Firstly, thank-you so much for your encouragement, patience and support for our staff in these dynamically challenging times. I hope that all is well in your household and that the change of pace has been beneficial to nurturing the family bonds that the “noise” of life so often gets in the way of.
I could never have predicted how much everything we take for granted can change in one week. As I said my farewells to the students last Friday, I could see that the year 11 and 13 students were subdued and unsure of the future. They had so many exciting plans to work towards; the prom, progression to the sixth form, university, apprenticeships and not least the academic challenge of the exams and submission of coursework. The news that OFQUAL are using teacher assessments is welcome and as a staff we feel we have substantial data to ensure a valid and accurate picture of the academic attainment can be judged fairly and accurately. It is however very strongly recommended that students continue with any outstanding coursework. Ms Wade and her team are continuing with the plans to give Year 11 their formal send-off and our prom date will be rescheduled when things return to some “normal”. We will of course, say our formal farewells to year13/14 in the imminent future.
As I locked up the building earlier in the week, I felt an overwhelming sense of pride in what we have grown since the South Devon UTC project was first approved in parliament in 2014. Our college provides young people with an opportunity to specialise in the STEM subjects at 14, a specialism that has great relevance to our current human crisis.
The expertise of the nations’ scientists, engineers, mathematicians and programmers are never more important than now. This week alone has shone the light on their excellent response to this global crisis and how fundamental these skills are in helping the NHS to be best prepared for the challenge ahead.
The Imperial College epidemiologists use of data modelling to make predictions of the pandemic and to support the government in their preparation and planning.
Chemical engineers working with Ineos ethanol manufacturing plant have re-purposed their systems to produce a million bottles of hand sanitiser donated free to the NHS.
The collective of Formula 1 engineers and designers working together to form a rapid response to develop prototypes for respiratory machines and systems.
The Army logistical teams and Royal Engineers’ setup of the field hospital in exhibition centres providing beds for thousands more patients.
>The Computational Biologists who have uncovered the DNA structure of the virus to support the biologists in generating vaccines.
The computer programmers creating the social media and apps that keep us connected.
The ripple of national applause yesterday evening at 8.00pm demonstrates our gesture of support for the healthcare and key workers so critical to helping us get through what lies ahead and I once again thank you for your support for them in staying home and therefore saving lives.
Finally, as we approach the Easter break and an uncertain Summer term, I would like to share with you my pride in our students. Their choice to join the UTC and to develop their STEM expertise is to be respected and admired and I hope that they may continue to become the future innovators and scientific leaders of the future.
Keep safe and stay connected,