Weston College has planned the concept of reopening from the time it closed.
A number of key initiatives have been employed including:
- "My Virtual College" where on a weekly basis there is communication from myself on a range of issues including updates from staff, students and employers reflecting best practice, new initiatives etc; I attach an example of what we do which gets sent to the Minister weekly.
- "Employer Network " where our business growth team liase with every employer weekly dealing with issues of furloughed employees, staff development etc
- "Mental Health Awareness Training" a series of on line courses to assist employers and individuals at this very difficult time.
- "Manufacture and Design of PPE "- training packages available on youtube showing how items can be manufactured. I attach an example of face mask production. https://youtu.be/nxD-nQ9kmq4
- the "MOMENTUM" programme- a planning team drawn from all aspects of the College to plan for the next 12 months- Please see the detail below. *
- "SEND Centre Of Excellence podcasts/seminars" - We are running training nationally for FE colleges and other training institutions on how to support learners both at a distance and face to face. Demand is significant and we have just today alone run 3 courses for practitioners. I will also be running a similar course for leavers.
We will be opening on a phased basis from June but plan in the main for a fully blended approach . Attendance is very high top 80s and low 90s with a bespoke follow up mechanism and a bespoke support/tracking service. In the interim period we have been opening one day a week for some SEND and vulnerable learners. Our students in HE have tended to remain in their residential accommodation. Our approach is business as normal albeit in a highly digitalised agenda.
Harnessing talent for the future across Weston College Group
- Motivation - Learners/Staff
- Opportunity - New Landscape
- Manage - Change and People
- Encourage - Breed Confidence
- Navigate - Funding, Data and Connectivity
- Training - Now and for the Future
- Unite - One purpose/One Vision
- Mastermind - Delivery/Direction and Pace
Our Further Education journey is one of significant change
We as leaders/managers need to embrace the opportunities it will present and respond with both ingenuity and uniqueness of approach. Currently, we are holding our own but with a number of unfilled vacancies at Leadership board level and currently interviewing for three senior posts alongside forthcoming retirements we could face a skills imbalance or shortage.
Business Continuity is critical
The Governing Body over the last 12 months have considered the future and have also received a number of independent reports around curriculum systems and sustainability. The conclusions they have drawn is that an element of change will be necessary and are also considering strengthening support for the role of the Principal and Chief Executive.
Given the current environment
Care must be exercised but at present and certainly in time we will have insufficient expertise to operate in a full and effective manner. With that in mind the College will advance the current advertised roles to interview stage recognising that there is no guarantee of successful appointment. In addition, the Governing Body has requested that the Principal and Chief Executive enables a restructure/ re alignment of responsibilities across the Group. This will include the recruitment of an Associate Principal/Director of Adult Training.
The perspective of the Principal is to create a new interim team
The rationale here is that within the College there is talent emerging and developing- even with the current lockdown some staff have shone in terms of their innovative skill set and commitment. Therefore, a key number of people will be invited to join "MOMENTUM" which will work with Leadership Board to fashion the change mechanisms for the future. This will provide the springboard for change into an era of excellence albeit potentially delivered in a very different way.
The realities are daunting, the rewards are infinite
Over the last two months the College has significantly advanced its experience and usage of digital technologies. This will form a key part of a new approach for teaching and learning that will ensure our current and unique ethos continues to thrive. "MOMENTUM" will assist Leadership Board and Governors in approaching key challenges ensuring dynamic solutions, but also enabling Leadership Board to become more strategic. The uniqueness shown by managers effecting operational strategies has without doubt contributed to our strong current position.
The creation of ‘MOMENTUM’ will be the catalyst to enable the College to start a new era of strategic planning. Whilst terms of reference will be created it will immediately focus on the delivery strategies for the 2020/21 year ranging from health and safety, resource access, curriculum delivery and design, support and development. The ‘MOMENTUM’ group will consist of talented individuals capable of blue-sky thinking where level/experience will be less important than initiative/hunger for success.
The above is subject to the sign off by Senior Governors in the week commencing 11 May 2020. (We will need to check this was signed off)