Students: work hard, but remember you are more than an exam

They say a week is a long time in politics, and the same can be said in education too. I write this column during unprecedented times, and today’s publication marks two weeks since we at Nelson and Colne College Group took the extraordinary decision to mobilise our curriculum teams to entirely deliver teaching and learning online as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

The week of the switch from classroom to virtual delivery was extremely challenging, emotional and stressful for colleagues in all departments across College. Though our day to day lives have been turned upside down, it was an overhaul borne out of necessity, and an unwavering commitment to the education of our students and the community that we serve.

Uncertainty around exams and the award of qualifications followed, but we now have more clarity on this. The overall message is that students’ results are going to be largely based on teacher assessment. Students at College should be reassured that these decisions will fall to our phenomenal teachers, who are the best placed professionals to make such assessment on ability. They have a wealth of assessment information upon which to make an accurate judgement, and I’m reassured that the grades awarded will be a fair reflection.

Of course, exams and assessments are one measure of a student’s ability, and we have been encouraging students to continue to work hard in their studies to give a good account of themselves and ensure that any further progress achieved between now and the normal exam period is considered.

But we know that College students here at Nelson and Colne College Group are much more than a set of exam results. We develop well-rounded individuals that are ready for their next step in their careers. I want all of our students to remember this, especially those concerned about their immediate futures.

We create good citizens, with compassion, a willingness to help, and an understanding of the community around them. And it is a time to demonstrate just how good we are as citizens right now by supporting one another through this crisis.

We are in the middle of a national lockdown to protect the most vulnerable in society, and to allow our valuable NHS – of which many of our students will know through work placements with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust – with the space it needs to support those suffering greatest with coronavirus.

Be good citizens, help those in the community who need it most, and above all, take care, stay safe, and stay at home if you can. Together we will weather this storm.

Until next month, best wishes. Amanda.