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The Henley College expresses an incredible amount of empathy for students

The Henley College
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  Parents and Students praise the College’s remote learning and student support during lockdown (@henleycol)

The Henley College was fast to react to the first lockdown in March 2020, quickly adapting to the use of Microsoft Teams for online lessons. This adaptability and digital resourcefulness has meant that the College was well-prepared for the transition back to online learning when the recent lockdown was announced at short notice. 

“The Henley College’s provision for online lessons was far more quickly organised than at my other child’s secondary school. At the end of the day, face-to-face is best, but we appreciate the effort the college teachers are going to, to make the best of things for the students. Thanks for all you’re doing to enable learning at such a challenging time.” – Parent 

Student wellbeing and support has been a high priority for the College and the feedback teachers have received from parents and students has been fantastic. 

First year student Max Barklem joined The Henley College in September 2020 and is studying Health and Social Care and Foundation Studies. Max’s mum, Emma, said:  

“Joining the college for a years’ course in such unprecedented times was obviously challenging, but the staff were extremely welcoming and made it easy for Max to settle in.   

He very much enjoys being a student at The Henley College and so was disappointed when the latest lockdown was announced which meant he would not be going in.   

However, the switch to online learning was managed well and he has found all his teachers to be helpful and feels very supported. It has been useful to have a regular timetable and continuing to connect with college has given a good structure to the week.”  

The College has created a section on their website called ‘Lockdown Resources’ which offers tips and advice to students on being prepared for remote learning, how to stay motivated while studying from home and fun ways to pass the time when lessons are finished for the day. Various enrichment activities have moved online, and the Monday Lunch Club has moved to Teams in order to connect students who are feeling lonely and isolated with other students and support staff.  

Praise for the College’s support for student mental health and wellbeing has come from the current Students’ Union President, Roshelle Coppens Chavarri, who is studying A Levels in English Language & Literature, Film Studies and Spanish.   

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“The Henley College expresses an incredible amount of empathy for students. Many times I’ve just sat after a lesson and spoken to my teachers to express my worries, and despite them seeming unsure about the future, they’ve always offered words of encouragement, and even explained that if someday your mental health is low, you can listen to the lesson recording on another day and take the day off to feel better and spend time improving your wellbeing. I know that’s saved so many of my peers, and I’m truly, truly thankful for it. It helps study effectiveness and motivation greatly. We also have unlimited access to resources from all of our previous lessons and the teachers reply to you any time that they can, which is usually very promptly.”  

Our Rugby coaches have been working with their students to keep them motivated during lockdown, encouraging them to keep training and setting them goals and targets to achieve. They’ve also made sure the players know that talking is important for their wellbeing during this time.  

Boys’ Elite Rugby Programme student, Andre Raubenheimer, said:   

“I’m coping pretty well with lockdown. I’ve been able to do quite a bit of training, as the rugby coaches have put together a variety of training plans and workouts for us, from fitness to strength training to mobility.  

“During lockdown I’ve been speaking to the boys from my course everyday which is good as we’re open to talking about anything. This helps loads as you feel comfortable to talk about some issues you may be having and knowing you can talk about it is always helpful.”  

Positive feedback from parents of students on the rugby programme has also been received with one parent commenting on the effect of the support during lockdown

“I just wanted to send a big thank you to you and your team.  I think you’re doing a fantastic job in keeping the boys connected and engaged in such difficult times.  The support you are providing is exceptional.” 

Priyanni Varsani, a second year Public Services student, is on track to achieving her target grade of D*D*D* and has received offers from all five of the universities she has applied to. Priyanni commented on her remote learning experience:  

“This year, learning at The Henley College has been just as good as it was without Covid. My teachers and the college in general have adapted their lessons to provide us with what we need and they are always available to help, even now we are online.”  

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