School of the Future: putting technology at the heart of student learning

School of the Future - putting technology at the heart of student learning

St John Bosco College officially opened in 2011 following the closure of two smaller schools in the Borough of Wandsworth, London. With year-on-year growth set to continue, the Trustees and Governors charged headteacher Simon Uttley to move to a larger premise in close-by Battersea. With the move looming, we sat down with him to find out about his vision of ‘school of the future’ and how he is putting technology at the heart of the student’s learning experience. 

What is your vision for the new build? 

Our new building will accommodate 1,300 students and we are aiming to have technology as a key feature of the school. We hope the move to the new college will kick-start the realisation of our vision to be a school of the future running on technology. The new premises will include an Innovation Suite which will provide students with access to modern technology, enabling them to carry out enterprise-like projects, and equipping them with valuable practical experience for their jobs after graduation. 

Can you tell us more about the planned Innovation Suite? 

At St John Bosco our students come from the highest 10% of social deprivation. We encourage a spirit of enterprise in the school, allowing pupils to deliver their own business idea within a one year entrepreneur programme. This goes beyond the current STEM curriculum which ensures students know how to use basic tech, but misses showing the link between these skills and employability. The Innovation Suite will provide the corporate technology that the students need to turn their vision into a reality. The technology is an important part of this but it’s also about offering the students the chance to build something of their own. The programme will include 10 mentors from both the school and the industry to provide guidance on the pupil’s business ideas. At the end of the programme there will be £1.5k of funding to help the best entrepreneurs take their idea into a second year. It’s an exciting prospect and we look forward to seeing the students get started on their projects. 

How will technology support you in realising this vision? 

We’ve worked closely with Canon over the last four years to introduce new technology and ways of working. 

Being able to offer initiatives such as the Innovation Suite is only possible if the school’s back-office runs smoothly, too. As a college it is a legal requirement that we keep several years’ worth of HR, finance, exam and student records, therefore a lot of paperwork. In order to make processes more efficient for staff, we thought the move was the optimum time to transfer all these documents to the cloud with Canon’s Therefore Integration programme. This will not only make admin processes a lot more efficient for the staff, we’ll also save on having to use several rooms for storage space. By using Canon’s technology to digitise our paper records and manage them within the cloud, we are making it easier for staff to retrieve documents for legal compliance, analyse the school’s educational performance and adjust the learning experience for students where appropriate. 

What benefits do the new products and services bring to the school? 

The new products and services will greatly help the school to be more cost effective. We have all been guilty of sending something to print but then forgetting about it whilst moving onto another task. In a school there tends to be more waste with potentially 30 print outs being sent to print for a class task. Through using Canon’s uniFlow system, we are able to implement ‘my print anywhere’ printing which ensures less wastage as documents can only be printed when you are at the printer. We will also be implementing this across the college for students to use as well.

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