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  • Overview of plans for September

    Since the government released guidance for the full re-opening of schools and colleges in September, we have been working on updating our plans. While there may be further updates over the summer, I have put together the following FAQs to outline our most likely scenario as things stand.  I hope that you find them useful. 

    What are the plans for Bilborough College to be fully open in September?

    Bilborough College plans to be fully open and run a full-time timetable for all students from September. We will help students with the transition by bringing in students in smaller groups for the first few sessions. This will also mean that everyone has time to get to grips with our procedures for working safely during the Coronavirus pandemic. A full start-of-year timetable will be circulated at the end of August when we know exactly how things stand.

    What other safety measures are going to be in place?

    In line with government guidance, we have done / are currently working on the following:

    • Installing hand sanitiser stations for every classroom and at key locations around the building
    • Setting maximum occupancy limits on social spaces
    • Limiting the number of social contacts that students have on site
    • Employing additional cleaning staff to work during the day and in the evenings
    • Installing Perspex screens in classrooms and key student support areas.
    • Maintaining the clear floor markings and 1-way systems which have been in use since 15th June.
    • Freeing up additional rooms to create double the usual social space
    • Planning some additional outdoor covered space by installing a roof between the refectory and the theatre.
    • Utilising hand-held temperature thermometers as needed
    • Setting up an isolation room in case we suspect anyone on-site of being symptomatic

    Government advice for schools and colleges does not say that everyone must wear a face covering or mask. However, as an institution it seems strange to us that that educational establishments are effectively the only place where social distancing rules can be relaxed but people are not told to wear face coverings. We want to protect all our students and staff, so we are investing in Perspex face visors to help keep us all safe.

    What steps have been taken to ensure students can travel to and from college safely?

    A full college bus service will operate every day from September unless we are ordered into full lockdown by the government. Current government advice is clear that students will need to wear masks or other face coverings when travelling either on college buses or on public transport. We will work closely with our bus service provider to monitor passenger numbers.

    What food and drink facilities will be available on site?

    The college catering services are planning a ‘grab and go’ service of sandwiches and hot snacks. We plan to have 4 food outlets rather than the usual 2 to spread students more widely across the building and break times and lunchtimes will be staggered in order to speed up the flow of people and eliminate crowding. We are discouraging the use of cash, promoting card/phone and contactless payments at all outlets.  The college water fountains will unfortunately be out of action as these have been identified as a potential virus transmission route.  Students will need to bring their own drinks or purchase them from the shop until the risk has diminished. All students are free to bring their own food to eat on site.

    What will happen if social distancing rules are re-introduced?

    If social distancing measures are re-introduced we, like all schools and colleges, will have to revert to a ‘blended’ timetable where schools and colleges remain open full time but students are on a rota and do a mix of face-to-face and remote learning. For this scenario, we have developed a 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.  All Bilborough, all teachers and tutors are fully trained in the use of use Microsoft TEAMS for live sessions, Microsoft FORMS for feedback and Microsoft STREAM for videos and narrated worksheets. This model allows us to deliver our full curriculum but with a maximum of 50% of students in the building at any one time. Students of practical subjects will have additional opportunities to use the college facilities.

    What will happen if there is a full local or national lockdown? 

    If there is a second wave of infection or a local spike then the government does have the power to re-impose a full lockdown for all schools and colleges either locally or nationally. In this scenario, we would continue to deliver the full curriculum but make even greater use of Microsoft Office 365 tools as above. Students will need to join ‘live remote’ sessions at the usual timetable times to register attendance, receive instructions and for them to ask questions. Homework and independent study will be set as normal. These sessions will be complemented by high-quality resources, including videos, narrated PowerPoints and other documents and learning will be checked with quick feedback on Microsoft Forms and more detailed feedback on other kinds of formal assessment.

    Any other questions?

    If you do have any further questions about arrangements for September please do get in touch via our enquiries line ([email protected]and we will be happy to respond.




  • Bilborough College Remote Learning since Lockdown

    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.

    Home – A dance film project by A level Dance students at Bilborough College

    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.




  • Covid-19 – Reopening from June 15th FAQs

    Bilborough College has now re-opened for students. Following a huge amount of work adapting the building and planning for safe opening we are confident that the measures we have taken meet all of the government guidelines and college is as safe as it can be. The following frequently asked questions should help you to understand how to make the most of this new phase of college life.

    How have things changed now college is open again?

    You will notice changes from the moment you walk in the building and see Julie, Natalie and Dan behind the Perspex screens that we’ve set up around Reception. You’ll also see over 20 additional hand sanitiser stations, clear floor markings and signage, additional day cleaners and classrooms that have been adapted for 2m social distancing.

    How are students finding things?

    According to some of the 200+ students who came in last week, they are happy to be taking a step towards something that feels more like normality and are enjoying the lack of distractions of home and the use of resources that the college study spaces can offer. We look forward to seeing even before the end of term.

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  • Student launches fundraising drive after winning place at drama school with string of famous graduates

    A Bilborough College student is following in the footsteps of a string of famous graduates after securing a place at a prestigious London drama school.

    Grace Hodgett Young was thrilled to learn she had an offer from Mountview, in Peckham, which counts Amanda Holden, Ken Stott, Sharon Small and Happy Valley, Shameless and Thin Blue line star Mina Anwar among its alumni.

    Dempsy & Makepeace’s Glynis Barber, Downton’s Mr Bates Brendan Coyle, Shetland’s Douglas Henshall and soap stars Don Gilet, Michael French and Sally Dyvenor are also former students.

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  • Work from three Bilborough College students displayed as part of national online art exhibition themed around lockdown

    Work by three teenagers from Bilborough College is featured as part of a national online art exhibition to showcase the life of sixth form college students during lockdown.

    More than 140 students from 46 colleges submitted contributions to ‘At home’, which is being co-ordinated by the Sixth Form Colleges Association.

    Bilborough College students Chloe Duriez, Ellie Edwards and Daisy Evans all had their submissions accepted.

    (more…)




  • Student accepted onto prestigious programme to support with Oxbridge entry

    A Bilborough College student has been accepted onto a prestigious programme that aims to help more young black and mixed race people get into Oxbridge universities.

    Tatenda Mapfaira has been selected to be part of the Target Oxbridge initiative, which is open to students across the country who are in Year 12. The 17-year-old heard about the programme from a relative who is a lawyer.

    She said: “His company works doing outreach and he told me about Target Oxbridge. I am hoping to study Medicine at an Oxbridge university so I decided to apply. I filled in an application and then there was an interview; we were sent three articles and we had to research and talk about them via Skype, we were also asked questions about them.

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  • Student awarded national prize for A Level Geography coursework

    A Bilborough College student was awarded a national prize for her A-level Geography coursework in a special ceremony that was held online due to current social distancing restrictions.

    Charlotte Parrish, 18, won the Geographical Association’s NEA (coursework) Proposal National Award and was due to be presented with her prize at the GA’s Annual Conference in April.

    However, due to the Coronavirus lockdown the conference was streamed ‘live’ on YouTube and her award was announced as part of the proceedings. She won a £100 Amazon voucher and will receive a certificate through the post.

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  • Students celebrate success in national Maths competition

    Students from Bilborough College are waiting to find out if they have made it to the national final of this year’s UK Senior Team Maths Challenge trophy.

    Sebastian Wright, Charlotte Jones, James Goodliffe and Liam Holland finished second in the regional final, which was held at the University of Nottingham and run jointly by the UK Mathematics Trust and the Further Maths Support Network.

    The team that finished first goes through to the national final but judges told the team from Bilborough College that they will be informed soon if they have done enough to secure a place at the event.

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  • Bilborough College student is kickboxing World Champion – a year after taking up the sport

    A student at Bilborough College is celebrating after winning Gold at the kickboxing Unified World Championships in Italy – despite only taking up the sport a year ago.

    Megan Hately, of Awsworth, was representing GB at the competition in Carrera where she claimed Gold in the continuous category, Bronze in the points category and Gold in the team points category.

    The 17 year old, who is studying A-levels in English Literature and Philosophy and a BTEC in Public Services, took kickboxing up a year ago after switching from Taekwondo.

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  • Bilborough Sixth Form College becomes member of new Multi-Academy Trust.

    Bilborough Sixth Form College has become a founding member of a new Multi-Academy Trust.

    Following an extensive consultation period, the college has joined the Better Futures Multi-Academy Trust (BFMAT), which has been designed with sixth form colleges in mind and is sponsored by Coventry University. Its first member college, King Edward VI in Nuneaton, joined in January 2019.

    This move is intended to safeguard the College’s future and to preserve the distinctive Sixth Form College experience for students. To qualify for membership of the Trust, the Corporation of Bilborough Sixth Form College has been dissolved in order that Bilborough Sixth Form College can convert to a 16-19 academy and join the Trust.

    The name, identity, location, values, vision and mission of Bilborough Sixth Form College will remain the same. Students will remain registered at Bilborough Sixth Form College, accessing the same provision in the same location and the college will still be headed by its own principal. Teachers will continue to teach at Bilborough Sixth Form College only and staff terms and conditions will remain the same.

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