17 February 2021

Dear Students, Parents and Guardians,

As we enter the final week of this half term, I wanted to write and thank you for your hard work in recent weeks and share my thoughts on what the next half term may bring.
I have been so impressed by the many ways in which the vast majority of you have continued to adapt to the ever changing situation caused by the Covid pandemic. I appreciate that having to live, let alone study, within these restrictions will have been challenging at times for every one of you in the past six weeks and therefore greatly admire you for your continued commitment to your studies during this time.

For those of you studying full time study programmes or FE courses, we still await further details from the Government regarding the outcome of the recent consultations led by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) on how your final grades will be awarded, Ofqual have announced that this information will be shared during the week of 22nd February and that will of course include details of whether exams that have been missed will be re-arranged or assessed in alternative ways.

For those of you on our Foundation or Honours degree programmes, I know that your Tutors will have already been adapting your assignments in in collaboration with our university partners to ensure that you meet your module learning outcomes and we remain hopeful that semester one exams can be sat at the end of year.

If you are one of our Apprentices, I am aware that End Point Assessments are still able to be booked, albeit with some slight delays, if you are at or nearing the end of your studies.
Regardless though of which type of programme, level or subject you are studying, I can guarantee you all that the effort and work that you continue to put in now and over the next half term will count. Not only is this likely to still form part of your final grade for this year or your qualification overall but as importantly, it will go a long way to enabling you to develop your knowledge, understanding and expertise in your sector. This in turn will help you in determining your future career long after you leave Plumpton. We always have and will continue to support and challenge you to attend all your lessons and work as hard as you can, and this doesn’t change now. In fact the current situation is an opportunity to focus on your studies and work harder than ever.

Returning to college

After Half Term, I am hopeful that we will see you back here at college at some point before Easter, but as always we are guided by advice from the Government, and specifically the Department for Education, Public Health England and the Office for Students (for our HE students).

As many of you will have read, we should all expect an update soon after Half Term and to have at least a couple of weeks to plan for re-opening to students after that point. This means that your virtual lessons will continue exactly as they have been in those first few weeks after Half Term.

The College was due to have a very important staff Inset/training day on Wednesday 24th February, which we have now moved to Monday 22nd February. This day will focus on supporting our staff to continue to do their very best in teaching and supporting you. Therefore, for you all, your studies will resume from Tuesday 23rd February, following that same timetable as you have since Christmas (or for Foundation or Honours degree programmes – the timetable for Semester two).

As soon as we have an update from the Government about re-opening, I will write to you with immediate effect, and set out all of the necessary details you will need regarding transport, residence, timetables and ultimately the safety measures that we will still need to have in place to create as safe an environment as we can for all of you and our staff. I am conscious that refunds for bus tickets and residence were given only up until half term, and will let you know when we can refund these further as soon as we have that detail around re-opening.

In the meantime, please remain focused on your work and on your lessons now and after Half Term. When you do return to college we will of course be looking at ways in which we can increase and enhance your practical experience, but elements of that will be dependent on your attendance at your virtual lessons (including English and maths for those of you who study these subjects).

Please also continue to access the wide range of support available to all our students (as detailed in my letter of 5.1.21):

  • The Inclusive Learning and Development team are offering online learning support in a variety of forms including:
  • Group sessions on using Microsoft Teams and the assistive technology available
  • 30 minute 1:1 Structured Support sessions which can be booked through the Inclusive Learning
  • and Development team via your tutors or self-referral
  • Online Learning Support Assistants in some virtual theory lessons (as per your existing
  • timetable)
  • 1:1 sessions with a Key Learning Mentor for identified students
  • Personal Development Programmes for identified students

Please get in touch with your Personal Tutor/Progress Coach or contact:
dereen.taylor@plumpton.ac.uk
hugh.hennesseyholland@plumpton.ac.uk

Our Student Wellbeing & Safeguarding team are available Monday to Friday, 9am - 4pm to help students’ access emotional support. This could include general support and advice on wellbeing, details of support services in your area, or referral to counselling through the Plumpton College Counselling Service provided by As You Are Counselling Centre.

The team can be contacted via:
Student Wellbeing WhatsApp - 07387 411834

Or email safeguarding@plumpton.ac.uk

Finally, your Personal Tutor/Progress Coach will be talking to many of you over the coming weeks regarding your thoughts and plans for the next academic year. Whilst I am incredibly proud of the staff here for doing their best to maintain your teaching in recent weeks and am confident we can deliver the remainder of your syllabus when you return to college, I would urge you all to consider remaining at Plumpton for at least another year. The land-based sector needs people trained to the highest level possible and by continuing to invest in yourselves to further develop your skills and expertise, this will only benefit you and your future job prospects in the long term.

Please also stay in touch. As I have said before, we value that contact with you so please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if you have any queries, contact jeremy.kerswell@plumpton.ac.uk

For now, take care and hopefully see you soon.

Yours sincerely,
Jeremy Kerswell
Principal

Categories: Updates from the Principal, Covid-19

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