‘Going digital’ was never really a question at Halcyon London International School. As an almost entirely paperless school from its foundation, a digital approach to Halcyon’s admissions process was a natural decision. At Halcyon we are all about innovation, collaboration and community, so our Admissions team reflects these tenets, as well as maintains a process that is holistic, personal, and intentional. Our integrated and personal admissions process aims to discover if an applicant is well suited to experience and succeed in achieving their unique potential at Halcyon. Likewise, we aim to determine that Halcyon fits well with the student’s and family’s educational aspirations. Our priority is for each student to thrive in our school by providing an education that both challenges and inspires.
Admissions at Halcyon sits within the Community Engagement Team. This brings together our Admissions, Marketing, Communications, Alumni, Development and Community Engagement under one unified team. Together, we work closely to place students into the school, as well as to build and nurture our alumni network, supporting students in their life after Halcyon. This collaborative approach also means that marketing colleagues are able to support admissions during busy periods, as well as sharing information on events which may be of interest to prospective families. Although technology is employed throughout our admissions procedures, we work hard to ensure that we haven’t lost the more personal touch by actively and purposefully including aspects of communication that enable face-to-face contact and experience. Ultimately our families are individuals, and we want to ensure that our admissions procedures reflect that.
As a forward-thinking and innovative school, our admissions function needs to consistently evolve and adapt as new technologies are developed – this goes beyond a mere paperless admissions process. As many of our prospective families are international and not always able to visit for private tours, Open House events or interviews, we want to develop meaningful virtual opportunities and experiences to ensure that these families can better understand the culture and learning at Halcyon. One of our latest developments has been to offer prospective parents and students a 360 degree virtual tour, which is hosted on our recently launched Halcyon school app. The 360 tour is filmed using a Ricoh Theta S camera and allows our families to get an authentic sense of the learning spaces at Halcyon. This has been a particular benefit for many of our international families for whom it may not always be possible to visit in-person.
The 360 tour works in tandem with the Halcyon school app, and employs a technology called iBeacons. The 32 iBeacons located around the school, some fixed and some mobile, send out one-way signals – similar to a lighthouse. Harnessed by the Halcyon app they allow for content to be displayed based upon location. For example, users can access the daily menu which is automatically transmitted to the device once one enters the canteen. Visitors to the library get recommended reading as soon as they enter. This personal touch means that prospective families and students are able to get the most out of their virtual visit.
Our Open House events are excellent opportunities for families and students to meet the Director, students and staff. The event combines a tour of the facilities with learning in action discussions along with presentations and questions and answers from our students and experienced team of educators and staff. The events take place every fortnight throughout the academic year and are accessible for parents and students already in the UK. With our commitment to reach broader audiences in more meaningful ways, virtual Open Houses, available wherever our families may be, are in the development phase. The virtual event will be showcased on the app with videos of the students, as well as filming of the classrooms and lessons. Our aim is for interactivity, allowing parents and students to select the rooms they want to see, as well as the presentations they wish to hear. We plan to eventually offer live streaming of the Open House events via YouTube. We have already successfully used this technology in our science projects with the Grade 6s, filming and live streaming their study of the life cycle of chicks in Biology.
This summer, we are trialling the Halcyon app for all our newly enrolled families to complete their ‘Back-to-School’ process and prepare for the new school year and new learning experiences. We want our students and their families to have all the information they need whenever they need it. In this way, we bring a great deal of personalisation to the learning process and can develop this aspect further by monitoring their activity through Google Analytics.
Hand-in-hand with colleagues across the school, including our Wellbeing and Learning teams, our services and expertise in Admissions continues to grow and develop by embracing innovations and striving to provide a first-class service to our families, reflective of the values of Halcyon.
About Halcyon London International SchoolHalcyon is the only not-for-profit, co-educational, exclusively International Baccalaureate (IB) school in central London. Halcyon is a thinking community, committed to nurturing engaged, reflective, life-ready, global citizens.
With an extensive student wellbeing programme, integrated digital learning programme and commitment to the lifelong learning of its staff, Halcyon is committed to innovation, collaboration and community.