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Your support could be a vital component in your child’s success at college.
Coming to West Suffolk College is not like going to school. While there is a lot of support for students, it’s a quite different environment. Students here learn to take a great deal more responsibility for their work, for their time and their progress. It is a much freer social environment too, much like university. The contrast is refreshing but also challenging.
Most students adapt well, relishing the chance to be treated like independent people. But the students who do best are those whose parents are involved, providing support at home and taking an active interest in their progress.
As a college we are committed to involving you as much as possible. Experience shows that when parents are involved, students have a greater chance of success.
Important ways you can help are summarised here, but more detail is available in the Parents’ Handbook.
Induction – Ask any questions, see how the college supports students and meet your child’s personal tutor.
Consultation Evenings – Every course has opportunities for you to monitor progress, reviewing the academic year to date and discussing student reports.
Course Events – Many courses have shows, exhibitions and celebrations of various kinds. Each is a rewarding opportunity to enjoy the work that students produce.
Personal tutors have a crucial role for students, providing a stable point of contact throughout their time at college. Your child’s personal tutor will also be your main point of contact when communicating with the College.
Personal tutors are responsible for tracking academic progress, and providing general support when needed. Each personal tutor will help her students understand the support available in College, including careers and welfare advice.
Learners will have tutorial appointments at regular intervals to allow structured discussion and target setting. Learners are encouraged to make additional appointments as and when they need them, to discuss issues as they arise.
You will have a chance to meet your child’s personal tutor at the parents' induction evening held at the start of the course. Please feel free to contact the personal tutor at any time.
It is useful to understand how different staff play a part in college life. The Parents’ Handbook explains them in more detail but these are the key ones:
Course team – Students are generally taught by several members of staff. At the start of the course each student will be given a timetable showing all of the course teaching team. You will also receive a copy of the timetable.
Course Director – responsible for the day to day management of the course. They work in conjunction with personal tutors to ensure the students achieve their full potential on whatever course they are studying.
Head of School – responsible for a number of courses in a subject area. The Head of School is always available to discuss student progress with parents/guardians.
Head of Faculty – responsible for a group of Schools.
Taking an interest and helping with work and research is important. It is also advisable to provide an area where your child/children can work quietly.
Many learners hold part-time jobs outside college hours, but it’s important to guard against it affecting their studies, or performance is likely to suffer. We recommend that students should do no more than 10 hours per week paid or voluntary work.
You may also need to help them directly with buying the required materials or tools for their course. If financial resources are limited there are schemes that may help you.
Supporting your child through his/her studies is a wide subject, but a key thing to remember is that the more you orient your lives around their success the better. That includes making time when it’s needed but equally not taking up time unnecessarily. However tempting, please try to avoid holidays during college terms.
Parent Hand Book (pdf 1.2MB)