Case Study- Preparing for a winter wave
of swine flu
There’s something in the air that could potentially affect all the schools throughout the UK-
the next possible wave of the swine flu pandemic.
The pandemic could potentially result in increased staff absences, and even school closures
if a crisis plan is not established. As a result, many schools across the country have been
planning for the worst, which has included developing their Learning Platform.
Enfield’s Highlands School, London, and Somerset Local Authority are two examples of those
who have realised the importance of this preparation. They have shared with us the plans
they’ve developed for a positive outcome, and how their Fronter VLE will play a part in
keeping things running as smoothly as possible while the swine flu pandemic threatens to
close their doors.
Somerset Local Authority- Ian Vardy
Ian Vardy, Senior Adviser for E-Learning at Somerset LA, feels
The that the availability of e-learning through an effective
deployment of Fronter is one option Local Authorities and
Planning schools should plan for. The virtual school can become a
temporary substitute for the physical school and classroom.
Learners and educators can have continuing support for
education while the schools are closed. In an LA wide
implementation, rooms within Fronter can be used to support
groups of learners from a number of schools by staff from
various schools, as well as from consultants within the LA.
“In Somerset we now feel ready to manage continuity of learning in
the case of a flu pandemic, either later this year or at some point in
the future. Without the availability of Fronter this would have been
an almost impossible task.” Ian Vardy, Somerset LA
Highlands School, Enfield
In London, Highlands School in Enfield is also preparing for the possible
pandemic; they’re using the London MLE to help keep things running, should
the flu take hold of the capital.
Before the summer holidays, Highlands School were already putting their
contingency plan into action. They contacted all parents and carer informing
them that the UN’s World Health Organization had raised the alert of swine flu
to level 6, and that schools had been asked to plan for the eventuality of school
closure or staff absence. They were also informed that their VLE (powered by
Fronter) would be an important part of their plan.
“Highlands School have setup precautionary measures to limit the
disruption of students’ learning in the event of a further break of the
Swine Flu Pandemic,” commented Saiqa Liaqat, Assistant
Headteacher, Highlands School.
“We have ensured that all students have access to Fronter, letters
have been given to students and their parents offering a reminder of
how they can log into Fronter and their username and password. The
URL to access Fronter has been moved to the front page of the
Highland’s website. The staff have been trained in using Fronter with
arrangements in place for all subject areas to upload suitable work
onto Fronter for students to be able to complete from any location.
Teaching staff are being offered priority access to our in house staff
ICT trainer for Fronter training to facilitate the creation of engaging
Brian Durrant, Chief Executive of London Grid for Learning commented on the use of the
London MLE for schools in this situation: “On-line access to the London MLE, (powered by
Fronter), has already established, for a growing number of schools and pupils in the London
Region, a practice of engaging in continuity of learning beyond the classroom. The threat of
disturbance in learning and progression, posed by extreme weather or a pandemic outbreak, is
significantly mitigated where teachers and learners are already cognizant and confident with
interaction through this flexible and secure digital learning environment. Through proactive and
collaborative strategic action leading to a regional implementation of Fronter, London LAs and
their schools have put themselves ahead of the game.”