Innovation - The BRIT School
By Alfred Cardona, Head of Learning and Quality, Croydon College
For digital natives, for gen X, Y and Z and for gen Alpha, digital just simply is. Community is built on it. Construction depends on it. Making, being and connecting are inextricably linked with it. Learning is constant through it. No smoke without fire, no learning without others. We have become multimodal and authors of our environment. The fields from which we gather our inspiration and where we place our empathy are more diverse and wider than ever.
So how are our learning environments adapting to who we are, and how do they effectively future proof our success?
In searching for a response to this question, we visited The BRIT School, a leading free state performing and creative arts school in London, founded and supported by The BRIT Trust and The BRIT Awards, located in Croydon. The school, driven by values of community, creativity and challenge, is not only famous for the notable names amongst its alumni lists of the last 30 years but also for its unerring focus on community, the development of confidence and agency.
In conversation with Jennifer Surujpaul, Head of IT & Digital, we explored how the presence of digital tools weaves itself in all aspects of school life. Industry standard tools are provided, but Jennifer notes, the school actively encourages learners to explore options and make choices based on their intended outcome and to imagine new possibilities.
As individuals author, learn and unlearn ways to do things digitally, the school wraps a series of diverse communication and learning platforms to centre, focus and act on the individual needs of pupils. 1 to 1 support takes place using an online platform. Pupils are encouraged to stay well using BRIT Fit, a website streaming live exercise, nutrition, support for mental health, yoga and meditation classes. They can take part in all of this activity with others at set times or in their own time through recorded content.
Pupils are also encouraged to make use of apps such as Move Mood and Clear Fear and gather support and information through the well-resourced BRIT pastoral care site, https://www.instagram.com/britpastoralcare. English, maths and science classes all make use of digital platforms, through which pupils take ownership of their own learning. Project based learning, prevalent across the school, makes use of Jam boards and Google docs to build capacity to collaborate, organise and work on projects from beginning to end.
Pupils train as digital leaders. At interview stage they showcase their video editing skills, scripting, presenting and disseminating ideas through an online platform. For generations of Instagrammers and You Tubers - for whom public speaking and scripting of video has helped cement and launch careers in many fields - the challenge could not be more relevant.
At the BRIT School EdTech interconnects and maximises the impact of learning experiences by strengthening community and inspiring individual curiosity. The school grants the permission to explore. Skills are demoed through video files, pupils have access to teacher demonstrations and peers support and critique each other’s work 24/7 through digital platforms. iPad Pro’s support movement and capture through theatres and studios. Digital studios produce work that is the result of collaboration between pupils on different pathways and accessibility tools such as Claro Read are well integrated. A radio station and YouTube studio serve to build a sense of belonging and to extend the voice of its diverse community to the world through BRIT Radio and BRIT Live. BRIT Now, a web based showcase of the work produced at the school is disseminated to all industry partners and provides an international platform through which work is disseminated and is supported by the Royal Bank of Canada (The BRIT School - Latest Edition: Everyone is an Artist)
EdTech is not an outcome but a tool through which pupils get noticed as individuals, learn to collaborate and take action in the world.
In the context of an ever more fluid work and careers market the world of digital invites us to sound who we are and what we can contribute louder, to make more of our agency and to reach out with that which makes us human. The BRIT School could provide us with a template for living in the future. For becoming successful portfolio career workers, innovators, successful citizens, entrepreneurs and workers of the 4th industrial revolution.
How we create, make and mark our values in the world is no longer the sole domain of uniquely talented individuals who make things, entertain us or express ideas in varied ways.
The top five skills for work in 2025 listed by the World Economic Forum are the problem-solving skills of analytical thinking, innovation, critical thinking and creativity and the self-managing skill of engaging in active learning.
For The BRIT School ‘Everyone is an artist’. Follow them and their ways of working for practical solutions on to how to make the most of an interconnected future, whatever field you are working on and whatever industry you hope to succeed in.
Get out of your comfort zone, EdTech and the right attitude will cushion your fall.
Alfred Cardona, Head of Learning and Quality, Croydon College
Alfred has over 20 years’ experience as a curriculum, quality and teaching and learning development specialist. His work has contributed to improvements to learning experiences and outcomes for learners in varied FE contexts. This has involved integrating assurance and improvement mechanisms, developing pedagogies and strategies for workforce development.
He has been a member of the Bett Advisory Board and has led cross sector working groups and projects in East London promoting creativity in education through partnership working.
Key to this work, has been supporting digitisation of business processes and approaches to learning and empowering teachers and trainers to take control of digital possibilities to future-proof the success of their learners. Alfred is passionate and committed to creating the best resource environments for learning for all and has led groups promoting access for all and inclusive approaches. He has recently supported introduction of Esports qualifications, is a Fellow of the RSA and an ambassador for the Digital Poverty Alliance.