Borders College

College continues with the new norm!

The Borders College Community are showing their true grit and determination in the face of the current COVID-19 crisis. And they are doing this in many different ways as our first-week self-isolating demonstrated.

One of the main focuses for College staff is to enable learners to continue their studies and allow them to progress their education remotely.

During the week ending 27th March, we had almost 2500 learning sessions, on our various online learning platforms, with students continuing their education remotely. What a fantastic achievement!

Using Office 365, and in particular, Teams we have seen the online platform utilised over 900 times to engage with both staff and students. This includes student and staff sessions, staff meetings and online training for staff where screen sharing allowed staff to carry out remote professional development in the use of particular applications.

Home working

One staff member, who lectures to HND students, is arranging for a solicitor to have a virtual Q & A session with students as part of their studies into law using ‘Microsoft Teams’ video. Other ‘guest sessions’ include a guest speaker engaging with students on the topic of Developing Entrepreneurial Skills, again using ‘Teams’.

As we know, working at home can be very challenging. Our Sports and Exercise team have developed a series of short keep fit videos to aid physical and mental wellbeing. A new video is being released each day on the College website and social media.

Borders College has also responded to the wider Border Community needs and made available laptops for use by NHS staff, College buildings and vehicles should they be required. In addition, we are going to be operating a pharmacy home delivery service across the Scottish Borders, in conjunction with Scottish Borders Council and NHS Borders. The service, which will commence from 1st April, will see volunteer Borders College staff deliver vital medicines to vulnerable groups within our local communities. All personnel participating will be PVG registered and receive appropriate training and identification. They will have the use of College transport if required.

The College sector continues to engage with all stakeholders on a variety of critical topics including SQA, Scottish Funding Council and Scottish Government as well as other statutory bodies.

And for those applicants who have not yet commenced their study at Borders College, the application and interview process continues. During the week we held 126 telephone or skype interviews for courses starting in August 2020. And, with over 60 new applications being made during the week the first week, self-isolation has not hindered the next generation of Borders College students.

Out of College staff are supporting their communities in various ways. Hazel Robertson, Vice Principal for Finance and Corporate Services, volunteers for the Samaritans in the Borders where the need for this service has never been in so much demand. Hazel is using her knowledge of education to establish a system of online communication and training for new volunteers since face to face training is currently out of the question.

Borders College continues to offer support and guidance and our main contacts are:

For the wellbeing of staff and students Borders ‘virtual’ College will close for the April break for two weeks from Monday 6th April – Friday 17th April.

Published: Mon 30th Mar, 2020