THE man at the top of a North Yorkshire college has urged students working at home to keep their focus in these challenging times.

Following the closure of all UK education campuses, Phil Sayles, Principal and Chief Executive of Selby College, has encouraged students to remain motivated and focused on their studies, work online and ‘be ready for when colleges and universities open up again’.

Mr Sayles said: “Although we have had to temporarily shut the doors of our buildings, our goal of delivering high-quality education has not and will not change. It’s essential that students have the skills and support that they need to move on to the next stage of their lives, whether this be going into full-time employment or an apprenticeship or starting degree level education. It very much applies to those preparing to start at Selby College in September.

“It is a challenging time for students, many were in the middle of preparations for their A-level, BTEC and GCSE exams and now suddenly, given the cancellation of all summer exams, this focus has gone and they may feel less able to prove the hard work they have put in to their studies.

"This period will also be emotionally challenging for students, as many will have to get use to the norm of staying at home, some may have lost part-time jobs and may be worrying about what their futures hold.

”Our staff are working extremely hard to ensure students have the resources and support they need during this difficult time to continue their learning.

"It is vital that students join in and embrace online tuition to continue to build their skillset and knowledge to support their future paths.

"By engaging in remote learning, students are also able to develop a sense of online community, in what could potentially be a very isolating time.”

Following the national decision to cancel all summer exams, Mr Sayles said the college will be following the guidelines of exam boards to ensure A-level and BTEC students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in.

He said: “Exam boards will be working with tutors who know the students well and will ask them to submit evidence about the grade that the student would have received if exams had gone ahead. Therefore, now more than ever, it is important that students keep in touch with their GSTs and tutors, and engage in the remote teaching being delivered."

The college also has 250 Higher Education students – many of whom are working up to degree level – who will still complete learning via online education. This is happening at universities across the UK and the College expects that all assessments will take place and be marked online.

Mr Sayles would also like to reassure all applicants to Selby College that the current crisis will not affect their place at the college. For those who haven’t already had their interview, the college will be in touch very soon to arrange this, which will take place over the telephone. If your interview has already taken place, the college will be sending more information to you in the coming weeks.