Return to College Update – March 2021
We are looking forward to welcoming our learners back to Coventry College from today (March 8) onwards and hope they are as excited as I know our staff are and that they are keen to get back into the learning environment and make use of our fantastic facilities.
It is clear from our learner surveys and verbal communication with learners that they are missing their friends and that essential face-to-face teaching, in addition to the practical workshops and realistic working environments we have available.
We will endeavour to ensure that we fill that current void in a safe and enjoyable way over the next few weeks, bringing a sense of normality where we can.
Communication has been circulated regarding our return to college, but in summary we welcome all of our full time 16-19 and adult learners on skill based practical programmes from March 8 with learners on classroom based courses returning onsite from March 15th for the two weeks leading up to Easter, on a 50:50 model of onsite/remote.
All part time adults will return after Easter. This will of course be reviewed following government guidance and we will inform you of any changes that may occur post the Easter break as lock down restrictions are set to ease.
Please rest assured that we have updated our risk assessments and have a lateral flow testing team on both of our campuses, to carry out the first three tests for learners in accordance with the latest guidance. We are then expecting to receive home testing kits which we will issue immediately to our learners.
Our staff have already started to receive their home testing kits, so we now have an additional measure of safeguarding in place to minimise the risk of the spread of COVID.
Fortunately, since the start of the academic year we have had a surprisingly low number of both staff and learner positive cases, a track record that we can hopefully maintain throughout the duration of the academic year.
Our staff are keen to ensure that learners enjoy their time with us and make the most out of the exciting and engaging activities we can provide, which are very hard to achieve remotely.
We will do everything we can to ensure that the next term and a half is busy and productive and that we can rescue some of the time lost, particularly for our practical based courses.
I would like to say on behalf of all of our managers, lecturers, technicians and our learning support team at Coventry College, a big thank you to our learners for the resilience they have shown during remote delivery and also their high levels of engagement.
It has been a challenge for everyone and some learners have really struggled but please be assured that we will continue to do everything possible to support learners when they return to enable them to achieve their qualification aim.
To date, we have received very little information regarding how our qualifications will be awarded this year, but we urge all of our learners to come back and achieve the highest levels of attendance to ensure they make the most of the time available to complete their course.
Completing work set, honing practical skills and completing work to the best of their ability will give them the best opportunity to achieve the highest possible outcomes and enable them to progress onto the next step of their personal learner journey.
In addition to attendance to core subjects it is absolutely key that all learners on full time 16-18 study programmes attend their GCSE Maths and English classes in order to make good progress, particularly in a year where we know there will not be an external examination.
A deficit in these particular skills can be a barrier to both progression and employment opportunities and we will therefore endeavour to provide additional support where it is required to ensure that our learners make that step change to improving their skills.
Last week we launched our ‘Progression’ campaign and this will continue to be prominent throughout the spring and summer term.
We will be supporting all of our learners during this particularly difficult phase to make the right decision about what to do next.
Whether that’s staying with us to complete year two of a programme, studying an alternative programme, choosing a higher education pathway either at the college or externally or moving onto an apprenticeship or into employment.
The employment pathway may be particularly challenging this year due to the economic situation both nationally and locally, but we have a breadth of alternatives for learners to consider.
We will keep you signposted of any further developments regarding how learner success will be measured and you will have the opportunity to discuss individual learner progress at our parents evening which is being held via remote technology on March 31.
Please be sure to use our website and parent portal for regular updated information.
Carol Thomas (Principal and Chief Executive, Coventry College)