Coronavirus response update - 18.05.20

18 May 2020

Coronavirus response update 18th May 2020

I hope this email find you and your family health and safe. As you will have heard over the weekend, there is fierce debate on the subject of re-opening education settings from Early Year to Sixth Form Colleges. We have begun our planning and discussions about a phased re-opening the college already and there are many questions to answer before we will be in a position to make credible and firm plans. What I can confirm is that there will be no re-opening until at least the 8th June and our offer will be limited to comply with Public Health England guidelines and Social Distancing rules. This places the college in line with other school and colleges in the local area and provides more time for us to ensure that the college is a safe environment for both staff and students; the health and safety of all members of the college community is paramount. We plan to send out a survey later this week to canvas the views of students and their parents; this will be considered as part of our planning. 

A few updates:

Today, A level teachers started their work on awarding Centre Assessed Grades and the rank order for individual subjects. This is an enormous task and one which teaching staff wish to concentrate on. We must ensure that we are consistent and objective in our decision making, whilst being fair to individual students. As a college, we have devised a robust procedure for all staff to follow in this process to ensure that all departments approach this process I the same way. As a result, teachers may not set as much work as they have in recent weeks. It might be an opportunity to do something creative, participate in some type of fitness activity, or to begin some of our brilliant opportunities through our e-enrichment offer. Thank you in advance for your support with this matter. Normal service will resume soon after half term. Please do not contact your son or daughter’s teachers about Centre Assessed Grades nor rank order positions as to do so would be considered examination malpractice and will be dealt with accordingly by the awarding bodies.

The A1 to A2 Progression survey remains open until Friday 22nd May (this Friday). Please could you encourage your sons / daughters to complete this survey as soon as they can but by this date at the latest. The survey can be found on Cedar. If there are any issues with access to the survey, please contact your son or daughter’s Senior Tutor.

And finally, today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week. Some information from the Mental Health Foundation can be found below. We take the physical and mental health of all member of our college community seriously; remember, it’s OK not to be OK. Initiatives such at Mental Health Awareness week are important. The Mental Health Foundation‘s theme for this year is kindness.

Why is kindness the theme for mental health awareness week 2020?

We think it could be the most important week we’ve hosted, not least because our own research shows that protecting our mental health is going to be central to us coping with and recovering from the coronavirus pandemic - with the psychological and social impacts likely to outlast the physical symptoms of the virus.

Last week, I waited in a socially distanced queue outside the supermarket as the rain started to fall. One of the staff noticed we were getting wet. He scurried away to find a pile of umbrellas, carefully disinfected the handles and passed them out with a smile. To my surprise, my eyes started to well up. At a time when I felt alone, I suddenly felt connected. 

If I asked you the last time you gave or experienced kindness, you would tell me stories of when you felt moved, protected, held, seen, loved.

Mark Rowland, Chief Executive.

Kindness and Mental Health 

Kindness is defined by doing something towards yourself and others, motivated by genuine desire to make a positive difference.  We know from the research that kindness and our mental health are deeply connected. The research shows that kindness is an antidote to isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It helps reduce stress, brings a fresh perspective and deepens friendships. Kindness to ourselves can prevent shame from corroding our sense of identity and help boost our self-esteem. Kindness can even improve feelings of confidence and optimism.

A kinder society? 

We have a once in a generation opportunity not only during but also following this pandemic for a reset and re-think about what kind of society we want to emerge from this crisis.

Being kind is one thing we can do to support each other in these challenging times.

That’s all for today

Take care, look after yourself, your families and each other; be patient and stay positive.

Anton