There are numerous examples of the positive impact that Acorn Digital Learning has had on students with varying personal circumstances and educational backgrounds.
We believe that the success stories described below represent an important benchmark for the continued growth of our alternative learning provision, aligning with our future desire to provide as many children and young people with a platform for continuous, high-quality learning.
Alice Peters*, Year 10, looked-after child: School exclusion to soaring attendance and performance scores
Alice accessed Acorn Digital Learning as a permanently excluded student following a school placement breakdown.
Significant social, educational and mental health requirements (SEMH) and absence from school for up to two years meant re-engagement with her education was imperative.
Within 12 weeks at the time of writing, Alice’s attendance levels at ADL have risen to 90%, while she has also consistently scored an above average 75% in all her subjects.
Making up for lost time and taking responsibility for own learning
With any significant amount of time away from education at a young age, bridging any gaps in curriculum and subject specific topic knowledge is the first important step towards continuation of study.
Alice was able to quickly catch-up on missed lessons using our recorded taught library facility and is currently referring to pre-recorded Acorn Digital Learning lessons before attending class; ensuring she is always up-to-speed with her digital classroom peers.
Safe and secure
As with all care and learning provision offered by Acorn Education and Care Group, the safety and wellbeing of children accessing our services is of utmost importance.
Therefore, we were especially heartened to learn that Alice recognises these same values within our online provision, commenting that she felt immensely valued by the team, as well as safe and secure in the digital classroom environment. She particularly relished being able to explain her situation, with teachers regularly encouraging her to make the best decisions.
Flexibility with seamless location learning
With ongoing periods of illness, during her Acorn Digital Learning studies, Alice often needed to visit hospital during assessment and medication reviews and was able to continue her lessons in a supervised office.
Alice has also shown ambition to be our first student peer mentor, which would involve welcoming new students to the school and helping them to feel part of a wider learning family.
She has made many new friends and chats away freely with peers during online lessons.
Chris Hughes*, Year 11, looked-after child: Regaining control over his learning
Having enrolled with Acorn Digital Learning after experiencing a recent history of developmental trauma, care and school placement breakdowns including permanent school exclusion resulting in being out of school entirely for one academic year, Chris’ attendance is now at 75% at the time of writing.
Chris has commented that he feels understood and treated respectfully at the online school and enjoys being in control of his learning. The opportunity for students to play an active role in deciding how they want to access their learning means that he prefers to join the live classes having watched the pre-recorded sessions beforehand.
Chris has learnt to self-regulate in classes by stepping away if things become overwhelming, all the while knowing that he can contact his teacher at regular intervals to reaffirm his understanding of the subject matter.
Finding the right balance between learning and extra-curricular development
Because our alternative online provision is designed around giving students flexibility and choice when it comes to how and where they complete their course modules, Chris has been able to lean on his preference for recording his homework answers back to his teachers verbally. He has still been able to improve on his literacy skills by balancing this with two recorded answers for every three written.
Chris blends the live online lessons with recorded classes, which frees up time for him to attend his sports coaching course and PE sessions at the local sports centre.
He also accesses through the local library, where has learnt to successfully navigate and troubleshoot their network.