1. Why it’s important that Harrogate College remains open during the lockdown

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    As we’re now in a second lockdown, we want to highlight the importance of college staying open during this time and reassure you of the safety measures in place. 

    Protecting education is incredibly important during this pandemic, therefore most educational institutions have remained open across the country.

    We appreciate some students may feel nervous about attending college during lockdown, however our health and safety measures have been working well to protect our students and staff. These measures include:

    • Staggered start and finish times.
    • Each area of the college is split into zones and students are allocated a zone and bubble (group) to stay in. 
    • Face coverings worn in communal areas such as corridors.
    • Any personal protective equipment that is risk assessed as being required is provided.
    • Hand sanitiser stations in place across the college.
    • Zones are cleaned before different bubble groups can use them.

    We have effective systems in place for reducing the risk of transmission and have had a low number of cases. We follow a strict process for reporting positive Covid-19 tests, informing those affected and collapsing bubbles where required.

    With these measures in place, students can attend college safely. Attending college is essential for students’ progress and learning. Consistent attendance means keeping on track with studies and achieving. It’s also important for students to continue coming into college to develop valuable skills and knowledge for the future. This time at college is vital for preparation for their next steps. 

    Attending college also plays a key role in supporting student’s wellbeing, enabling them to engage in lessons and communicate regularly with their bubble group. Harrogate College promotes a friendly and inclusive environment. Students can access support and advice when needed from their peers, teachers and dedicated staff. We have online extra curricular activities and groups for students to engage in alongside their courses. 

    If you have any concerns or questions about attending college during the lockdown, please get in touch by calling 01423 879466, emailing  contact@harrogate-college.ac.uk or speaking with a tutor.

  2. Harrogate College launches summer programme for new students

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    Harrogate College has launched a Summer Transition Programme to prepare students for joining in September.

    Launching on Monday 6 July, the weekly activities aim to support students in starting successfully at the college. All new students can access the scheme, allowing them to meet tutors and classmates and begin developing course-focused skills.

    Run on Google Classrooms, the fun tasks will be specific to various course groups. Each 30-minute session will encourage students to communicate virtually through face-to-face videos with tutors, who will be introducing students to their chosen course through a range of activities. As part of the programme, students will also be practising English and maths skills in preparation for September.

    Danny Wild, Principal of Harrogate College, said: “This programme is a fantastic way to ensure our new students feel comfortable and confident for starting in September. It gives learners a head start in their academic journey, ensuring they have a strong understanding of their course and the skills required to excel.

    “We have carefully crafted the programme based on each course. The Science sessions will focus on infections and control, whereas Health and Social Care will provide insight into development and mental health. All our programmes will also incorporate ice-breaker activities and interactive discussions.”

    The Summer Transition Programme will cover many subject areas including Art and Design, Performing Arts, Motor Vehicle, Construction, Hospitality and Beauty.

  3. Celebrating Windrush Day

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    On Monday 22 June, many people across the country will come together to celebrate Windrush Day. The annual celebration pays tribute to the exceptional and ongoing contribution of the Windrush generation.

    What is the Windrush generation?

    The term ‘Windrush generation’ was first introduced in 1948 shortly after World War Two. Britain was beginning to recover from the effects of the war, which saw thousands of buildings and homes destroyed. Many young men and women in the Islands had previously served in the British armed forces, due to many Caribbean countries still being under British rule and not yet independent.

    After the war, many people from the Caribbean were invited to come to Britain as there were a variety of jobs available due to post-war labour shortages. The first ship, Empire Windrush, left the Caribbean to travel thousands of miles and arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex on 22 June 1948. This ship was the first of many, with hundreds more arriving in Britain from 1948 to 1971.

    Why has the Windrush generation been in the news recently?

    The ‘Windrush scandal’ involved many of the Windrush generation being wrongly told that they live in Britain illegally. The 1948 British Nationality Act gave citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies states a legal right to settle in the UK. As a result, during 1971, the Windrush generation were told they could stay in Britain permanently without any paperwork and the government didn’t keep a record of these people.

    A change to immigration law came about in 2012, with people being told that official documentation was needed in order to receive free hospital treatment and other benefits. As a result, many people who had attended schools and worked their whole life in the UK were sent to immigration detention centres and faced deportation.

    In 2018, following a review of 11,800 cases, the home secretary announced that 18 people within the Windrush generation who could have been wrongfully removed or detained would receive a formal apology from the government. Additionally, anyone who had left the UK would be helped to return to Britain.

    What does Windrush Day celebrate?

    First introduced in 2018 on the 70th anniversary of Empire Windrush arriving in Britain, the day encourages communities across the country to celebrate the outstanding contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants.

    Overcoming great hardship and sacrifice, the Windrush generation and their descendants have made Britain a better and more inclusive country in many ways. From the vital rebuilding of the country and public services after the war, to the ongoing enriching of our shared social, economic, cultural and religious life.

    What events will take place as part of Windrush Day?

    Backed by government funding, community groups and local authorities across the country will receive a share of a £500,000 Windrush Day Grant Scheme to host events which honour the second national day. There are a range of funded projects which mark this vital part of our shared heritage.

    How can I get involved?

    Although many celebrations will be digital due to social distancing, there are many ways to get involved with Windrush Day events.

    The National Maritime Museum is working with the Caribbean Social Forum and University of Greenwich to create online resources, talks and events including different generations to explore Windrush and what it means to people today.

    The State of Trust is hosting a live panel, featuring artists from State of Trust’s Remembering Windrush project, hosted by journalist and broadcaster Terry Baddoo on 22 June.

    On 22 June, the Windrush Foundation is hosting a Zoom event, featuring presentations, music, Q&A and a review of key events that affected the Caribbean community over many years.

    On Windrush Day in Bradford, a special flag raising ceremony will take place outside City Hall.

    Leeds-based charity, Geraldine Connor Foundation, is marking the day with online event ‘Generations Dreaming’, combining music and literature on the themes of Windrush. The charity has also created a digital learning resource about the Windrush Generation and their legacy.

    How can I access support?

    Our student-focused team is dedicated to ensuring our students always have access to support. We have specialist counselling officers who can offer guidance and direct you to support services.

    To get in touch with the counsellor at Harrogate College, please email Lynda.Scott-Noble@harrogate.ac.uk.

    For help and advice in North Yorkshire, visit The Go-To.

    Useful resources

    The Geraldine Connor Foundation have created a digital learning resource, providing insight into Windrush Generation and their legacy.

    Digital platform, My Learning, has developed a short video with an introduction to Windrush, the history and the people who made the journey.

    Home Ed Voices has provided a range of useful resources for Windrush Day, including videos, books and activities. 

  4. Harrogate College reopens

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    Harrogate College will be reopening for a selection of students and staff from 16 June it has been announced.

    Danny Wild, Principal of Harrogate College, said: “Supporting staff and students to return to a safe environment has been at the centre of the college’s preparations and approach.

    “Many steps have been taken based on the guidance for further education colleges provided by the Department of Education, which have been translated into a practical operation for the college to open safely. We have invited 168 students and apprentices to come back into college over the next 6 weeks to complete their courses while our other students continue to work remotely.”

    Harrogate College is taking the following steps to ensure a safe practical operation:

    • All staff and students will arrive and leave college at off-peak times, with staggered start and finish times between groups.
    • The number of people that can be in the buildings and each classroom has been calculated, so that two metre social distancing can be maintained at all times.
    • Any personal protective equipment (PPE) that is risk assessed as being required, will be provided by the college.
    • A one-way system will be in effect throughout the college.
    • Ongoing cleaning of classrooms and workshops will take place throughout each day.

    Staff have also been working on preparations for students joining in September. All students who have applied to Harrogate College will be contacted and asked to take part in a summer transition programme. This provides students with the opportunity to communicate with new teachers and classmates, while developing valuable digital and study skills needed to return to full-time education in September. 

  5. Childcare students aim high

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    Childcare and Education Technical Diploma Level 3 students at Harrogate College, Alison Taylor and Emily Beecroft, have been recognised for their impressive achievements during their course.

    Alison joined the course as a mature student after raising a family of five. Now that her children are older and independent, she decided to focus on pursuing a career in childcare. At the beginning of the course, Alison struggled with low confidence and lacked IT skills, and worried she may not pass the course. Through real determination and hard work, she mastered her IT skills and developed effective learning techniques needed to achieve a good grade.

    During placements, staff commented on how fantastic she is with children and many have offered her jobs as a result. Alison recently secured a job at her local nursery in Pateley Bridge and plans to start work when the nursery re-opens. She also plans to progress on to a Foundation Degree in Childhood Studies in September.

    Alison said: “When I first started the course, I felt really out of my depth and older than everyone there. However, everyone was incredibly supportive and made me feel really comfortable. At first, I even struggled turning the computer on! But my course mates were very kind in helping me get started and I’ve improved immensely. This course has given me a head start in a career I’ve always dreamed of.”

    Meanwhile, Emily faced some incredibly difficult challenges in her personal life when she joined the course. Despite this, she remained focused on her course and worked very hard, engaging with all the pastoral help offered with a positive attitude. She consistently received excellent reports from her placements and occasionally worked during the holidays. Emily has ambitions of becoming a primary school teacher, and through her hard work and commitment has received offers from all five universities she applied for.

    Emily said: “The support I got from the team at college was amazing; I always felt I had someone to talk to when I was struggling. This course has allowed me to begin my journey into teaching, supporting me every step of the way and making sure I did every piece of work to the best of my ability.”

    Find out more about our childcare courses here.

  6. Local teacher sews scrubs for NHS

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    A teacher at Harrogate College is supporting a local group in the production of scrubs for NHS workers.

    Annabel Smith, programme manager for MA Creative Practice, has sewn three scrubs for frontline care staff across the district as part of community group Harrogate Scrubbers.

    Launched by Fran Taylor, a teacher at St John Fishers High School, the group aims to address the increased demand for scrubs during the global pandemic. Since setting up the Facebook group three weeks ago, the page now has over 680 members including a strong network of sewers and delivery drivers to support key workers in the area.

    Annabel said: “The community spirit sparked through Harrogate Scrubbers is inspiring. I originally heard about the group through a former fashion student and it’s been fantastic to see former colleagues and students getting involved. It’s marvellous to see the group attracting more attention; I’ve informed all my students and colleagues about it and really look forward to seeing it grow.

    “I’ve taught fashion design and marketing at the college for over 14 years; teaching students how to design, cut patterns and construct garments. As an experienced sewer, this seemed like the perfect way to support NHS staff in the area. I’ve spent a week cutting and making the scrubs, which are now in use at Harrogate District Hospital.”

    Harrogate Scrubbers is continuing to produce scrubs including laundry bags, scrub caps and waterproof gowns. To date, the group has produced 384 sets of scrubs and raised £16,274 for the NHS.

    The group is urging the public to continue supporting the campaign to help staff at the hospital. To find out how you can support, visit the official Facebook page.

  7. Carving a career

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    At Harrogate College, our carpentry courses allow students to develop advanced skills in our new facilities. 

    We spoke with joinery tutor, Paul Flanaghan, and student, John Gardner, to find out more about studying Carpentry at the college.

    What are the highlights of the course?

    Paul: The practical skills students develop are invaluable. Whether it’s roofing or flooring, it’s fantastic to see their confidence build when using the hand tools and improving the accuracy of their cutting. 

    John: The qualification is fantastic – it sets you up perfectly for a career in carpentry. The full-time course is only one year, meaning the contact hours are more per week which makes for really high quality learning and mentoring. 

    What can students take away from the course?

    Paul: A clear idea of their desired career path. We offer a Level 1 construction skills course which provides students with a taster of joinery, brickwork and more. This allows students to see which areas they prefer so they can decide what to do after; some are natural with timber and some with brickwork, so it acts as a taster course for them.

    What do students learn about during the course?

    Paul: Students grasp a good understanding of site procedures, building methods, advanced techniques and how to use complex machinery. There is also the opportunity to go on trips which helps to broaden the student experience. 

    John: We’ve recently been developing our structural building type skills, such as roofing, floor joists, internal stud walling, fixing skirting boards and door hangings.

    What advice would you give to a student wanting to study carpentry?

    John: If they are wanting to gain the practical skills and qualifications needed to begin a career in carpentry, this course equips you with all the right tools. If a student is unsure about what they want to specialise in, this course is great as it’s really open. You are constantly learning different aspects and you can focus on what you like doing.

    Does the course offer a welcoming environment for everyone?

    Paul: Everyone is treated equally on the course. It’s an incredibly supportive environment and we all strive to see each other progress. We love seeing how ambitious our students are and are proud to give them a kick start in their future career.

    Take a look at our Carpentry courses here.

  8. Calculated grades for this year’s summer exams

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    The government has made the decision to cancel the 2020 summer examinations. We realise there will be a lot of unanswered questions as the guidance is quite limited at this stage, but we wanted to share with you what we do know or expect to happen.

    This information is applicable to the summer exams for GCSEs, A levels, BTEC and some other equivalent vocational qualifications. Other qualifications’ awarding bodies may require students to sit an exam and/or assessment at a later date.​

    Students will be awarded grades which fairly reflect the work they have put in. Please rest assured we will be doing everything we can to ensure that each student is awarded the grade they deserve in recognition of their hard work. It is clear from the announcement that every effort will be made to make sure that students will not be disadvantaged and will be able to progress as appropriate, to the next stage of their lives. 

    Teachers will be asked to submit judgements about the grades students would have received if exams had gone ahead. This judgement will be informed by a range of evidence and data which could include; 

    • A wide range of assessments completed by students over the course of the year 

    • Mock examination grades 

    • Class work and coursework

    This will then be combined with prior attainment data and expected pathways to produce a calculated grade that is fair and expected. We will work closely with the exam boards to ensure that every one of our students achieves the right outcomes based on what is fair and reflective of their performance. This is important for adult learners or students who have only been studying their subject in this academic year.

    For those who have exams as part of a vocational or technical qualification, some units will have already been assessed and completed. These will be important evidence in informing the final awarded grade. We will follow the guidance and work with the awarding organisations to ensure there is a flexible and pragmatic approach, so these students are not disadvantaged in any way. 

    It is intended that students will be awarded their calculated grades before the end of July. Be reassured that grading and certification will look the same as in previous years.

    Where students feel that their calculated grade does not reflect their performance, the option to sit an exam at the earliest reasonable opportunity will be available, or in the summer of 2021.

    Students should continue with their remote learning as planned and supported by their teachers. This will make a difference in readiness for their next steps, and in completion of any assessments that may be used to inform the calculated grades. You should contact your tutor/s if you need any support.

    We would like to offer assurance that although our ‘in college’ normal way of working has been interrupted, you can still apply for your next steps at college. We are doing different types of (safe) interviews and you will hear from us in due course.

    We look forward to celebrating the achievements of all our current students and meeting those who are yet to join us, as we plan for the new academic year ahead.


Harrogate College

Hornbeam Park Ave, Harrogate HG2 8QT United Kingdom

Tel: 01423 879466
Email: contact@harrogate-college.ac.uk