CfESEND blog: our new way of working at City College Norwich

Blog by Elaine Dale, Director of SEND at City College Norwich, for the Centres for Excellence in SEND programme.

Our new way of working is making us think and work differently.

In line with the government advice concerning COVID-19 (coronavirus), we are all faced with working differently and are responding well to support and engage our learners and apprentices during this unpresented time.

You, like City College Norwich has been guiding staff  how to support students and apprentices to keep learning and well as give them the latest information on how qualifications will be awarded this academic year and details for applicants looking to join the College in September 2020. We are of course taking into account access arrangements for leaners with SEND and the impact of 25% extra time and support with reader or scribe to help learners with their work and informing final decisions on their qualifications.

Currently we only have a few vulnerable learns with SEND at college, but our additional support team have been busy supporting over 200 learners with SEND weekly through online learning platforms hosting virtual classrooms. Our support staff have been joining sessions to help our learners and we have breakout virtual rooms to enable additional support to be as effective and as supportive as possible.

Supported Internships

Our Job Coaches are in daily contact with our learners with SEND who are on a supported internship, including worksheet activities to help employability skills development as well as applications for appropriate work. Learners are uploading their worksheets to a Dropbox and have been engaging well. They are however, used to this way of working and I think that many of our students will develop new and different skills as a result of working from home. Our commitment is to continue supporting our students remotely while the lock-down is in place. Once restrictions are lifted, we will be able to continue with placements at their supported internship. For those learners who have not gained employment by the end of the academic year, we will explore how we will potentially extend their placement with the employer, and or refer to our supported employment agency. More about this in the next newsletter and ETF SEND webinars in the coming months.

The college has also taken the decision to suspend all work placements associated with 16-18 provision in order to comply with the government’s guidance on tackling coronavirus. Where work placements form a required component of a learner’s qualification, we are working with the relevant awarding organisations to ensure students are not disadvantaged.

During this time, students have been innovative, creating work activities and virtual team tasks as well as supporting the NHS. We are beyond proud of Production Arts student, Fraser, who is doing something amazing and helping the country’s Covid-19 efforts.

Proud to #supporttheNHS by donating our PPE supply of facemasks, eye protection to the @NNUH #weloveourNHS #keeptheNHSgoing@NHSuk @DrNancyFontaine@NNUHCareers #coronavirus

Our Hospitality and Catering students have been cooking up a storm at home with our @DebutRestaurantresident chef @chefphillippo Find out how you can enjoy this millionaire’s shortbread torte at home here –


Amazing vocals from @ccnmusicaltheatre student Darcy singing Heart of Stone from @sixthemusical. Lovely vocals

#learningfromhome#workingfromhome Posted @withregram • @ccnmusicaltheatre

Apprentices and Employers

Most of the apprenticeship provision will continue to be delivered whilst CV-19 continues. Our guidance sheets and FAQs are being regularly updated to take account of both updated guidance from government and questions from our employers and apprentices.

For apprentices, we are working hard to support them during this challenging period. It may be the case that their work is continuing in relatively normality or it might equally be that they have been furloughed and are wanting to make sure that they can continue to develop their knowledge and skills during this period. We also understand that a lengthy period of furlough may be daunting and we have been assuring apprentices that we will be on hand to support them during this time.

For employers, we appreciate that their needs are frequently wider than the apprenticeship and the questions have been about a range of support that might be available. For the employer and the apprentice, we have reiterated that there will continued support and teaching throughout this period, even though it will be differently accessed. For the wider needs we continue to work to update links to advice, guidance and support that we are aware of as a College. In our Government Advice and Guidance on Coronavirus for Employers document we have supplied the latest links to central government advice and local links where appropriate.

Our teaching and assessment teams have been working hard to make sure that we have contacted each of our apprentices and employers to provide them with details of how support will continue for learning. We are publishing some guidance for those apprentices on standards to understand what the current situation means and how the End Point Assessment might change as a result. Let me know if you want us to share this with you

We are also working with the apprenticeship team and giving support remotely to our apprentices with SEND for their upcoming end point assessments. We are trying to not get too bogged down in the challenge of remote working and take a ‘how might we’ approach to situations and look for a solution focused way of working. We are finding that it isn’t too complex and its business as usual with a bit of a twist! More about this is a webinar on the 11th May 3:30pm – details on the Centres for Excellence in SEND webpages.

Apprenticeship concerns or queries, our team is still available to help.


We are forced to work differently, and our staff, learners and apprentices are adapting themselves during this time. It will I expect make us stop the clock and behave differently as a result for the best. If we look back in history with pandemics, we have seen change. 430 B.C Athens is the earliest recorded pandemic and there have been sadly many others over the centuries, to more recent pandemics was the Asian flu in 1957.  History tells us that change happens as a result and it urges us to reflect our relationship with the world, with our family and friends. We are all reflecting on how the behave and work better together and as a nation, we are coming together in a way we are not seen in our generation before.  Let’s all use this time to make our lives, work and world a better place.

History repeats itself, a poem written in 1869, reprinted during 1919 Pandemic. This is Timeless….

It was written in 1869 by Kathleen O’Mara:

And people stayed at home
And read books
And listened
And they rested
And did exercises
And made art and played
And learned new ways of being
And stopped and listened
More deeply
Someone meditated, someone prayed
Someone met their shadow
And people began to think differently
And people healed.
And in the absence of people who
Lived in ignorant ways
Dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
The earth also began to heal
And when the danger ended and
People found themselves
They grieved for the dead
And made new choices
And dreamed of new visions
And created new ways of living
And completely healed the earth
Just as they were healed.

For further information or to engage with the Leadership Hub and Communities of Practice, please visit the Centres for Excellence in SEND website or get in touch at:

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