As the world changes, buzz words change. At the moment two words spring to mind when I think about the dynamically changing world we live in at present: 'agility' and 'onboarding'. 

For an organisation to be agile, it needs to have the ability to fundamentally change the way it operates, or the ability to respond to seismic change in environmental conditions quickly and efficiently. Think about any business that deals with people or customers in a face-to-face mode of operation. How quickly could a supermarket chain move to 100% online and delivery sales if they were forced to close their physical shops? How quickly could a builder's merchant construct a website and offer delivery on everything they stock to meet demand? Could a hairdresser really be agile enough to close and then to offer paid online haircut tutorials to keep the business going? The logistics are unfathomable to begin with but there's nothing that can't be done with a little time and innovation. The problem is, as the old saying goes, time is money and the longer it takes for businesses to adapt, the more money they face losing. Customers lose faith in the product or service and move on to a business which was ultimately more agile, more ready for change.

It's nothing to do with money in education; it's about students and learning and progress in whatever form that takes. That's why the agility of LECA to move to online learning and to create the tracking and support strategy we have is something we should be proud of. It's not just about creating PowerPoints and videos and voice-overs (all of which are brilliant), it's about the support systems that underpin it: the emails, the phone calls, the tracking of engagement, the TA support for the children who need us the most. Without these, it all means nothing. We wouldn't know who needed us; we wouldn't know if students had or hadn't accessed the learning; we wouldn't know if IT support was needed or not. These systems were up and running and ready at LECA on January 5th and have been updated and streamlined every day since then. That is the definition of agility and I'm immensely proud of the team at LECA who have made that happen. Let's not forget that while that was happening we also set up a COVID testing room and delivered over 400 tests in two weeks. Pretty agile!

Most of you will know that onboarding is the process of ensuring that customers have the best possible experience of your product.  Many software companies use the term to ensure their customers have access to and understand all of the product's features. A good example of this is GCSEPod. Before sending links out to students the onboarding process included senior leader demonstrations, teacher training, teacher time for exploration of the features, integration into school data systems and then, finally, the links being created for students. It takes time. The same applies to Microsoft Teams. We are still learning about the platform and the more we learn, the better our delivery will be. Likewise, our brilliantly agile students are still adapting to new ways of learning and this onboarding process takes a little time and patience. Our hope is that within a week the onboarding feeling will disappear and working on Teams will feel more normal and embedded. More and more, the lessons will also be delivered live so that experience will only get better too.

Finally, I hope you're all well and are coping during this lockdown. Don't forget we are here to support our community so please get in touch if you need us and we will do everything we can to help. Stay safe.


Scott Gaskins

Principal, LECA.