A letter to parents from the Principal of Harrogate College

2 April, 2020 1:20 pm

I hope you and your families are safe and well at this time. I wanted to update you on the progress of Harrogate College since our physical closedown and our expectations of students while studying at home.

The overarching story from Harrogate College is that staff have been working incredibly hard to adapt to teaching fully online, while juggling the care of children and family members. The levels of student engagement have exceeded our expectations and those who have been struggling have been in contact with our pastoral support staff.

You will be aware that all examinations and controlled assessments have been cancelled for this summer. The grading for student qualifications will be done on predictions based on coursework completed and mock examinations. Ofqual are still working with awarding bodies on the exact detail for each qualification type, but be reassured this situation will not impact on your child’s ability to progress.

While learning away from college all students have access to either Google Classroom or online portfolios where teachers are publishing content to support learning and setting assignments to be submitted online. As I explained above, all grades this year will be awarded based on coursework completed and mock examinations, therefore students must continue to commit to their studies in the same way they would in college. Learning online is different to the classroom and our guide to staff and students is designed to support students to achieve their target grades.

Each student will have access to online learning relative to their timetabled lessons in college. Therefore if your child has 10 lessons per week, then there will be 10 lessons each week for them to complete including their vocational subject area and where applicable English and maths. The expectation is that each lesson will have two activities and one assessment as a minimum. We do not expect the lessons to take up the same real time as a timetabled lesson. In addition to the online lessons students will be set assignments to be complete.

Interactions with teachers is important, therefore your child’s teacher will be online two hours per day to speak directly to your son or daughter through Google Hangouts. This will be one hour in the morning and one in the afternoon and the times will be published on Google Classroom. In addition, students can leave messages on Google Hangouts at any time, which staff will respond to during working hours.

Although the use of Google Classroom and Hangouts may be new to you, this is familiar practice for your son or daughter. For students who do not engage, our teachers and pastoral staff will be following up to ensure they do not fall behind with their learning.

I would ask at this time, you check that your child is engaging with Google Classroom and if they are struggling ask them to make contact with their teachers.

If you have any questions about the progress of your son or daughter, please email their teachers, using firstname.lastname@harrogate.ac.uk.

Harrogate College will remain closed for the Easter Holidays on Friday 3 April until Monday 20 April. We are encouraging staff to take leave over that period, so the content on your child’s Google Classroom will be reduced over the Easter period. If your child is in need of support at that time, we still encourage them to make contact with teachers and pastoral staff as help will be available. From Monday 20 April, all staff will be working and expecting students to fully engage with their learning.

I will be in touch over the coming weeks to provide further updates.

Kind regards,

Danny Wild – Principal Harrogate College