Principal’s Blog 26/02/21

Reopening For Face-to-Face Teaching

You should by now have received our detailed plans for re-opening for face to face teaching. If not, you can find them on this page:

The key points of this guidance are as follows:

  • Using the w/c 8th March as a testing week, designed to ensure that all staff and students get 2 lateral flow tests before they start back in lessons
  • This will help us to reduce the risks of people coming into college who are asymptomatically carrying the covid virus
  • This, in turn, helps us to reduce the risks of transmission on-site
  • Details about the online booking system for these tests will be out soon. You will need to come in, have your test and then leave the site
  • We will then start face to face teaching from Monday, March 15th, with students back on full timetables
  • We will also conduct a third test for all students during w/c 15th March, in one of their free periods
  • We will also then issue students with a home-testing kit, which they will then need to use to test themselves twice a week. We can only issue students with this once they have had 3 tests in college, so they are confident doing this themselves
  • Either of the links below will take you to our walk-through video of the test center we have set up at college. This is to give you an idea of what to expect and reassure you that it is being well run, with health and safety in mind and with well-trained staff running it

Please also note that face masks will now be compulsory in lessons as well as when moving around the building, so at all times when indoors.

All other safety measures will also still have to be upheld and people must not assume that because they are being tested they can disregard these.


Update On Assessment Arrangements For This Summer

As you will know students who are due to be sitting exams or completing assessments this summer will have alternative arrangements this year. The announcement came on Thursday 25th February that students will receive grades determined by their teachers using a range of evidence including mock exam results, coursework, tests or other work like essays.

The deadline for grade submission is 18th June and results days have been moved forward with A-level and L3 Vocational results on 10th August and GCSE results on 12th August. Every student will have the right to appeal their grade.

We don’t yet know the details of these proposals and we await to hear from exam boards about the processes we will have to follow and the guidance about collecting evidence. We will need to formulate curriculum plans to ensure we can continue teaching and include opportunities for assessment over the coming months.

The key dates we have so far along with a link to a statement from the Department for Education are below.

1 April –  Exam boards to provide detailed guidance to support teachers by the end of the Spring Term

18 June – Deadline for submitting teacher assessed grades to exam boards

12 August – Results Days


Kooth: Digital Counselling and Emotional Wellbeing Service for 11-18-Year-Olds in Portsmouth

Health and Care Portsmouth has commissioned the online counseling service Kooth, a service delivered by Kooth Plc. Kooth is an integral component of Portsmouth’s mental health provision offering a digital counseling and emotional wellbeing service for young people from January 2021.

Kooth is a free online counseling and emotional wellbeing support service providing young people aged 11-18 years (up to 19th birthday) in Portsmouth with a safe and secure means of accessing support with their emotional health and wellbeing needs from a professional team of qualified counselors.

Kooth is a well-established, award-winning online counseling service and is accredited by the British Association of Psychotherapy and Counselling (BACP). Founded in 2001, they are leading pioneers of online counseling in the UK, having won a number of prestigious awards. Kooth has no referrals, thresholds or waiting lists.

Young people can access this service anonymously by signing onto Kooth provides unique out of office hours’ provision and is open 7 days per week, 365 days a year from noon until 10 pm weekdays and from 6 pm until 10 pm on Saturday and Sundays. The service provides added value with moderated, scheduled forums and self-help articles (many written by service users) to provide peer-led and self-help support.


National Citizens Service (NCS) 2021

NCS Portsmouth are at the very early stages of planning for NCS Summer 2021 and although there are still many things they are waiting on confirmation about, young people are now able to go onto the NCS website to Pre-Register their interest for a place with them this year. NCS provides a fantastic opportunity to build your skills, confidence, and CV at a very low cost and we highly recommend involvement in the program.

Their announcement is below:

This year we are going to have a lot less spaces compared to previous years, so we are highly encouraging students who are interested to pre-register their interest. For those that do, when our spaces open at the end of February, they will be among the first to be contacted to secure their spot and ensure they do not miss out’.

You can register your interest here:


College Student Transport Survey: A Message From Portsmouth City Council 2021

The Department for Education requires the County Council to publish a Post-16 Transport Policy Statement specifying transport provisions for students attending school sixth form, college or other post 16 organizations.

The County Council is consulting on the Policy Statement and inviting people to provide information about any specific post 16 travel issues in your area via our consultation website:

We would particularly welcome the views of young people of sixth form/college age, as well as year 11 students who will be moving on to sixth form or college next September.

We would be grateful if you could inform students and parents about the consultation and make them aware of this opportunity to make their views known.

The Policy can be found by following the below link:


Free Online Courses

We work with a social enterprise company ‘Unloc’ who are based on our site. They offer a number of free online courses designed to build up the key skills young people need to succeed in and beyond education. Some details of their platform and two new courses can be found below:

Understanding & Applying for Apprenticeships is our interactive and engaging e-course to guide young people through what an apprenticeship is, and why they might choose this career pathway. We tackle the myths, hear from current and past apprentices, and navigate identifying and applying.

Our Applying for your first job e-course aims to provide young people with the necessary tools to support them with everything you need when entering the world of work. From understanding their skill set, finding and applying for their first job; and nailing those nasty interview nerves.

Check out the other courses available on our dedicated e-learning platform


Good News Stories

It’s great to see Naima Ali, an Alumni student of the college, doing so well and also getting this article published about her experience of university so far and her advice to others considering this path after college.

One of our first-year A-Level Law classes put together a walking/running challenge over half term that helped to raise £100 for Young Minds Trust (a children and young people’s mental health charity). They covered a virtual 300 miles which is a great achievement. Cameron Davis and Isabelle Brydon led the way, covering the most miles. Many thanks to Ellie Dunn and Lucy Grace for organizing it and to everyone who joined in with the activity and raising the funds. A very heartwarming story of getting moving for a worthwhile cause.

Our 3D/ Architecture students are working on a project with Portsmouth City Council and a firm of architects redesigning/ rejuvenating Victoria Park in the city. Our students will have the opportunity to present their designs to the architects and we’re in the process of coming up with some ideas for our students to get involved in other ways too. The students will get a valuable experience of how a design/architecture project is developed in the real world.

A partner organization of ours, ‘Unloc’ were thrilled to recently announce an exciting new collaboration with Portsmouth-based tech firm Radweb as they launch the RadWeb Coding Academy supporting 16-19-year-old young people who are interested in a career in the technology sector. This has led to a great opportunity for some college students as you can see from the announcement below from Unloc:

‘Six exceptional students from Portsmouth College have been recruited and will be intensively trained by experts at the company over the coming year, with further students being recruited to the program soon. The digital work placement will see students learn and build their own commercially viable app or website, as well as working with Radweb’s 18 expert programmers and technology specialists. We’ll be delivering 6 skills-focused Unloc training sessions to help them develop their life skills alongside their technical knowledge.


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