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

What should you do after the test? 

Anyone with a positive test result will need to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and:

  • self-isolate in line with the stay at home guidance
  • book a further test (a lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test) to confirm the result, whether the test was done at home, school or college

Whilst awaiting the PCR result, the individual should continue to self-isolate. Don't forget to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the result of your PCR.

If the PCR test is taken within the 2 days following the positive LFD result, and is negative, it overrides the self-test LFD test and your child can return to nursery, childminders, school or college, as long as they don’t have COVID-19 symptoms.

If you are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months, you will not be required to self-isolate if you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19. Please refer to Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection for more information.

Negative and void results should be reported to both NHS Test & Trace and the college. 

If the result of the test is unclear (void) you should do another test. 

Do I need to give consent? 

Students and parents do not need to give written consent to take part in the home testing programme.  

Once you open the kit you should take and report the results of the tests to NHS Test & Trace and your tutor at the College, regardless of the result (positive, negative, or void).

Reporting problems or issues with testing  

If there is an issue with the test kit, for example something is missing, please report it by calling 119 and please also tell the College. 

If an accident or injury happens whilst using the test kit, please seek medical care by calling 111 (or 999 if it is an emergency). Please also report what happened using this website: https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/

What type of tests will be used? 

We will be sending home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. They are a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.  

The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.  

Further information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing-for-people-without-symptoms  

Are LFD tests accurate? 

Lateral Flow Devices identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.  

These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested. 

The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.  

It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.  

How are LFD tests different to PCR tests? 

There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus: 

  • polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample - you send the sample for processing at a lab; and
  • lateral flow device (LFD) tests detect proteins called ‘antigens’ produced by the virus - they give rapid results within 30 minutes. 

What does it mean if I have a negative result?

A negative result does not guarantee that you are not carrying the virus. So, you should continue to follow measures to reduce transmission such as regularly washing your hands.

What if I have a void result?

If the result of the test is unclear (void), you should take another one. If the next test is also void, you should take a PCR test. You can book a test here.

All test results need to be reported to both NHS Test & Trace and college

Do I need to send the test to a lab?

No. The LFDs supplied do not need to be sent to a laboratory to get a result and can give a quick result in around 30 minutes. Guidance on self-testing is contained in the ‘Instructions for Use’ leaflet, which comes with the test kit. There is also a useful video to show you how to administer the test. 

How do you report the result?

Once you have taken the test, you will need to report the result online (whether it is positive, negative or void) using this service. You also need to tell the school the test result. You will receive a text or email from NHS Test & Trace confirming that you have reported your test result. 

All test results need to be reported to both NHS Test & Trace and College. 

Can someone else in my household use a test kit sent home from school? 

No, however your household members can test themselves twice every week from home. This testing can be accessed through the following channels: 

  • get a rapid test at work, through workplace testing. Ask your employer for more information.
  • attend a test site to get tested where you will be able to see how to take the test or pick up tests to do at home (you can find your nearest test site via the postcode checker www.gov.uk/find-covid-19-lateral-flow-test-site or check your local council website).
  • collect tests to do at home. Find your nearest collection site COVID Test Finder (test-and-trace.nhs.uk).

If these options are not possible, there will be a supply of rapid tests for order online for people who need them the most. More information can be found on www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests 

How will personal information and test results be shared?

To report your result, you will need to share some information about yourself, so that your test result can be traced.

You need to tell NHS Test & Trace:

  • your name
  • your test result
  • the reference number on the test kit

You will also need to tell your school or college your test result. 

Under UK law, your school or college collect and store test result data because it is in the ‘public interest’.

Schools and colleges will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use our information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again. 

When you report test results online, you are sharing information with DHSC. They will share it with your GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health England. This is so that they can offer you health services and guidance if you need to self-isolate. They might also use your data anonymously (without your name or contact information) to research COVID-19, and improve our understanding of the virus.

On-Site Testing

In accordance with government guidelines, on-site lateral flow tests are being planned for the week commencing 6th September. Further information will be provided at enrolment.

We need your consent before testing on-site, please discuss this with your parent/guardian and complete the consent form below:

Consent Form

About the consent:

This consent form is for participation in tests at an Asymptomatic Testing Site (ATS) designed to detect asymptomatic coronavirus cases. Anyone experiencing symptoms should follow government guidelines to self-isolate, even if they have had a recent negative lateral flow test. 

Consent relates to the following groups of students/pupils and staff as follows:

  • For pupils and students younger than 16 years - this form must be completed by the parent or legal guardian. Please complete one consent form for each child you wish to participate in testing.
  • Pupils and students over 16 who are able to provide informed consent - can complete this form themselves, having discussed participation with their parent/guardian if under 18. 
  • For any pupil or student who does not have the capacity to provide informed consent - this form must be completed by the parent or legal guardian. Please complete one consent form for each child you wish to participate in testing.

 

Masks & Face Coverings

The College continues 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, and regular hand washing.

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