Additional contextualised information for UCAS references
Normally, our students are timetabled and attend three full days of face-to-face sessions per week, with an option for additional one to one sessions and workshops, which were also face to face. Once the first COVID 19 National Lockdown was announced mid-March this all changed. Teachers worked hard to adjust the lessons, teaching resources and support to help ensure that the learners were still able to engage with the curriculum whilst distance learning. Moreover, the teachers were also learning to deliver in a totally different approach of, assessing, giving feedback, and supporting the learners whose mental health needs had also increased immensely due to the pressures of lockdown.
We began the new academic year, September 2020 at a later date to allow extra time to plan for the return of staff and students, with enrolment online for new students which caused extra difficulties. To minimise the number of learners on campus, our timetable has been reduced and learners are on campus for one day a week (practical) and then working from home online for all theory sessions. Apprentices are currently attending half days only to ensure they are engage due to government not adjusting their end dates accordingly. This has resulted in learners having half the contact time with their teachers. Conversely, this has been made worse by some individuals and whole groups, having to work online for up to 2 weeks at a time because of enforced self-isolation.
Moreover, both the staff and students have worked hard and displayed resilience as well as endurance during these testing times of the ongoing pandemic. Notwithstanding this, we indisputably believe that if the learners had the opportunity to attend college on a full-time basis without all the pressures that COVID has placed on their families, lifestyle, finances, mental health, and general wellbeing. They would have realised their full potential and achieved better results than they will this year.