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Principal encourages students to keep learning in lockdown

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Principal responds to national closure of college campuses, encouraging students to keep learning

Following the latest national lockdown, Phil Sayles, Principal and Chief Executive of Selby College, has addressed the closure of schools and college campuses – inspiring students to keep engaging in online learning.

“We understand that the latest lockdown could cause our students to worry about their education and their wellbeing. Our tutors, support staff and wellbeing team are going above and beyond to ensure that the swap to solely online learning is as seamless as possible and that students have the support and resources that they need to continue their studies.

Despite the closure of the campus, on-site learning will still be available to the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children and can be arranged by contacting the College directly. Payments from Free College Meals and Bursaries will also be processed and paid to the relevant students.

Last week, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also confirmed that GCSE and A Level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer. According to the Department for Education, they will work alongside Ofqual to outline the options for alternatives to exams to ensure every young person gets a fair grade for their work, with the expectation that teacher-assessed grades will be used.

“While the changes to this year’s A Level and GSCE exams may dishearten students, we strongly encourage them to keep progressing and engaging with their courses to ensure the best outcome and final grade – which will inevitably help them to reach the next stage of their lives,” said Phil.

The Principal also confirmed that the College made the decision to postpone BTEC exams, which were due to be held over the next couple of weeks and that the College has been in touch with students affected by this.

“It was the right thing to do to reduce travel in the lockdown period. The government needs to provide a solution to replace the grades from these exams, as it does from A Level and GCSE exams,” added Phil.

“When the news of the first lockdown broke in March and all education facilities had to switch to online learning, everyone in the education sector was facing unchartered waters.

This time around, we are well equipped and prepared to deliver online learning and have gained a vast experience in doing so over the past nine months. Whilst it has proven difficult at points, overall 80% of students have engaged in some way with remote learning so far and have done extremely well. Throughout, I have been extremely proud of the resilience and commitment that our students have shown to their studies and I’m confident that this will continue to shine through,” stated Phil.

The College will continue to follow Government guidelines regarding the physical closure of schools and colleges. Online learning will continue to be provided throughout this period while learning on campus is paused, which is expected to last until at least February half-term.

“We would like to encourage our students to reach out to their tutors or our wellbeing team with any concerns or support that they need, whether that be worries about their studies or any other aspects of life. Our staff care with passion about our students and will do everything they can to support them during this difficult time,” exclaimed Phil.

Phil would also like to reassure prospective students that this will not affect their applications or place at the College and that they should get in touch if they have any concerns.

For any students who have not yet applied for a place at College, we would advise that they do so soon.