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Graham Guest Telford Journal Column September 2020

Well, the new academic year is now safely up and running – and I’m delighted with the way in which everyone has pulled together to adapt college life to these challenging times.

Students have been incredibly respectful of the Covid-19 safety measures and policies we have put in place around our campus, and understanding of the need to operate in class ‘bubbles’ to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

But we know that if students are to truly thrive in our college environment, they need to feel safe and supported.

So, do they? Since the start of the new academic year, we’ve been carrying out a survey among our students to gauge exactly how they feel about college life.

And we’re heartened to say that, at the time of writing, 100% of those questioned have said they feel Telford College has created a safe environment, and 97% found the induction process well structured, and clear.

This hasn’t happened by accident, of course. I must say a big thank you to the college team who have worked so hard behind the scenes throughout the summer to make this happen.

We’ve received some truly heart-warming comments from our student survey so far. One of the questions we posed was: What would you tell a friend about your first few days?

Answers have included ‘I think the college is a great and secure place to learn’, ‘very welcoming and fun’, ‘all the staff are friendly, welcoming and willing to help’, and ‘everyone I have met so far has been really friendly’.

Another student wrote: “It’s incredible. I highly recommend Telford College.” We’re glad they feel this way, and very grateful for their comments. We certainly don’t take this for granted.

As you can imagine, one of the biggest challenges right now is to stay on top of the changing Covid-19 guidelines, and reflect the public mood.

We are constantly reviewing risk and safety procedures on campus, and weighing them against the need to support students to achieve their qualifications, and minimise disruption.

Since the start of term, we have updated our policy regarding face coverings to reflect the national situation, meaning it is now mandatory for all students to wear a face covering when they are moving around college buildings, in corridors, restaurants, reception, and other communal areas. The same applies to parents and visitors.

We are mindful that we are a community here at Telford College, and communities are always at their most powerful and effective when they work together.