About Our Customer
Co-op Academy Walkden is committed to being an outstanding, vibrant learning community, which is ambitious, safe and inclusive. They aim to develop the knowledge, skills and character of every child that will prepare them for their next steps.
Implementing new careers education software into your school or college can be a challenge–but during a global pandemic! Surely, not? We spoke to Josh Mangas, Senior Leader and Careers, Community & IT Communication Lead of the Co-op Academy Walkden who has been successfully rolling out Xello, and it’s proving to be exactly the remote solution they needed.
Hello Josh! Tell us more about how your unique role has had a positive impact on your ability to bring Xello to your academy, especially during the lockdown caused by COVID-19.
“It’s true, I hold a very unique role at Co-op Academy Walkden. I’m a Senior Leader with responsibility for Participation & Engagement within the Academy, I lead up the Careers, Community & IT Communication side of things here. What this means practically is that I have a degree of autonomy in decision making as well as the technical knowledge to execute on the data integration side.”
What specifically did you like about Xello?
“I saw Xello’s potential from the very first demonstration. I like the personality quiz and the depth of the career profiles is remarkable–everything is there for the students to explore.
“I’m very impressed with the shareable student profile, too! The way it can be personalised; it’s like LinkedIn but for children.”
From a safeguarding point of view, I’m also reassured by the security of Xello, it’s a closed circuit and very safe for children.”
Tell us about the first steps you’ve taken to ensure a successful rollout.
“We believe in a whole-school approach to delivering our careers education provision at Co-op Academy Walkden. So I started by emailing all of our students to introduce them to Xello, and I can already see that many are actively using the product.
I really focused heavily on year groups 7, 8 and 9 to begin with. The earlier we can encourage our students to use Xello, the more information they will have to inform their post-secondary choices. Engaging our students early on also has the advantage of providing the school with more information about the likes, dislikes and interests of the student body; this will help us tailor our provision as the students progress through our school.
For our older year groups, I plan to focus on specific goals and activities to provide a more tailored experience that will really prepare those students for life after school.
Interestingly, you would think that onboarding to Xello, post-lockdown and entirely remotely, would be more challenging, but that’s not been the case at all.”
“I think the transition to remote learning has reinforced the need for educational technology (edtech) like Xello to become more of a priority.”
What comes next in your plans for the future of Xello at Co-op Academy?
“I have already begun liaising with my fellow educators and subject leads about how they can use Xello to help our students build on their skills and make those important connections between learning and careers. The most effective way I see this happening is by embedding Xello into our curriculum across all subjects.
Finally, the third phase of my rollout plan is to contact parents. The more that parents encourage their children to engage with Xello, the better prepared they will be for real life.”
These are unusual circumstances that we find ourselves in as a direct result of the global pandemic. We are witnessing our partner schools and colleges conducting careers education and learning in a completely new environment–at home! Never before has there been an external force that has driven a digital transformation in education in such a widespread way.
And, yet, we are seeing leaders like Josh embracing the transition to remote learning and working and leveraging this ‘new normal’ as a time to roll out a new piece of software for the benefit of students and educators. It’s incredible! Well done, Josh.