Not surprisingly, our plans for reopening are not yet fully formed. However, we are aiming to bring back in those doing a practical subject who need an assessment (not that Ofqual have decided this yet), those who are vulnerable who have not attended to date and apprentices who have to complete an end point assessment which cannot be done remotely. We will probably bring back some year 12 A Level students but this part of the plan is being discussed on Monday.
We have been open ever since the lock-down in Chichester and Worthing and latterly in Crawley. We offered students who fell into the category the chance to attend. Not surprisingly many parents did not take this option but we have a small number who benefitted from attendance. For this reason I have worked on site at Chichester every day since lock-down and led the Group from my office, but all on my own which is very strange. We transferred all our leadership and management meetings on line and this has worked pretty well. We have had two Group management team meetings with 90 attendees and Group Quality Forums where we have shared teaching & learning practice across the Group on most Fridays. Our Quality managers have dropped into online lessons to check quality and we have surveyed learners three times during the lockdown to gain feedback on their experience.
Morale is a particularly difficult issue to judge during lockdown. We asked the question at the last Group management meeting and had strong responses that managers’ teams were positive. However it is very difficult to verify. We have our annual staff survey running at the moment so will see the results in a couple of weeks. On mental health we have publicised resources from a range of sources but have no way to verify take-up. We have 200+ furloughed staff who will be feeling pretty concerned.
We had held our weekly Group Leadership Team meeting (GLT) every week virtually that this has worked well. Key points are then fed back to staff on a Friday. We have continued with our normal programme of governors meetings, using zoom to connect. We even held a Student Committee with 35 student representatives from the Students Union on the virtual meeting. So far we have held a full Governing Body meeting and Student Committee. The other committee meetings are not due to be held until next month. We also have a bi-weekly 9am operations meeting (it was originally daily) to check on any problems. We have a staff representative system, each with a constituency and we meet twice a term at lunch time to discuss operational issues and once a term in a formal meeting chaired by a governor. This allows us to temperature check and identify any immediate issues as well as consulting staff on any changes we want to make.
On risk, we produced a separate Covid-19 risk register which has been useful. There have also been regular team meetings across the Group.