COVID Update – 05/01/21

Dear students, parents and carers

Once again we find ourselves in times of uncertainty and having to respond to government announcements and the pressures created by this pandemic.  I understand the level of concern regarding our students’ education, exam preparation and overall grades. Nonetheless, it’s our student’s welfare that is equally important to us and at Discovery we pride ourselves on supporting our learners. Therefore, I feel it is important to keep you fully informed throughout this lockdown.

We’ve all learned over the past few months, government advice and guidance can (and will likely) change quickly. Therefore, maintaining a balance between safety and education will continue to be at the forefront of our plans.

As always, we have been working closely with our partners at Plymouth City Council and our local schools to ensure we are following the latest guidelines. Therefore, after careful consideration and consultation, I can lay out a summary of our intended direction over the next few weeks:

  • Discovery College will continue to function virtually until further notice (via Google Classroom / Google Meet), with online learning being delivered on our students’ normal timetabled days / times. The majority of students must therefore remain at home and will receive remote online lessons from their teachers. If any student is having difficulties accessing these lessons, or in need of borrowing IT resources (i.e. Google Chromebook) please contact enquiries@discoverycollege.org.uk
  • Lessons will start at 9am, with registers still being taken twice daily. This will continue throughout the national lockdown period to maintain levels of engagement and learning.
  • Following guidance from the Department of Education, we have taken the decision to cancel all exams due to take place in January in the interest of student safety. Alternative provision will be put in place regarding student grading.
  • All our key worker / vulnerable learners have already been contacted regarding the provision of on-site learning (Educare) and will be welcome to attend Discovery College on their pre-arranged days.
  • In terms of University applicants, students will be supported by our ‘Independent Advice and Guidance Lead’ (Kirsten Puddephatt). She will be on-hand to support our students who are progressing their UCAS applications, or even exploring Apprenticeships and career options. Kirsten can be contacted via email on kirsten.p@discoverycollege.org.uk
  • Our ‘Student Liaison Officer’ (Nicole Chapman) will continue to be a point of contact if any of our students have any concerns, needs or mental health support. She can be contacted at nicole.c@discoverycollege.org.uk
  • We are awaiting further clarification on the summer examinations. The Government are in conversation with Ofqual with regards to GCSE (retakes) and vocational courses. As yet, we do not know the details and cannot assume it will be the same as last year, when Centre Assessed Grades were used. As soon as we are aware of any developments we will let you know.

I hope the above information helps to support our college community. Should parents wish to forward us information about a change to their present circumstances, or want to express their thoughts about our potential plans, please email us on enquiries@discoverycollege.org.uk and we will endeavour to answer your queries within 24-48 hours.

Can I thank all our students, parents, carers and partners for their support and adaptability. All the staff send their warmest wishes and look forward to supporting you over the coming weeks.

Tom Lavis