New College Swindon welcome students back to their campuses

15 Mar 2021

New College Swindon opened its doors again this morning, welcoming back students across its Queens Drive and North Star campuses.

This will be the first time that students are returning to the classroom since December when coronavirus restrictions increased.

Principal and CEO of New College, Carole Kitching, is delighted that the college is back open for students to return.

Carole said: “This has been a difficult year for all but it’s wonderful to have staff and students back on site. Alongside the government’s vaccination programme and road map out of lockdown, this marks the first step in bringing back some normality to their own and their families’ lives.

“That face-to-face interaction has really been missed and the disruption to their education is of course a concern. Our focus now is on supporting students with their safe return to College and getting them back on track as quickly as possible.”

It’s been over a year since the first lockdown happened and the world of education was altered for the foreseeable.

During this time there have been many drastic measures taken to ensure the safety of the college’s students and staff, which has been a top priority.

The college devised a plan to make sure that teaching and learning was still accessible during lockdown. It insisted on being able to deliver lessons to all students across full-time qualifications, part-time courses, higher education and apprenticeships.

Before deciding that this was the correct procedure to entail, lecturers across the College tested remote working prior to the first national lockdown to ensure that this could work – the results of this were very positive.

In order to assist in their safe return to New College Swindon from March 8th, all staff and students were invited to take the first of three lateral flow tests, with over 3,650 tests conducted across the two campuses in just 5 days. All second and third tests will be carried out over the next two weeks. After the initial programme of testing on site, students are now being provided with rapid tests to complete twice a week at home.

Discussing the successful testing programme Carole added: “I would like to thank all the staff and volunteers involved for their help in ensuring it has been a smooth process, along with our students for engaging so positively with the process.

“I am incredibly proud of how well our staff and students have met the challenges and adapted to remote learning over the past year. It’s a time that has changed us all. But there are good things that have come out of it too and there will be more good things to come.”