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The Principal’s Blog: New Beginnings

Tina Götschi

September 2020

As the first month of the new academic year draws to a close, it's time to pause a bit to catch our breath and reflect. Here at Ada, the teaching team starts the day before results day (this year the 19th of August) to prepare for enrolling our new cohort. The Ada team has been working really hard to ensure that despite all the challenges this new year brings, students still get the same Ada experience that we created back in 2016. 

Enrolment
This year, enrolment day was quite different as we had to  accomplish much of the enrolment process online (#digitalskills!) before students came in for the final live process of having their pictures taken and having their Ada badge printed - the keys to the kingdom! Our new students then had a day and a half of induction where they got to know the team and each other. We had an inspiring talk by Deloitte senior partner and Ada board member, Kevin Walsh, remotely via a Google Meet as we’re keen for students to understand our close ties with Industry from their first day. Returning year 13s had a re-enrolment afternoon and an (again remote) talk from a past Ada Apprentice, Joe Halloran, who is now a Software Developer at Google.

This meant that by Monday 1st September the majority of students could get stuck into academic learning. In reality there were timetable issues to sort out, rooms to re-arrange, subject choices to tweak and a few more students to enrol. All this behind masks or visors, moving through the college using the one-way system (we are all going to get fit going up and down stairs) and in classrooms, moving from actual Post-it Notes to virtual ones on jamboards - I hope this will have a positive impact on the environment! 

This is possibly the toughest back-to-school experience we’ve ever faced and I would not want to face it (socially distanced of course) with anyone else. 

Shout Outs
I’ve been totally impressed with our amazing Student Voice team, who’ve been helpful and kind to our new students and so supportive of the teachers and the wider team. Also, of course, our sixth form teaching team and pastoral team led by Vicky. I cannot express the admiration and gratitude I feel about working with these amazing colleagues every day. This is possibly the toughest back-to-school experience we’ve ever faced and I would not want to face it (socially distanced of course) with anyone else. 

The Principal’s Playlist
We have a mixed remote and face-to-face timetable and as remote classes start, I like to play some “hold” music while students “arrive” (actually I don’t play this at all - DJs Nick, Flynn, or Iulian T do this for me - thanks!). It’s fun to showcase my Ada value of Curiosity in my music taste (and it does beat “Drunken Sailor” which I am sure does not set the right tone or expectations!)

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So to conclude, here’s to a year of changing the narrative of what colleges and education are about, with our new cohort of year 12s and returning cohort of year 13s, plus all their parents and carers. 

I leave you with Michael Morpurgo’s eloquent Point of View here