Praise from students for college’s Covid-safe environment

Published: August 25, 2020

Telford College’s work to create a Covid-safe environment for the start of the new academic year has been praised by students.

Returning students, along with those who are signing up for the first time, are now visiting the campus to enrol for courses which begin in September.

And they have praised the work which has been done around the college over the summer to maintain social distancing, sanitisation, and minimise risks of coronavirus.

A one-way system has been created around the Haybridge campus to reduce the risk of students crossing paths.

Hand sanitisation stations have been set up around the college, and a clearly signed social distancing queueing system is in operation.

Classrooms and workshops have been reconfigured to ensure there are Covid-safe, and there will be restricted access to social areas around the site.

Maddison Johnston, 16, from Madeley, has enrolled on a public uniformed services course.

Maddison Johnson | Telford College

Maddison Johnson | Telford College

The former Much Wenlock William Brookes School student said: “I don’t think there’s any concerns about being here. I’m happy the college has ironed out any issues and taken everyone’s safety very seriously.

“Enrolment was very well organised. I wasn’t worried about social distancing because the college had arranged spacing throughout the process.”

“The whole thing only took 25 minutes – I checked through my paperwork and my tutor checked my grades, I had my own desk, my own space so I didn’t have to get too close to anyone, it was all very efficient.”

Harvey Birrell, 16, another public uniformed services student who arrived to enrol, said: “When I first walked in it seemed everything was very well organised.

Harvey Birrell | Telford College

Harvey Birrell | Telford College

“The college has got spacing measures in place so you physically cannot get too close to anyone.

“I was nervous about coming to a new college and meeting new people – but not about social distancing, because the college is well managed and prepared for it.”

Telford College is running a new ‘blended learning’ timetable from September, with flexibility the key factor for staff and students.

Principal and chief executive Graham Guest said: “Our priorities throughout the whole Covid-19 period have been to save lives, protect student achievement, and ensure that students have a place with us in September.

“Inevitably, there are going to be different curriculum plans for different areas, reflecting the contrasting needs of our students, and the practical nature of many courses.

“But as a general principle, we have built a blended learning timetable which will involve most students spending much of their time in college, but also studying from home.”

He said the new timetable would involve staggered start and finish times, with students spending time on site whenever possible, but with restricted use of social areas around the campus.

Online learning platforms which have been operating successfully for the past few months will continue to be used to deliver some elements of the curriculum remotely.

Mr Guest added: “Education is essential to a student’s healthy development – and missing too much can have a negative impact on their mental and physical wellbeing.

“There is a delicate balancing act, and we are working hard to make sure all possible practical measures are in place for the new term.

A small number of students have already returned to Telford College over the past couple of months to complete practical elements of their courses, or sit final exams.