Welcome back! September 2021
At Brampton we are delighted to be able to open and operate a normal timetable and level of provision to our students this academic year. Our new students have joined us from many schools and colleges and come with very different experiences of learning during lockdown and of anti-covid measures. Looking back on the past eighteen months, we can be proud that our full curriculum continued to run online during the lockdowns and that we had very few positive covid tests with no internal transmission (none of our positive cases past the virus to another member of the college community).
We believe our success in the latter is due in no small part to the mitigation measures we had in place throughout the year, mainly in response to the transmission rates in the local area. We went above and beyond measures recommended by the government and were often a step-ahead of government advice. For example, we introduced mask wearing before it was mandatory and closed earlier than we were required ahead of both lockdowns.
To promote the safety of the whole college community and ensure as far as possible that learning is not disrupted this year by periods of isolation among the staff or student body, we intend to continue with our mitigation measures this term. These measures will remain in place until we feel that the rates of infection in the local area and nationally are at a level at which our staff and students feel confident that they can be relaxed.
This means that our one-way system remains in place as does the requirement to wear masks at all times when on-site and we will be socially distancing in the college buildings as far as possible. However, we believe that the two most important measures we can take are to encourage every member of the college community to be fully vaccinated and to maximise ventilation in all areas of the college as fully as possible. We are supporting students (all staff are already fully vaccinated) to find vaccination venues and have a ‘windows open’ policy in all rooms to ensure we can achieve this.
The students arriving this week have embraced these simple measures and we are confident that they will help support us as we do all we can to keep the college community safe and well this term. Who knows what the future will bring with regard to Covid-19? But whatever we are required to do or whatever we feel is necessary, we are ready and will have plans in place to respond quickly to any changes in circumstances. We are all looking forward to a positive term and to being able to deliver as fully as possible the high quality provision that Brampton is renowned for.
Normality returns to college life with full Covid-safe protocols, June 2021
Along with most other Schools and Colleges in the UK, Brampton was delighted to return to face-to-face lessons on 8 March. We were able to look back on a successful remote learning period and were confident that despite the lockdown, our students lost very little learning time. Lessons were delivered in the Spring term via a range of media and we were able to operate our full timetable.
It was for this reason that we felt comfortable to continue with our scheduled mock examination series in the week of 8 March when schools were opening back up following the lockdown. Although taking exams in the first week back was a big ask to our students who had been away from college for so long, they dealt with it admirably and, despite their examinations, were delighted to be back in college and among their peers. Before that, a huge challenge was to establish a covid-19 lateral flow testing centre at the college to test every staff member and student three times each over the course of the first week of the return. It is testament to the resourcefulness and adaptability of the Brampton community that we are able to set-up such a system and that it worked as smoothly as it did.
Beyond examinations it has been wonderful to have some semblance of normality return to college life. Students and staff alike quickly adapted well to being back in college and as many lessons and activities as possible have been running. In particular the Student Council has been very active this term and they are aiming to make up for time lost during lockdown. Aware that the broken year and reduced in-person contact has meant that friendships have not been allowed to flourish as much as they might in normal circumstances, they have arranged a series of team-building and social events for the final week of term. These will take place in and around our regular series of UCAS and university preparation activities that will be delivered through a combination of face-to-face and in-person talks and workshops.
While college life has return to normality as far as possible, we have maintained our full Covid-safe protocols including social distancing where possible, wearing of masks at all times, regular temperature checks and twice weekly lateral flow testing recommended for all. Although we will look back on the year as perhaps the strangest and most disjointed in the college’s history, it will also be one in which the true spirit of the college has shone through and the community drew closer together.
Virtual college life thriving with full timetable of lessons, UCAS programme, Wellbeing support and enrichment activity, January 2021
Like all schools and colleges in the UK, the Spring term of the 2020/21 academic year has started like no other before it. Just when it seemed that some sense of normality was returning to college life in the Autumn term, we were once again required to close our doors and begin teaching and learning from home. Although our doors may be closed for now, once again, the adaptability, resilience and determination of the Brampton College staff and student body have been inspiring and have helped us to transition back to online learning while barely breaking stride with the delivery of our full curriculum.
During the first lockdown in the Spring of 2020, Brampton was one of few schools and colleges able to continue to deliver a full schedule of lessons remotely using a combination of Google classroom, Zoom and other remote teaching and learning tools. This time around, our teachers have proven to be equally adaptable and again Brampton is able to deliver a full teaching timetable to all students. This time teachers are being encouraged to use an even more diverse range of tools and techniques to maintain engagement and reduce ‘screen-time’ where possible.
However, it is not only the delivery of lessons that is important to ensure that college life continues. Our careers team continue to launch our university application support programmes this term and are available for one-to-one meetings, via zoom, with all students in the AS year. The college has hosted, again via video link, a speaker from the University of Nottingham who addressed students, on important considerations to make when choosing a university. We have also had a parent seminar delivered by the University of Birmingham on the same topic. Later this term we have another online seminar from the University of Nottingham on applying to Medical School and we have a study skills and workshop to be delivered by the exciting ‘Elevate Educate’ group.
Meanwhile we have reviewed many of our usual activities to make them more relevant to online learning and to lockdown. Our hugely popular Wellbeing programme for lower sixth students continues, but we have switched the emphasis to be on managing personal wellbeing while at home in these challenging circumstances and tutors are in more regular one-to-one contact with their tutees than they might be when the college building is open. This programme is prepared in conjunction with our Learning Support team who continues to offer a full service to all students who require their expert services. We have also inaugurated a weekly, whole college assembly at which all students and staff can join to be together for a short time each week and feel a part of the college community.
Finally, we continue to strive to keep the co-curricular life of the college alive with our enrichment activities despite our building being physically closed. Students are continuing to prepare articles for our superb college magazine and blog, our Student Council continue to meet regularly and initiatives including the Green Committee and the Young Enterprise will all be delivered remotely this half term.
Although the building may be closed for now, college life at Brampton has never felt more alive and we are excited to be able to offer students a full college experience despite the circumstances. This is a credit to our hard-working and committed staff, but also a tribute to our student body who have proven to be adaptable and resilient in the face of unprecedented and unpredictable change.
Business as usual, but with your safety in mind, September 2020
We opened for enrolment as normal, and enjoyed meeting many potential students over the last few weeks. We still have some students enrolling and if you are invited to come into the College for an interview, rest assured that we have given careful thought to your safety.
On arrival, we ask that all visitors have their temperature checked using a contactless scanner. Hand sanitiser is provided at strategic points throughout the College, and in every interview room. Our interview rooms and communal areas are laid out with social distancing in mind, and we have a one-way system in place to ensure that a safe distance from others can be maintained while moving around the College buildings.
We opened our doors to students in September, and we are delivering a full time table in all subjects, with the safety of our students and staff firmly in mind. Having successfully provided a full timetable of lessons to our students remotely throughout the lockdown period, we are fully prepared for teaching remotely should a second lockdown, or any change to Government guidance, be announced.
Message from the Principal, September 2020
I am delighted to welcome students back to Brampton this term following the enforced closure of the College due to the Covid-19 outbreak. I am incredibly proud of both the students and staff, whom managed the transition to remote learning with ease in the summer term. We were able to deliver every lesson and ensure the curriculum continued right through to the end of the academic year.
It was also an exceptional year in terms of students being unable to sit their exams, but our students were fairly awarded another year of outstanding results – with 69.8% achieving A*/A and 91% A*-B grades. 77% of our students gained places at their first choice university, the majority Russell Group universities, including Oxbridge.
It was wonderful to see both returning and new students arrive at college ready to learn in the first week of term, and we look forward to delivering our usual, full and high-quality curriculum face-to-face. However, it goes without saying that we are living through the most unique and unusual circumstances and the College cannot simply return to ‘business as usual’. There will be varying levels of concern and anxiety, but I would like to reassure all parents, students and staff that we take our responsibility to safeguard their health and wellbeing very seriously and a number of measures have been put in place.
We have considered the advice of the UK government, other advisory boards and consulted our own staff to produce an advice document that has been distributed college-wide. We also continue to monitor local rates of infection and ongoing changes to advice to ensure we are able to implement any changes quickly if they become necessary. Students have been addressed about our own Covid-19 mitigation measures, as well as their broader social responsibilities, as part of our induction procedure and I have been hugely impressed with the sensible and mature approach taken by them in relation to this serious matter.
We cannot know what course the fight against the virus will take in the coming weeks and months. However, I am confident that Brampton is playing its part to mitigate its spread whilst delivering our commitment to excellent teaching and learning, university preparation and all-round student experience.
With kindest regards,
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