Rothsay Education Centre ‘zooms’ in on a new way to learn

Macbook laptop booking online zoom learning

Bedford’s over-50s have embraced virtual learning to enable adult education to continue despite Covid-19.

The Rothsay Education Centre (REC) stepped up to the challenge posed by lockdown and offered many of its courses via Zoom with its summer programme also being taught online.

Their success means that this way of learning and teaching is likely to continue as part of a ‘new normal’.

Most of the mature students, many of whom are over 50, have been delighted that they are able to continue the courses and still have the sociability and connection with other students and tutors – from the safety and convenience of their own homes.

Chief Officer of the REC David Wood said, “The response from both tutors and students has been great.

“We ran about 80 per cent of what we intended to run in the summer term and the average rate of student attendance online is around 60 per cent with a number getting full attendance.

“We recently invested in our building to enable us to increase the number and diversity of students and although virtual learning was initially a response to Covid-19 we have realised that this is a good way of reaching even more people, especially those who live some distance from Bedford or are unable to access the centre.

“So online learning is here to stay complementing the courses delivered at the centre when it is possible to return and offering the best of both worlds.

“This is the first time in 43 years that the REC has looked at new ways of delivering their courses but we are embracing a ‘new normal’ and moving forward.

“In order to help us on this journey we are looking for financial support and sponsorship to enable us to adapt and go forward successfully.”

The Centre has created a full ‘virtual’ autumn programme.  Thanks to the online nature of the courses, there is now no limit to the number of students who can can take part.

The centre is also offering support to students as well as tutors for those not used to using Zoom or needing some further help.

Art tutor, David Lewry, said, “Zoom classes are going extremely well and the students are really enjoying the experience.  I have had to adapt the way that I teach but the students have responded really well and the quality of the work and skills achieved has been high.”

David Wood continued, “I have been delighted with the way everyone at the REC, students, tutors and staff has responded so positively and quickly to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“With great support from our fantastic tutors we were able, over our Easter holiday, to revise our summer term of courses so that they were all online whether language, music, art, history or pilates courses.

“But we’re here for our students and the fact they have adapted to, embraced and are enjoying online classes is truly impressive.”

For more information about the Rothsay Education Centre and the courses that it offers visit

If you would like to support the REC by making a donation or offering sponsorship please contact David Wood at

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