See below for some of our most Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need any online learning (e-learning) experience before I start a programme?
Previous experience of online learning (or e-learning) is not necessary. You will find it helpful to be familiar with everyday activities such as online searches, emailing and using common desktop office applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, etc. If you are familiar with social networking sites, then that may also be an advantage for some programme activities (discussion groups, blogs, etc.). Specific assistance will usually be provided for more specialist e-learning activities, such as WebExes (web conferencing or ‘webinars’).
What is the difference between blended learning and fully online programmes?
All of our programmes and courses involve online learning which means that you have some flexibility over your learning/study patterns, although there will usually be defined assessment and submission dates (assignments and assessment tasks are often submitted electronically). There may also be other scheduled activities for your learning group too (such as online WebEx meetings).
Our online programmes will normally involve online interaction with others in your learning group, usually through discussion areas which you can participate in, and you will also receive online support and guidance from one or more facilitators or tutors allocated to your group (exact details vary depending on the size of a group and the course you choose). Click here to view examples of our e-learning areas.
In addition, we also deliver certain programmes in a blended learning format, using a combination of online study (as above) plus attendance at a number of face-to-face workshop sessions held at regional centres (we operate these across England).
Whether you choose a blended learning or fully online pathway you will normally study as part of a learning group (or tutor group) so that although you will be studying at home (or at work) you will also be progressing with a group of fellow colleagues and can interact with them as much, or as little, as you want.
When and how do I pay for a programme?
Payments can be made via BACS transfer, by credit card or by cheque. You do not need to pay at the time you apply for a programme. We will send you an invoice (normally via email) for the total amount shortly before a course starts. Please pay within 14 days of receiving your invoice. Once you have received an invoice from us, you can also pay your course fees by credit/debit card (payment details are on the invoice). All programmes will require your accounts payable (or equivalent finance officer/payments) contact details as part of the application process.
Certain school business manager programmes qualify for government-backed loans (Advanced Learner Loans) and other assistance schemes, such as Enhanced Learning Credits for former MOD employees; eligibility conditions apply for these so please refer to the relevant programme pages for further information. In addition, trailblazer apprenticeship funding will be available for certain courses during 2017 once trailblazer and apprenticeship details have been approved - please see our home page and relevant course pages for further details during the year.
Are there any technical requirements?
The learning centre is optimised for use with desktop and laptop machines. It is expected that these are the primary devices for participants to access learning materials, e-learning activities and to submit assignments. In practice, the site may also be viewable on many tablet browsers and other mobile devices, smartphones, etc., however we are unable to offer any support for access or configuration issues associated with tablets or other mobile devices.
Please see separate Technical Requirements page for more details on desktop or laptop requirements to get the best out of the Learning Centre.
We recommend that you always back up your work regularly.
What are the terms and conditions of booking?
Please read the separate, specific Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) for each programme you are considering; they include important information such as deferral and withdrawal charges, eligibility, course regulations, confidentiality and data security, etc. The T&Cs documents are usually available as a download or printable document on the relevant programme page. It is important that you read and understand these before applying or accepting a place on a programme.
If I am based overseas can I still enrol onto one of your courses?
Some of our education/schools sector courses are suitable for participants working abroad, and we do have a number of overseas students studying online with us. Note that most of our schools sector courses are specifically designed for participants in roles within the English education sector (also applies to some participants in relevant roles in other parts of the UK - please contact the appropriate programme team for details). As the English education sector and English (or UK) legislation and education policies are frequently referenced within courses, it is essential that overseas applicants should work in a school or international school that follows a similar system, or is modelled on a similar structure to the English system.
Assessment tasks will often require work-based examples and will assume an English (or UK) context, and certain programmes will also expect that you have access to an English support school in order to successfully complete your studies. Please note that a support school is not necessary for the Aspiring SBM or MOD Aspiring programmes.
Courses that include a face-to-face element are unlikely to be appropriate for overseas students, as locations for the workshops are normally in England. However, we may offer suitable fully online alternatives. Please also note that payment methods for all courses will need to be in pounds sterling.
Please contact us to discuss overseas applications further. E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where can I find an application form?
The application process is normally an online process for our courses. Select the programme or module you would like to study, then click on the application form icon (symbol) which is usually located at the foot of a programme web page. If you have not registered with us before, you will need to complete our simple registration process and create a User Account first (takes just a few minutes). You will then be able to complete and submit the online application form for that programme. Please keep the login details you have created safe as you will need them again when your course starts.
How do I access your support services?
We can answer phone enquiries during normal weekday office hours - call our team on 01452 727272. You can also email us via email@example.com. We will respond as soon as possible to emails (weekdays). For full contact information see the Contact Us page. Note: we are closed at weekends, Bank Holidays and over some of the Christmas holiday period.
I've forgotten my login details - what should I do?
Please call our support team on 01452 727272 (office hours) and we will be pleased to re-set your password or advise you of your user name. Alternatively, you can request a password re-set via email at the login stage.
Is there any pre-reading or pre-programme work involved?
A few of our programmes may involve an element of pre-programme work (pre-programme reading or a short task) to help you prepare for the course and get the most out of it. The pre-programme work, if applicable, is not too demanding and will help prepare and enable you to progress smoothly through each element of the programme itself. However, most programmes include a short online Induction stage (typically spread over one or two weeks) which introduces you to the online environment and will prepare you for the main course content which follows. Click here to view an example of our e-learning areas.
What happens if I have to withdraw from a programme once it has started?
The specific withdrawal and cancellation policy details vary between programmes so please ensure that you read the individual programme Terms and Conditions which provide the exact details for that programme, and that you are clear about when/if you may become liable for cancellation fees, etc. If, having paid for a course, you then need to defer your studies, you can normally rejoin at the same point later on (within 12 months), without any penalty charges - details are included within each course's Terms & Conditions, or please speak to one of our support teams.
Do I receive a certificate at the end of my course?
Yes, you will receive a certificate either from Serco, the SBM Partnership, or from an accrediting body (such as the ILM or CMI) or university partner, as appropriate to the programme. ILM accreditation for School Business Manager and Leadership & Management Award programmes is available at an additional charge and includes a separate ILM certificate.
Please see our site Terms and Conditions for further details about using this site. If you have any queries on any of the above FAQs, please contact the learning centre team via firstname.lastname@example.org or see our full contact details on the Contact Us page
Site FAQs page v.5. (Jan. 2017)