Reopening our doors is a momentous step in the right direction

This week was a momentous week for Nelson and Colne College Group as we reopened our doors at our Nelson campus for the first time since lockdown. This was to a very limited number of students who need essential support or who need to achieve their qualification without disadvantage, and while it was fantastic to see familiar faces in person for the first time in over three months, it was far from a return to normal as our campuses remain closed to the vast majority of students and staff.

It was an important and necessary step, but one taken very carefully after stringent risk assessments in line with the latest guidance. We as a College Group have had to implement strict measures in order for this to happen safely, including sanitising points and social distancing signage throughout the campus, as well as classrooms limited to a maximum of six students.

We are currently busy planning for the new academic year and we are looking to welcome all of our students back after the summer break, but I think it is important to note that students are almost certain to be doing some of their learning online for at least the first term from September onwards.

While this is not ideal and will continue to be a major adjustment to normal circumstances, I am comforted from the feedback and the experiences of our current students who have successfully continued their learning during this period. I am also reassured that our brilliant teaching team, who adapted so quickly after lockdown, have been able to smoothly transition to alternative online delivery platforms to continue providing fantastic teaching and support to our students.

On the theme of alternative delivery methods, staff across Nelson and Colne College Group have been very keen for students not to miss out on our annual New Student Days and the experience these provide our September new starters. We have been working hard to replicate this in an accessible online format, and I’m delighted that this will happen in early July, with students receiving a personalised invitation to attend by email.

To provide the most authentic experience possible, there will be a video welcome from me, an introduction from each student’s respective Head of Division, and a virtual tour of our Nelson and Colne College campus – with interactive campus maps and panoramic photography. Students can also look forward to an exclusive course taster with resources and interactive quizzes, information on our support services and extracurricular programme, a live Q&A chat with our Schools Liaison Team, and more.

I want to finish this month’s column with a thank you to our team at Lancashire Adult Learning, who, since the end of April, have been supporting adult learners across Lancashire with online resources through the website ( and with a great, wide-ranging series of learning video sessions via Facebook.

With my degree in languages, I’m naturally thrilled that modern foreign languages are now part of the online offer too. Many of us will be enjoying staycations this year, but now could be the perfect time to learn a little French, Spanish or Italian in readiness for the tantalising prospect of a European trip in the not-too-distant future as the lockdown restrictions continue to be eased.

Stay safe and healthy, and arrivederci from me for now. Amanda.