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Harrogate charity’s “Smart Learning School” to open virtual doors in the New Year

A Harrogate charity’s experience with online lessons during the coronavirus pandemic will see it opening the virtual doors to its new ‘smart learning school’ in the new year.

Thanks to a £23,000 grant from the National Lottery, Disability Action Yorkshire has been able to create a new post for the development and delivery of an inspiring and educational learning tool.

And for the last six weeks, Harriet Walker – a qualified teacher well versed in IT skills – has been creating the new online platform and is now ready to welcome her first students.

The smart learning school is open to disabled people aged 16 living in the Harrogate District, who are looking to gain help and support with developing their skills and have access to an internet-enabled device.

Jackie Snape, Disability Action Yorkshire Chief Executive, said: “We are very excited to be launching this new online learning facility from January 2021.

“The first lockdown meant we had to switch all our lessons from the physical classroom to the virtual one. It was a great success which led us to look at how we could develop this distant learning further.

“Since joining us in October, Harriet has been busy developing the platform and the courses and subjects it will deliver.

“I’m delighted to say that our smart learning school will be taking learners from early January and will be run in tandem with lessons delivered at our Hornbeam Park training centre.”

Subjects and courses available via Disability Action Yorkshire’s smart learning school include functional skills, maths, English, accredited employability courses, personal social development, and life skills.

This resource for those wanting to learn and develop new skills, which is free, will also offer a number of short courses in vocational areas such as gardening, hair & beauty and hospitality.

Disability Action Yorkshire’s Smart Learning Co-ordinator Harriet Walker said: “We recognise the difficulty some people may have accessing learning and support, and coronavirus amplified this.

“During the lockdown, 30 of our learners successfully moved to online lessons. With our new ‘smart learning school’ our ambition is to enrol up to 80 learners, who will each be provided with a personalised learning package tailored towards their individual needs.”

Jackie Snape added: “Our smart learning school has been made possible thanks to the Government and its Coronavirus Community Support Fund, which has been distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund.”

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