student advice – returning to cowley international college – june 2020

If you are reading this document, you must be considering returning to Cowley International College. Coming back to college after a long absence can be difficult but there are ways we can help ourselves (or get help from others).

The first thing is to recognise your worries, to remember that we are ready to support your return and you should appreciate it will take a huge effort from yourself.

 Several students have shared what things they are worried about when returning to college– some are listed below:

  • Highlight on the chart which worries you have
  • Identify who could help you and fill in the blank boxes with any extra worries you might have – try to be as specific as you can
My worriesWho can help?Possible actions
I don’t want to leave the house Before the day of your return, take short trips out – walk for 10 minutes, 20 minutes, then 30 minutes etc, take trips out in the car, then to the park, a garden centre, meet relatives at a 2m distance.
I don’t want to leave my family Remember families are bound together and these bounds come from the tiny things we can do for each other and our love and care for each other. Your family want you to have a fulfilling life which includes doing things without them plus you’ll have more to talk about when you get back. We must take positive risks in life to make us grow – think of the consequences of taking a positive risk, e.g. improving your prospects of getting a good job, independence, holidays, making friends etc.
I don’t like change A lot of people feel this way and change can be very over-whelming. Know that change happens, must happen, will happen. However, you can adapt to it by controlling the small things – I ‘have’ to go to school but I can control when I pack my bag, if I have a bath or a shower, which people I speak to, whether I will have a positive outlook, who I will help on the first day back etc. Write yourself a list of events for the first day – 1) get up at _am 2) get washed and dressed, 3) eat breakfast etc then tick them off as you do them. Don’t treat it as “Day One”, think of it as a series of smaller events and tasks.
I prefer home learning. Everything is too overwhelming at school Some people will have hated home learning, but others will have loved it. Either way there will be things you have missed out on – practical experiments, team sports, performing, asking questions, making other people laugh, teachers’ praise, choosing your own snacks at break time. So, make a list of the fine details that you have missed and focus on them.  
I’ve fallen out with people over social media/texts etc Consider that many people will have fallen out with friends and/or family during the lockdown but we can move on from this. You could ask a parent/carer to speak to pastoral staff on your behalf or speak to them yourself. Maybe you could ‘offer an olive branch’ to the person you have fallen out with before the start of school. Reach out to other friends and arrange to meet them on the first day back. Remain calm, offer an apology or forgiveness, this is an opportunity for a fresh start.
I think I’m behind on the work You are certainly not alone on this one – some pupils will not have been able to work well at a computer for 5 hours a day, some will have been ill or too upset to work to their usual standard. Teachers know this and will understand – they are ready to welcome you back to college and plans are in place to ensure students catch up. The priority for now is your health and well-being.
Can I be in a ‘bubble’ with my friends? You will be in bubbles with your pathway, so you are likely to be familiar with those you are assigned with. We will do our best to accommodate all students, but it is very much dependant on who decides to return. Please be patient with us and understand that keeping you safe is our priority.  
I’m not used to getting up so early anymore and all the things I must do For many pupils the re-establishment of routines will be difficult. This will not just be for school routines; it will also be for those basic daily life routines, such as sleep and getting up. We know that this is difficult and a source of anxiety at the beginning of every term, but this will be on a larger scale. We will need to re-learn the rhythm of the school – but we will be doing this together and we will find our new normal.
Everyone’s pretending everything is normal – it’s not normal! Anxiety about what is happening in the world is to be expected – people are coping with it in different ways, whether they have been directly affected by it. Some use humour to cope and don’t mean any disrespect by it. Some people just want to be back in school, work hard, and forget about it for a while. Others will need some support to come to terms with their feelings. All these reactions are normal – if you need support please do reach out and ask.
I might get ill This is a tough one, people do get ill, but they also get ill when we aren’t in school too. We reduce this risk by following government guidelines on hygiene and social distancing – make sure you know what these are before returning to school, research the best strategies. Take a look at the video on the Year 10 section of the college website.
I’ve been feeling very down lately These feelings can be overwhelming too but luckily there are a lot of ways to cope with them. There are several resources on the college website but talking to someone about your feelings (even if they don’t have any ‘answers’) often is the place to start. Don’t run from your feelings – take control and tackle them head on. You will probably need support to do this so ask a parent to contact the school and/or one of the support services like CAMHS. The SENCO and Pastoral staff have lots of resources that might be able to help you.
I’ve lost a family member or friend There are lots of sources of bereavement support available and some college staff have been specifically trained in bereavement support. Please ask a parent/carer to contact college if you need this support.
Add any other worries you have.Who can help?Add your actions here.

Other support available in school before you come back:

There is plenty of information on the college website and support services and agencies that are available to offer further support. College social media sites, particularly the SEND Twitter page @sendcic, regularly share resources.

Other support available once you return:

There has been careful consideration paid to the arrangement of bubbles and staffing to prepare for the return of Years 10 and 12. You should voice your concerns in the first instance to the relevant year team but understand we cannot always meet individual requests in advance. Once in school there are plenty of staff available to support you. It is important to remember that your physical and mental well being remains our main priority. We will endeavour to listen to all your concerns and act on them as best we can. These next few weeks are going to be unpredictable and very busy and we appreciate your patience in these unknown times.