Principal’s Blog 14/01/2021

14/01/2021

Remote Learning

We now find ourselves in another prolonged period of remote learning. Students need to follow their usual timetable and they can expect a good degree of live delivery from staff as well as a range of tasks to work on, the chance to ask questions and get clarification, and assessment of their learning. They need to treat these online lessons in the same way that they would a normal lesson in terms of being prepared, dressed appropriately, and sat at a table ready to work. Any lesson delivery is for the use of the students only and must not be recorded nor shared inappropriately. Our expectations of student behavior during the sessions are just the same as if they were physically present. It is vital that students continue to engage in their learning and both our Progress Mentor and Wellbeing Teams are chasing up students who aren’t doing so to offer them help and assistance, including a place to learn in our staffed Study Centre, should they require it.

Covid 19

College Testing

We are working on using two testing schemes to keep staff and students as safe as possible, both at the moment and for when all students return. One is run by Southampton University Hospital Trust and will give us the capacity to test all staff and students once every week via a saliva test which is taken at home, deposited at college entrances, and then collected to be lab tested. This will be our weekly testing method once everyone is back on site. The other is the Department for Education lateral flow testing scheme. We have already set up a testing center in the Sports Hall and are trialing it this week with a view to moving towards testing everyone who is on-site at the moment from next week. We are also looking at using this to test all students before they return to college, by using extra staff both from the University of Portsmouth and from a private testing company.

Positive Test Results In Lockdown

If any of our students do test positive during this lockdown period, can you still please phone in and use the Covid option on the system, so we can keep our records up to date.

Summer Exams

We are still awaiting confirmation on exactly what will replace this summer’s exams. Although various points are gradually coming out in the media, as you will have heard, the only official communication we have at present from the Department of Education is shown below. We will get further updates to students and parents as they come to us.

“In the circumstances, it is not possible for exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. The Department for Education will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.”

Help With Technology For Students In Need

We have just heard that the government’s ‘Get Help with Technology’ scheme has been extended to provide support with devices and connectivity for disadvantaged 16 to 19 year olds. The exact eligibility criteria have not yet been published. Once they are we will contact students and their parents directly about the scheme.

Vaccination Volunteers

Solent NHS is looking for volunteers to act as marshalls at their vaccination center, something which students or parents could take part in. This stage of the vaccine rollout is due to start on Monday 16th January and last for around 3 months. The Hive, who is helping with the volunteer register, have the initial numbers to get started but need more people to help as the numbers being vaccinated grow.

I have no further details at this time, but if you’d like to find out more please email hello@portsmouth-college.ac.uk and we will get back to you.

New Parent Governor

I’m delighted to say that we have recruited a new Parent Governor. Paul Walton joined the governing body just before Christmas, to reflect the views of parents. He has a son at college studying A levels with us. He also has 27 years experience of working in education and 10 years experience of working as a governor in other institutions. I’d like to publicly welcome him and thank him in advance for the great service I’m sure he will offer us.

Good News Stories

I’m very happy to report really strong engagement levels with online learning, with high attendance rates and students taking a really active part in the lessons.

I’m delighted to say that Amy Brazier has just been accepted to study Psychology at Oxford University! We’d like to send all our best wishes to Amy for this fantastic achievement.

Best wishes to our ex-student Freddy Nancarrow who left on January 4th to start his American Scholarship at Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

A massive congratulations to Adam Thompson for officially accepting his offer to continue his academic and football journey stateside at the University of Houston-Victoria, commencing August 2021.

Everyone at Portsmouth College is very proud of your success and development.

Adam is the third student from his year group to accept a place in the USA as former student, Harry Houston, has also accepted his offer to start a coaching apprenticeship role in America this year to work for the American Youth Soccer Organisation!!

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