1st April 2021
Dear Parents/Carers and Learners,
I hope this update finds you and your families well. As the Easter break is upon us, I just wanted to take the opportunity to reflect on the last few weeks and bring you some updates on planned changes to delivery, after the Easter break.
Firstly, I speak on behalf of the entire staff team when I say we were delighted to be able to resume face-to-face teaching again from 8 March 2021 – it was wonderful to see our campuses abuzz with activity again and fantastic to see so many learners back in the classroom. We’ve been so impressed with the exemplary way everyone has transitioned back to college life with energy and enthusiasm, showing what amazing, resilient, determined young people they are. You should be very proud – we certainly are.
Looking ahead to the summer term, and in light of the falling number of COVID-19 cases, both locally and nationally, I am pleased to confirm that from w/c 19 April 2021, all learners will return to a full timetable of face-to face delivery. From this date, virtual lessons will cease and learners will be expected to attend all lessons on campus, following their usual timetable. The only exception to this will be a very small number of HE, part-time and apprenticeship courses, which will continue with virtual delivery at the moment – where this is the case, Tutors will be in touch directly with learners to confirm arrangements.
After Easter, due to the increase in numbers of learners on site, our catering service will move out of the bubble areas and back to the Food Hall, Starbucks (Newcastle) and Costa (Stafford).. Lunch slots will continue to be staggered and additional furniture will be placed in outdoor areas to allow for social distancing to be maintained. In addition, facilities such as the Library and Learning Zones will re-open to all learners and we look forward to increasing the amount of practical activities that can be undertaken in all curriculum areas. Sporting activities have already begun to resume and we are planning to safely recommence other key elements of learner study programmes, such as work experience placements and curriculum enrichment activities. Our latest Risk Assessment documentation will be added to our COVID-19 information page over the Easter period, where you will also find full details of all the actions we are taking to mitigate the risks associated with the virus.
As restrictions begin to further ease, learner and staff safety will continue to remain our top priority. However, we need everyone to be accountable for their own actions and play their part in keeping our campus as safe as possible. This includes:
- Continuing to sanitise hands on arrival at the College, and handwashing/sanitising at appropriate intervals throughout the day.
- Wearing a face covering in all areas of the college, including the classroom. At present, this is compulsory for everyone, with the exception of a small number of learners who have provided medical exemption evidence.
- Continuing to observe social distancing protocols, not congregating in large groups in or around the College campus.
- Completing twice-weekly lateral flow tests at home if you are asymptomatic. All learners have been issued enough test kits to last through the Easter break, and will be provided further supplies during w/c 19 April 2021. Click here to find out more.
- Staying at home and following NHS advice if you are displaying COVID-19 symptoms. You should report your absence through the College absence line and book a PCR test here.
We are expecting further updates to guidance for the summer term from the Department for Education, so please keep an eye on your email inboxes and our social media channels for any further updates to arrangements from w/c 19 April onwards.
In the meantime, I hope you manage to rest and recharge over the Easter break, and come back ready for a busy summer term.