Creative Writing Workshop with Theodor Heuss Gymnasium, Esslingen

Friday 26th February 2021

Creative Writing Workshop with Theodor Heuss Gymnasium, Esslingen

The established German foreign exchange programme between Holy Cross and the Theodor Heuss Gymnasium moved into a new phase this week when our A level German students worked online with their counterparts at our partner school in Esslingen. Following initial collaborative work on padlet, which included written questions and answers on the nature of British culture and society, our students finally came face to face with the pupils learning English at the THG when they joined in the TEAMS lesson of our exchange school in Esslingen to further develop the interaction between the sixth form students. The focus of the lesson was getting to know each other and then working on translations of 100 word short stories which both the German and British students had written in advance.

This provided a tangible opportunity to practise language skills and really highlighted how online lessons can serve a great purpose – that of bringing people together!

Comments from some of the participants:

I enjoyed the workshop as it allowed us to interact with real Germans in real time and to discuss things non-curriculum related, I found this helpful for general German knowledge. I also found meeting the Germans valuable as it is very helpful to know native speakers.
Eleanor Flynn, Year 2 German

I really enjoyed getting to meet and speak with Germans our age. It was fun having general conversation and it was really helpful getting tips on pronunciation from native speakers. It was also amazing learning about what’s going on in their country at the moment, and how their school are dealing with the pandemic. Can’t wait to meet them again!
Phoebe Moore, Year 2 German

The collaboration call with the Theodor-Heuss Gymnasium was helpful in many ways. It was really beneficial to hear a foreign language being spoken by natives, as it is natural to them and of course, fully accurate. It was good to have the ability to ask these natives about certain aspects of German culture and to get to know them really, as they are in the same position as us, just the language is the other way around. They seem like very nice people and were very welcoming, despite the uneven ratio of German to English students. As much as I’d want a real exchange, it was still a nice way to communicate and I look forward to doing it again!
Adam Howarth, Year 1 German

I found it really enjoyable to have a change and experience something new and different, it was a nice breath of fresh air. I really enjoyed being able to speak German with no pressure and no set topic, I think it allowed me to fully assess where my level of German is because I could see how I was able to adapt in conversation and how much I could comprehend when the Germans were speaking quickly. I also enjoyed learning about life in a German Gymnasium from German students and I loved exchanging cultural questions and stereotypes we had about each other's country and seeing how accurate they were. I think this was an invaluable experience which I am grateful for and I think is a really beneficial experience to have!
Harry Barnett, Year 2 German

Additional Funding to Support Students

Friday 26th February 2021

Additional Funding to Support Students

Holy Cross College is pleased to have received extra funding from the government. Its purpose is to support students whose progress on 16 to 19 study programmes is significantly at risk as a result of the school and college closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The funds will be spent during this academic year and will be used to provide small group and one-to-one tuition between March and June 2021.

We monitor the progress of all our students carefully through our programme of Key Assessments and Estimated Grades, intervening where necessary to ensure that all are attaining at the highest levels of which they are capable. We are pleased to say that many of those who were most affected by the last year’s disruption are now doing very well on their Level 3 courses, but we have identified a number who will need extra support to make up lost ground and achieve their goals. From March, in addition to their normal lessons, these learners will be tutored by Graduate Teaching Assistants using lesson plans and resources developed by the college. The sessions will focus on the development of essential academic skills including cross-curricular Maths and English and will be supplemented by one-to-one work where appropriate. We are confident that this strategy will ensure that lost learning is recovered thereby improving the life chances of these young people.

Remote Learning Statement

Wednesday 24th February 2021

Remote Learning Statement

Remote Learning Statement

Holy Cross College is committed to providing high quality learning, teaching and assessment to all students. The delivery of the curriculum has been adapted to reflect Government guidelines and will continue to adapt to any further developments, as required. We aim to continue to maintain the quality set out in our Learning, Teaching and Assessment Policy which has been adapted for remote education.

Continued support for all students is at the centre of all we do and we have a clear focus on well-being through our pastoral systems and Excellence for All activities, a number of which will be offered during the period lockdown. Learning Support, Careers and Counselling services will be delivered via Microsoft Teams, through remote sessions. Vulnerable students have been offered access to study on our College site where there will be help available to enable them to access their studies.

Remote Education Provision for Students

Students will be attending lessons remotely each day as they would if the College were open as there will be a full timetable of remote lessons provided during the current lockdown. Remote lessons will take place for all academic qualifications, both 16-19 and University Centre classes, according to the College timetable and the timetables of our partner universities.

Arrangements for Virtual Learning and Assessment

The College uses Microsoft Teams as the platform through which students access resources, instructions, assessments and written feedback. Students access lessons through Microsoft Teams and are taught as a virtual class for the timetabled periods. Attendance registers are taken for every remote lesson and students may be asked to attend additional support sessions by their teachers should they be in need of further support.

The delivery of “live” lessons allows for immediate assessment and feedback through direct questioning and the completion of short tasks to support and monitor student progress.

If a student is unwell, the normal college procedures for absence notification should be followed. Student engagement is tracked through attendance by the teachers and the progress/pastoral team and the monitoring of the Pastoral Log.

Progress Tutors continue to have weekly group and one-to-one meetings remotely with their tutees. Progress Tutors will target students most in need of support based on attendance and engagement tracking. Meetings and any targets/actions will be recorded on the College’s Pastoral Log.

The Assistant Principals (Progress) act as a point of escalation for pastoral concerns and also meet students in need of support/intervention via Microsoft Teams.

Students are to attend tutorial sessions and General RE lessons on-line each week in order to support their well-being, progress and development as well-rounded individuals in line with the College’s Mission Statement.

Pastoral concerns will be shared with parents/carers wherever necessary and parents/carers will receive a daily telephone call alerting them to any unauthorised absences. Students will receive key messages via the bulletin updating them on developments and highlighting key messages.

A series of pre-recorded virtual assemblies are being delivered to students about key academic developments including the Excellence for All Programme and parents/carers are invited to watch these too.

Students will also complete formal assessments, according to the College’s assessment calendar and Mock Exams. Where formal assessments are linked to subject review points, parents and students will receive formal feedback on progress.

The tutorial programme has been adapted this academic year to include additional sessions such as: staying safe on-line, additional mental health and well-being, resilience lessons and study skills. Students participate in short well-being activities each week in tutorials, have access to the Moodle page resources and have been provided with a well-being resource pack. This resource pack is also available on the Parent Connect Portal available here:

Expectations of Students

Students are expected to attend all timetabled lessons; to be punctual and to engage fully in their learning. The College has a set of guidelines for our expectations of students during the remote learning period and when attending remote lessons. These have been communicated to students and can be found here

Support for Students without Connectivity, Devices or a Suitable Learning Environment at Home

Students who do not have connectivity, devices or a suitable learning environment at home are offered college devices or access to the College building to enable them to engage in their studies and attend lessons. Should students encounter difficulties with ILT they can access support from the IT Helpdesk team. The College has invested in additional devices that students can borrow during the period of lockdown.

Arrangements for Studying Practical Courses

Courses with practical elements are delivering lessons to students through Microsoft Teams. Where there is a need for specialist facilities or equipment, where possible, arrangements are made with students through departments and subject teachers. Subject teams have re-organised the learning to reflect the availability of resources.

Where the demands of practical subjects or assessment require an adapted method of delivery in a given week, students will be given clear instructions as to what is expected of them and the work to be completed within each session, along with relevant deadlines for completion. Subjects may plan to complete timed assessments during a particular session in the week, for example, or to target and support individual students in the class while others complete a task.

Support for Students with SEND

Students who receive in class support will continue to receive one-to-one support remotely. Learning Support staff will attend remote lessons with the student.

Support for Students who have an Identified Need

• Information about students’ needs and strategies to support them has been shared with their teachers. Teachers are working to adapt lessons and review support strategies within the context of remote learning.
• Students who have in-class support from a Learning Support Assistant will continue to receive this via Microsoft Teams.
• Students who have one-to-one support outside the classroom will continue to receive this via email and/or Microsoft Teams.
• Where students have exam access arrangements, every effort is being made to replicate these, as far as possible, for assessments that are taking place remotely.
• Students who use assistive technology as their normal way of working already have the appropriate technology for them for use at home. Advice and support is available to those students via email.

Support for Students who have an Emerging Need

The Learning Support team can offer students a one-to-one meeting on Microsoft Teams to discuss the needs of individual students. They will also discuss strategies and possible support. Where assessment for additional learning support is needed, you should contact the Learning Support Department using the following e-mail address

College Choir

Wednesday 17th February 2021

College Choir

For the past few months, we have been working on a socially distanced performance of Toto’s Africa with our college choir. After a long half term, we hope it helps to lift your spirits and tap your feet. Many, many thanks to all staff and students involved.


‘Leg it 4 Liz’

Friday 29th January 2021

‘Leg it 4 Liz’

‘Leg it 4 Liz’ raise over 5K to help Dr Kershaws Give the Gift of Comfort’ Appeal.
Liz has been overwhelmed by the support she’s received, she said: “Thank you to everybody for all their support and kind words. In these challenging times, where we are not allowed to gather together, it's these individual acts of generosity and solidarity that demonstrate how powerful community really is. We might be apart but we can still work together.”

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