Student Services support, advice and guidance for parents and carers

8 February, 2021

Most children are being educated at home during the pandemic and whilst this is happening, we want to ensure everyone feels safe and supported.

Supporting vulnerable learners and their families

We have resumed online learning, and our in-college provision, where we have a small number of students (children of key workers and vulnerable learners), working with us.

We are in touch with many students and families daily and will continue to be in order to support everyone in the best way we can.

It has been really nice chatting to parents and students, hearing about how they are managing day to day and coping with the change.

If you need to contact us for any reason, please do not hesitate to get in touch by emailing support@activatelearning.ac.uk.

Staying safe working online

It is important that we create a safe online environment for your child.

You can set age-appropriate parental controls on digital devices and use internet filters to block malicious websites. These are usually free, but often need to be turned on. Here are some resources to support you to keep your child safe online:

  • Internet matters - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • London Grid for Learning - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • Net-aware - for support for parents and careers from the NSPCC
  • Parent info - for support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online
  • Thinkuknow - for advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online
  • UK Safer Internet Centre - advice for parents and carers

Student IT support line

To assist your child’s ease of access to be able to continue your education online, Activate Learning’ have a dedicated Student IT Support line.

This phone number is usable by students and will allow them to call through and speak to an IT technician if they are having problems logging into college systems such as ALO or Moodle.

The number to ring to request this support is 01865 550415. This line is open Monday-Friday 8:30am-4:30pm. Please ensure your child has their student ID ready when they call, and they will be required to verify their identity using the details given to us when they enrolled.

Before they contact the Student IT Support line, they need make note of the area they are attempting to access and the error message they are receiving so they may give these details to the IT technician.

Activate Learning IT Services have also compiled useful information about their IT account and how to use some of the tools they have available such as the Office 365 Password Reset Tool and how to register for the tool.

This can be found via two different methods depending if they are a student using Activate Learning Online (ALO) or Guildford Moodle. Guildford students will not be able to access ALO and will need to use the Moodle Method.

Mental health

We recognise that this is an unsettling time for everyone and are conscious of the need for everyone to take care of their mental health and wellbeing, as well as their physical health. We understand that you and your child may find social distancing to be boring, demotivating, or frustrating. Please be assured that this is a normal response in an extraordinary set of circumstances.

Here are some top tips to support mental health whilst working from home:

  • Try and have a separate workplace in the home, if not possible – clear work things away at the end of the day so it is clear working time has ended.
  • Take regular breaks and exercise
  • Spend times doing things you enjoy (cooking, reading, watching TV)
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink plenty of water
  • Keep windows open – let in the fresh air and sunlight

How can you help your child?

You can help your child by helping them create a weekly plan or structure that includes time for education, time for getting out the house for exercise 1 hour a day and time for relaxing. This is important to reduce stress and anxiety for families. Routine can give your child an increased feeling of safety in the context of uncertainty.

Sharing concerns

Your child’s welfare remains a key priority at Activate Learning. Some common signs that we would like you to be aware of that may indicate something concerning is happening in a child’s life include:

  • Unexplained changes in behaviour or personality
  • Two phones
  • Running away or going missing
  • Always choosing to wear clothes that cover their body
  • have become very withdrawn
  • Persistently sad or more tearful
  • Getting more irritated or angry than usual
  • Can’t sleep, or sleep a lot more than usual
  • Are exhausted all the time
  • Have no appetite
  • Have a permanent sense of hopelessness
  • Age-inappropriate knowledge

These signs do not necessarily mean there is an issue, but we can help you assess the situation.

If you have concerns about your child’s well-being, please do not hesitate to contact our student support team to discuss your worries. We will do our upmost to support you and your child by either providing support ourselves or by providing advice and guidance.

We are contactable Monday to Thursday 8.30am – 5.00pm and on Friday 8.30am – 4.30pm.

Please call on 01865 550401 or email safe@activatelearning.ac.uk.

If you need urgent assistance outside of these times, please contact 101 or 999.

Counselling

Our counsellors continue to provide a service to new and existing clients. Counselling can benefit students in several ways, including:

  • A chance to talk openly about feelings, life and anything that is troubling them.
  • An opportunity to speak to someone who will not judge or criticise.
  • It can be a great relief to share worries and fears with someone.
  • It can help you see things more clearly.

The aim to help find ways to overcome problems and make way for change by giving confidence to make choices and decisions.

If your child would like counselling support, please ask them to contact the Counsellor for their campus:

Banbury and Bicester College

Rachel Teare – Call 07769 930254 or email Rachel.Teare@activatelearning.ac.uk.

City of Oxford College

Jan Jones – Call 07968 485437 or email Jan.Jones@activatelearning.ac.uk.

Bracknell and Wokingham College

Rebecca Senel – Call 01344 766227 or email Rebecca.Senel@activatelearning.ac.uk.

Reading College

Gillian Brooks – Call 07779 089686 or email Gillian.Brooks@activatelearning.ac.uk.

Guildford College, Farnham College and Merrist Wood College

Renuka Ahluwalia – Call 07973 551114 or email Renuka.Ahluwalia@activatelearning.ac.uk.

Events and Enrichment

The Student Engagement Team are having virtual Student Rep and Students’ Union meetings regularly to receive feedback from students. The team is sending out weekly announcements through the events and enrichment course which we hope is useful for hints and ideas to learn a new skill or to discover new places without leaving home.

Coming up:

  • Students’ Union elections – voting closes today with the results announced on Monday 8 February.
  • Sexual Health and Guidance Week, 8 -12 February
  • Ramadan, 12 April – 12 May

Learning Support

The Learning support team are available to support you in any way they can. The team are available via gss@activatelearning.ac.uk and will respond to any questions or concerns that you may have.

Financial Support

We are continuing to provide financial support for students enrolled in 2020/21 and we have written to students in receipt of bursaries to confirm the arrangements as follows:

  • Students in receipt of the Bursary for Vulnerable groups will continue to receive these payments biweekly by BACS payment into their bank account.
  • Students who are in receipt of Meal Credits (free school meals) now have their payment made by BACS transfer to their account, rather than loaded to their college ID card, so they can buy food locally or on-site dependent on the need.
  • Students who have had their travel passes already paid for the year, will not be required to make refunds for the weeks they are not coming to college. However, where the travel has not been paid for the weeks of remote learning, we will put a temporary halt on the payments and will pay on a two-weekly basis in arrears for any travel relating to college attendance.

We are continuing to make childcare payments to students in receipt of a childcare bursary.

Please contact studentfinance@activatelearning.ac.uk if you have any questions or concerns.

Careers Advice and Guidance

Next Steps Plans

The Careers team are working remotely to support you in planning your next steps.  We are delivering group sessions to explain your options and are available for booked one-to-one guidance interviews to explore these further.

Please do encourage your son or daughter to start to consider what they would like to do when they complete their course.

Careers and Apprenticeship Fair 2021

We have prepared our annual Careers and Apprenticeship Fair 2021 where students can learn more about careers, specific jobs and apprenticeships directly from employers. This virtual event can be accessed via their ALO Dashboard from Monday 8 February – Friday 12 February.

Students can also learn more about National Apprenticeship Week 2021 and our apprenticeship offering with Activate Apprenticeships.

Please do encourage your son or daughter to attend the event.

Career Plan

We will be asking students to complete their Career Plan on Promonitor during February to confirm their next step plans.

Your son or daughter may want to continue studying at Activate Learning or they may be planning to leave for a university place, employment or an apprenticeship, or may not have decided yet.  Whatever their choice, completing their Career Plan will ensure that we are able to put in place the support required to ensure they have a successful transition.

If you have any questions relating to your child’s next steps, please get in touch at activatecareersteam@activatelearning.ac.uk.

 

Please take care and do not hesitate to get in touch if you need any support, advice or guidance.

Activate Learning