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Lockdown 3.0

Here are the details on the college’s response to the announcement of a national lockdown from Wednesday 6th January 2021. 

The overall plan is that college will continue as normal, just delivered from home.  We will provide the full curriculum to all.  We will be working towards substantial assessments to justify the evidence requirements of whatever centre assessed grade process gets put in place therefore, you must continue to work as hard as you have been all year 

I want to reassure you that we have planned for this eventuality since the summer.  I outlined to you the three potential scenarios for this year and this included scenario C, a further full national lockdown including the closure of schools and colleges.  We have had a term of using remote delivery as a key part of our provision ensuring that students and staff are confident with the technology required.   

 

College opening: 

The college site will be closed from Wednesday 6th January 2021 with a planned return on Monday 22nd February 2021. 

We will have a limited provision for vulnerable students and the children of key workers during this period.  I want to stress that the safest place for the vast majority of our students and staff is at home so this provision is only for those who really cannot engage in learning remotely.  There will be no onsite teaching, students will access remote lessons in the library along with limited support during study periods.  There will be no mixing allowed between students, this is to ensure their complete safety.   We will need students to commit to attending five days a week from 9am -4pm so we may be able to arrange transport and appropriate levels of staffing. We desperately want our students onsite, but this is not a safe option at this time.  The guidance is clear, we all need to stay at home whilst this current crisis passes. 

We have records of those students who are vulnerable, and we will be contacting them to develop a plan to best support them.  If you are the child of a key worker and it is not possible for you to work from home, then please contact wfh@wyke.ac.uk so we can have a conversation about how best to support you.  We need to get these plans in place quickly so please can I ask for replies by 9am Thursday 7th January 2021.  

 

Delivery of the curriculum: 

Throughout this lock down period, we will deliver all lessons, tutorials, support and enrichments as per the timetable. 

These sessions will meet the minimum requirements for remote sessions that we set out at the start of the year.  All sessions will: 

·         Be delivered live via the Teams platform 

·         Have a register taken with attendance marks recorded on the system in the normal way 

·         Include as a minimum for the live element a review prior learning, check of understanding of the tasks set and some form of wellbeing activity 

As far as we are concerned, you are all still enrolled to your courses, you need to do all the work and it is this work that will get you the grade come the end.  We are planning for substantial internal assessments for second years at Easter and for all students in the summer.   

 

Examinations and resources 

We are following the announcements about the cancellation of A levels and GCSEs along with all of you.  As yet there are no details about the system that will replace this although it must be something based on teacher assessments.  As we have said all year, this means that every piece of work you do counts!  There has not been a similar announcement about vocational courses, but I expect this to follow in due course. 

Our teaching teams have marked the majority of your winter assessments and we will be posting these out to you over the next two weeks as they are a valuable part of the learning process. 

Some of you have BTEC, Criminology and Engineering CTEC examinations planned for the next couple of weeks.  I am sure that the government will cancel this, it is completely disingenuous to hold public examinations in a national lockdown, but sometimes it takes a little while to get these things sorted.  I will keep you updated about our plans for these over the coming days. 

Similarly, we have GCSE results day next Thursday (14th January 2021) for those students who sat examinations in November.  Your results will be emailed to you on Thursday morning as well as a copy posted to your home address. Your teachers and progress tutor will be able to advise you through teams during the days that follow as to your next steps following the results.  

 

Student support 

As per the overall plan we will be running all of our support functions as normal.  Safeguarding and wellbeing support will continue, please see the attached for details.   

We have consultation events coming up and we are in the midst of plans for running these virtually this year.  We will send out more details next week. 

I’m sorry that our absence text system has not been working properly since the start of the year.  We are now turning this back on fully and parents will receive notification when students are absent from lessons, including remote lessons.  

Where we have concerns around student underperformance we will still be operating our behaviour management system.  As ever, this is about trying to support our students to achieve their potential. We will only issue warnings when we know that you can do better but you need a formal reminder of what you need to do to improve and what the consequences of not responding are.  So, warnings up to and including case conferences will continue as normal.  We will not be holding disciplinary hearing meetings during the national lockdown as these important discussions need to be held face to face. 

 

Student access to learning 

We are now well set up for students who have connectivity issues.  We have spent over £150k on supporting their education and are grateful for the kind support of the University of Hull with this important work.  If you encounter new connectivity issues please contact financialsupport@wyke.ac.uk 

Students in receipt of the free college meals or a bursary allocated to providing meals will receive their funds via BACS payments on a weekly basis. 

Transport costs will be refunded on the next ticket. 

 

Wellbeing 

I think we all need to contribute to this.  What can we do to come together as a college community and look after each other through this dark winter?  The staff team did a brilliant job with the Wyke Workout sessions last March (if you haven’t seen these check them out on the Youtube channel Wyke TV) but my challenge to all of you is what can you do for our community?  Please do get in touch with the Student Executive (student_executive@wyke.ac.uk) if you have some great ideas about wellbeing activities for the college. You can also contact them via Teams.  

I have also asked all teachers to build in some time to check how you are all doing into their lessons.  As I see it, it is our responsibility to challenge, stretch, inspire and support you through this period.  You all have a job to do, material to learn and skills to develop.  Let’s get on with it.   

 

Communication 

Due to the college site only having a very limited opening, from Wednesday 6th January 2021 the college phone line will not be open and all communication should go directly to the teams involved.  We have a list of email contacts posted on the website if you are not sure.  Your tutor will be a key port of call through the period. You can find the contact details of your teachers and progress tutor in your Student Portal.  

I am still going to hold the webinar this Thursday at 1pm.  I will explain all of the detail in this email including and further information that comes out over the next couple of days.  It seems I was a bit hasty with the planning for lateral flow testing but the webinar time will still be useful! 

So, that is it.  Here we are again.  But, we know what we are doing and we are going to provide a full educational experience through this lockdown.  As I said back in March, there are three things to work on: keep in touch, work hard and look after yourselves and each other. 

 

Paul Britton

Principal