Coronavirus response update - 22.04.20

22 April 2020

Coronavirus response update 22nd April 2020

Amidst the worrying and concerning news on our TV screens and in our newspapers, there has been some better news more recently with reports of the University of Oxford and Imperial College London beginning human trials for a COVID-19 vaccine later this week; I’m sure we wish all those involved well, whether scientists or members of the trial group, and hope for some success in their quest.

A few updates.

Tomorrow sees the start of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims. It is important that we are considerate to those members of staff and students who will be fasting during this time and make concessions to individuals as needed. Ramadan begins tomorrow, the 23rd April, at sunset and lasts until sunset on the 23rd May. We all hope that Muslim members of our college community are able to break their fast at the festival of Eid al Fitr in more normal circumstances. Ramadan Mubarak to all of you who are fasting during the holy month.

Also, tomorrow is World Book Day. Reading is always one of those pleasures which allow us to escape from the real world and into our imaginations; this could be a good time for your sons and daughters to rekindle a passion for the written word and broaden their minds. There are many recommendations for good reads from our library team; please encourage your son or daughter to take a look on Canvas and see if they can find something of interest.

In terms of teaching and learning, our teachers continue to work hard to support your sons and daughters through the uploading of new resources on Canvas and through the setting and assessing of work. For safeguarding reasons, there will be no ‘live’ lessons delivered. There is plenty of material on Canvas to support learning during lockdown. However, remote learning will never replace the experience of the classroom, but it will help your son or daughter to continue their studies from your own homes. One of the key skills students need to develop during their time at college is the ability to work independently; this skill will serve them well at university, in a higher level apprenticeship and in the world of work. The Inclusive Learning team and Senior Tutors are able to provide support and ideas to help your son or daughter to become a more productive independent learners; please encourage your son or daughter to contact them via email if they would like to access some of this support.

All students should have received an email yesterday from Damian Windle about the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). This is an exciting opportunity to gain another qualification which is the equivalent of an AS level. Many universities strongly advise student to take this qualification as it helps develop the skills necessary for success at degree level. If you are interested, please watch the video on Canvas at https://asfc.instructure.com/courses/235/modules#module_4238 and follow the instructions provided.

We will be in touch as soon as we have any further information on the mechanism for the calculation of grades for A level, GCSE, EPQ and vocational, technical and other qualifications.

And finally, we have been asked by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to inform you that during periods of instability, such as during the coronavirus pandemic, there can be an increased risk of fraud. Fraudsters will actively exploit these difficult times and will target vulnerable areas for financial gain. 

We have been informed that some students and parents have received a letter from ESFA asking for personal learner bank details in relation to the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund. The ESFA never ask for personal bank account details. This is a fraudulent letter – please do not respond. If you have received and responded to the letter, please contact your bank immediately.

That’s it for today.

Take care, look after yourself, your families and each other; be patient and stay positive.

Anton

Principal