Praise to community for helping college with online learning during lockdown

Sidmouth College Principal Sarah Parsons with one of the donated laptops

Sidmouth College Principal Sarah Parsons with one of the donated laptops - Credit: Sidmouth College

Staff at Sidmouth College have expressed their gratitude to the people of Sidmouth who answered their call for help in securing laptops and PCs so that students could work from home during the current lockdown.
35 laptops have so far been donated following the appeal which was necessary after surveys carried out by the college found that a number of students working from home either had no access to a PC or laptop, or limited access due to sharing with siblings/parents. This meant that students haven’t been able to take part in online lessons.
Despite 42 devices being made available by the Department for Education, significantly more students are in need of help with getting online and Sidmouth College is receiving requests for support from families on a daily basis.
Assistant Principal Jen Carr, said: “Sidmouth College is proud to be part of the amazing community of Sidmouth and we have had the pleasure of being able to speak to members of the community who have come forward to make donations to support the students and their families at this time. We are extremely grateful for all donations we have received so far. The laptops will make a huge difference to our students, who otherwise would not have been able to fully access their remote education.”
“The donations of laptops means that students can not only access remote education set by teachers, but they can also participate in live online lessons, as well as regular Google Meet tutor sessions with their tutor group. This allows college staff to stay in contact with every student and provide support for remote education and pastoral care. Google Meet sessions also allow students to see and engage with their classmates and keep that important social contact to support their wellbeing. The provision of laptops has a huge impact on their education.”

Sidmouth College Principal, Sarah Parsons

Sidmouth College Principal, Sarah Parsons - Credit: Sidmouth College

College Principal Sarah Parsons, said: “The College is coping well with the current restrictions thanks to the fantastic support from our parents, staff and wider community. We are providing on-site provision for our critical worker and vulnerable students, and a high quality remote education offer for those accessing work from home. We are really focussing on communication, support and feedback throughout this period of lockdown. 
“We know that for our students the routine, stability and social interactions that they have from coming into the college are so important for their wellbeing and therefore we are prioritising this during this period of closure. Students follow their normal timetables, their teachers are online to support and provide feedback as well as to deliver live lessons. Our students also take part in a tutor session three times a week. 
“We have also introduced lateral flow Covid testing at the college, with staff being tested once a week and students tested on their return to the college. Setting up the testing at short notice was a challenge, however we had an amazing response from the community who answered our call for volunteers and as a result we have a group supporting us every week to carry out these tests. The college is such an integral part of the town, and I am grateful for all the support that we are receiving.”
She went on to say: “I would like to express my thanks to our parent community and wider community. It is very rewarding when a parent takes the time to provide us with feedback and I have been overwhelmed by the support and appreciation that I and the rest of the staff have received. 
“Our students are a real credit and should be proud of how they are coping during this challenging time. In this period of continued uncertainty they have shown maturity, resilience and an admiral attitude to their education. The staff at the college are looking forward to welcoming all our students back later on this term.”

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