Supporting learners to achieve their ambitions in a post-pandemic environment
As we approach a new academic year at Gower College Swansea, we are preparing to welcome back our returning students and greet new aspiring students alike. We are delighted that we have been chosen as part of their educational journey and fully appreciate that as well as parents, carers, and guardians, this might be both an exciting and anxious time.
As we enter the post-pandemic world, we are still seeing the long-term effects of lockdown restrictions, disrupted learning and isolation on young people. What covid-19 has taught us, and many academic institutions across the country, is that continued individualised support for learners is needed now more than ever before.
Our aim is to ensure every individual is fully equipped with the right skill set and supported in every aspect throughout their time at Gower College Swansea. Whether it be navigating uncertainties, questioning what university to apply to, or whether to jump straight into the workplace.
One to one support
When enrolling at Gower College Swansea all students will be assigned a personal tutor. These key staff members will provide both academic and pastoral advice and guidance throughout their time with us.
We have also introduced pastoral coaches, transition and engagement mentors and progress coaches - as well as a continued investment into wellbeing – via both physical and mental activities to enhance these efforts. Extra tuition is also available for those who need it, including preparation programmes to get learners up to speed and on track.
Personal tutors and pastoral coaches maintain close contact with students from induction all the way along their journey with us. They provide students with individualised support and help meet their full potential while studying and make the most out of their course.
Transition and engagement mentors, along with progress coaches, help learners overcome any barriers to progression and signpost appropriate options. They help in the planning, development and delivery of an innovative programme that engages and motivates learners whilst helping them focus on short-term to long-term progression goals.
Wellbeing while studying
We have over 50 staff members who offer one to one student support in areas such as wellbeing, keeping fit, eating well, ensuring travel passes are up to date and being aware of the funding options available.
Alongside this we also have health advisors who can help with medical issues, along with a growing number of mental health counsellors. We also have a trained team of student support officers, safeguarding officers and 24/7 online mental health support is available via the TogetherAll platform.
University prep programmes
"I think the thing that really makes Gower College Swansea stand out is the number of channels of supports available, particularly in my application to Cambridge University to study medicine, which really helped me secure that place." said Ahmad Al-Sarireh, A Level student at Gower College Swansea.
The College has also expanded its university prep programmes to deal with the pandemic challenges when applying to higher education, from changes surrounding entrance exams to first interviews. This also includes guidance towards choosing a university, UCAS applications, finance options and personal statements.
Our dedicated GCS Honours programme, helps support students with their applications for top universities across the UK. GCS Honours is an academic support programme for students who wish to apply to the best universities in the UK and beyond. It encourages students to think critically, independently, analytically, and flexibly about their academic future.
Post-pandemic, it continues to be a top priority, considering the increasing needs of students as they navigate change and prepare for these important next stages of their lives. We always have staff at the ready to help plan these next important choices around higher education or the workplace.
We are one of the largest providers of apprenticeships in Wales, offering a diverse range of training programmes supporting small private companies, large multi-national organisations, and the public sector. This could be the perfect next step for our students if progressing into higher education is not for them.
Better Jobs, Better Futures is a careers support programme that aids those seeking employment and those already in work. The programme provides employment, education, training, and career advice tailored to individual need and is designed upskill individuals, access local job opportunities and build long-term career pathways.
Use of Welsh language
Gower College Swansea aims to be a bilingual College, with the Welsh language and culture central to its ethos, always having a Welsh first approach. We promote Welsh and bilingual learning and encourage our new and existing students to use their Welsh.
"We've always believed that the relationship between students, the College and parents or guardians is absolutely crucial to ensuring that our learners achieve the success that we all want for them." said Mark Jones, Principal of Gower College Swansea.
We work towards a creating a collective support community here at the College. Therefore, we ask students to give permission for us to contact home from the moment of induction. Once we have permission to do so, we can efficiently communicate the progress of studies or chat through any concerns.
We also have a Learner Charter based on the principles of ready, respectful, and safe and ask that every learner signs up to this as it provides the basis for a positive learning environment that enable learners to be individuals and thrive. The Learner Charter sets out clear expectations that all students at the College are expected to follow and adhere too, and in return gain the highest quality of education.
It is important that our learners understand our expectations of them and work with us to become successful, independent, responsible people. We recognise that you, as parents, carers or guardians also have an essential role to play and hope that today is the starting point of this triad, where we as the College, you and our learners, all work together on their journey to achieve success.
In return, the College aims to provide the highest quality of education, experiences, training, wellbeing, support, and opportunities. We will continue to offer the same level of support should there be any future changes to covid guidelines by ensuring we are well equipped to deliver online support and teaching.
In the past couple of years, the College has taken an exceptionally proactive approach to the management of covid and, in doing so, maximising the amount of face to face teaching for all students which, we believe, has contributed to the excellent results that Gower College Swansea students have achieved again this summer.
Moving into a new academic year we will be maintaining this proactive approach not only continuing to ask staff and students to report all positive cases, so that we can advise others, but also requiring those who have tested positive to work from home until they have taken lateral flow tests or feel better.