Responding to COVID-19

One of the ways 4Wardfutures addressed the challenge COVID-19 created with how we could engage with young people without being able to run face to face events such as the Manchester CALOM workshop was to start developing online provision – Manchester CALOM Video.

In July 4wardfutures ran two successful online pilots of its Visualising a Life on Mars and Constructing a Life on Mars programmes. These pilots involved working with teachers and over 100 - 11 to 13-year-old students from Ellesmere Port Catholic High School (EPCHS) and Bridgewater High School.

In a matter of weeks, the 4Wardfutures team developed a Moodle based online platform which hosted a range of VALOM and CALOM resources. A key part of both programmes was a series of interactive webinars with professionals from the space and creative sectors. Every morning over the 8 days of the CALOM programme we had over 40 students logging in at 9.15 to take part in these webinars. We cannot thank Ann Swift, Ray Stott, Arno De Toom, Sam Juson, Tanya Shaban, Thomas Ormston, Alina Vizireanu, Portia Bowman, Simon Wood and Dan Lusby for the support they gave us with through taking part in these webinars.

The work the students produced was exceptional, especially given the fact they were all working independently from home, accessing the programme through mobile phones, tablets, or laptops.

Feedback from both teachers and students was excellent:

I have had some amazing adventures in the outdoors with students on DofE, some amazing memories which I cherish, and I always feel I have been incredibly lucky to have done these things... I can honestly say this is way up there with some of the most memorable teaching experiences in my life!

Assistant Head Teacher at EPCHS

After a review of these pilots over the summer, on we are launching a new online VALOM programme with 170 year 7 students (11yr olds) at EPCHS. We will then be launching a new online CALOM programme with students from EPCHS and Bridgewater in October.

We are also working with a range of space and creative sector professions and young graduates from a legal, economic, political and philosophy background to develop our online Creating a Sustainable Society on Mars programme – the third project in our Life on Mars trilogy.

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