The Covid 19 lockdown has been a testing time for most of us, restricting what we do, who we see, and generally dictating our social interaction. The Orpheus Centre, along with the rest of us, has had to adapt. With the majority of students choosing to return to their families before the end of term and with no official timescale to the end of lock down to date, Orpheus has instigated a remote on-line learning timetable. We have been using the application 'Zoom', which allows interaction between tutors and students.

There are a range of sessions for students to engage with during the week including physical, educational and relaxation activities on Zoom. Personal tutors are carrying out Zoom tutorials with their groups and are in regular contact depending on the needs of individuals. We are also supporting parents with managing expectations of their young people at this difficult time.

Please can you say a big thank you to your wonderful staff who are facilitating the daily Zoom sessions - it makes such a big difference to be able to still be involved! Donna, Orpheus parent

We sent out timetables to all parents and students so that they could pick and mix over the Easter break which activities they wished to take part in so they still have some quality family time built in. One such activity is a half an hour’s ‘Morning Meditation’, with Abigail Nelson. Abi is a trainee Dramatherapist and well known to the students as part of the Learning Team. It is a completely inclusive relaxation session for the Orpheus family consisting of three components: checking in with one another, relaxing the body and mind (meditation) and activating the imagination (visualisation). The intention is, Abi says, to “help our community through these challenging times by using my experience in delivering guided meditation to help people relax and start their days with mindfulness, gratitude and self-care.” Now term has started again there is a more structured approach and all the Zoom sessions will continue.

We have been fortunate that some of our therapy support sessions such as counselling and Speech and Language have continued for some students and a range of wellbeing activities are also available during the week.

What great support he has had during Lockdown thanks to the amazing Orpheus family for home learning and more. Sylvy, Orpheus parent. 

An example of the way one group is working is the Apollo group. The students remotely join their Apollo tutor in the morning where the focus is on developing students’ communication and social interaction skills through discussion and other activities. One of these is the "Hot Seat” where students invite guests to attend the session and ask them a variety of questions… which they must answer! Guests so far have included Tina Williams (Office Administration Team Leader), Heidi Acraman (LSCA Team Leader) and Freya Black (Curriculum Coordinator). If anyone is interesting taking part in the "Hot Seat" please contact Liz Simpson via email [email protected].

I really must pass on an enormous ‘thank you’ to everyone at Orpheus for continuing to keep us all cheerful and connected. Archie is absolutely loving all his Zoom activities - a godsend! Jo, Orpheus parent

Needless to say, the aim is to keep following our curriculum goals wherever possible, ensuring that students are still working towards their aspirations and goals, given the restrictions of remote learning. Indeed, this will be something the Centre will keep in mind once students are able to return to Orpheus; as we are all too aware, the Covid 19 virus will be with us for some time yet and life will not be returning to ‘normal’ any time soon. However, just as our students took on board the health advice given at the start of the virus outbreak, we are confident they are well equipped to meet these and any other new challenges.

Joseph has thoroughly enjoyed his learning programme from home and is very excited to be returning to college next Monday 1st. The online learning has been amazing and he's bringing in a bumper file of all his work! Huge thanks and appreciation to everyone for seamlessly keeping students so engaged and motivated during these challenging times. Fiona Clifton, Orpheus parent