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News from 2020-2021

  • Selby College students’ online learning boosted by Vodafone and the DfE

    Students at Selby College have benefitted from greater access to the internet and digital devices to support their online learning efforts.

    Following the most recent move to online learning in lockdown, the Department for Education have provided laptops to the College, which will be distributed to students who are struggling to access online learning resources from home.

    Vodafone have also donated 200 SIM cards, which will give each student 30GB of free data to access lessons remotely. The donation was made as part of Vodafone’s nationwide free data package plan, which aims to give 250,000 pupils access to education from home via its data bundles.


    The College has also received a generous £50,000 laptop investment from the DfE, which will see more than 115 laptops made available to its students. This is a part of the government’s ‘get help with technology’ programme, set up to provide laptops and tablets to students who don’t have access to digital devices at home.

    The DfE has also launched a data allowance scheme to help disadvantaged students in further education who do not have fixed broadband at home or cannot afford additional data for their devices.


    “Whether students have adequate access to digital devices and home connectivity has been a grave concern for education institutions across the country since the pandemic began. Therefore, the DfE’s and Vodafone’s connectivity schemes will go a long way in helping to ensure that students are able to access the online resources and classrooms they desperately need, as well as engaging and interacting with their tutors and fellow classmates,” said Phil Sayles, Chief Executive and Principal at Selby College. “We are grateful to receive these resources, which are currently being distributed to our students who need it the most.”

    The College’s IT department and Learning Resource Centre (LRC) are working to activate the sim cards and safely distribute the laptops to students who are learning remotely. Since the first lockdown last year, the College’s IT department, LRC and Estates team have arranged for hundreds of laptops to be booked out and safely delivered to students and staff for home use.

    As part of the College’s enrolment process in the Autumn, students were asked if they needed additional technology to support their learning if it had to be carried out remotely. Students are also able to request help with digital devices via their course tutors or Guidance and Support Tutors (GSTs).

    Drax Power Station also kindly provided thirty Google Chrome laptops to the College at the beginning of the pandemic. The laptops came with dongles including 30 megabytes of pre-paid data per-month to provide students with free internet access.

    Ebuyer, a local employer of the College, has also donated a number of laptops for the College’s apprentices who don’t have access to a digital device at home.

    The College has also undertaken at campus-wide Wi-Fi upgrade, which will help provide better and faster connectivity for students and staff when they are able to return to campus.

    Tuesday 2 Mar 2021

  • Why now is the time for employers to invest in Apprenticeships

    Paul Cliff, Assistant Director of Business Development at Selby College, says employer-led apprenticeship programmes will be critical to building back the economy following the pandemic.

    This comes following the recent publishing of the Department for Education’s ‘Skills for Jobs’ white paper, which focuses on post-16 delivery as a core way to drive increased productivity and help stimulate economic recovery following the pandemic.

    The paper sees the Department for Education (DfE) promising to improve and grow apprenticeships, and align higher technical education and training to employer-led standards, set by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education.

    “For many years, apprenticeships have not been given the recognition they so rightly deserve, leading many learners to believe that carrying out a degree at university is the only route to success,” said Paul. “The benefits of apprenticeships are endless and provide learners with the flexibility and opportunity to learn real job skills while earning a wage. This opens up a range of career paths for learners, whilst enabling businesses to access talent locally or even nationally.

    “Therefore, the reforms outlined in the white paper to support and improve technical training and education through funding, as well as building relationships with employers, is most welcome to many in the education sector and will go a long way in helping to rebuild the economy following the pandemic,” added Paul.

    The DfE has committed to supporting teaching in Further Education, investing in higher-level technical qualifications that provide a valuable alternative to a university degree, and putting employers at the heart of the system. This will ensure that education and training can lead to jobs that can improve productivity and fill skills gaps, whilst delivering the skills that employers require for their business.

    “At Selby College, we have built strong links with a range of employers from small businesses to large international organisations such as Siemens and Drax,” said Paul. “By putting our employers at the heart of our decision-making process, we are able to deliver apprenticeship programmes which can meet their specific training aims and business needs, whilst improving employment outcomes for our apprentices – something we are extremely proud of.”

    The DfE also aims to support colleges in developing skills-based programmes through strategic development funding. This builds on the Chancellor’s ‘Plan for Jobs’ scheme which provides employers with a range of incentives to support their recovery post-pandemic, through apprenticeships and traineeships.

    “Apprenticeships offer employers the opportunity to combine training with working needs. Whether the apprentice is a new starter or a current employee, they are able to combine time in the workplace with a package of off-the-job training to develop their skills, knowledge and behaviours designed to meet the employers’ demands. Training can take place at College or within the workplace itself at a time to suit all parties, providing a great way for employers to develop employees,” added Paul.

     As part of Rishi Sunak’s plan, a range of incentives and grants are available to support the employer with the cost of this training. If an employer is to recruit a new 16-18-year-old into their business, in most cases the government will cover all training costs. Employers will also receive an £2000 incentive payment and an additional £1000 grant to support them in making adaptations to their business to ensure a seamless experience for the apprentice.

    The government has also introduced a new traineeships scheme, which gives employers the chance to work with young people via a work placement whilst they gain key employment skills through the College, ahead of them progressing to paid work or an apprenticeship. This is a great way to bring fresh ideas or new skills to a business, whilst trialling potential candidates for an apprenticeship or full-time employment.

    The scheme includes an employer-based placement for a minimum of six weeks (and up to 12 months), for two days a week. This is delivered in combination with a package of English, maths, digital and vocational skills that will be key to the individual’s progression within the employers’ business. This is also financially supported by the government with a £1000 incentive payment on completion of the traineeship.

    Paul added: “The Chancellor’s generous apprenticeship and traineeship incentive scheme will end on 31st March, making now the ideal time to explore apprenticeships and traineeships.”

    The vast range of Apprenticeships Selby College offers was recently highlighted as part of its activities for National Apprenticeship Week, which included a virtual Business Breakfast for its employers. The College also took part in Leeds’s biggest virtual Apprenticeship Fair, which was attended by local employers.

    If you are an employer and would like to find out more about the funding available to upskill your workforce, call 01757 211097, email apprenticeships@selby.ac.uk or visit https://selby.ac.uk/apprenticeships/ to find out more.

    Tuesday 23 Feb 2021

  • Selby College puts wellbeing at the forefront of the agenda

    As part of its ongoing commitment to improving mental health and wellbeing, Selby College is carrying out a number of initiatives to support its staff and students during these challenging times.

    Ahead of half-term, the College’s counselling team provided students with a number of recommended tips and activities to help them relax and de-stress during the break. This included puzzle solving activities such as themed online escape rooms, as well as relaxation reminders including arts and crafts, going outside or getting active, enjoying a book or a film, having a digital detox or other activities such as baking or cooking.

    “Whether it’s trying out a new project, challenging yourself with a puzzle, watching a film or reading a book, these are all great ways to keep your mind active and escape from the day-to-day pressures that we are currently facing,” said Lorraine Fisher, Counsellor at Selby College. “Getting outside, whether that’s for a walk, a bike ride or running, is also proven to have significant benefits on our mood, focus and health as well as the physical benefits.”

    This content has been added to the College’s dedicated wellbeing area within Google Classroom for its students and staff, which is updated weekly. The area covers a range of topics including self-help tips, anxiety management, effective time management, healthy finances, bereavement, ways to de-stress and tackling low mood, all linking to the College’s ‘five ways to wellbeing’ initiative.

    For employees, the College has launched a film and book club to encourage colleagues to take time out to relax and enjoy a film or read a book. Monthly sessions will be held where staff can have open, fun and friendly discussions about the chosen texts.

    Staff from across Selby College took part in Inside Out Day to raise awareness of mental health issues

    “Student and staff wellbeing has always been one of our biggest priorities at Selby College, but this has become even more prominent during the pandemic. It’s no secret that we are all feeling the effects of the latest lockdown on our mental health and wellbeing, so it’s extremely important that our staff and students have access to the support they need during these difficult times,” added Lorraine.

    The College also arranged a number of activities during Children’s Mental Health Week for staff and students, to raise awareness of mental health issues amongst young people and improving wellbeing.

    Students tried out Zentangle doodling, which is a fun and relaxing way to draw using structured patterns, while staff at the College marked Inside Out Day by wearing items of clothing inside out. Pathway students also enjoyed a session by Kooth, who offer online mental health services, on how to manage stress and anxiety.

    Students also took part in Zentangle drawing

    Students and staff from across the College have been getting active during lockdown as part of the Association of College’s Lunar Challenge and the Selby Community Challenge.

    The Lunar Challenge tasked colleges with collectively travelling 238,855 miles (the distance to the moon) via running, cycling and walking. Selby College contributed just under 1000 (940) of the total miles, with the challenge being completed in just over a month.

    Students and staff are also contributing significantly to the Selby Community Challenge, set up by Selby High, Selby College and Brayton Primary School to get the community moving during the latest lockdown.

    The 31,988-mile challenge has seen nearly 500 residents rally together to race the world in virtual miles, with checkpoints at each of the seven world wonders. In just over a month, the community is on track to reach the fourth world wonder, which is the Colosseum, in Rome, Italy.

    Tuesday 16 Feb 2021

  • Selby College launches rapid Covid-19 testing programme for staff and students

    Selby College has opened a new rapid testing centre for its staff on campus, using ‘Lateral Flow Tests’. The tests will also be offered to students when they are able to return to campus as lockdown restrictions are reduced.

    As part of the testing scheme, staff are offered free lateral flow tests twice a week to help stop the spread of the virus and to keep the College operating as safely as possible. The lateral flow tests include a throat and nose swab, with results delivered in half an hour of completing the test.

    Principal and Chief Executive at Selby College Phil Sayles registering for a test at the College’s testing centre

    The College has set up a dedicated testing centre in line with Public Health England guidance, where staff are able to register and take a test supervised by trained College staff. The results are then analysed and uploaded on to the NHS Test and Trace result system within 30 minutes, ensuring that any staff with positive results are asked to isolate immediately.

    Since the service was launched on Tuesday 26th January 2021, several hundred tests have successfully been carried out on campus, with all tests returning negative.

    “Along with the other protective measures we are taking, the lateral flow testing scheme will help staff and students who are in the College to stay safe,” said Phil Sayles, Principal and Chief Executive at Selby College. “This has not been an easy process to set up and I truly commend the fantastic work of the team in making this a reality. Myself and colleagues from across the College really appreciate how colleagues have stepped up and into something they would never have expected to be doing, to help keep us all safe.


    Neil Whiteley, Health and Safety Coordinator at Selby College, explaining the testing process

    “This is a well-organised, safe and reassuring process and we’re continuing to take staff feedback on board to make the process as seamless as possible. While testing is not compulsory, I would strongly encourage all colleagues to book a test when working on campus,” added Phil.

    Principal and Chief Executive at Selby College Phil Sayles administering the lateral flow test  

    Ian Wardle, Estates Manager and Covid-19 Coordinator at Selby College, said: “We will be working to expand the programme to offer free testing to all students as they return. This creates more chances to find positive cases, have people isolate, and reduce the risk of Covid-19 spread in the College, making it as safe as possible. It will also protect students’ families and friends, if positive cases are found.”

    Friday 5 Feb 2021

  • UCAS data shows more students are choosing to study degrees locally

    More Year 13 students than ever before are choosing to carry out degree-level study closer to home as a result of the pandemic, according to UCAS’ latest survey.

    The survey targeted more than 20,000 pupils who are currently applying to go to university, with the results suggesting that nearly a quarter (23%) want to study closer to home[1].

    This was also evident in a recent poll by the Student Room, which addressed whether the new lockdown measures are changing students’ plans for the future. While half of the respondents claimed that it hadn’t changed anything for them, the data highlighted that 8.7% of respondents have now decided to go to university closer to home[2].

    “The increase of students wanting to carry out their degree-level study closer to home in light of the pandemic and it’s imposing restrictions is signifying a longer-term trend in the market,” said Stephen Mulligan, Assistant Director for Higher Education at Selby College. “Being further from support networks, rising fees and accommodation costs are also factors which are resulting in students choosing to fulfil degrees at local institutes, as opposed to traditional universities. As a result, colleges are now becoming hubs for students to fulfil Higher Education programmes, meaning that they don’t have to travel far or have to pay substantial costs to gain a degree.”

    Selby College works in partnership with the University of Hull, the University of Huddersfield and validating body Pearson, to deliver a range of high-quality Higher Education programmes. These cover a number of levels including Foundation Degrees, Full BA/BSc Degrees, Higher National Certificates/Diplomas and Teacher Training.

    The College also offers a range of Access to Higher Education courses in criminal justice, health and science. These Diplomas are designed to help those without traditional entry requirements access their dream career, allowing them to develop a range of academic and study skills to prepare for progression to degree-level study.

    Data from the Student Room’s poll also showed that there has been a sustained increase in interest for courses that link to future employment– indicating that students are now considering their careers when making decisions about university courses[3].

    “As we are a smaller provider in comparison to traditional universities, we are able to design and deliver our Higher Education courses towards more targeted career paths. Our highly qualified and supportive lecturing staff are able to work closely with students to ensure they are able to build firm foundations for long-term career success, through the development of employment-based skills and knowledge. This gives our students the skills and knowledge they need to enter their dream careers, with 93% of our Higher Education students progressing on to a positive destination within 6 months of completing their course,” added Steve.

    Despite the current climate, Selby College’s Higher Education fees for both full-time and part-time courses will not be inflated for the academic year of 2021-2022.

    For those considering applying to university or college, UCAS has extended the application deadline to Friday 29th January 2021, allowing prospective students, as well as their parents,  teachers and advisers, additional time to complete applications and references.

    Find out more about Selby College’s Higher Education courses at: https://selby.ac.uk/higher-education/


    [1] UCAS data - https://www.ucas.com/corporate/data-and-analysis/ucas-undergraduate-releases/ucas-undergraduate-analysis-reports/ucas-undergraduate-end-cycle-reports

    [2] Student room - https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6865326

    [3] Student room - https://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=6865326


    Thursday 21 Jan 2021

  • The show must go on: Art & Design students take graduate exhibition online

    Higher Education Art & Design students at Selby College explore the challenges and ideas surrounding the role of technology in Art and Design, as part of a new online exhibition.

    Replacing the department’s annual display at Selby Abbey, the virtual exhibition showcases the work of Year 2 Higher National Diploma (HND) Art & Design students who will be graduating later this year.

    Attendees are able to walk around the virtual exhibition space to view the artwork on display which investigates technology concepts through the use of photography, graphics, fine art and moving image. This includes using darkroom processes, capturing imagery in professional studio settings and digitally manipulated videography, as well as other methods.

    “The artwork highlights our Year 2 HND students’ ever-expanding knowledge of different art and design practices and how technology fits into this,” said Elaine Whitehead, Art & Design Lecturer at Selby College. “The graduate exhibition usually takes place at Selby Abbey each year, so the online exhibition further demonstrates how the students have embraced technology to ensure they were still able to showcase their hard work. It’s fantastic to see how they are evolving and developing as artists and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

    The ‘Role of Technology in Art and Design’ virtual exhibition will be available to view until July 2021.

    “We hope that people are able to enjoy exploring and making their way through the artistic outcomes inside the virtual exhibition. The students taking part in the exhibition welcome any feedback on the artwork shown in order to help them further progress their work and their portfolios as emerging artists,” added Elaine.

    As part of their semester one assessment, first year HND Art & Design students also recently held an exhibition at the College. The students were tasked with producing artwork which explored the concept of motion.

    Throughout the course, students are able to learn and explore a range of art and design practices to help prepare them for a successful career within the creative arts industry.

    ‘The Role of Technology in Art and Design’ virtual exhibition can be found by searching for ‘Selby College’ on: www.artsteps.com.

    To find out more about the HND Art & Design course, please visit: https://selby.ac.uk/higher-education/courses/art-design-media/hnc-art-and-design-arts-practice-2020-21-entry/

    Thursday 14 Jan 2021

  • Let’s get physical: Selby Community encouraged to get moving as part of round the world challenge

    Selby College and Brayton Primary have partnered with Selby High School to support their Selby Community Challenge, encouraging people to get moving throughout lockdown.

    As part of the challenge, the local community has been tasked with collectively exercising a grand total of 31,988 miles across the world.

    The route includes checkpoints at the seven wonders of the world, including the Chichén Itzá, Mexico; Christ the Redeemer, Brazil; Colosseum, Italy; Great Wall of China, China; Machu Picchu, Peru; Petra, Jordan and the Taj Mahal, India, finishing at the York Knights City ground in York.

    “The challenge is a fantastic effort to get everyone in the area moving and out in the open in light of the latest lockdown. Physical activity is not only great for our physical health, but is proven to benefit our mental health and wellbeing, which is extremely important during these difficult times. Whether its via running, cycling or walking, we encourage as many people as possible to take part and work collectively as a community to complete the challenge,” said Matthew Duck, Sports Development Officer at Selby College.

    People across the community can join in by searching for ‘Selby High Community Challenge’ on the Strava app and tracking their miles by running, cycling or walking.

    Students and staff at Selby College are also currently taking part in the Association of College’s Lunar Challenge, which aims to keep people active during the lockdown to maintain their mental wellbeing.

    The challenge encourages colleges to virtually travel to the moon using the free Strava app and collectively reach 238,855 miles by running, walking or cycling by the end of February.

    There is a national leader board for cycling, running/walking, and a cumulative activity mileage total, so colleges can compete against each other and be in the running for prizes. 

    Join the challenge using the links below:

    Selby College Run club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/selbycollegerunning

    Selby College Cycling club: https://www.strava.com/clubs/selbycollegecycling

    Wednesday 13 Jan 2021

  • Principal responds to national closure of college campuses, encouraging students to keep learning

    Following the latest national lockdown, Phil Sayles, Principal and Chief Executive of Selby College, has addressed the closure of schools and college campuses – inspiring students to keep engaging in online learning.

    “We understand that the latest lockdown could cause our students to worry about their education and their wellbeing. Our tutors, support staff and wellbeing team are going above and beyond to ensure that the swap to solely online learning is as seamless as possible and that students have the support and resources that they need to continue their studies.

    Despite the closure of the campus, on-site learning will still be available to the children of keyworkers and vulnerable children and can be arranged by contacting the College directly. Payments from Free College Meals and Bursaries will also be processed and paid to the relevant students. 

    Last week, the Education Secretary Gavin Williamson also confirmed that GCSE and A Level exams will not go ahead as planned this summer. According to the Department for Education, they will work alongside Ofqual to outline the options for alternatives to exams to ensure every young person gets a fair grade for their work, with the expectation that teacher-assessed grades will be used.

    “While the changes to this year’s A Level and GSCE exams may dishearten students, we strongly encourage them to keep progressing and engaging with their courses to ensure the best outcome and final grade – which will inevitably help them to reach the next stage of their lives,” said Phil.

    The Principal also confirmed that the College made the decision to postpone BTEC exams, which were due to be held over the next couple of weeks and that the College has been in touch with students affected by this.

    “It was the right thing to do to reduce travel in the lockdown period. The government needs to provide a solution to replace the grades from these exams, as it does from A Level and GCSE exams,” added Phil. 

    “When the news of the first lockdown broke in March and all education facilities had to switch to online learning, everyone in the education sector was facing unchartered waters.

    This time around, we are well equipped and prepared to deliver online learning and have gained a vast experience in doing so over the past nine months. Whilst it has proven difficult at points, overall 80% of students have engaged in some way with remote learning so far and have done extremely well. Throughout, I have been extremely proud of the resilience and commitment that our students have shown to their studies and I’m confident that this will continue to shine through,” stated Phil.

    The College will continue to follow Government guidelines regarding the physical closure of schools and colleges. Online learning will continue to be provided throughout this period while learning on campus is paused, which is expected to last until at least February half-term.

    “We would like to encourage our students to reach out to their tutors or our wellbeing team with any concerns or support that they need, whether that be worries about their studies or any other aspects of life. Our staff care with passion about our students and will do everything they can to support them during this difficult time,” exclaimed Phil.

    Phil would also like to reassure prospective students that this will not affect their applications or place at the College and that they should get in touch if they have any concerns.

    For any students who have not yet applied for a place at College, we would advise that they do so soon or attend our upcoming Virtual Open Event on Saturday, 6th of February, 2021: https://selby.ac.uk/studying-at-selby-college/our-open-events/

    Tuesday 12 Jan 2021

  • Selby College welcomes Carlton Primary School to the Selby Educational Trust

    Selby College is delighted to congratulate Carlton Primary School as it joins the Selby Educational Trust (SET) as of the 1st of January 2021.

    The move marks another huge landmark in the development of the trust and its mission of ensuring all learners in Selby and the surrounding areas receive a high-quality education. This will ensure there are greater opportunities for educational staff to work together and to build links between communities to become better practitioners.

    Phil Sayles, Principal and CEO of Selby College, said: “This is a really exciting time for SET, as with our support, it works to deliver on its vision of providing an inspirational and outstanding learning experience for pupils across Selby and surrounding areas. As sponsor of the Selby Educational Trust, we’re thrilled to hear the good news that Carlton Primary School has joined the Trust.”

    To find out more about SET, please visit: https://selbyeducationaltrust.uk.

    About Selby Educational Trust

    SET is a Multi-Academy Trust that receives state funding. The Trust was formed to support schools in Selby and outlying areas to increase the learning potential of each child by helping them succeed in each of their subjects, building their levels of motivation and confidence and raising their aspirations to progress to higher levels of study.

    Monday 11 Jan 2021