You’ve been amazing this year, and I am so proud of our college community – our students, staff, governors and the employers and partners supporting us.
Now we need to focus on what is happening for the next academic year. Our staff are working hard on our re-opening plans. Every step is being taken to ensure that our campuses are as safe as possible, based on a thorough college-wide risk assessment.
Consequently, things will look a little different in the new academic year 2020/21. I want to outline what the student experience will be like for new and returning learners.
The College is still accepting applications for courses starting this September 2020.
Please be aware that the way we will enrol for this September will be different as we continue to put your safety, and that of the general public’s, first.
To reduce the number of people on campus at any one time, whilst continuing to offer an excellent student experience, the enrolment process will take place online this year.
By mid-August 2020, applicants will receive a letter with all of the details. If you have any questions or difficulties accessing the online system, please contact email@example.com so they can support you through the process.
You will then need to book a slot to come into the College to show us your exam certificates. Please note that there will be a minimal number of people attending the College per slot and social distancing measures will be in place throughout.
Once you have enrolled with us, and your grades have been checked, you will receive information about your online induction and getting started with us. This will include details about creating your college email account as well as information about your timetable and course induction.
Your induction to the College and your study programme will be delivered online. Some curriculum areas will also expect students to attend a face-to-face session on campus. For example, this may be to go through health and safety requirements in a workshop, salon or kitchen environment.
If you are a returning student, will also ask you to re-enrol online and contact you soon about that. If you are not able to re-enrol online for any reason, then please firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next term, to help keep everyone safe, there will be fewer face-to-face and more online learning sessions in addition to independent study, including virtual learning.
All of our programmes will have some lessons on college campuses, to ensure that you have met your teachers and the other students in your group and to help you feel part of our vibrant college community.
During the first term, from September to December 2020, the majority of our programmes will be based on blended learning to ensure that we provide a safe environment.
This means that our teaching will be a combination of three approaches:
The balance will depend on the subject that you study. For example, programmes with a higher level of technical skills such as a construction trade, dentistry, hair and beauty, and performing arts, will require more face-to-face learning sessions to develop those skills.
Programmes of study that are more knowledge based, such as A Levels, will have more face-to-face online learning sessions and independent study.
We will continue to review the College’s next steps for the second term, in line with public health guidance, and keep you updated on any changes to the way that we plan to deliver learning.
Other aspects of what we do will be provided using these different approaches. For example, tutorial support will be provided online during the first term.
In terms of work related experience and activity, we are currently unable to send students into the workplace for industry placements or industry tasters.
However, it is vital to keep building skills to make you employable. Therefore we will deliver an employability skills package through face-to-face online learning sessions and virtual content. We hope to be able to offer placements again after December 2020.
We have a range of exciting enrichment activities called SHAPE your future covering staying safe, health and wellbeing, active citizenship, progression and careers and equality. We will provide opportunities to be part of virtual clubs and, in time, we hope to be able to offer guest speakers, trips, activities and visits.
We’ve introduced Covid-19 Student Guidance that clarifies our expectations, so that we can work together and follow social distancing rules.
The guidance includes staying two metres away from others at all times, regularly using hand sanitiser in college and staying in your allocated zone and classroom.
You’ll need to leave campus immediately after classes, use the stairs rather than lifts and make sure tables and surfaces are left clear.
A range of safety measures have been put in place to make the College Covid-19 secure based on a thorough risk assessment. Our campuses will have specific entry and exit points and one-way systems, marked with signs.
Protective screens are being installed at the reception areas. Classrooms will be opened in advance of lessons to avoid unnecessary queuing or gathering.
Hand sanitiser dispensers are being put in receptions, classrooms and refectory areas. Communal areas and classrooms will be cleaned before each teaching session and regularly throughout the day.
Floors will be vacuumed or mopped. Surfaces will be cleaned and bins will be emptied more regularly than usual. In all active classrooms, specialist wipes will be available to clean IT equipment.
Lifts will be restricted to one person at a time. Priority will be given to those people with limited mobility. Students will be encouraged to use the stairs if they are fit and able to do so.
We are doing everything we can to support you and your future career ambitions whilst keeping you and our staff safe.
I wish you all a restful summer. Please continue to stay safe and follow government guidelines. I look forward to welcoming you in September 2020.
Angela Foulkes, Chief Executive and Principal, The Sheffield College