At the recent Sixth Form Colleges Association awards, Wyke was one of several colleges who received recognition for their efforts in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. From the beginning of lockdown, the college endeavoured to make sure that students suffered as minimal disruption to their studies as possible and adapted its approach to teaching and learning to support everyone.
Principal Paul Britton said: “I am immensely proud of all students, staff and parents for their remarkable efforts throughout the last year. Despite all the challenges, every student has been able to access every lesson and we are confident they will go on to achieve the fantastic results they deserve. We have learnt a lot but we are now looking forward to getting back to giving students the fantastic face to face experiences that we are known for this autumn.”
The college utilised Microsoft Teams as a learning platform, enabling staff to maintain teaching a full curriculum for all students. The high standard of teaching provided remotely was helped by significant investment in student devices, ensuring that every student at the college could access their lessons remotely and engage fully in their learning programmes. Upon returning to the site when restrictions were eased, the college adopted a 50:50 approach with a year group attending in-person teaching on site and the other engaging with remote learning, before switching over the following week. Following the most recent lockdown, the college utilised lateral flow testing as a way of identifying cases and minimising the risk of an outbreak. The outstanding effort from volunteers at the college testing centre resulted in a swift and easy process which allowed staff and students to return to work and lessons as normal.
With the cancellation of all live and in-person events, the college came together and delivered a series of livestreamed events and taster days, including Virtual Wyke Start and Legally Blonde. These enabled new applicants to virtually tour the site, interact with teachers and support staff, ask questions about life at the college, and see what opportunities are open to them. Enrichment activities were able to continue throughout the pandemic by engaging with virtual platforms. Students were able to experience a range of different guest speakers, including local MPs, universities, and career experts. Staff and students also produced a series of videos for the “Wyke Workout”, which aimed to motivate and encourage the college community to engage with physical activity as a way of promoting positive mental wellbeing.
The college’s efforts were reflected in some of the kind and positive comments received from both students and their parents/guardians, including: “I wanted to say a big thank you to you and your team for all the support and information that you have given over the last few weeks. Thank you for trying to alleviate as much stress for your students as you have possibly been able to.”
We’d like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to all our students, staff, parents and guardians for all your hard work and resilience through what has been an incredibly tough year. This award recognises all of you and your remarkable efforts to keep going despite the disruption and uncertainty. We wish you all a happy and safe summer break.