Coronavirus & Distance Learning Updates
Update from the Principal 14th May 2020
To All Year 1 students
Thank you for your patience at a time when there is so much uncertainty around the reopening of schools and colleges. Although the FAQs here they will not answer every question you may have, I have tried to cover the key points and let you know where we are still at the planning and modelling stages. Following the Prime Minister’s address on Sunday, the Department for Education’s guidance was published the following evening and I am now in a better position to let you know our plans for opening to students in June and July. The Senior Management Team and I met this morning to discuss the broad strokes of our plans and we are in agreement on the next steps we need to take.
Clearly, I would only open the college to our staff and students at a point when I believe it is safe to do so, in accordance with the published guidance and following a careful risk assessment. Collyer’s senior teams will be working over the coming weeks to plan the detail of our opening and this will be communicated to all staff, students and parents as soon as we are able to do so.
I hope that everyone can appreciate that we need to take a fair and consistent approach to the continuation of teaching and learning. The best way to do this is to continue teaching on line for all students while following government guidance and offering some face to face time with teachers where it is possible for staff and students to come to college.
The key government publications are listed below alongside the link to them on www.gov.uk.
· Actions for education and childcare settings to prepare for wider opening from 1 June:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-educational-and-childcare-settings-to-prepare-for-wider-opening-from-1-june-2020
· Implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings
· Guidance for parents and carers as schools and other education settings in England open to more children and young people: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers
Take care, keep safe and stay well everyone.
Update from the Deputy Principal 4th May 2020
To all students joining Collyer’s in September.
We are developing a programme of study for Year 11s arriving at Collyer’s in September called Getting Ready for Collyer’s. Our Heads of Subject are currently finalising the shape and content of the programme, which will start on Monday 1st June (the first day back after half-term) and span the six weeks up to the summer holidays. It will be delivered through independent learning and be focused on enthusing Year 11s for their future subjects, whilst providing a grounding in some of the key content and concepts. As usual, during the summer holidays there will also be a summer task to complete, in time for the first taught lessons in September.
We still plan to hold our Welcome Days and will be working on contingencies to change the dates or manage an on-line version, should it not be possible to run these in late June at Collyer’s. There is no need to contact us in the meantime with any course changes. We are also looking to run our usual information evening presentations for the parents of new students, which we will advertise, when plans for the autumn term are in place.
I will be in touch on Monday 1st June with links to the Getting Ready for Collyer’s programme.
Please stay safe everyone.
Update from the Deputy Principal 23rd April
Next Steps 2020: Higher Education or Employment
For all students leaving us this summer, please visit the VLE or follow the links that have been emailed to you, for further advice and guidance relating to Higher Education/UCAS applications and Employability/Careers. I’ve also added a link to the general Higher Education presentation.
The documents include useful links, frequently asked questions, application processes and student wellbeing information. The material also details Collyer’s Higher Education and Careers contacts, who in addition to your tutors and Heads of House, are available for advice and guidance. We are looking forward to supporting you on your next steps, so please do make sure you stay in touch by checking the website and looking out for emails to your Collyer’s account.
For students applying for Higher Education entry in 2021, please also visit the VLEfor access to the general Higher Education material we would have been presenting at this week’s cancelled information evenings. We will also be in touch by email with links to this guidance material.
Please take care everyone and stay safe
Update from the Vice Principal 20th April 2020
A new term starts today but of course not as we would have hoped – with a further three weeks of lockdown. However, staff and students have responded magnificently to this challenge and as distance learning continues I am sure we will all become more used to the new way of studying. Thank you to parents and carers for your continued support during this difficult period.
Over Easter I updated our guidance for students and parents on distance learning with support from our Directors of Faculty:
The key points are summarised below.
It is really important as we enter an extended period of college closure that we stay focused and committed on learning. 1A students will not have any exam leave this term, so there will be more study to cover than usual and staff are redoing schemes of work to reflect this. Subjects, where appropriate, will introduce more aspects of distance learning that support student engagement. We will also monitor student progress carefully and communicate with students and parents to provide support if we are concerned. Work completed during this coming half term will be included in the evidence base for Transfer Grades, but of course we are mindful that distance learning will be challenging at times and the first two terms will provide the key assessments.
Intermediate and 2A students
Over the Easter break we received two major updates from Ofqual about the summer exams periods and grading. Both can be found in my updates on the college website. A major consultation has opened into key aspects of the approach which the college will respond to. In particular how grades will be standardised, how appeals could work, when and how resits will take place and how private candidates should be handled are being considered. As soon as more details are announced we will of course inform all students and parents again.
Whilst I fully understand students or parents may wish to communicate with teachers about Centre Assessment Grades, please remember that we are not able to discuss individual student performance. Please be assured that we know our students very well and have all the evidence we need in order to provide accurate grades for every learner.
As far as possible Intermediate and 2A students should continue to remain engaged in learning and ready themselves for their progression plans. To this end our Director of Higher Education and Progression will be writing this week to students with advice and guidance.
Thank you all for your continued support and understanding during this difficult time and take care.
Update from the Principal 17th April
I do hope you are all well and managing to find the positives in our current situation. I have been trying to keep up with Joe Wicks in the morning before we all start skyping and zooming and preparing for a few more weeks of remote working. I have been to college to speak to our estates manager to check everything is all right with the campus and it is a very strange and lonely place without our students and I can’t wait until college is back to normal – I’ve even missed braving the lunch queue!
The government has now announced that the lockdown restrictions have been extended for a further 3 weeks and therefore college will not reopen on Monday 20th April for the start of the summer term and will remain closed until the next government review expected at the beginning of May.
Information regarding teaching and learning for the next few weeks for Year 1 students, advice on making a university application for 2021 and advice and guidance on next steps for Year 2 students will be emailed to you early next week. A letter to students and parents explaining the process for awarding grades this summer has already been sent by Vice Principal Dan Lodge and can be found here.
Please keep safe and stay well.
Update from the Vice Principal re Vocational Grades 10th April
I trust you are all keeping safe and well this Easter weekend.
Yesterday Ofqual published guidance for vocational subjects and Functional Skills which can be found here. The approach to generating Centre Assessed Grades is very similar to A Level and GCSE – the main difference being that students on vocational subjects have completed a lot of final work that has been marked and will contribute to the grade. Subject leaders will be in contact with students about units that have just been completed or were about to be completed, but in all cases Intermediate and 2A students no longer need to complete further work.
Ofqual will be issuing further guidance in due course and we are confident that we know our students very well and will be able to provide grades for all students. Whilst I can understand fully that some students or parents may want to contact teachers to discuss grades, unfortunately following the guidance we will not be able to do so. We appreciate this may be difficult but please be assured that during this challenging time we continue to have our learners’ best interests at heart.
Thank you all for your support and understanding during this difficult time and take care.
Update from the Vice Principal re Grades 3rd April
Dear students and parents
I hope this update finds you all well and keeping safe.
With two weeks of distance learning coming to an end and the onset of Easter holidays, I would like to commend once more all of our students for their spirit and perseverance. Thank you for working with our teachers so well as they move learning online in such difficult times.
Today we received the anticipated detailed update from Ofqual about how grades for GCSEs and A Levels will be awarded this summer (a further update about vocational courses will come in due course and we will contact students and parents again at that point). A letter to students and parents explaining the process as well as more detailed guidance can be found here. Although all of you have known for a few weeks that exams are not taking place, I appreciate that there will be a great sense of disappointment now that the reality and the detail of the alternative arrangements are clear. I would like to reassure you that your work will have not been in vain and staff at Collyer’s are proud of your efforts. Your studies will have readied you for your future lives.
We have been asked by Ofqual to submit ‘centre assessed grades’ for each student and detail of the ranking of students within each grade. We know our students well and are confident that we can provide these grades as required based on the work that students have completed during their studies.
Whilst I can understand fully that some students or parents may want to contact teachers to discuss grades, unfortunately we will not be able to do so. We appreciate this may be difficult but please be assured that during this challenging time we continue to have our learners’ best interests at heart.
With this announcement we therefore have clarity that our Intermediate and 2A students have now completed their studies with us and there is no further requirement to submit work. After Easter we will be back in contact to wish all students well, outline how we would like to celebrate student achievements in the near future and offer some guidance and support for future study.
Thank you all in advance for your support and understanding during this difficult time and take care
Update 3 April 2020 – Deputy Principal
To all students who are joining Collyer’s in September.
Collyer’s are looking forward to welcoming you in the autumn term and we will be working closely with your school to make sure the transition is as smooth as possible onto a suitable programme of study. We are confident that the calculated GCSE grades you are to be awarded in the summer will be fair and we will treat the qualifications exactly the same as in previous years. We are hoping that there will be minimal disruption to normal processes and timings for admissions. Please be reassured that your provisional offer to study at Collyer’s next autumn is completely safe and we are looking forward to welcoming you to our community.
We still plan to hold our Welcome Days and will be working on contingencies to change the dates, should it not be possible to run these in late June. The Welcome Days provide a vital opportunity for pupils to try subjects, ask questions and make any changes. There is no need to contact us in the meantime to make any course changes.
As usual, Collyer’s will be setting new students summer work in the second half of the summer term and in addition we are creating some on-line activities. We would also advise that you complete and fully understand the content of your GCSE courses, focussing on elements which link to your expected programme at Collyer’s, in particular those areas you found difficult. This would be good preparation for the next stage of your educational journey with us.
New Parents’ Information Evenings and Enrolment
We are planning to enrol students in September and in addition to the usual advice and guidance, we will be creating additional activities to help re-acclimatise learners to an educational setting. We are also looking to run our usual information evening presentations for the parents of new students, which we will advertise, when plans for the autumn term are in place.
As soon as the situation becomes clearer after the Easter break, we will write to you with confirmed details of the above activities and the admissions process.
Please stay safe.
Update 27 March 2020 – Vice Principal (Quality & Curriculum)
As we reach the end of our first week of distance learning I have received many reports from subject leaders of how well students have coped and the way in which they have stayed focused on their studies. Thank you to students for your resilience and efforts and to parents and carers for your support – particularly the messages of appreciation that have been sent in to college.
Next week distance learning continues with the same arrangements – a regular email from subject teachers at the beginning of the week to set work, marking work where appropriate and replying to individual queries throughout the week. Spring term finishes at the end of Wednesday.
Over the last week we have been consulting on alternative arrangements for our usual transfer exams that form the basis of progression from 1A to 2A. In developing the approach we followed three key principles of being motivational, fair and clear – and following as closely as possible government policy for awarding final grades. The new arrangements are:
-Transfer exams will not take place in May.
-Distance learning for 1As will continue uninterrupted until Collyer’s reopens with no exam leave.
-‘Transfer grades’ will be published to students through MyProgress as planned on Friday 12th June at 17.00 – for all courses (academic and vocational).
-‘Transfer grades’ will be ‘the best professional judgement by the subject teacher of what the student would have achieved at the end of year 1’. This will be based primarily on work completed during the autumn and spring terms but will also consider work from the first half of the summer term.
-In September (date and arrangements tbc) most subjects will provide the opportunity of a ‘2A induction test’ which all students will sit. This will be shorter than the usual transfer exams and will primarily be a form of 2A induction and useful diagnostic of any gaps in learning from the college closure. If students wish to appeal either the ‘transfer grade’ or the ‘UCAS predicted grade’ this test will provide further evidence for the decision.
With regards to 2A and Intermediate students, it is difficult to provide any further clarity since we are waiting on a more detailed update from Ofqual. The latest guidance is here and here. Our position therefore remains the same for now – that students should remain engaged in learning and any students still completing coursework should do so in a timely fashion. Some students may wish to take the opportunity of the autumn resit so need to keep focused on their studies.
Thank you all in advance for your support and understanding during this difficult time and take care.
Update 27 March 2020 – Vice Principal (Student Support)
The Science of Wellbeing – free online course from Yale
An online version of a class taught at Yale University in 2018 has been made available for free online and starts this week.
Conceived by psychology professor Laurie Santos, the course includes elements of positive psychology and behavioural science. The aim of the course (consisting of video lectures, optional reading material, and daily “rewirement” exercises to help you build better habits) is to tackle misconceptions surrounding happiness, question our own high expectations, overcome biases, and deploy actionable strategies to be happier in our own day-to-day lives. There’s no required reading on the course, and there’s no grade assigned at the end, so you can take as little or as much from the experience as they like.
We have emailed a link to all students via the tutorial VLE but wanted to share with staff and parents too as it may be helpful resource to anyone during these challenging times.
Update 25 March 2020
Collyer’s Site closure from 16:00 Tuesday 24th March
Following the Prime Minister’s statement on Monday night, I have taken the decision to close the college site from 16:00 yesterday (Tuesday 24th March) until Tuesday 14th April. Staff will be working from home and supporting students remotely. Please refer to previous messages sent by our Vice Principals Dan Lodge and Andrea John regarding teaching, learning and assessment and student support. Any updates to advice and guidance will be communicated via the college website ‘Coronavirus Update’.
The important thing is to distance ourselves from others in order to help bring COVID-19 under control and therefore protect our NHS, our families and our communities. Please, please stay at home and follow government advice.
Take care, keep safe and stay well.
Update 23 March 2020 21.30 Principal
Notice to all staff:
Following the Prime Minister’s statement this evening, staff should only come into college it it is absolutely necessary or for work which is essential or cannot be undertaken at home. I will be in college tomorrow and available by phone or email if you have any questions. We will remain open for our group of learners who have requested this until we receive further information from the D of E.
Take care, keep safe and stay well
Update 23 March 2020 Deputy Principal
March Progress Reviews
In light of these unprecedented times, the March Progress Reviews will now not be published. Instead, for IL and 2A students we will be working internally to produce the data the government requires for their calculation of grades, which we are still awaiting clarification on. For 1A students we will announce soon our approach to progression and transfer exams.
I can assure you that we will work hard to ensure that Collyer’s students are not disadvantaged in this process and we will do all we can to make sure that the achievements and potential of our students is fully rewarded.
Thank-you for your understanding and continued support.
Update 20 March 2020 from Vice Principal (Quality & Curriculum)
In the last couple of days we have learnt that schools and colleges will be closed and that summer exams will not take place as planned. This has been a lot to take in and consider and of course our students are concerned and disappointed. However we have a fantastic community spirit at Collyer’s and I am confident students will remain committed to their studies as we move ‘for the foreseeable future’ to distance learning.
Guidance on distance learning – for students and parents outlines in simple terms how we will be approaching distance learning as a college for now. Clearly things may change and there will be further updates. We have of course provided separate guidance to our staff and preparations have been underway for a couple of weeks.
Thank you all in advance for your support and understanding during this difficult time.
Update 20 March 2020 from Vice Principal (Student Support)
The government have released further guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision for a limited number of vulnerable children, and children whose parents are critical to the Covid -19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home. You can read this information in full here.
Update 19 March 2020
Message from the Principal
This is a very difficult time for us all and we will need to support one another in the weeks and months ahead to ensure our young people are not disadvantaged in their learning and their progression opportunities. Thank you for your kind messages of gratitude and support, it means a lot to me and all the teachers and support staff at Collyer’s.
Following my message yesterday about moving to on line teaching and assessment from Monday 23rd March, the Prime Minister and Education Minister have clarified the situation for schools and colleges.
Schools and colleges will close from Monday 23rd March for the forseeable future. Teaching will take place on line and teachers will be in contact with their students to explain what needs to be done. We will continue to offer additional support for students with Education and Health Care Plans and some of our more vulnerable learners and are seeking clarification from the Department for Education about what is required.
Reception and the college library will be closed from Monday 23rd March.
External examinations will not take place in May and June this year and we are waiting to hear from the Department for Education how students will be assessed for the qualifications they are taking. It is likely awarding bodies will rely on some internal assessments and predicted grades and so students should continue to work hard at home and complete work set. Parents and carers please support them in this.
UCAS has a site for those worried about the next few months – it can be found here
Key social media contacts that UCAS will use to let students know what is going on
I will continue to provide regular updates for parents and students via email, the website and social media.
Take care and keep well everyone.
Update 18 March 2020
Message from the Principal:
I have taken the decision to move to on line teaching and assessment from Monday 23rd March. An increasing number of staff and students who need to self-isolate for their or a close family member’s health and wellbeing means that trying to hold lessons on site is not practical and has increased levels of anxiety. I am also very concerned for the health and wellbeing of staff and students continuing to mix in large numbers and unable to practise social distancing. Staff will continue to be in college if they are able to do so and they will be able to focus their time and creative energy on creating and uploading appropriate teaching and learning materials rather than doing this for absent students alongside their usual class teaching.
This decision means that students will access their teaching and learning and support from home and will need your continued support while they do this. The college is due to close for the Easter break on Thursday 2nd April.
Keep well everyone.
Tuesday 17th March 2020
The spread and impact of the COVID – 19 virus is changing rapidly. The college will continue to monitor the situation and follow Public Health England and Department for Education advice. As of 17th March, the government’s response to COVID-19 is in the ‘delay’ phase and schools and colleges are advised to remain open. I have not been informed of anyone in our college community being diagnosed with COVID-19 or with a new, persistent cough and high temperature. Some staff are absent this week due to child care responsibilities or because they have an underlying significant health condition and I have advised them to remain at home.
The latest advice for anyone with the symptoms of new and persistent cough and high temperature, together with anyone else in their household is to stay at home and self-isolate for 14 days.
Parents and students who are concerned about an underlying health condition or a health vulnerability or are anxious about the situation please email me email@example.com; I am happy to authorise absence if parents request this.
The government is encouraging all of us to avoid unnecessary social contact including pubs, clubs, restaurants and theatres.
Our hope and intention is to manage as best we can the impact on our students’ learning and overall wellbeing. Please refer to the college website for the latest information and any updates.
Best wishes and keep well.
11th March 2020
The spread and impact of the COVID – 19 virus is changing rapidly. The college will continue to monitor the situation and follow Public Health England and Department for Education advice. As of 11th March, the government’s response to COVID-19 remains in the ‘Contain’ phase and schools and colleges are advised to remain open. However, in consultation with the Senior Management Team, I have taken the decision this morning to cancel or postpone external trips and visits until the Easter break. We have a number of trips planned to the London area and to Brighton to big events where students would be mixing with large numbers of students from other colleges or members of the general public. This decision I feel is in keeping with the government’s ‘Contain’ brief and the health and safety of students and college staff are my key concern. Where possible we will seek to postpone trips and rearrange them for a later date. Trip leaders will keep students informed. The Geography A Level coursework field trip on Friday will go ahead as will the internal dance show.
In the event of a case of COVID-19 being confirmed at the college, we will follow the advice of Public Health England. Our hope and intention is that the college will remain open and that the impact on our students’ learning and overall educational experience will be minimised. However, in order to be prepared for the eventuality of having to close, partially or wholly, please be assured we have robust processes and procedures in place and are ready to put additional measures in place as required. We are using the government action plan as a guide. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan
All courses have made meaningful work available to students via the VLE or other remotely accessed platform
Assessment and feedback can be conducted online and students are aware of the processes that apply to their specific courses
Appropriate support is available for our most vulnerable students.
Best wishes and keep well.