How have current Bilborough students been getting on since lockdown?
The college has been operating a 100% remote learning model since the government ordered all schools and colleges to close on 20th March up to 15th June. Our Post-16 specialists have come up with a range of innovative ways of delivering and assessing their courses including pre-recorded videos, audio narrated slideshows, electronic work submission, marking and feedback via Microsoft 365 and live group sessions using Microsoft Teams. Our dedicated personal tutors have been telephoning students who have fallen behind, supporting them both with motivation and practical help. We have issued over 100 laptops to students struggling to access digital content which has revolutionised lockdown for some. In a recent online student survey, we were delighted that 90% of students said that the amount of work they were receiving was appropriate with just 2% saying it was too little and 8% saying it was too much. We always invite students to comment, make suggestions and help us to innovate and we took a wide range of ideas on board. Please find below a selection of student comments from the survey to give you a flavour of the activity that has been going on.
“The emails and weekly task sheets are very helpful [and] I can organise my time as is convenient. Teachers have been very clear and helpful”
“The twice weekly online lectures are good and the teaching and aims are clear”
“I have felt extremely supported throughout this period with all of my subject teachers. They have been on hand offering any forms of support possible, from quick reply emails or video solutions on YouTube to help clear up any uncertainties. It has allowed me to feel much more confident and less anxious throughout these past weeks”
“I like the quality of the PowerPoint slides with the teacher’s voice-over – they really help at the minute”
” I have had lots of support during remote learning. Subject support is always available, with staff emailing in advance with the times it will occur. After submitting my work I get feedback and help with any of the questions I was confused with. Teachers also always respond quickly to emails regarding the work set and any questions we have. Thanks to the support, I do not feel behind or at a disadvantage in any way”
“I feel that it is going well, as tasks are clear and homework is easy to submit”
“Working remotely has been going really well so far, as I get feedback from my teachers after my work has been submitted very quickly so I can improve. Also subject support session on Teams have really helped, because I can ask questions when I am stuck on a piece of work and get the support I need straight away.”
Year 12 dancers have made a film inspired by ‘Home’. Original sound by Harvey Graham and Kymári Stocks, year 13 Music Technology students.
What provision is the college offering from June 15th?
The college re-opened for face-to-face contact with Y12 students as recommended by the government on June 15th. The remote learning content continues to be set each week as usual covering the subject specifications so that students can stay on track with the course content. In addition, the college has opened up study spaces in college for all students who have requested to come into college and also for a small number of targeted students who were struggling to keep up when the college was closed. Because of the current rules governing educational settings (no more than 25% of pupils in at any one time and 2m distancing rules in classrooms and social spaces) we have had to put students on a rota but we have endeavoured to maximise time in college where it has been requested.
What are the plans for September?
We have a range of plans in place for all 3 of the possible national outcomes in September. We know it is the government’s desire for schools and colleges to be fully open from September and this would be our preferred scenario too. If we are able to open fully in September we will run our full timetable and things will return to normal.
However, given the unpredictable nature of this virus, we are aware that we have to be able to adapt to 3 different scenarios which are all still possible in September.
A – Normal re-opening across the UK: The government abandons social distancing restrictions in schools and colleges and we run a full timetable
B – Blended re-opening across the UK: Social distancing remains and schools and colleges are open full time but students have to be on a rota and do a mix of face-to-face learning and remote learning
C – 100% remote learning across the UK or locally: There is a second spike in infections and the government orders a full or regional lockdown
Option A is what we are all hoping for which would be our full timetable. In the case of Option B, we have developed a timetable model which guarantees a minimum of 2 ‘live’ lessons a week (one face to face and one remote) alongside a third high quality flexible remote lesson and homework using all the tools of Microsoft Office 365 such as TEAMS and STREAM. In the case of option C, we will maintain our ‘live’ lesson experience (albeit 100% remotely) and combine with flexible remote lessons and homework as in option B. We are also committed to running and covering the cost of additional bus services on college routes if required to meet distancing rules.