MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL: 3rd April 2020

This is a transcript of the video posted on our website - all queries please to info@sgmc.ac.uk

“Hi everyone,

The first thing I would like to do is to express my very sincere hope that you are well and the people you care for, your friends, family, loved ones are in good shape and are finding their way through what is such a difficult situation for everyone.  Looking from the outside in, and looking at how you are engaging with on line lessons, how you are responding to staff who are calling home on a regular basis, you are showing real strength of character and a real determination.  If Monoux is playing a part in that, by giving you structure and the support links that you need, that is the least we can do.  That’s what we’re here for and I will say more about keeping in touch with us at the end of this message; but we are going to get through this. We miss you at college and we hope to see you back soon.  I will say more about timescales further on.  This letter is intended to get some really important messages out to you about your qualifications, teaching and learning etc, so please read all of it.

I’m going to talk to you about GCSEs and A Levels and I’m also going to give some key messages to students on BTEC and level 2 programmes and other vocational courses.  I’m going to address students in their first year (L2, L3 or A level programme) with the intention of progressing into the next year.  So there is something for everyone here to digest and understand.

GCSE and A Level students:  if you are entered for a GCSE or A level course that is due to finish this summer – you already know that there are no exams but we now know what is happening with regards to the awarding of grades.  I can confirm that the college will be making its own centre assessed grade judgement and will be submitting its assessment of the grade that you would have got if you were to have completed the assessment process.  We will be submitting this to the awarding bodies at the end of May.  We will also be, as required, ranking students within a specific grade, within a particular grade, as to who was the highest achiever in the grade boundary; who was second, third etc.  For example, if there were 10 students who were destined to get a B grade (in an A level for example) we would be ranking those students according to the highest achiever B grade student right the way through to the student who was tenth in that ranking.  You will not see that ranking and it is not something you can ask us for.  We are not at liberty to give you this and it is entirely confidential.  We will submit this to the awarding body who will then apply a moderation process.  The grades may change or they may not (but that’s the nature of moderation) but you will not find out at any point what your centre assessed grade was.  Rest assured that we will be basing that centre assessed grade on all the hard work that you have done throughout the year.  Everything you’ve done that is positive and every bit of hard work that you have put in will help us formulate the grade that we think is a fair and reasonable grade to give you. 

We must now talk about what happens to these courses.  We have been instructed to prepare grades to submit to awarding bodies.  At the moment we have been asking you to continue with on line teaching and submit work, as per the requirements of your teachers.  That starts to change right now and I need you to understand this.  There is a distinction to be made here between students who are actual leavers (those finishing college this year) and students who are on a Level 2 program or are in the first year of a 2 year course who are sitting a GCSE exam this year but will be with us next year:

  • Leavers: Those GCSE courses and Year 2 A level courses for leavers come to an end now.  You have an Easter break and those on line courses will not now continue after the Easter break.  So there is no continuation of on line teaching if you are on a GCSE course or an A level course and you are a college leaver this year. 
  • FEM English and Maths GCSE or Functional Skills (Level 2 or Year 1): However, it is important to note, if you are entered for a FEM course (English or Maths GCSE or Functional Skills) and you are, for example, Level 2 or in Year 1 and expecting to continue into college next year, the online teaching does continue.  This is because we can’t guarantee that you will get the appropriate high grade that you need.  For example, in GCSE a grade 4, the high pass grade, generally speaking, is nowhere near 100%.  So if you don’t continue with your online teaching then that means when you come back to college and resume your studies you will be so far behind and if you got a pass rate this summer you may be fine but we can’t guarantee anything.  So it is important to note, if you are a continuing student and are doing a GCSE or FEM course, you must stay with the online teaching which will resume on the 20th   I will say more about this timetable later on. 
  • Vocational Courses: BTEC Year 2 and Level 2 courses – there has not yet been an announcement about how grades will be awarded.  I am expecting this announcement soon and I am expecting it to be very similar to the judgement that has been made about the A level and GCSE courses.  I expect there will be a centre assessed grade method as well.  But for now, please just continue as normal.  If you have tasks to do or assignments to complete please carry on doing that as it may form part of that centre assessed grade.  So please follow the direction of your teachers.
  • Level 3 Year 1 (including A Levels and BTEC students in Year 1): It is vital that you keep working.  You have an Easter break and there will be no online lessons until 20th April but you are still learning and you are still a college student.  This closure that we are experiencing which is going to go on for a while longer, is potentially a big disruption to your education but it doesn’t have to be and that’s the crucial thing.  It’s within your grasp to make sure that your education, your learning, your progression to university (in one or two years’ time) is not adversely affected by this.  So please, as you have been doing, keep going with the on-line teaching.  It’s not ideal but I am sure you will agree with me that teachers are putting in a fantastic effort to learn a new way of delivering content, ideas and knowledge to you.  Please stay engaged with this work.  Attendance has been good and I am pleased with this.  So on-line lessons continue for continuing students after Easter on 20th 

Take a moment over Easter to think about how well you have been getting on with this.  How good is your study environment at home: have you got your own private space (even if it’s just part of a room) which is yours.  Is it organised and decluttered and somewhere where you could go as if you were running your own business from home. Think of it as if it were your own business and the work you put in will help your business grow.  Look at yourself as professional learners.  Eat well, do exercise (follow the guidance which does include getting exercise), work on your body and mind and think about how it’s gone for you so far, and what you could do to improve anything.

  • Continuing students expected to be with us next year: All those students continuing on-line teaching after Easter (20th April):  The timetable will change.  You know we have reduced the lessons down to 60 minutes.  We believe that giving you the timetable to follow gives you structure in your day to day life which is good in so many ways, but we are going to condense the college day. So we’re going to be running a timetable where three lessons all take place between 10.00 and 1.30.  You’ll get information from teachers about this but they will be one hour lessons.  10am to 11am, 11:15 to 12.15 and then 12:30 to 1.30. This allows you to manage your day and all the other responsibilities that you’ve got (including getting exercise) beyond the hours of 10am to 1.30.  So look out for that change – it’s coming soon.

Please stay in contact with us, including those students whose courses are finishing soon.  The college is still here for you. You’re still a part of this college and part of this community. Just because your Year 2 A level course is finishing, or your course has come to an end in a sense, it doesn’t mean to say that all the stresses and strains of life and all the difficult issues that come your way, or stressful domestic situations that arise go away; they’re all still there and so is the college.  We’re going to keep the ‘calling home service’ going and we’re still going to continue checking in with you.  This is a two way thing, so if you have any concerns, questions or anxieties, or if you’re completely stressed out, you can contact your contact person, personal mentor or your teacher.  If you’ve got questions about what happens next or what’s going on with your study grades, or university offer or anything else, use the email  info@sgmc.ac.uk to send in questions and we will come back to you with answers to frequently asked questions.  Also, for good connectivity with college, remember that Talent Lab on-line is there where you can do activities each day which focus on your health or your future. Dip into this as you wish but mainly know that there is always somebody that can help you at the college.  When we set off for closure we said that one of the big things we would always do is keep in contact with students so please respond to that. 

Progressing Students going to University:  Don’t make rash decisions about UCAS choices.  Talk to us if you get an unexpected call about an unconditional offer from a university and don’t rush into anything. 

We will over the summer, for students that are continuing with us, we will start to integrate into the weeks that follow, some preparation for your UCAS application and some research into your university choices, just as if you were at college. 

I know that initially we said the closure would only continue until 20th April.  That was the right thing to say as we were following Government guidelines.  I’m going to say to you now that the college closure will extend, as a minimum, through to the end of May.   I still have some hope that in June we may get some students back into some lessons but I just don’t know.  We have to follow the rules as there are all sorts of scenarios here.  For sure we won’t be back at college during the month of May which will take us up to the half term as a minimum.   I will keep you informed. I do have some intelligence as to what’s likely to happen with the academic year.  But college closure will be extended for a further 5 weeks at this time. 

Thank you for reading this, stay safe and stay connected.  We are here. Although teachers also have family to look after, but we are all here and if you have any questions or comments please send it through at the info@sgmc.ac.uk email address.

Have a restful Easter if you can and stay in touch and stay healthy.”

Dave Vasse

Principal


MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL: 14th April 2020

Hi everyone,

I’m recording this on Easter Monday.  I hope you have had a restful, peaceful Easter. This is a message that continues on from the longer message I recorded last week. You need to watch that if you haven’t watched it already. You can find this on ‘You Tube’ or by clicking on this link: https://youtu.be/oitS8oe48xQ   This message assumes you have watched the earlier message.  

I am focussing now on students that are on Level 2 and Level 3 vocational courses that are finishing this year.  There are also some messages for students who are continuing with us next year, which obviously includes the Level 2 students, but there are further messages for students in Level 3 Year 1. 

Students on Year 2 of BTEC courses:  The main news today is that we now know from Ofqual, as was the case last week with A Levels and GCSE courses, that the college will be calculating grades and proposing grades for students on Level 2 courses and students on vocational courses that are finishing this year ie. Year 2 of BTEC courses.  We will be using all of the evidence we have, we will be thinking about all of the positive and hard work that you have done and we will be using that to make a calculation as to what grade we should be proposing for you.  You will not find out what that grade is, as mentioned previously the same rules apply, but be aware that we now have the evidence that we need to propose that grade.  No student will be disadvantaged because they haven’t been able to submit work for technical or health reasons over the last couple of weeks. We know you well and we’ve been working with you for most of the academic year and in some cases we’ve been working with you for 2 ½ years so we will be able to make a good proposal about your grades.   So please understand that your teachers will be able to answer any questions but they will not be able to tell you what the grade is.  If you have any general queries I strongly advise you to contact us on the following email address: info@sgmc.ac.uk and we can answer those questions and put them into a Frequently Asking Questions package for other students as well. 

So that does mean now that there are no more on-line lessons for Year 2 students who are leaving us this Summer, whether you are an A level student or a vocational student and are on the second year of your course and your course is finishing, your lessons have finished.  We will continue to contact you by phone to check you are OK.  We still consider you to be a Monoux student. 

Now that is not the case for Level 2 students because Level 2 students are basically in our view continuing students, and although your Level 2 course is now coming to a close and we will calculate the grade, what we are going to be doing is enrolling you and asking you to put your hand up to be enrolled upon a Level 3 starter course.  For example, a unit or a couple of units which will contribute towards your Level 3 course next year.  So the learning keeps going. I’ve already announced last week that GCSE English and Maths lessons will continue through the Summer term for students who are continuing as opposed to students who are leaving.  Listen to the other video to understand the rationale for that, it’s a strong rationale. 

Of course lessons continue if you are a Year 1 student in the first year of a Level 3 course.  Whether that’s vocational or A Level.  Your lessons continue in that different timetable that I talked about in the last video from 20th April.  Your teachers will be sending out messages in the next few days with further details but what I need you to understand is that Level 2 and Level 3 BTEC second year courses and second year A Level courses have now come to a close.  I also need you to understand that if you are a continuing student, you’re continuing your education with us next year, your lessons continue from the 20th April in that slightly shortened format that I’ve already described in the last video. 

Please understand these key messages.  In the meantime, I really do hope you are well.  I know that so many of you, virtually every student, in fact has now had a good telephone call home from our calling taskforce.  We’ve had some excellent engagement on your part with on-line learning.  We still have a few laptops if there are some students who are desperate for better technology.  There are not many but we’re doing everything we can to help you through this difficult time.  We’re also making plans now for when you return and how we will support you after this difficult period in all of our lives. 

So please stay very safe, keep yourselves healthy and think about the basics.  What you’re doing to keep your mind calm:  you might be exercising or going out running.  You might be reading a book and getting yourself off-line, putting the phone away or just calming yourself, grounding yourself or looking after yourself mentally.  But also look after yourself and your body in terms of what you are eating, making sure you are getting some exercise. Please do all of those things.  It’s amazing what difference it makes if you are doing something for yourself.  You’re kind of investing in yourself physically and mentally.  It will make you feel so much stronger as a person.  So much more resilient for everything that is going on. 

If you have any questions at all please contact info@sgmc.ac.uk

Thank you for paying attention to this message. I look forward to sending out messages in the future.

Take care now.

Dave Vasse

Principal


TO ALL STUDENTS:

+++ NOTIFICATION OF TEMPORARY COLLEGE CLOSURE FROM FRIDAY 2.00PM +++

++ TEACHING WILL CONTINUE ONLINE ++

++ SUPPORT WILL SWITCH TO AN ONLINE SERVICE AND PHONE CALLS ++

                                                                   ++ COLLEGE WILL BE OPEN NEXT WEEK FOR STUDENTS NEEDING TO USE P.C.S AND LRC ++

We have made the decision to suspend all lessons and not require students to attend college from Friday 20 March (from 2.00pm) for a period of 4 weeks. We hope that students can return on Monday 20 April but will confirm this nearer that date.

We will keep Monoux up and running through the services that are described below and, equally, you must take responsibility for not allowing the COVID-19 crisis to adversely affect your education. I am fully confident that we can manage to both look after ourselves and our families AND keep studying and preparing for assessment. Make this pledge to yourself right now: “I’m going to stay on track, organise myself, make good decisions – I value my education and I’m going to be proud of my work”.

TEACHING AND LEARNING CONTINUES ONLINE:

We will be keeping your lessons going at the usual time, you just have to log in to your group on Microsoft Teams. Teachers will post and present resources there, ask questions and set tasks, and be available for Q&A and feedback. You will be expected to hand in work and homework online, meeting deadlines as would usually be the case. We are taking registers!!

We know that many of you will have particular concerns around exams or assessments that might require you to be in college, or use resources that you cannot access at home. Your teachers will be giving you instructions as to plans in place to make sure that you are not disadvantaged by college closure. As long as you work hard, attend online lessons, and stay in touch with us, we are confident you will be OK.

It is difficult to be precise about some issues such as exams, as the government may make changes to existing arrangements. Of course, as soon as we know anything, we will let you know what you need to do. For this reason, it is essential that you regularly check your college email.

Please make a huge effort to study towards your maths and English GCSE or equivalent. Again, attend online lessons at the usual time.

We are aiming to keep a good quality of service going for all students. If you have any trouble accessing online learning, or any questions regarding any of this, please email info@sgmc.ac.uk

Please be patient if things don’t always run smoothly – teachers may be absent and the whole world is trying to get on to Microsoft Teams at the moment. During online lessons don’t have too much else in the home draining your wifi etc.

WE WILL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH YOU:

During this period, we will be looking after your well-being, supporting you to work hard and any solving issues you might have with accessing lessons online. Every student will receive a telephone call at least once a week from a member of support staff and will be able to have regular contact with this person via Teams. We will email you this week to let you know who your contact will be - try and meet them face to face before Friday!


These conversations will focus on checking in with you and the situation for you at home and respond to problems you’re having studying from home. Calls will also be made to parents/carers if needed. However, if you urgently need to speak to someone at the college about your well-being or safety, please email info@sgmc.ac.uk and a Safeguarding Officer will contact you.

Your timetable will remain the same, unless you hear otherwise from your teachers. Registers will be kept of your engagement with online lessons, and this will be used to calculate your attendance. If you do not attend your online lessons, calls will be made home to parent/carers in the usual way. If you are ill and unable to engage with your learning, email studentabsence@sgmc.ac.uk. If you are ill, you must make sure you include your symptoms in the email. If you receive a diagnosis of coronavirus you must tell us.

We will also send you details of other activities and sometimes more relaxing things that you can be doing if you’re stuck at home and need a break….. Think of it as Talent Lab Online…

During the closure period, illness will not affect your overall attendance or your bursary payments. You might notice the attendance on your dashboard is wrong for the first week or two - don't worry about this, it will be corrected in time. Bursary payments will continue, and we are also making arrangements for students who have Free College Meals to have this paid to your bank account.

YOU CAN COME IN TO THE COLLEGE IF NECESSARY:

Our plan is to open the LRC between 10.00am and 3.00pm Monday to Friday for students needing books or wanting to use p.c.s. The p.c.s in the Zone will also be available. It will be possible to print as normal. (We also hope to give students on the Creative Pathway access to specialist resources. Teachers will message you about this.) There will be limited capacity in these spaces.

The college will be constantly cleaned throughout this period.

However, over the coming weeks you should plan to stay at home for a lot of the time. Try to avoid using public transport and, if you do travel on a bus or train, try to keep your distance and always wash your hands as soon as possible after using that transport. The same goes for taxis. And, don’t touch your face! Remember, your mobile phone can easily carry the virus because you’re handling it as well as placing it on surfaces. Treat your mobile phone as you would your hands – clean!

WHEN WILL THE COLLEGE RE-OPEN FULLY?

We hope that you will be back on 20 April but the final decision will depend on a number of factors, including what happens to the spread of the virus in the UK, government advice on quarantine/self-isolating and decisions made at a national level about the timing of examinations. We will communicate to you through text, App, Teams, email and on our Website.

This is without doubt the single biggest challenge faced by our community, indeed our country, in many decades. I believe that with some positivity and self-discipline, as we’ve always taught you, you can keep on track and in control.

On behalf of all the staff at Monoux College, I wish you the very best of health and we all look forward to the big return very soon.


Dave Vasse

Principal