In March 2020, our organization shifted into a remote working model. An approach that had previously been frowned upon in our sector. Could quality specialist disability support really be delivered remotely through Zoom and MS Teams? Now in June 2021 the answer to that question is a resounding yes.
So, what have The Learning Support Centre done to continue providing quality support and ensure that no student has been left unsupported?
Supporting our team
Our first challenge was to ensure our staff felt supported to work remotely, so we asked them what they needed?
- We bought in external training form the excellent Pete Quinn Consulting to deliver training on how to effectively work from home and look after your wellbeing.
- We followed this up with some great sessions on the 5 ways to wellbeing and asked our team to share how they were achieving positive mental health.
- And we further developed our supervision model for our specialist mental health mentors.
- Introduced optional fortnightly whole team meetings.
New initiatives to connect with students.
We stayed in touch with our students and set up initiatives to strengthen our community by checking in on each other and listening.
Weekly emails to all
The LSC is lucky enough to have a current student on our staff team, Felix Omari. Felix has been sending an informal but helpful email out each week to all students, just to check in and share important and helpful information.
“I would firstly like to thank you for the emails you have sent over the past year. They have been very warming and well received.” Final year Economics student
“I have really enjoyed your emails they have kept me going through these hard times as I often feel alone. Your emails have given me something to look forward to on a Friday” Final Year SALT student
Felix shared guidance on accessing remote platforms, opportunities and lead a discussion on the pedagogy of marginal gains around exam time.
Hot Choc Chat
One of our PostGrad students with support of his Tutor set up the LSC Hot Choc Chat, a twice weekly informal zoom drop in for students to chat to fellow students.
We provided face to face support where other providers did not.
But what about our students that needed a support worker on campus? Unlike other providers in our field, we continued to provide support face to face to those students most in need. Each support worker received their Covid-secure parcels including visors, tissues, hand sanitizer and masks with lip reading clear screens.
We worked with the universities to in ensure their guidance was shared with support staff and risk assessments were carried out. No staff classed as clinically vulnerable were asked to support face to face but instead prioritized for remote work.
As a result, student feedback has been fantastic with 91.9% of students rating our service as Good to Excellent.