It has been an incredibly challenging year for young people, who have missed out on major educational milestones as a result of the pandemic. Today’s A Level results highlight the impact coronavirus has had on education.
I would like to congratulate all students getting their results today and who will now be looking at university or apprenticeship places. For those whose results aren’t what was expected please don’t panic or worry, there are always options available to you.
This week we outlined the work we are doing to support schoolsto enable a safe start to the new term in September. While the majority of schools in Bath & North East Somerset are academy schools, and not directly controlled by the council, we have been supporting them as they prepare to reopen safely.
Our public health team is providing support on how to reduce the risk of infection to keep all students and staff safe. It is also providing guidance about managing cases should they occur. We are working with transport providers, as well as the transport authority WECA, to make sure children can get to school safely.
Parents and pupils are being contacted by their schools about the measures they have put in place to reopen safely. If you have any questions about your school reopening you should in the first instance contact your school directly.
Looking ahead to the new academic term, the council has agreed a year-long lease with the University of Bath for two floors of the Manvers Street office block Lewis House.The ground floor at Lewis House will continue to deliver public-facing services, including council and police, where it is safe to do so. The council’s One Stop Shop currently provides a limited welfare service and self-service due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Prior to Covid-19, we said we wanted to significantly reduce our office accommodation costs, given the financial pressures we were under even then. Lockdown has shown the council can work flexibly, including from home where that makes sense. This year-long lease arrangement with the University of Bath gains us vital income from this building whilst maintaining service levels. It also helps with social distancing and reduces the need for students to travel as frequently.
We are working closely with both universities to ensure a managed return of students at the start of the new academic year which puts public health at the centre.
We are also committed to making sure the office space we own has active, well-managed uses that contribute to the economies and local businesses of Bath, Keynsham, Midsomer Norton and the wider area.
And finally thank you to all the businesses in Widcombe Parade who helped launch our ‘I love local’ campaign. Other areas are getting on board with the campaign and creating their own ‘I love’ message – encouraging us to all shop local and to stay safe. Here’s how to get involved and champion your own local shops.