Platform One is a music college situated on the Isle of Wight, and like other colleges across the UK, had to shut its doors for several months because of the Coronavirus pandemic. During the lockdown period, BTEC students not only adapted to a new way of studying and learning, they also decided they wanted to give back to the dedicated key workers of the NHS, thanking them for all their efforts during the pandemic.
BTEC students from the college teamed up with other local musicians to record a charity single based on Robbie Williams’ hit song Angels, with proceeds from the single going towards the Island’s NHS charity to benefit St Mary’s Hospital staff and patients.
We spoke to David Pontin, Director at the college, to find out more about how the college and students have adapted to a ‘new normal’ and how the fantastic initiative came about.
How have you adapted to teaching from home?
We have a bespoke student website, so it was a fairly straightforward transition. We are creating a lot of content for blended learning in the new academic year. Platform One students were brilliant in lockdown and adapted quickly to a new way of working.
What things have you been doing to ensure that you’re still facilitating learning from home?
We used Learning platforms such as Auralia, Fender Play, collaborative projects, screen captures automated PowerPoints and virtual learning links to make sure that students could continue their learning from home.
Aside from your working life, what did you do personally to support you and your student's health and wellbeing?
We sent weekly video updates to all students and parents and made all students aware of external support agencies through our bulletin. Virtual learning resource packs were created and issued to all students and we had frequent phone calls with students throughout lockdown.
Can you tell us a bit more about the charity single, how it came about and the involvement from your BTEC students?
Platform One were approached by a sponsor – Wightlink Ferries. They run a ‘Wightlink in the community’ initiative and wanted to collaborate on a project. We obviously run a music college so we felt it would be great to do a cover and we decided on Robbie Williams’ Angels. University Music kindly gave us licence clearance. All Platform One students were invited to contribute across all of our programmes. We also worked with Fusion Arts Academy and Isle of Wight Symphony Orchestra.
How important do you feel the creatives sector is in the current climate?
Extremely important – creativity is also about problem solving and this is an essential skill at this time. Creatives have the ability to adapt. The music industry is very much online and the capacity to collaborate online has never been better. The live sector has certainly been impacted however there are amazing things happening across the music industry to counteract the situations we all find ourselves in.
What lessons, if any, have you learned from this experience?
Is it essential that we teach our students to be independent, resilient and creative.
If you would like to donate to the charity you can do so via this Just Giving page or directly to the charity.