Important information from the Principal – 14 September 2020
Dear Student and Parent
I wanted to write to you with an update on college timetables and some information about future plans.
As for schools, further education students have returned to college in September on a full timetable. However, we are managing this, in accordance with government guidance, through a mix of face-to-face attendance and online learning which we have successfully established through a tried-and-tested online learning platform, Google Education Suite. Currently, students will be in college for 40% – 50% of their timetabled hours on average, although those taking practical courses with higher volumes of workshop activity may attend college more than this.
Colleges have a greater degree of flexibility than schools do in terms of study programme delivery. This reflects our larger student cohorts, the nature of practical workshop space, more complex campuses and the fact the vast majority of our students must use shared student transport to get to college. We have also been using online learning very effectively for some time now and throughout Lockdown earlier this year we were able to continue to deliver all of our teaching programmes.
Above all, our cautious approach ensures the health and safety of our students and staff remains paramount. This is not only through the use of supported online learning, but also through careful management of social distancing and curriculum ‘bubbles’, extensive cleaning and hygiene routines and the wearing of appropriate PPE whilst in college. We regularly review Covid infection rates in our area and have also carefully considered the recent SAGE report (3 September) on infection risks in further education which highlights the increasing infection rate amongst our key 17-21 student age group and the potential impact upon older age groups including students’ families and college staff; you can find a copy here. We have also set out clearly our expectations in relation to health and safety requirements on campus here.
We understand that this approach inevitably restricts opportunities for students to mix socially and that working and learning from home can feel more difficult than studying at college. We are therefore working closely with all of our students to mitigate this as much as we possibly can and to ensure that they feel fully supported in their studies. We are also carefully monitoring the changing situation in relation to infection rates both in England and across Europe and will adjust the balance of online and face-to-face learning accordingly. It is our intention to return to normal face-to-face course delivery as quickly as possible as we feel this is the best interests of our students and staff.
These are exceptionally challenging times. If you have concerns about the mix of face-to-face and online learning, or indeed if you have any questions at all about this, then we would urge you to get in touch directly with us to discuss these. Above all else, we want to work in the best interests of all of our students and ensure their time at Peterborough College is both happy and successful.
Deputy CEO Inspire Education Group and Principal of Peterborough College
Support available to students
We recognise that the school environment which you are used to is very different to college life. If you choose to study with us we will encourage you to take responsibility for your own learning as you would in a work or university environment.
All of our tutors are experienced in working within the industry in which they are teaching, and our facilities are designed and constantly updated to provide you with a realistic working environment, fully preparing you for the employment market!
Through our various services we can provide a network of support to help you get the most out of your course.
Support available to you: