Coronavirus

Updated: 30 June 2020

Download:  pdf Ofqual arrangements for exceptional assesssment arrangements (189 KB) (189 KB)

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.

Distance Learning

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
  • Transport
  • 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.

Alternative Arrangements

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 (Reset your password).

Staff: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Students: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

Useful links

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.

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. If you have immediate questions that are not answered in this information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will try to obtain information for you.

Message from Pearson (RE: BTECs)

Stay safe

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

Attendance Hotline

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.

InTuition Salons and The Restaurant

InTuition Salons and The Restaurant will remain closed until further notice.

All appointments and bookings have been cancelled. We thank you for your continued support and look forward to seeing you all again when we are advised that these services may be resumed.

Links

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.

If you have immediate questions that are not answered in this information please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will try to obtain information for you

Masks & Face Coverings

The Government guidance on using masks in education changes on 17 May 2021. Masks will no longer be recommended for children in secondary schools, however, in an adult environment like the College we need to continue to use a number of Covid-security measures to keep everyone safe. Therefore, all students and staff are asked to continue to use masks in communal areas and when moving about the building. Masks will also need to be worn in some teaching or workshop settings; your tutors will advise you if this is needed. Other important measures will remain in place, including social distancing where possible, the one-way system, curriculum area ‘bubbles’, and regular hand washing.

Exams

To keep our staff and students within a COVID secure environment during exams students have the following options:

  • Take a lateral flow test in the 24 hours before the start of the exam. You will be asked to show the NHS confirmation text message to your invigilator when you arrive; or
  • Wear a face mask during your exam.

These options are necessary due to exam requirements, i.e. the ventilation is restricted with the doors being closed and students and invigilators will be in the room for longer than 15 minutes. If a student has any concerns about not being able to comply with either of these options, they should contact their tutor as soon as possible to discuss and the College will consider alternative arrangements.

We're moving to home testing

It's important that we continue to test regularly to ensure that you and other members of the College remain safe. 

Collecting your tests

You can collect your tests every week day between 10:00 - 14:00 from Room 123 in The Street. If you are unable to collect them during this time, please arrange to collect them from your tutor.

Taking the tests

  • Read the  pdf Privacy Notice (COVID Testing) (139 KB)
  • Take 2 tests every week if you are attending College more than once a week
    (If you are only attending once a week, you only need to take one test the day before you come in)
  • Try to take the test first thing in the morning or last thing at night - before brushing your teeth
  • Do not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes before taking the test
  • Follow the instructions in the booklet provided (not the one in the box - it's slightly different)
  • Continue to test over the Easter holidays
  • If other members of your household require tests, please visit the West Berkshire website

For more information on home testing please visit COVID-19 Self Test Help

Reporting the results

  • Report your results (either positive or negative) to the NHS gov.uk/report-covid19-result
  • Report your results to your tutor (either positive or negative) 
    (if you are unable to attend college, please report your results by email and follow the usual attendance procedure)

Issues or questions

  • If there is an issue with your test kit, please report this by calling 119
  • More information on home testing can be found on the government website
  • If you have any more questions, please contact us

 

Student Guide to Managing Mental Health During COVID-19

As we are approaching the 12 month mark of lockdown being introduced in the UK, we want to recognise the enormous impact that the restrictions have placed on mental health and how you can recover from its effects going forward.

Rehab Clinics Group (part of Step One Recovery UK), a leading provider in addiction and mental health treatment, have discovered that 72% of young people have reported to feeling more stressed and anxious than usual and 41% believe that their future career aspirations and goals now seem impossible.

They have produced a Student Guide to Managing Mental Health During COVID-19 which included useful tips on how to effectively manage you mental health as we start to come out of lockdown over the next few months, with practical tips and guidance on what steps you should take to help improve your mental health and development.

As we are approaching the 12 month mark of lockdown being introduced in the UK, we want to recognise the enormous impact that the restrictions have placed on mental health and how you can recover from its effects going forward.

Rehab Clinics Group (part of Step One Recovery UK), a leading provider in addiction and mental health treatment, have discovered that 72% of young people have reported to feeling more stressed and anxious than usual and 41% believe that their future career aspirations and goals now seem impossible.

They have produced a Student Guide to Managing Mental Health During COVID-19 which included useful tips on how to effectively manage you mental health as we start to come out of lockdown over the next few months, with practical tips and guidance on what steps you should take to help improve your mental health and development.

Testing and Return to on-site learning

We are finalising the arrangements for the safe return of students for the week commencing 8th March.

Following government guidance, we will be providing three on-site Lateral Flow tests to all students, 3-5 days apart. The tests will be incorporated as part of your return to the College campus.  

Next week, we will send an email confirming further details, including your three test dates and times, and requesting your consent. We very much appreciate your swift response to help us make this process as efficient as possible.