Following Public Health England’s guidance on social distancing announced last week, and alongside growing concern from our students, staff and parents, we took the decision on Wednesday 18 March to speed up our transition to remote working, with the aim of the majority of teaching delivery being online by Thursday 19th March.
As London’s largest FE provider, we had been planning for such a move. Over the last two weeks, more and more of our support staff have been working from home – a necessary step, to test the resilience of our systems and to help people iron out any teething problem associated with working at home. And with the Education Secretary’s announcement that schools and colleges will close on Friday afternoon, we are doing all we can to ensure that teaching and learning can continue from Monday.
It won’t be easy for many though. Some students are living in care or have difficult home lives. Others have limited access to the technology they will need to learn effectively online. And the vocational nature of many courses makes it a greater challenge for staff to deliver the great learning that our students expect from us. We are working through these issues as quickly as we can, with other agencies as needed. Many students have financial pressures too, so students will continue to receive their Bursary payments and Free School Meal allocations will be added in cash to their bursary payments going forward. And we are looking at other ways we can support those most in need.
Our staff have been magnificent as we all transition to a very different way of working and teaching. As well as handling the uncertainty and their own fears of the virus and its impact on them and their loved ones, they are embracing what for many is unfamiliar technology. We’re already seeing some great examples of teachers adapting their practice to get the most out of the limitations of remote teaching. We’ve received a lot of feedback from our teaching staff on how their first few online lessons have gone:
“Wow, what an amazing way to learn.”
“Learners who are the most withdrawn in class are bolder online”
“The system is working very well and it’s great to see excellent participation from the students in all activities. They are all exemplary.”
“Feedback on the online learning has been really good and sounds super innovative. Classes are pretty full, students are logging in and tech is generally working really well.”
“What’s most interesting is that some have learners already uploaded their work for me to assess.”
“Excellent support work given in the background by the Learning Support Assistant and the trainee teacher. I am welling up. Amazing!”
I am confident that as a college community we have the desire, commitment, and expertise to meet the challenges we face, look after one another, and continue to provide an appropriate educational experience to our learners.
We are living through extraordinary times, but we are doing all we can to ensure we support our staff, our students and our communities.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in