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Agenda item

Reflections on the past 6 months


Invited members to reflect on the impact of COVID19 in their setting.


Discuss the future of the Board and its role and engagement with the One City Plan.


The LA in the preceding 6 months:

·        COVID 19 impact of the service; it has dominated time and focus whilst the authority continues to focus on the issues of safeguarding , attendance  and the needs of the most vulnerable.

·        Continues to meet the expectations set out by Ofsted that we keep centred on those vulnerable and vulnerable communities.

·        The LA is progressing well with the work to meet the SEND milestones and to deliver on the targets set out in the statement of action.  The service continues to forecasts for the next few terms on matters pertaining to vulnerability; inclusion; inequality;  post 16 offer.

Board Members provided an overview of the position settings during the lockdown;

Andy Forbes, Principal and Chief Executive City of Bristol College

·        The setting continued to manage the ongoing situation making adaptations to its service provision.  Moving service deliver to on-line provision; staff had worked throughout the summer months; alternative arrangements devised and implemented; that there were many unknowns; consideration had to be given to the impact of the virus on the setting for an extend period of time and at same time plan for next intake; the need to manage staff wellbeing and exposure to the virus; that the teaching staff had been positive and worked hard to maintain service which in turn encouraged the whole team to move forward.

David Barrett, University West of England

·        The teaching day had been extended to accommodate students and this impacted staff who have to extend their working day to facilitate the new structure; the move to online teaching had exposed the issue of digital poverty; that other areas of development have slowed or have been parked because of the time needed to manage delivering the core business; that there were many courses that still require specialist equipment and facilities that had to be delivered in a classroom setting.

Jo Hill, Co Chair Bristol Special Schools Partnership

·        Was impressed with the resilience of staff across all settings; the difficulty faced by teaching staff waiting for coronavirus test & results; that it was important to consider those students with medical needs that are vulnerable to the virus.

Darrew Ewings, Co Chair Bristol Special Schools Partnership

·        Specialist Schools faced additional pressures with all children on roll classed as vulnerable; reiterated the concerns about the testing system and its impact on staffing levels; that the service had the additional burden of working to ensure that it meets all legal requirements in respect of its care and service provision.

Esther Deans, Chair Race Equality in Education

·        The climate in which schools now operate is now impacted by those students looking to settings to change in line with the principles brought to the public attention as a result of the Black Lives Matter campaign.  That all continue to prepare as they are looking at an unknown future with regards to the progress of the coronavirus.  That the impact on Black & Asian communities are being documented and all must be aware of the widening gap between black and white students which is further impacted by the racism arising from the situation with Brexit.

Tom Sperlinger, University of Bristol

·        Applauded the heroism of all staff who in addition to working elongated hours have to care for the mental health wellbeing of students;  settings have the overall responsibility to care and consider the similar mental health wellbeing of its staff; noted the impact on those students both young and mature, with caring responsibilities; noted the creation of networking opportunities and the creation of resources on line to support the transition to online learning.  Asked if there was a way for settings two work together to create something for the benefit of all who are facing similar issues.

Jon Angel, Bristol Secondary Heads & Principals Association

·        Endorsed the sentiments above acknowledging the resilience of staff who are managing a situation which is not in their control; working with conflicting government guidance; having to review strategies and adapting to change whilst students are in place; concerns arising from having achievements of students being centre assessed which in the longer term may mask the gap in achievement amongst vulnerable groups; concerns about students accessing the right courses at 6th form level and how they move between courses that do not meet their needs.