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.
If I did not receive an invitation to attend college but I would now like a study space, can I ask for a place?
Yes, we do still have some capacity so if you would like a space please email [email protected] or [email protected] with your preference of day and we will add you to one of the study rooms and send you the details. We want to make the most of the facilities we can offer so please do ask if you want to come in, even if you didn’t get invited in the first round. Please wait for us to confirm your request before you attend.
What do I do if I want to speak to my teacher?
The first thing to say is that before the end of term, you will get a 1-1 call (either on your phone or via Microsoft Teams) with at least 1 teacher from each of your subjects to discuss how you have been getting on and if there is any catch up work you need to do over the summer so that you are not behind when the new term starts in September. This will probably be sufficient for most students who are on track.
In addition, teachers have now been put on a rota to supervise the study spaces, so they know which days they are going to be in over the next 3 weeks. Not all teachers are on the rota as some are currently shielding but almost all courses have at least 1 member of staff available for subject specific queries. Provided you book in advance, you can arrange with your teacher see them for a 1-1 meeting on one of the days they are in. Email your subject teachers to find out who is in and when if you feel a face to face meeting is required.
What are the plans for September?
We have had to develop more than one plan for September as there is still no certainty from government about what we will be allowed and not allowed to do. However, we do know that there are likely to be 3 main scenarios which would be as follows.
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 B is currently believed to be the most likely option, and in that situation we plan to run a timetable model which will guarantee a combination of face to face teaching in (reduced size) classes with your normal teachers alongside high quality remote sessions. We are continuing to train staff in remote learning technology and you will see increased use of Office 365 tools. Alongside face to face lessons, all courses will be offering live TEAMS sessions with their students as well as other forms of remote learning. Clearly this will be essential if we are ordered to go back into full remote learning.
Will I be able to get to college in September?
We are committed to running and covering the cost of any additional bus services on college routes if required to meet distancing rules. NCT buses resumed normal operation and so those of you who travel on these routes will now be able to get into college.
What is happening with the Y12 end-of year assessments which were postponed and with UCAS preparation?
As well as the ongoing feedback you have been receiving, we will need to assess you formally and in controlled conditions on your progress in year 12. This is so that you can be reassured that you have in fact learned a lot alreday in year 12 and also to help you see what bits you need to go over again or where you hadn’t fully understood. We will not just drop this on you and we will give notice once dates have been finalised so that you can be prepared. We are aiming for these to take place in September so that we have a chance to use the marks from them to inform UCAS references and predicted grades along with other assessment information gathered both before and during lockdown. All students will continue to be supported in the preparation of UCAS applications and personal statements so please do ask you teachers and/or tutors if you have any concerns at all about this process.
Are there going to be any changes to exams next year to reflect this year’s disruption to normal learning?
At the moment, exam boards have not informed us of any plans to change the exams for summer 2021 although we know they are monitoring the situation carefully, especially where practical work is a key element of the course. This is why it is so important that you continue to complete all of the work you are being set as we are intending that all subjects will have covered all of the usual work that is done in year 12 before the end of the summer term (with the exception those practical tasks which cannot be done remotely).
What will happen if I’m not up to date by the end of term?
All students need to be up to date with work to continue with their studies. If you have found this period of time particularly challenging, then now is the time to have some 1-1 meetings with your teachers or to try to get into college or to get caught back up at home. In your 1-1 phone call you will be advised that if you have fallen behind, you will need to catch up over the summer and we will provide you with the support you need to do that. If by September no further progress has been made and there is no obvious reason for this, then we are likely to be advising you that you cannot continue as a student here. We’d rather tell you that sooner rather than later so that you can find an alternative route / destination for the next step in your education. However, we do hope that for most, if not all of you, the support you can access now will be enough to mean that you are ready to progress to Y13 and you will not be in any way behind where we would expect you to be at this point in the course.