How schools and universities can implement temperature screening to ensure student safety post-lockdown

As lockdown restrictions are being gradually eased across the country, industries of all types must now consider additional health and safety measures, to ensure a safe re-opening.

Schools and universities in particular, which have been badly affected during the Coronavirus pandemic, are faced with the problem of re-opening as before, without risking a second wave of infections amongst students and staff.

This is where fever screening can play an important role. By instantly identifying those with abnormal temperatures, schools, colleges and universities can prevent those who may be infectious with COVID-19 from entering their premises and in turn, potentially spreading the virus to others.

Here, Lasse Tonnesen, Managing Director at Test Meter Group, explains exactly how thermal imaging temperature screening works to identify those with abnormal temperatures, and how the education sector can implement this technology to ensure their safe re-opening.

How does thermal imaging temperature screening work?

Infrared thermal fever screening solutions, such as FOTRIC 226B, use AI face detection to automatically check an individual’s temperature

These imagers also incorporate a body temperature calibration algorithm, which works to prevent false negatives. This algorithm works by automatically collecting face temperatures in different scenarios for self-learning. It then adjusts the body temperature alarm threshold in real time by adapting to ambient temperature changes. This prevents false alarms from people who report abnormal body temperature due to morning or night-time temperature differences, for example.

What happens if someone has an abnormal temperature?

If an imager detects an abnormal temperature, it emits an automatic alert, which allows for a rapid on-site identification and prevention of the person from entering the premises. The imager will also automatically capture the photo of the detected person, which can be used for further statistics and analysis.

How can this help care homes to re-open safely?

It goes without saying that schools and universities must implement a range of additional measures to ensure safety when easing lockdown restrictions.

By implementing thermal imaging temperature screening solutions as part of these additional measures, they will be able to identify any potential students approaching the premise who may unknowingly have symptoms of COVID-19.

It’s important that the schools and universities then have a strict procedure in place to allow these students to be removed from site in a safe manner and without coming into contact with any other person.

Education facilities can then use the images captured by the imager to keep a record of those students who have reported abnormal temperatures to ensure they do not return to the premises within seven days, as well as to identify any trends or patterns emerging in the data.

More information on FOTRIC 226B can be found here.


Photograph by Peter Powell. 3 February 2019.

A new partnership has launched in Merseyside, offering young people across the UK the opportunity to attend Liverpool Football College in association with Steven Gerrard, and pursue a career in the sports industry.

Since opening in 2011, the college has helped hundreds of 16-19-year olds follow a career in professional football through their further education programmes. Now, the college has teamed up with award-winning sports education provider, LLS, to reach thousands more students across the UK and Ireland. LLS deliver sixth form sports courses across the world, from Liverpool to Qatar, giving school leavers the chance to continue their studies and secure careers within the sports industry.

The partnership between the two leading sports education providers, Liverpool Football College and LLS will bring an unrivalled two-year sports programme to selected colleges across England, Wales and Northern Ireland from September 2020. Steven Gerrard says, “This is a brilliant concept bringing the expertise of these organisations together. Having supported Liverpool Football College for 10 years and been officially involved since 2019 I can’t wait to see our fantastic programme launch with LLS across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. With a first class football offer and a first-class education offer this course has the winning formula.”

The post-16 course will launch in Autumn 2020, with 500 aspiring football professionals working towards graduate pathways which include full-time football, university degrees and professional employment at home and abroad. Students will study A-level equivalent qualifications alongside a football programme which will be led by elite level coaches. Liverpool Football College and LLS graduates have gone on to careers playing professionally and coaching for international clubs.

Former FA Chief Executive and LLS Patron Brian Barwick says, “I have worked with Joe Mulhearn and Jordan Wright and the LLS team over the past decade and have found them to be dedicated, driven and determined to deliver for their students. Merging with Liverpool Football College and a sporting icon in Steven Gerrard will certainly take things to the next level and on this occasion, I am looking forward to being on the same team.”

Director of Liverpool Football College, David MacDiarmid says, “We are delighted to team up with LLS. They are a highly trusted partner of schools, universities and elite-level sports clubs. They have more than 30 fulltime industry professionals committed to giving youngsters life changing opportunities. We’ve been working with LLS on many projects and have been blown away by the impact they have on thousands of young people around the world.”

School leavers are welcome to apply for one of the final few places available for September 2020 by emailing Applications are now also open to Year 10 pupils for September 2021 and interested young people are encouraged to register their interest via email.

Should you have further questions, please call a member of the LLS Student Engagement Team on +44151 294 3229.

Cambridge Primary Education Trust leader issues update on phased return of pupils

Cambridge Primary Education Trust (CPET), which comprises Hatton Park Primary School, Histon & Impington Infant School, Histon & Impington Junior School, Somersham Primary School and Trumpington Park Primary School, has issued an update on the phased return of children of over 300 children to its schools since 8th June.

Lesley Birch, CEO/Executive Principal at the Trust, spoke about the ‘re-opening’ of CPET schools and paid tribute to their “amazing staff” and “absolutely fantastic children”. “In the last week we have welcomed back more children to CPET schools via a phased return approach, as well as continuing home learning for children who have not returned and remain at home. At the highest point we had 329 children across our schools, each allocated a ‘social bubble’ with a teacher and teaching assistant overseeing that bubble.

“Firstly, I would like to say a big thank you to all our amazing staff who have supported our children and families, not just over the past week, but throughout the period of lockdown. It has been an extremely difficult and challenging time for everyone but their hard work, commitment, dedication, resilience and ongoing good humour has been quite remarkable. What has also been remarkable is the messages of support we have had from parents and carers. Our children have been absolutely fantastic and we are so very proud of them all.”

Ms Birch said that CPET had left, and would continue to leave, no stone unturned in our attempts to create a safe environment for all in their schools. “The Trust, and all our schools, have developed a robust risk assessment that has been personalised for each school,” she explained. “All of our schools have prepared their environments and updated their health and safety arrangements to ensure that two metre social distancing can be adhered to. All schools have also revised their cleaning arrangements and purchased PPE and additional cleaning products. The Trust has co-ordinated the central purchasing of PPE and cleaning products. All schools have ensured that their staff are familiar with all new procedures and protocols.”

Those children in school are receiving a focused curriculum which includes the core subjects as well as Personal Social Health Education (PSHE) and PE. For those children who have yet to return to school, teachers have been providing work and having regular conversations with children and families. “We very much hope that we will soon be able to see larger numbers of children returning to our schools, but this will only be the case when we have further updates to the government guidelines and, as a Trust, we deem it safe to do so following ongoing risk assessments,” Mrs Birch said. “In the meantime, and in line with current guidance, we will continue to follow our existing course until the end of the summer term. This will include immediately isolating anyone (pupil or staff member) experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 and taking action with other members of our ‘bubbles’ in line with government guidance.”

Mrs Birch said that Trust schools were available to listen to concerns that parents and carers have regarding the further opening of schools. “We are mindful that the picture is ever-changing, and last week the Prime Minister announced that the government would be doing a ‘huge amount of catch-up for pupils over the summer’. As a Trust, we will reflect on any firm plans which are announced and update our communities thereafter. We also recognise the new guidance published on Monday that primary schools with extra capacity can welcome back pupils from any year groups. We will look to bring more children back where possible, but are also rolling out Teams to ensure more virtual communication.”

She added: “We know that our communities are eager to know whether or not our schools will be back to ‘normal’ in September. Naturally, we all desperately miss the ‘buzz’ of day-to-day school life as we know it, but we appreciate continued patience and understanding on this matter. It is not easy for any for us. However, the protection of our pupils, colleagues and their families is the single most important priority for the Trust.”


  • Gifting 500,000 annual memberships to teachers
  • 75% of teachers describing themselves as ‘stressed’

The serious risk of post-Covid stress has been raised by the World Economic Forum citing the possibility of a secondary epidemic of burnouts and stress-related absenteeism in the latter half of 2020*. Overwhelmed teachers now find themselves on the frontline as the pressure is on to get back to school and open up the economy.

With as many as 75% of UK teachers having described themselves as ‘stressed’ prior to the C-19 Lockdown**, personal development platform, is addressing the serious risk to teacher mental wellbeing which directly impacts families, businesses and the recovery of our Nation, by gifting over 500,000 annual memberships to teachers to provide support as the UK turns towards post-Covid recovery.

With Lockdown highlighting the importance of mental wellbeing across the country, Life Ladder saw how its service could help raise resilience and wellbeing and how teachers will be at the forefront of enabling the nation’s recovery.

“As a business, we feel it’s important to do more,” commented Life Ladder’s founder, Natalie Rea. “Mental resilience is priceless at any time.  No more so than now, as we look to move positively out of Lockdown.  Where teachers were already dealing with fatigue and overwhelm, C-19 and the uncertainty about what happens next to get our young people’s education back on track and supporting students and their families with what they’ve been through; pressures have without question, increased.  We would like to do something for them.”

Having made a difference to the lives of many, Life Ladder, is offering primary and secondary school teachers throughout the UK free access to its personal development service with free 12-month memberships (usually £350).

“Community and contribution are two of our key values. There’s never been a time more in need of everyone pitching in,” added Ms Rea. “We’re a newly launched company and some may say our energy should be directed towards profit, but we feel so strongly about stepping up to play our part to support teachers right now, that we’re prepared to offer this to them for free.”

A recent interview with the Prince of Wales as Patron for the charity TeachFirst, highlighted the importance of supporting teachers at this time:

“Transforming the futures of so many young people could hardly be more important since teachers will surely be a part of the nation’s recovery,” said His Royal Highness.

“We’re determined to step up for the teachers who are core to communities. As we move out of lockdown, unsurprisingly people are experiencing anxiety and overwhelm, but there are ways to manage this and take control of unwanted thoughts and feelings. It is more important than ever that people feel equipped with mental resilience and learn how to take charge of our mental wellbeing. We all know that one trip to the gym doesn’t give us healthy bodies. It’s the same with the mind, we’re here to enable people to gain the benefits of making a healthy mind, a habit”

Life Ladder, operates like a gym membership, giving individuals access to expert coaching, making personal development easy to achieve, accessible and affordable for anyone online. 

Ms Rea continues: “A lot of people find it hard to prioritise their self-development without the support and structure that coaching provides. It’s easy to slip into old habits and behaviours that hold them back. Life Ladder provides a community of support and development for just £1.15 a day (around half the price of a coffee).  Self-development then becomes part of someone’s lifestyle, a habit that enables them not only to care for their mental wellbeing but to develop, be happy and achieve more. Minimal cost, colossal impact”

The flexibility of developing with Life Ladder will be reassuring for Teachers who simply don’t have time to prioritise their own needs during a working day. Teachers will be able to work flexibly on their self-care, any time of the day or night, on any device.

Life Ladder Corporate Membership provides digital access for employees, so employees can achieve personal and professional development, designed around their needs. 

“Our experience has shown that when employees develop themselves it has significant knock-on effects in communication, productivity and success for a business,” added Ms Rea.

As we continue to face uncertainty with furloughed employees trying to find their way back to the new norms of working life, job cuts and working from home, flexible personal development solutions like Life Ladder come at the right time. 

Schools and education charities scoop share of £1million fund

Thirty-six schools and education charities have received donations of £1,000 each as part of the Movement for Good awards.

The awards, set up by specialist insurer Ecclesiastical, will see a total of £1million given to charities across the UK this summer. Members of the public were invited to nominate causes close to their hearts, with 500 awards of £1,000 available for donation.

More than a quarter of a million kind-hearted members of the public (253,879) supported the Movement for Good awards, voting for a total of 13,695 charitable causes across the UK. The 500 winning charities were picked at random from those nominated.

Among the schools and education charities to secure an award are Brockwell Nursery and Infant School Parents’ Association, Kingsbury School Charitable Fund, Read Easy UK and The Latymer Foundation at Edmonton.

Thanking those who nominated a charity, Mark Hews, Group Chief Executive at Ecclesiastical, said: “We have seen an overwhelming public response to our Movement for Good awards and would like to thank every single person who took the time to nominate a good cause. Ecclesiastical is a unique financial services group. We are owned by a charity which means all available profits can be given to the good causes that are so important to our customers. As a company whose purpose is to contribute to the greater good of society, charitable giving is at the heart of our business. We know that £1,000 can make a huge difference to the incredible work that charities do and we’re looking forward to seeing how this financial boost will change lives for the better.”

For more information about the Movement for Good awards and for a full list of the winning charities, visit:

Later this summer, a further ten charities will also be chosen by a panel of judges to receive £50,000 from Ecclesiastical to be put towards the advancement of education, skills, arts, culture and heritage, as well as citizenship or community development.

From 15 June, charities are invited to apply for the substantial grant with applications being assessed against four key areas; impact and effectiveness, sustainability, innovation, and care and compassion.

The successful charities will be announced from Monday 21 September 2020.

CRB Cunninghams launch Grab & Go solution for schools 16.06.20

School lunch after lockdown

Schools across the UK are streamlining their catering operations by simplifying menus to offer a Grab & Go lunch service; an efficient method to incorporate varied safeguarding measures such as staggered break times and the implementation of collection points throughout the school.

Simply order, collect, and go.
A Grab & Go style food offering will allow pupils to order their lunch choices in advance and pick up their food at specific collection points, reducing the need to queue and wait for food to be packaged and prepared during lunchtime.

Your school’s Grab & Go solution
The use of a pre-ordering app helps secondary schools facilitate a Grab & Go offering that will allow your school kitchen to run efficiently and safely. The first and only of its kind, Fusion Mobile removes contact from your lunch service, giving schools greater control over traffic flow whilst ensuring social distancing guidelines are adhered to.

How does Fusion Mobile work?

  • Reduced Contact
    Fusion Mobile is an entirely contactless identification method that allows catering teams to maintain a high level of service whilst following social distancing rules. For secondary schools, pupils can pre-order their favourite school meals from their mobile phone to simply pick up from a designated collection point at lunchtime. This removes the need for traditional touch points from the lunchtime queue and sends orders to the kitchen ahead of time. Allowing catering teams to prepare meals in advance provides many benefits such as increased efficiencies, food waste reduction and significant savings in associated costs.

  • Control traffic flow with collection points
    To control traffic flow for a quicker and safer lunch service, Fusion Mobile notifies pupils when and where to collect their meals. This helps schools to limit the number of pupils within an area and provide the flexibility to utilise other school spaces by setting up multiple collection points. The software is even flexible enough to work with staggered break times and a delivery operation if your school decides to go down this route.

  • Cashless catering goes mobile
    Fusion Mobile is easily activated as a simple add-on to your cashless system for a seamless integrated solution. This enables schools to cater to large volumes without compromising on speed of service.

A seamless cashless connection means that pre-ordered meals are also paid for in advance. When school meals are ordered through the app, the amount is automatically deducted from the pupils’ cashless account, removing yet another touch point from the traditional lunchtime service, and reducing school debt. Pupils can also view their live cashless balance on-the-go from their own device.

A truly contactless lunch solution
There are many benefits of removing cash from schools, ranging from increased efficiency in reporting to saving time on admin tasks for finance staff. Now that schools are putting plans in place to help pupils return safely, removing cash is more important than ever. By combining Fusion Mobile’s cashless catering software with iPay online payments, schools can remove any physical transactions from the dining hall, providing a fully contactless lunch experience.

Bringing pupils back after the lockdown period will come with its challenges, but by implementing a Grab & Go style lunch service; allowing pupils to pre-order their food, collect their lunch from designated collection points and utilise contactless payment methods, schools can provide staff and pupils with a safe lunch service that meets everyone’s needs.

About CRB Cunninghams
However you are restructuring your catering offering, your software will need to be flexible enough to adapt. We’re here to help, read more about a Grab & Go solution for your school here.

Premier League Primary Stars home-learning hub is supporting children, parents and teachers during lockdown

Premier League Primary Stars, a primary schools programme created by the Premier League and supported by 110 professional football clubs, has seen downloads of its free curriculum-linked education resources soar during lockdown.

These fun and engaging football-linked activities, available through the programme’s new Home Learning Hub, have been downloaded more than 20,000 times by families and teachers since March. The resources have all been designed to educate, entertain and encourage families to keep learning and stay active and connected with one another, whether at home or at school.

Among the most popular has been a maths and spelling game called Solve, Shoot, Score which features animations of Premier League footballers and has had more than 31,000 plays since schools closed.

Families from across England and Wales have taken part in weekly Family Challenges, which encourage home learning and have been supported by celebrities, including best-selling author-illustrator and Children’s Laureate Cressida Cowell, mathematician Rachel Riley and TV presenter Dan Walker. The challenges, which can be done at home or at school, will continue for the rest of the academic year. Following each Challenge, a ‘Star of the Week’ who has shared their work is celebrated and featured in the Premier League Primary Stars community gallery.

Other popular activities on include maths puzzles, which use data from Premier League football stickers, as well as opportunities for children to practise their football skills by watching examples from football players and club coaches.  

Through the programme’s #GetInTouch campaign, children have sent older relatives, friends and neighbours, who may be isolated during the Coronavirus pandemic, heart-warming stories, letters and drawings.

Children taking part in Premier League Primary Stars activity have also been given the chance to join a live Q&A event hosted by CBBC presenter Ben Shires and featuring Dan Freedman, best known for his hugely popular series of Jamie Johnson football novels. Freedman has tasked children with creating their own fictional character that could be part of a football-themed story.

To take part in this Challenge, families can download a free activity pack filled with top tips and ideas to get started. Children who submit their original characters for the Challenge will be in with a chance of receiving a special Premier League Trophy visit for their primary school, when it is safe to do so.

As part of the Friday Family Challenges, children have:

  • Expressed their feelings about lockdown through poetry and spread messages of kindness
  • Been creative by penning short stories and drawing pictures of people who inspire them through the ‘My inspiration drawing challenge’ 
  • Written letters to older family members, friends and neighbours through the Connecting generations pack 
  • Kept moving with the help of Super Movers active learning routines

Nick Perchard, Head of Community at the Premier League said: 

“We want our new home-learning resources to inspire children and families across the country to keep learning, remain active and stay connected with friends, family and neighbours. 

“We have been working with teachers and parents to create these resources for a home or school environment. Every resource supports the curriculum and is designed to educate and entertain children by connecting learning to the real world of sport.

“Our clubs and celebrity supporters have been excited to get involved and to see the children’s impressive work.

“We hope that these resources have helped teachers and parents who have been doing an incredible job to support their children’s learning during the Coronavirus pandemic.”


  • New personalised assessment service launched for members to support mental health and wellbeing
  • Wesleyan Chair Nathan Moss, non-executive directors, and Group CEO, Mario Mazzocchi to donate at least 10 per cent of salary to charitable causes for six months

Wesleyan, the specialist financial services provider for doctors, dentists, teachers and lawyers, has extended its COVID-19 support package for its customers, many of whom are on the front-line dealing with the ongoing pandemic.

To support the growing number of professionals who are experiencing mental health and wellbeing difficulties, the financial mutual has launched a psychological triage assessment service. The online screening gives users access to clinical consultants who can advise on wellbeing, as well as offer virtual cognitive behavioural therapy and physiotherapy if required.

The dedicated service is a part of the Wesleyan Wellbeing offering, a new online platform that gives people access to free 24/7 health and wellbeing support,

Wesleyan’s Board of Directors have made a personal commitment to show their gratitude for the work being undertaken by the UK’s key workers. Each non-executive director will donate 10% of their salary for the next six months to charities and organisations supporting the mental health needs of key workers, as will Group CEO Mario Mazzocchi. Chair Nathan Moss will donate 20% of his salary to these causes. Non-executive directors have also declined their scheduled pay increase for 2020.

The Birmingham-based mutual has also announced that the Group’s executive committee members will forego any performance-related bonuses during 2020

Nathan Moss, Chair of Wesleyan, said: “At Wesleyan, we are proud to be creating brighter financial futures for the UK’s most trusted professions, and we want to show our gratitude for their ongoing sacrifice and commitment during these difficult times.

“As a mutual with the interests of our members and communities at heart, we hope that this psychological support service, together with our charitable donations, will help to ease some of the pressures that are being faced by our members and front-line workers.”

To-date the Wesleyan Foundation has gifted £100,000 to charitable organisations providing mental health support to doctors, dentists, teachers and lawyers including NHS Practitioner Health, Royal Medical Benevolent Fund, Dental Health Support Programme and the Titan Partnership, which provides education support for schools across Birmingham

For more information visit

COVID-19: Three tips to get your school transport up and running again

As pupils begin a phased return to schools following months of COVID-19 lockdown, beginning with selected primary schools and year groups, and expanding from there over the coming months, Richard Woods, chief operating officer at school transport specialist Kura has revealed three of the most important considerations for schools looking to safely run school transport services for returning pupils each day. 

While children getting back into the classroom is crucial for their wellbeing and future prospects, this will not have come at a welcome time for many parents also required to begin going back to work. These parents may not always have the time for the daily school run in current circumstances and may harbour concerns about placing their child on reduced public transport services, where social distancing isn’t possible, bringing them into close proximity with pupils from multiple other households.

With walking, cycling and public transport not logistically-viable for all in the current climate, shared, school-managed transport remains a safe, greener way for pupils to reliably get to and from school, if the right measures are put in place. 

Let’s take a look at the key precautions below: 

  1. Ensure vehicles are safe for transporting pupils 

Making sure pupils are protected when they are aboard school transport is a crucial issue, which will of course be front of mind for concerned parents – particularly those living in rural areas who may have no viable alternative. To this end, seating plans should be put in place ahead of time, with pre-assigned seats – ideally no more than one per row – specifically put aside for pupil use. This can be signalled by fastening the seatbelts on seats that are not for pupil use, and placing signage around the vehicle indicating that students are not to use seats with fastened seatbelts. 

Social distancing procedures should also be put in place when pupils are boarding and alighting school vehicles. Specifically, drivers should be instructed to exit the vehicle and stand at least 2m (one car length) away from the doors while students embark and disembark. When boarding the vehicle, students should fill the designated seats towards the rear of the vehicle first, and when leaving the vehicle students should exit from the front of the vehicle initially. 

Between journeys, all vehicles must be sanitised by drivers and/or school staff, with special attention paid to touchpoints such as armrests and windows, in order to minimise the risk of disease transmission. 

Where possible, schools should also look to invest in contact-tracing technology, that will allow them to monitor and control who exactly boards each vehicle, in order to ensure that any pupil or member of staff that exhibits symptoms is properly isolated. While manual systems, such as paper-based registers, can accomplish this, these solutions are susceptible to human error and are not nearly as quick, reliable or efficient as digital solutions. 

Kura’s smart registration software, which is in use in schools across the UK, allows schools to keep track of exactly who has travelled on the bus each day, to facilitate contact tracing. Updates to the service and processes mean parents can be safe in the knowledge that their children will only be riding with pre-approved passengers, while remaining the Government-mandated two metres apart from the next passenger. 

  1. Increase capacity on travel routes 

Given that each vehicle will carry fewer pupils-per-journey than pre-COVID, schools must also consider how to ensure all pupils who need school-managed transport can get to school on time. If the capacity is available, assigning multiple vehicles to each transport route is an effective temporary measure for this. 

Alternately, schools could consider running “staggered” shuttle services, wherein one vehicle runs the same route multiple times – with all the necessary precautions taken between each trip – picking up the pupils that live furthest away from the school first, and then making another trip for pupils that live closer to the school. 

  1. Look to procure larger vehicles

There are a range of vehicles typically used for school-managed transport, from smaller, 16-seater minibuses right the way through to 53-seater school coaches. While all can technically accommodate some pupils while adhering to government-issued social distancing measures, this will be far more difficult to achieve in smaller vehicles such as minibuses.

Subsequently, schools should liaise with their chosen transport provider to see if they are able to provide larger vehicles over the coming weeks and, if this is not possible, look to procure larger vehicles from alternative suppliers in the area. One 53-seater coach can safely transport as many as 13 pupils to and from school with full social distancing, and will therefore be more suited to the needs of many schools that need to transport a large number of pupils inside time-limited windows, such as the beginning and end of the school day.

Where possible, schools should also ensure pupils from different households are kept separated, both at the bus stop and on the vehicle, in order to maintain safe social distancing and minimise the spread of infection. 

For more information about Kura’s COVID-19 social distancing measures, please visit

Barco’s Virtual classroom to expand reach of University College London’s professional development programme

London, UK, 10 June 2020: The prestigious University College London (UCL) recently selected the Barco weConnect virtual classroom technology as one of its teaching platforms for its CPD (Continuing Professional Development) medical education offering. Thanks to weConnect, UCL’s Division of Surgery and Interventional Science can now offer a more engaging remote teaching experience and expand its audience across continents.

UCL is London’s leading multidisciplinary university with more than 13,000 staff and 42,000 students from 150 different countries. UCL is organised into 11 faculties, within which there are over 100 departments, institutes and research centres. Ranking as the world’s eight top university and number one in Europe for Medical Technology (Source: QS World University Rankings), UCL has been educating doctors and scientists in London since 1834.

Remote, real-time teaching

With the selection of Barco weConnect, UCL educators will be able to address the growing need for remote teaching in an engaging, interactive learning environment, both for the teacher and the student. UCL also wants to use the platform to connect globally with other surgeons and medical experts.

The institute has always had an international focus but with the recent spread of COVID-19, the need to connect with experts in Europe, the Americas and Asia, who are at the forefront of COVID-19 expertise, has only increased. Professor John Kelly, consultant urological surgeon, specialising in robotic surgery for bladder and prostate cancer at UCL, comments: “There are many platforms to connect, but we have found that we can use Barco’s system in a way that has not been possible with other technologies. The way teachers and students can interact is unparalleled, and therefore, this system comes at just the right time.”

UCL uses the weConnect platform for synchronous teaching, where remote students can interact with a trainer and/or lecturer. Teachers can see the students’ faces up close and they can interact with them through polls, questions and whiteboarding. 

Two-way engagement

“If people connect to online learning at home, it can still be interactive, but it’s not as interactive as with Barco’s weConnect, where students are virtually in the front row, and know they can be asked a question at any time,” says Dr Justin Collins, urological surgeon at University College London Hospitals. “The real-time interaction and feedback that is made possible by weConnect drives student engagement and enable teachers to understand the levels of engagement.”

Jan van Houtte, General Manager Learning solutions at Barco, says: “One of the main advantages we are particularly proud of is that weConnect enables two-way engagement. Our solution enables open-line discussions in a moderated, controlled and meaningful way. The healthcare market is extremely demanding and the selection of weConnect by UCL shows the robustness of the Barco solution. In general, we notice an increased interest in Barco’s weConnect. These changing times are an accelerator for virtual classrooms. ”

International students

Working with a virtual classroom environment allows you to overcome any restriction on travel. Professor John Kelly comments: “There was an assumption that if you want high-quality education, you need to travel. But we have come to realise that with innovative technology like weConnect, this is no longer true. The system even enables us to offer a much better environment in some respects. COVID-19 might have been the catalyst for this, but we were already moving in this direction.”

Enriched teaching experience

weConnect allows UCL’s Division of Surgery and Interventional Science to get more out of its teaching sessions and, as a result, the institute is already considering using the platform for more applications. One of the biggest advantages, according to Dr. Justin Collins, is that the platform can collect data about the interaction within the class, “when you teach, you usually need to ask questions to confirm that people have understood what you’re saying. With the virtual classroom, the online responses that confirm understanding are collected as data in real time via polls and the interactive whiteboard.”

UCL is also using weConnect for scientific research and publications. The so-called Delphi process, where key opinion leaders on a certain subject matter discuss and aim to reach a consensus, is another application where the Barco virtual classroom is an excellent application. The first accelerated Delphi process has taken place early May with contribution of 24 opinion leaders. The whole process, which normally takes months, was successfully completed within 48 hours.