Dr Sarah Watson Vice Principal (Academic) of DLD College London on the importance of creating unique learning opportunities – here and now – for our students

Ask any teacher and they will tell you that the word ‘change’ is endemic in education. It is frequently discussed as a concept that we must embrace, often in relation to phrases such as ‘a changing world’, ‘new global citizens’ or ‘developing the leaders of tomorrow’. While these are, of course, valid aspirations, they tend to place emphasis on an abstract sense of scale, both time and geography, and sometimes fail to be inspired by what is already there – the students in the here and now.

We are learning from our community at DLD College London, a community of students and academic leaders from over 57 countries, located in the heart of the capital. Embracing a unique context of British and international influences, we recognise that young people join us with different experiences, views and aspirations for their education. We have learned that it is not change that is needed, but a closer ear to the needs of the now.

DLD College London on learning for here and now
DLD College London believes it’s important to be in tune with the aspirations and interests of today’s young people

I believe it’s important to understand the contemporary and forward-thinking nature that education has to embrace in order for students to be prepared for the increasing variety of courses and learning opportunities available to them. Our pioneering new Year 9 programme, for example, offers a curriculum designed to spark a love of learning for the younger years, preparing students for the careers of tomorrow whilst at the same time providing a solid bedrock of knowledge and skills.

It’s a modern concept that delivers a hybrid of the traditional and the cutting-edge, introducing students to the critical rigours of English and mathematics to support the levels of literacy and numeracy that are required across all other subjects, while also embracing contemporary topics such as NFTs and cryptocurrency in Digital Futures.

Project Based Learning (PBL) can also add great value. This style of bespoke, inquiry-led learning enables young people to get involved with the wider community in which they live, while developing their research, inquiry, reflection and decision-making skills. Students have the opportunity to take action and make authentic changes to their own lives and that of others in the community – the only question is, how far are they willing to go with the opportunity. As a school we can provide the tools, but the outcome is firmly in the hands of the student – a unique opportunity to follow a real passion and thrive.

“We have learned that it is not change that is needed, but a closer ear to the needs of the now”

Students do not fit into one mould of learning so a variety of traditional and contemporary courses can be hugely beneficial. We are seeing across many schools and colleges an exciting array of new programmes being introduced. DLD College London’s Esport BTEC for example is the first of its kind in the world and has been developed in partnership with the British Esports Association. This BTEC Level 2 contains industry-specific, relevant content that allows progression to further study and eventual careers in the global Esports industry, and wider digital, tech, and STEM industries.

At the core of this qualification is the concept of preparing young people for the working world. Through practical activities and occupationally-fit-for-purpose assessments, young learners have the opportunity to gain the skills and behaviours needed for academic progression and, ultimately, sustainable employment.

DLD College London dldcollege.co.uk

Further reading: TASIS on the importance of looking beyond results