Ofsted: Bradford College has risen to challenges of Covid-19

Ruth Peterson | October 22, 2020

It’s been an exceptional year for everyone – but Bradford College has risen to the challenges to continue to transform lives, according to a report by Ofsted.

The interim visit report found college leaders and governors had adapted to the restrictions of the Covid 19 pandemic to deliver teaching and learning online and ensure the wellbeing of all students and staff.

Staff prepared for “unprecedented demand”

Inspectors visited the college on 30 September and 1 October to learn more about Bradford College’s response to the pandemic.

They said: “Leaders have adapted the way in which the curriculum is delivered by setting requirements for all departments to deliver at least a third of their programme online. Staff have confidence that the adaptation to online learning is a positive development and something they are likely to continue.

“Leaders and governors recognise the challenges of delivering online learning and have diverted finances to invest in computer equipment, infrastructure and software to prepare college staff for the unprecedented demand for online learning.”

Male student at computer

Thank you to all our staff

Dawn Leak, Vice Principal at Bradford College, said: “We want to thank everybody at Bradford College for continuing to support our students and each other in very challenging circumstances.  We are delighted that inspectors have recognised the hard work that has been undertaken and our ongoing commitment to our students and staff.”

Continuing support for vulnerable learners

In the report, inspectors praised leaders and managers for supporting vulnerable learners to return to college. Learners aged 14 to 16 and learners with high needs attended college for two weeks before other learners, which helped them to settle into the new environment.

After the government imposed the Covid 19 restrictions in March, the college enhanced its online platform to make sure teaching could continue online. However, the report also noted that the college managers enabled learners and apprentices to come into college in small groups so that their assessments could continue when they couldn’t take place online. This allowed students to catch up with any missed learning or assessments while still remaining safe.

Female student head shot

Responding to apprentices’ needs

Employers who work in partnership with Bradford College told inspectors they believed learners and apprentices continued to develop their knowledge when college buildings were closed.

The report said: “They value the speed at which college and subcontractor staff switched learning online to respond to learners’ and apprentices’ needs. For example, dentistry apprentices who were placed on furlough by their employers continued their learning online and were given extra time to repeat and reinforce their learning.”

Staff have also remained supported throughout the pandemic, with leaders and managers helping staff to adapt to online learning. In addition, the report said staff had supported each other to develop their skills in online teaching. According to the report: “Several teachers cited examples of the support that they have received and said that they feel more confident in the use of technology to support learning.”

Wellbeing and safety remained key

The wellbeing of staff and students remained of the highest importance, and leaders and managers told inspectors of the measures they had taken to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and learners during the pandemic.

This included adaptations to how college buildings are used, sharing key messages around personal hygiene and hand washing, safety inductions for all staff and students, maintaining social distancing and putting in place a one-way system.

Dawn said: “Our response to the Covid pandemic was clear to the inspectors, and they have seen the positive impact of this hard work on our learners.

Continuing our mission of transforming lives

“We will continue to face challenges in the future but the College will continue to work with employers and partners to make sure we continue to provide the widest of learning opportunities for the community. We will continue to deliver our mission of transforming lives whatever the challenge in front of us.”

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