Information for Parents
We are committed to providing a quality learning environment at Wigan & Leigh College that prepares all of our students for the world around them. While we endeavour to recognise that this is a transition from school into a new and exciting adult environment we are firmly committed to providing the boundaries and expectations that help develop young people into valuable, contributing members of society.
We have a dedicated Parents Guide that will include a range of information from contact details to disciplinary procedures.
Important Information - Return to College and Covid Testing
I hope that this letter find you well and once again we would like to extend our thanks to students, parents, guardians and staff for their support and engagement during this term, all have shown great compassion and resilience.
At every stage of this crisis, our priority has been the health, wellbeing and safety of our staff and students whilst ensuring that a high standard of education could continue. We could never have imagined last March that we would still be in a lockdown in February 2021 but it is pleasing to now see a light at the end of the tunnel following the government’s announcement this week that schools and colleges can start to return from the 8th March as part of the roadmap for leaving lockdown. We are really excited to see our students return and look forward to seeing and hearing busy and ambitious classrooms once more.
Returning to College
We know you will appreciate that the government’s announcement to re-open schools and colleges, and the issuing of associated guidance, has only been received by schools and colleges this week. Because of the scale of that logistical challenge, the government has given colleges some discretion as to how to phase the return of their students. Therefore, in order to keep our college community as safe as possible, we will be introducing a gradual return to college over the next few weeks commencing Mon 8th March.
Each student, class and department will be notified of their return date to college by their Head of Department and curriculum teams. Please note that in the meantime all timetables will continue on-line.
As before, we are fully committed to ensuring college life feels as normal as possible and providing our students with an ambitious, fun and safe learning environment which enables them to flourish academically, socially and emotionally.
What is new?
Additional testing - during lockdown we have continued to teach and test staff and vulnerable students who have been studying or working on-site. During this next period of our phased return to college, we will continue our initial offer of on-site testing of all asymptomatic students and this offer will now be extended to include two further tests in college before students proceed to complete home testing. Whilst it is not compulsory to take these tests, government health advice is that effective testing helps to stop the spread of the virus spreading and will mean that colleges are a safe as possible, so we are encouraging participation where possible and feel proud as the significant majority of our students are keen and willing to take the test in order to help and protect others. It has been very encouraging to see how naturally, quickly and easily our students have responded to visiting the test centre but where a problem does exist, do not hesitate to speak to us.
By getting used to carrying out a lateral test in college, with the support of staff, students will then feel safe and confident to carry out home tests at the next stage of this process.
Trained staff and supervised/checked volunteers will supervise the tests taken at college. Lateral flow tests are quick and easy to administer using a swab of your nose and throat. Results take around half an hour from testing.
Prior to testing, we ask all students to download a copy of the testing App which makes the procedure much easier and quicker for all. We will also ask for a consent form to be completed but this is only required once when they return. A guidance sheet to help with downloading the App and a copy of the consent form are attached. Please note that students over the age of 16 can give consent themselves and a parent/carer signature is only needed where capacity is an issue.
The government has recommended the use of face masks indoors – including in classrooms – unless a two-metre social distancing can be maintained or you are exempt. This policy will be reviewed over the Easter holiday or before if new guidance becomes available but will remain in place until then.
We encourage all staff and students to ensure they have suitable face masks ready for the resumption of returning to college on or after the 8th March.
Link to most up-to-date information from NHS and Public Health England –
https/www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ or https//coronavirusresources.phe.gov.uk/.
Existing Covid-safety measures include: Staggered starts, timetables and lunch breaks, no mixing of bubbles, one way systems, no assemblies or large indoor social gatherings, increased hand washing promoted, hand sanitiser stations throughout college, increased cleaning of surfaces, no sharing of materials or paperwork, increased staff presence when entering the building and in corridors, a blended learning model available for higher level and adult students, full access to support staff and timetable lessons and handouts/marked work sent electronically where possible to avoid the risk of cross contamination.
Please note – students and staff should not attend college if they, or anyone in their household, has any of the following symptoms:
A new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss of smell or taste.
If you or anyone in your household does have these symptoms please stay at home and call 119 to access a Covid test or visit the NHS website.
If you feel generally unwell, please call the sick line on the back of your student ID card.
Travelling to college:
We encourage students to walk or cycle to College where possible
If you can, limit the time spend of public transport. When on public transport or a college bus, wear a mask and try to social distance at all times.
Public transport timetables may change during the next few weeks and therefore we advise any students using public transport to check timetables before travelling.
Thank you for your patience and support, we have really appreciated your kind comments throughout this lockdown and we know that many of you have been home schooling yourself so well done, you have done an incredible job!
Our remote teaching will remain as it currently stands so please be reassured that during this transition period our students education will continue. We are delighted that our students are returning and we welcome your support over the next few weeks as we all return to college in a safe and supportive manner.
Staying safe At College
- Walk or cycle
- Wear face coverings if using public transport
- Do not car share with anyone outside your household
- Hand wash and sanitise as soon as you arrive at College and regularly throughout the day
- Optional face covering
- Sanitise your kit
- Don’t share food and drink
- Wash or sanitise your hands when you leave College and as soon as you get home
- Social distance
- Follow one-way system
- Take breaks outdoors
- Cards not cash payments
- Cough into your arm or a tissue that you dispose of
If you feel ill
- Do not come to College
- If in College, tell a member of staff immediately
- Follow government guidelines
- Do not meet in large groups
- Wave not hug (just for now)
- Don’t share pens and handouts
- If you go to the shops or into town, social distance
Classroom Culture and Top Tips for Success
- Remain in your seat for the duration of the session do not wander around the classroom unless your tutor asks you to.
- Do not swap or share handouts, pens or any other resources.
- Wipe down your workstation before and after use with anti-bacterial wipes provided.
- If you choose to wear a disposable face covering use the bins provided to throw them away.
The Persian poet Rumi says; “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there”
- It’s okay to be curious - ask if you have a question.
- It’s okay to be anxious, if you are concerned, we are here to help.
- Maintain a routine and be organised, it will help you to remain focused and is a good life skill.
What is netiquette?
Netiquette is a combination of the words network and etiquette and is defined as a set of rules for acceptable online behaviour. Similarly, online ethics focuses on the acceptable use of online resources in an online social environment.
It means respecting other users’ views and displaying common courtesy when posting your views to online discussion groups.
For example, on an email discussion list - where not everyone may have seen past messages - it’s considered polite to quote from a message you’re replying to, so your response has context. It’s also considered polite to keep those quotes short and relevant.
The basic rule
- Refrain from personal abuse. You may express robust disagreement with what someone says, but don’t call them names or threaten them with personal violence.
- Write clearly and succinctly. On a site that has many non-native English speakers, avoid using slang they may not understand.
- Remember that your posts are public. They can be read by your parents, or your tutor.
- Stay on-topic, especially when you’re new. Don’t post about football in a hair-care forum or about hair care in a gardening forum!
- Don’t expect other people to do your homework for you. If you’relooking for technical help, for example, don’t ask questions you could easily answer yourself by reading the manual or online help provided with the product. When you do ask for help, includedetails of what attempts you’ve made to solve the problem. It will save time and also show people that you are making an effort to help yourself.
- Do not post copyrighted material to which you do not own the rights. Sites vary in how strict they are about this, but as well as facing the possibility of legal action by the rights holder, you may also get the site sued.
- The site’s owner, perhaps assisted by one or more moderators, has the final say in enforcing the rules.
Almost every site has a page for newcomers that describes its rules of good behaviour. Usually this page will appear as the terms and conditions you must agree to when you open your account. However, sites may have additional information. You should read all of it. Check to see if the site has a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section. FAQs typically include questions that have been asked and answered hundreds of times. If you have any queries about site protocol, you will most likely discover the dos and don’ts here. Finally, it’s always wise to see what the discussion group have been talking about for a week or two before you begin to post your messages. Online, as in real life, it can take a long time to get past a bad first impression.
10 Rules of Netiquette
- Rule 1 The human element
- Words, photos, or videos that you post are read by real people and they all deserve respectful communication. So before you press that “send” or “submit” button, ask yourself “would I have a problem if someone else had written it?”. Whenever you communicate online, through email, instant messaging, group discussion, or any cyber activity, remember the golden rule “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.
- Rule 2 If you wouldn't do it in real life, don't do it online.
- Would you stand in front someone and be rude faceto- face? Hopefully, you don’t. Stick to that standard online as well.
- Rule 3 Cyberspace is a diverse place
- You might be super awkward or funny around your friends, but you behave somehow formally at work; the online space is also geographically dispersed; so the word choice and topics you send to your WhatsApp group should not be the same as the email you send to your colleague, even if it’s between you two.
- Rule 4 Respect people's time and bandwidth
- Online communication consumes time and bandwidth (megabytes) and people lead busy lives these days. You don’t want to be that stop sign with your fancy elaborated paragraph. Keep it short and simple, and reduce sending videos and photos that people need to download.
- Rule 5 Check yourself
- You will, however, be judged based on your content and engagement, so keep these tips in mind:• Perform spelling and grammar checks, Grammarly, is FREE and integrates seamlessly online.• Make sure you did your homework on the subject and chose clear words.• Be positive and courteous in your general behavior.
- Rule 6 Share your expertise
- Information can live on the internet forever, where it will remain accessible by people for years to come. Sharing your expertise consistently plays a big part in shaping your personal brand; this is how influencers are made.
- Rule 7 Extinguish Flame wars (metaphorically speaking)
- Flaming is when people express their annoyance on a subject without withholding their emotions. Flame wars, however, is when two or more people exchange angry and explicit posts between each other. This must be controlled before it escalates to compromise the integrity of the group. Don’t feed the flames; extinguish them by guiding the discussion back to a more productive direction.
- Rule 8 Respect people's privacy
- Maybe you mentioned someone in a rather embarrassing story or wrote a post that revealed something they were trying to hide. What do you think the consequences would be? Embarrassment? Hurt feelings? Job loss maybe? So remember rule #1 “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.
- Rule 9 With great power comes great responsibility
- Being extremely tech-savvy these days gives you great leverage. If that’s you, make sure you’re not abusing your power to hurt others. Thou shalt not hack your friends, for instance.
- Rule 10 Forgive
- At some point, you will see a stupid question, read an unnecessarily long response, or encounter misspelled words; when this happens, practice kindness and forgiveness as you would hope someone would do if you had committed the same offence. If it’s a minor “offence” you might want to let it slide. If you feel compelled to respond to a mistake, do so in a private email rather than a public forum.