25th February 2021
With half term fast approaching I wanted to firstly take the opportunity, on behalf of the entire staff team here at NSCG, to formally say how proud we are of the positive way in which learners have adapted and embraced the switch to full remote learning since we entered Lockdown 3.0 on 8 January 2021.
I appreciate that remote learning presents a host of challenges and I’d like to thank learners for their continued resilience and high levels of engagement in lessons. Overall attendance to virtual sessions has been particularly pleasing and the majority of learners are continuing to make very good progress. I also want to reassure learners who may have struggled this term that we will continue to do everything possible to support you in achieving your personal goals and qualifications. Over recent weeks, curriculum areas have been busy preparing assessment reports and hosting parents’ evenings to keep learners and parents/guardians up to date with attainment and progress.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending our first Virtual Learner Conference and it was brilliant to be able to hear first-hand feedback and take questions from class representatives and our Student Union. It was abundantly clear that learners are missing the physical college environment, whether that be face-to-face teaching, taking part in practical sessions, competing in sporting fixtures, enjoying trips and visits or simply catching up with friends over a Starbucks or Costa coffee. Therefore, after the half term break, our curriculum and support teams are looking at ways in which we may add in additional enrichment activities into our usual timetabled sessions – further details to follow.
I appreciate that working remotely from home sat behind a screen for long periods can be challenging, so I hope learners will take some time away from the screen over the half term break to rest and recharge.
There will be no lessons next week and the campus will be completely closed - please use the time productively to get out in the fresh air for a walk, try something new, put on your favourite playlist or practice some mindfulness exercises.
There are some useful hints and tips on our website and of course, Personal Tutors and our Student Services Team will always be on hand if you need any additional support. Learners should have had the opportunity to complete a questionnaire about their remote learning experience and parents will be asked for feedback after half term too – we look forward to receiving feedback and using it to shape our virtual delivery practice moving forward.
Looking ahead, virtual lessons will commence on Monday 22 February and the campuses will reopen to vulnerable learners who have been attending lessons during the lockdown.
We expect a Government announcement after half term on plans to ease current restrictions, and confirmation of what this may mean in relation to learners returning to College for face-to-face delivery. We understand that there will be two weeks’ notice of any changes to current arrangements, so that means for the first two weeks of term at least, lessons will continue to be virtual. Please be assured that we are planning for all possibilities and are looking forward to welcoming learners back to our campuses as soon as we are able to do so.
Whilst uncertainty remains around how qualifications will be awarded this year, we ask that learners return to their lessons with the same levels of enthusiasm and attendance, completing all of the work set to the best of their ability, as this will give the best opportunity to achieve the highest possible qualification outcomes.
‘Next Steps’ will be a big feature of the spring and summer term and we’ll be working hard to support learners to make the right decisions about what to do next. For many students that will be continuing their current programme at college, progressing to a higher-level qualification, or moving into work or an apprenticeship. For all of these progression routes, it is important that learners keep working hard on their current programme, and for those students taking GCSE English and maths, it’s particularly important to be able to show good attendance and progress in these important subjects too.
After half term, please keep an eye on our website and social media channels, as I am cautiously optimistic that we will have important updates to share about the re-opening of our campuses in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, I hope you have a restful half term, stay safe and as always thank you for your continued support.