Burnley College expertise put to use in national Covid-19 effort

Burnley College Sixth Form Centre has used the expertise of its tutors; its resources and its role within the community to join forces in the national effort to combat Covid-19.

Burnley College principal Karen Buchanan
Burnley College principal Karen Buchanan

Since the college switched to its established remote teaching and learning protocol in March, engineering tutors have been using their expertise to design and produce much-needed face masks and visors for frontline staff at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

Tutors have been manning the college’s 3D printers to produce the masks and visors around the clock to provide the vital protection needed for NHS staff.

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The college has also donated its stock of Personal Protective Equipment and first-aid supplies to the NHS, to bolster supplies in this national emergency.

Staff and students alike have been supporting national efforts to ensure the safety of vulnerable members of the community by engaging in vital volunteering work.

Principal of Burnley College, Karen Buchanan, said: “I have never been more proud of our amazing staff and learners than at this time. They have truly epitomised everything that we stand for here at Burnley College: using our expertise and individual talents to benefit others; ensuring we are the very heart of community and showing the kindness and compassion that will be remembered long after Covid-19.

“The NHS needs the support of every single one of us at this time and we are proud that, as a college and on an individual basis, ours staff and students are playing their part. We will do our utmost to continue this support and be reactive to their developing needs as the fight against Covid-19 continues.”

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Staff have been working tirelessly to ensure that each and every learner – A Level and Vocational programme students; Themis Apprentices; Adult Learners and undergraduates at UCB – have had access to remote resources to ensure continuity of learning.

Tutors have adapted and innovated to ensure that every student can make progress towards their goals, while maintaining the individual levels of support which students value.

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Examples of remote learning success include A Level dance students producing TikTok videos showing off their work on specific dance styles.

Tutor Poppy Olah’s work in inspiring her students remotely and her innovation in the use of new technologies has seen her recognised nationally in the Times Educational Supplement.

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The college's athletes are also maintaining fitness levels and access expert advice and guidance from lead strength and conditioning coach Nathan Norris through remote individual and group workout sessions.

The college’s Student Services team has also stepped forward to replicate its eclectic range of extracurricular activities and workshops online, through its social media channels.

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Students are able to access quizzes and brain teasers on a daily basis, as well as fun activities and competitions which will help them build their general knowledge, innovation, team-working and communication skills.

Karen Buchanan added: “The Burnley College family is at the very heart of everything we do and that remains the same during this time of national emergency.

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"We are here to support each and every one of our learners in whatever way we can. While working remotely, our staff have access to all the resources they need to offer the best learning experience possible and help our learners make progress, plus the extra-curricular activities on offer provide a very welcome relief and some moments of fun and laughter while we are all staying safe at home.

“Our extensive work to ensure the mental health and wellbeing of the Burnley College family has never been so important as it is now. We have strong networks in place to ensure that every learner has access to the individualised support they need, whenever they need, it through our online portal The Big White Wall; specially-trained support staff; a college nurse and counsellor.

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"Details of the support available to every learner is available in a booklet we have designed available on our website www.burnley.ac.uk

“I understand that this is a time of additional anxiety for those due to take exams this summer – GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels. Let me assure you that we are throwing the full weight of our experience, our expertise and our resources behind the effort to ensure that you are kept fully informed and reassured. We will not allow Covid-19 to shape your future: we will ensure that your hard work, your determination and your motivation is recognised and rewarded.

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“As principal of Burnley College, I want to let every learner know that we are in this together and together we shall get through this. It is the kindness and support we show each other at this time that we shall remember, how the Burnley College family united to help every member and the wider community. We shall not let Covid-19 define our future.”