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Home > News > January 2005 > 25-Jan-2005

NCSL Learning Gateway wins e-gov award

A new online learning environment from the National College for School Leadership (NCSL) has won an award of excellence at the e-Government National Awards.

Learning Gateway, which allows participants on NCSL programmes to carry out much of their study online, won the award in the strategic plan/achievement category. The online learning system is currently being used by 18,000 headteachers, deputies, middle leaders and business managers.

Tony Richardson, Director of Online Learning at NCSL, believes this is a groundbreaking example of blended learning (a combination of online, private and face-to-face study) in action. He said: "Learning Gateway is more than a technical solution. It’s about empowering programme participants to take responsibility for accessing their learning. The result is that they can save time, fit learning around their working lives and get even more out of NCSL programmes.

"It’s also about helping school leaders to learn to be online learners themselves – something that they will be asking their students to do in schools as ICT and online learning become commonplace features of learning both inside and outside the classroom."

Judges at the e-government awards were impressed with the way Learning Gateway has gone from strength to strength since its launch a year ago.

Jonathan Dale, who has led on the Learning Gateway development at NCSL, said, "The number of users has almost quadrupled since we launched the Gateway and we’ve had a constant stream of positive feedback. A recent survey of 700 Gateway users found a large proportion felt their perceptions of online learning had changed for the better since using the environment. Many of them said flexibility of where and when to learn was one of the chief benefits. Over two-thirds also said they had come to the conclusion online learning was as good as or better than traditional delivery methods."

He added, "We’ve also achieved huge cost savings through the introduction of the Gateway. Traditionally a programme would require five or more face-to face days. Now, just three are required for our Leading from the Middle programme – the remainder of the learning takes place online. This two-day saving equates to approx £3.6 million in the cost of providing supply teachers."

Learning Gateway is accessible through the College’s website ( and is currently being used by participants across four NCSL programmes: Leading from the Middle (for subject heads and pastoral leaders), National Professional Qualification for Headship, Leadership Programme for Serving Headteachers, the Certificate in School Business Management and the Diploma for School Business Management.

Learning Gateway includes access to:

  • e-Learning activities such as ‘360 degree diagnostic’ tools, ‘scenario based learning’ and needs analysis and evaluation tools
  • Course materials
  • A Learning Management System
  • Tutors and fellow programme participants through the College’s online communities
  • Booking information on the face-to-face workshops that accompany the College's programmes

Liz Storey, Bursar at Feversham College in Bradford, was one of the first NCSL programme participants to graduate after using the Gateway on the CSBM qualification. She said, "The Learning Gateway has been a really useful tool for me. I found it a helpful aid to my learning in a range of ways. For example, it was really helpful to be able to see immediate results from tests, and it was easy to plot my learning because the system allows you to save progress in course workbooks."

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