Our response to COVID-19
The education of our pupils remains our clear priority, despite the College being physically closed under Government direction. Throughout the past month teaching staff have been extremely busy designing a curriculum for REMOTE EDUCATION with a flexible timetable. At the start of the summer term our pupils will be introduced to interactive sessions with their teachers along with access to some outstanding online resources. We recognise that this will not be the same as our immersive boarding ethos and experience, but opportunities for mental, spiritual and physical growth will be enabled through our approach.
We are really looking forward to seeing the pupil body back with us as soon as possible, keen to exploit their enhanced digital skills. Whatever the challenges this pandemic has created, it has demonstrated the many pedagogical opportunities outlined in our Digital Strategy and further underscores the value of our planned investment in a Teaching and Learning Centre within a repurposed St Andrew’s Church.
In order to help reduce the rate at which the virus spreads and support our communities, particularly the NHS, we have responded to the direction to physically close the College. This means that many of the pupil facing services are not possible, so we have made the decision to furlough most of our operational staff. Therefore, we have extremely limited access for service providers and contractors, however our management teams continue to work remotely and can be contacted through normal channels.
The College continues to operate in the new normal with most of our teaching staff and senior managers working from home. The senior and operational management teams are ‘virtually’ meeting frequently to ensure that we are guiding the College with our staff and pupils through these unprecedented times to the best of our ability. We recognise that people adjust in different ways and are each managing different circumstances at home and are supporting our employees wherever they need it. Resilience, innovation and communication have become key watch words for us.
The College feels painfully empty without the presence of such a vibrant pupil body. As the impact of Covid-19 becomes ever clearer, our thoughts and prayers remain above all for the health of the wider community. We are especially grateful to key workers, notably those working in healthcare services and volunteering at this time. We also very conscious of the financial and personal hardship this crisis has brought to many and of the psychological impact of a time when the only certainty is uncertainty.
We usually associate the summer term with exams and end of year celebrations, so lockdown and isolation feel even harder for pupils denied the opportunity to prove themselves and enjoy the delights of summer in Bradfield. Whilst technology cannot wholly replace social interaction or large gatherings, it will enable us to stay in touch across the community and offer welcome engagement as we navigate these strange times.
We have a number of initiatives in support of the wider community which have been aided by many of our staff and pupils, who have a strong appetite to support efforts within their own local area. We are also supporting any staff who have spare capacity and would like to participate in the NHS volunteering scheme. We will continue to work hard to ensure that we are supporting the communities in which we operate, during this difficult time.
We have made the difficult decision to suspend investment in our estate given the movement restrictions of the lockdown and fragility of the supply chains. Our plans for significant investment remain, but have necessarily been delayed.
Whilst it is impossible to see certainty in the midst of this global pandemic, the College’s vision and aims remain unchanged – to deliver the best for our pupils through a holistic education for life. Our immediate strategy will focus on resilience and innovation in the short term. The next iteration of our overarching College Strategy has been the subject of extensive consultation over the last year. The emerging strategy offers a clear path to develop our rounded education, our people, our digital capability and our environmental sustainability. We look forward to launching it when the time is right. We remain extremely proud of Bradfield’s offer and confident about its long-term future.