From education to employment

Update from Principal, Mark Jones – 3 February 2021

I’d like to update our students and parents following last Friday’s announcement (29 January) by the First Minister.

A possible phased return
The address indicated that primary school pupils could begin returning to school after the February half term (from 22 February). The First Minister also stated that similar arrangements could be possible for post-16 providers such as colleges. However, the priority groups for return will be those students studying vocational courses, including apprentices, who need access to training or the workplace to undertake their practical assessments.

Of course this relaxation is still very much dependent on a further reduction in the number of cases of coronavirus. However, all 13 further education colleges in Wales are continuing to work closely with both the Welsh Government and Trade Unions with a view to initially bringing some vocational students back for some face to face teaching from 22 February – and discussions to date have been very positive.

Social distancing still in place
It is very likely that, if we are allowed to proceed, then further restrictions and controls may be necessary. For example, there is unlikely to be any class bubbles and all students and staff will be required to maintain a two metre social distance from others.

Therefore, this is likely to have implications in terms of the size of classes that we can bring into College at any one time. It will also mean that students are unlikely to be back in College for more than one or two days per week, as we will need additional time and space to bring other groups back in. 

All of this work is currently being modelled and once we have further information and detail, we will of course let everyone know.

Discussions with the examination bodies
Of course, the other part of the equation is that once we bring students back into College, we need to determine with the examination bodies what exactly is needed to be taught and how is this going to be assessed for students to be able to achieve their full qualifications.

Currently we are actively reaching out to all our examination bodies e.g. WJEC for A Levels and the wide range covering vocational qualifications, most of whom are based in England, for this level of detail.

Once again, my personal thanks for your continued patience and support whilst we collectively navigate our way through these times. I would like to reassure you that we are committed to keeping you learning and progressing. We understand this can be an unsettling time so please keep talking to us. We are here for you if you have any further questions or need support.

In the meantime if you have any questions please do not hesitate to email [email protected]

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