This article first appeared in NEON News on the 19th of March 2020
There seems little point today in regurgitating the latest news regarding the coronavirus. Like the majority of you the NEON team is working from home, continuing to support our members in what are undoubtedly unprecedented circumstances.
Schools are closed from tomorrow and who knows when they will reopen again? GCSE’s and A’levels have been cancelled with talk of pupils being awarded grades based upon coursework and predicted grades. So, for the moment, the educational sector has more questions than answers, more unknowns than knowns. The impact for widening access programmes is irrefutable. At this time of the year many colleagues would be planning for a busy summer term of university visits, residentials and school visits.
What we must not lose sight of is the learners who we represent. We must now strive to come up with new, innovative methods of delivery to ensure we continue to support them, particularly those who will be feeling confused and worried about the impact this could have on their future plans. The challenges the young people, with whom we work, now face could be argued to be even greater and the support they need even more important. We now have time to trial new remote engagement techniques with our learners, and we at NEON would love to hear any examples of what you are doing/planning to ensure our work continues over the coming weeks.
We must pull together as both a community and a sector. Here at NEON we will continue to support you to carry out this important work. We urge you to share your plans so others can learn from what you are doing. Let us ensure that the class of 2020 do not get left behind and that we support young people, from the most disadvantaged communities, to be able to make informed choices about their futures.