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Expanding the reach of quality, affordable education in Oman through flexible education
  • EdTech

Written by Kai Vacher, Principal of British School Muscat, Oman

For more than 50 years British School Salalah (BSS) and British School Muscat (BSM) have been serving the expatriate and local communities in Oman. Despite rapid economic growth in recent years, Salalah, a small city in the remote Dhofar region of Oman, has yet to establish a large enough population to support a full blown Key Stage 3 and 4 curriculum for the students of BSS. As educators with a passion for balancing traditional teaching methods with new, innovative approaches, we felt a responsibility to find a way to support students to continue their studies through GCSEs without having to leave the city.

With this in mind, BSS and BSM worked together to create FlexEd - an innovative iGCSE curriculum that combines in-school face to face learning, online teaching and independent study - supported by CENTURY Tech, an AI-powered personalised learning platform.

Since it was approved by Oman’s Ministry of Education in May 2020, the programme has enabled BSS and BSM to extend the reach of quality, affordable British education to more students in Oman - all through a unique combination of teacher ingenuity, collaboration and technology. And most importantly, Key Stage 4 education is now available to students in Salalah where previously none existed.

A different approach to blended learning

What is unique about FlexEd is that we actually require our students to attend school five days a week in Salalah. During the school week, they receive face-to-face teaching for English, Maths and Arabic GCSE as well as specialist subjects in Art & Design, PSHE, Music and PE, delivered by two dedicated full time teachers and two specialist teachers. This is complemented by remote learning via timetabled online tutoring from BSM’s world-class team of UK-qualified teachers in Muscat, for iGCSE Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computing and French, supported by a member of staff in the classroom at BSS. We use CENTURY Tech’s online personalised learning platform to support our students with Science and Maths.

The adaptive nature of CENTURY means that we can be confident that students will always have access to work that is of the right level for them, and the data available on the platform allows teachers to target both individual and class-wide interventions during virtual lessons. 

The impact of FlexEd

The FlexEd model proved highly adaptable through the pandemic, particularly during school closures, with students and teachers smoothly transitioning between learning in school or 100% online. And the ongoing impact of the programme has been wonderful to see - in a parental survey after FlexEd’s first term, 100% of parents agreed that their child was making good progress, they could see this progress and would recommend the programme to others. 100% of students agreed that “compared to traditional ways of learning, I think FlexEd gives me the best of both worlds - face to face AND online learning”.

The programme has also widened the skill set for the schools’ teachers in both Muscat and Salalah.

Looking to the future

With FlexEd, we have developed an innovative education model, underpinned by CENTURY’s state-of-the-art technology, that is not only helping students navigate the ongoing disruption of the pandemic, but has also expanded access to Key Stage 4 education to more students across Oman.

We hope that this forward-thinking, personalised approach to blended learning will serve as a helpful model for schools in other countries where the cost of providing traditional high quality international schooling is prohibitive or where it is difficult to recruit teachers.

About CENTURY Tech

The winner of the 2022 Supporting Associate of the Year award, CENTURY Tech, works proudly with COBIS schools around the world to enable personalised learning for students and empower educators with the data and insights they need to succeed in their roles.

CENTURY is an online teaching and learning tool that combines artificial intelligence with the latest research in learning science and neuroscience to stretch and support every student – addressing gaps in knowledge, remedying misconceptions and providing resources for teacher-led interventions.

Find out more at www.century.tech or by contacting charles.wood@century.tech