Updated: 06 April 2020
As you will know, the government has announced that all school and college buildings will close to most students from Monday 23 March 2020, until further notice. This means that most students will not be coming into the College for lessons, but they will be continuing to study using online learning.
There are still many questions about examinations and how students will be able to progress if these don’t take place. However, we want to ensure that students can keep on learning and training for their future careers and aspirations. Our teaching teams have, therefore, been preparing learning materials that many students will be able to access online through Moodle (the College’s virtual learning environment) and through Microsoft Teams. Apprentices will also have materials provided for them via the e-portfolio.
Who is affected?
As a college, the education and safety of all our students and staff is our top priority. The position for different groups of students is as follows:
Young people taking full-time qualifications
These students will not come to the College site but will continue their learning online. They will be contacted regularly by teaching and other staff in order to support their learning. At the moment, it will not be possible for students to use the specialist facilities in College (such as workshops, salons, etc) for any practical learning, so we will focus on learning that can be undertaken online.
Apprentices and Higher Education students
These students will not come to the College site and will continue their learning online and in their workplaces. Assessor visits to apprentices and other workplace link visits, will be replaced by online meetings, which will be confirmed beforehand.
Adults taking qualification courses
These students will not come to the College site but will continue their learning online. At the moment, it will not be possible for students to use the specialist facilities in College (such as workshops, salons, etc) for any practical learning, so we will focus on learning that can be undertaken online.
Adult community and leisure courses
Many of these courses will be postponed until later in the year or until alternative arrangements can be put into place.
This will continue as normal. For more information on FREE Distance Learning courses, please visit our Distance Learning page.
Vulnerable young people and the children of critical key workers
The government has published a list of key workers as:
- Health and socialcare
- Education and childcare
- Key public services
- Local and national government
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Utilities, communication and financial services
The government advice is that, where possible, young people should be at home.
If a student has a parent who is a 'critical key worker', and it is not possible for them to stay safely at home, they will be able to come to the College campus with prior approval. It is likely that most young people of College age can remain safely at home, therefore, it would only be in exceptional circumstances that they would need to be at the College campus.
Parents of students (under 18) who are 'critical key workers' should confirm this with their employer and use this form to request access to the campus for their son or daughter by 16:00 on Friday 20 March 2020.
Students whose parents are key workers but do not need access to the College campus, will continue to learn online.
More information regarding key worker definitions can be found on the government website.
We are focused on providing access to alternative learning resources and facilities for any of our students who are affected by a disruption in their learning. All of the systems that are required have been put in place and being used. Subject tutors will be contacting their students over the coming days to finalise the right solution for each group.
Students and staff can access a wide range of College services including Moodle, Office 365 (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, One Drive) and Microsoft Teams by using their usual College email address and password.
Desktop and mobile versions of Microsoft Office 365 can also be downloaded and used for free of charge for students and staff.
Some teachers will provide direct teaching using Microsoft Teams or alternative services. To access Microsoft Teams, you will need the latest version of Chrome, Edge or the Microsoft Teams app. Direct lessons will be scheduled, and the times will be given on Moodle. It is therefore important that all students check Moodle each day. Students will be required to submit work by a time and date set by their teacher, which will support learning and also show that they have been participating. Teachers will then be able to provide feedback.
Exams and Assessments
On Friday 03 April 2020 Ofqual announced how A Level and GCSE grades will be awarded this academic year. Ofqual have provided information to explain this.
Should you have further questions there is more detailed guidance available on the Ofqual website.
student safety is our priority and we continue to follow Government guidelines to maintain a high level of hygiene in the College and support social distancing to minimise risk. We do appreciate that this is a difficult time for everyone, but all College staff are committed to maintaining learning and supporting students to get the most out of the coming weeks.
We are following the advice given by Public Health England, who are leading on the Coronavirus response in the UK, through the regular updates that they provide on their website, and we have set up a Business Continuity Team to review these updates on a daily basis.
The best way to slow the spread of coronavirus is to wash your hands frequently using soap and water, or hand sanitiser, especially when you:
- arrive at College or get home
- use any shared resources such as keyboards, laptops and iPads
- use the toilet or other bathroom facilities
- blow your nose, sneeze or cough
- eat or handle food
Students who are expected to attend College but are unable to attend, should follow the usual procedure of calling or texting the Attendance Hotline.
Staff should contact their Line Manager and HR (01635 845238) in the event of absence or delayed arrival.
All other students should contact their teacher(s) if they are unable to participate in any of the online learning or sessions.
There are a number of ways you can stay up-to-date with the latest news and official advice on coronavirus.
On Friday 3rd April Ofqual announced how A Level and GCSE grades will be awarded this academic year. Ofqual have provided a letter for Students, parents and teachers to explain this: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877830/Letter_to_students_-_Summer_2020_grading.pdf
Should you have further questions there is more detailed guidance available for you: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877842/Summer_2020_grades_for_GCSE_AS_A_level_EPQ_AEA_in_maths_-_guidance_for_teachers_students_parents.pdf
Vocational Qualifications: Ofqual continues to work with the awarding bodies on how to manage the award of vocational qualifications for 2020. We will provide further information when it is made available.