is to support staff in the education and training sector to develop that knowledge and understanding and competency to teach or train in a fully online or distance-type learning provision. It’s also a qualification that will be useful for those who teach in settings where there is a combination of online and face-to-face delivery so that’s what we know as blended learning.
Q3: Will it be revenue generating?
A3: Well, before we embarked on this project, we had to provide evidence of market demand, this isn’t a private accreditation and it’s not specific to either InterHigh or Academy21.
Last summer, our consultant online learning specialist gained wide sectorial buy-in through very extensive consultation so yes, of course, it’s potentially very revenue generating in its own right as well as continually raising the quality of our provision.
I should say though that no revenue generation from this qualification has been included in the outlook we’ve given for 2020 and 2021 at this stage.
Q4: So, what is the plan now?
A4: The qualification has been available since the 1st May and we’ve been approved to offer the course so delivery of the very first course for a small group of Wey Education teachers began on Monday 13th May.
6 teachers across both brands have started their modules and should be qualified before the end of August. An internal independent verifier has been appointed so fingers crossed, we will be benefiting from 6 teachers, newly qualified in teaching online.
The modules include really important aspects of teaching in a modern environment, things such as using synchronous tools, synchronous forums, online content and development and of course, the more usual, self-reflection and self-development.
This is a relatively short, sharp course with a fairly invasive assessment, it doesn’t allow those just with a good portfolio through, only those that have fully internalised their skills will qualify. That’s really important in driving the quality in online education as a whole as well as making sure we, as a company, offers a quality experience for its students.