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College operations update


We've been there for our students every step of the way - and there's nothing to stop us all from looking ahead to a brighter future. The last few months have brought unforeseen challenges, but together we've overcome all obstacles. We'd like to encourage you to watch the below video which shows that nothing can stand in our way.

We will continue to share all important updates with our college community and would encourage people to keep checking this page and our social channels for this information. In the meantime, we would like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing half term.


We're looking forward to welcoming students back to campus for the new term starting Wednesday 5th January. As always, we are closely following Public Health guidelines to ensure the continued health and wellbeing of our college community during the ongoing pandemic.

We would like to encourage all learners to take a lateral flow test prior to returning to college . In addition, students should be aware that masks must now be worn in all areas of the college, including communal spaces and classrooms.

Rochdale Borough Council has published a letter regarding all the latest safety advice for education settings across the borough. This includes information for people who are displaying symptoms or considering the vaccine. You can read the letter in full HERE.

Once again we'd like to thank our entire college community for their continued efforts in the face of changing government guidelines.


We would like to assure all students, parents, carers and guardians that we are continuing to monitor the ongoing situation regarding COVID-19. In particular, we are following Public Health guidelines very closely to ensure that our entire college community remains safe and well.

Rochdale Borough Council has published a new letter with important updates concerning how schools and colleges can tackle the rising number of COVID cases in the borough. We would strongly recommend that all members of our college community take the time to read this update because it contains advice on wearing face coverings, using public transport and testing in the event that a student comes into close contact with someone who has tested positive.

You can read the letter in full HERE.

We will continue to share all important updates with our college community and would encourage people to keep checking this page and our social channels for this information. In the meantime, we would like to wish everyone a safe and relaxing half term.


We are very much looking forward to welcoming new and progressing students to college from September. Ahead of everyone joining us on campus, we would like to remind our college community of the current government guidelines and the measures we have in place to ensure that all students and staff remain safe.

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible. This still applies even if you have received one or more doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

If you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 and you are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months you will not be required to self-isolate if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

All staff and students must continue to undertake a LFT twice per week and report the results to the college and to the government. A small testing facility is available on each campus for those who cannot test at home.

Q – What should a member of staff or a student do if they have symptoms of COVID-19?

A – Self-isolate and arrange a PCR test.

Q – What should staff and students do if they have tested positive for COVID 19 using a Lateral Flow Test?

A – Self-isolate and arrange for a PCR test within two days. If the PCR test is negative, return to college. If the PCR test is positive, follow the NHS Track and Trace advice and do not return to college until after the period of self-isolation.

Q – What should staff or students aged under 18 do if they have been identified as a close contact of a positive case?

A – You can continue to attend work/college as normal and follow the appropriate testing advice given by test and trace.

Q – What should staff and students aged over 18 do if they have been identified as a close contact of a positive case and have been fully vaccinated (2nd vaccination plus 2 weeks)?

A – You can continue to attend work/college as normal and follow the appropriate testing advice given by test and trace. This will include taking a PCR test.

Q – Do staff and students need to wear face coverings in college?

A – The use of a face covering in communal areas of the college is strongly encouraged. It is also strongly advised that staff and students wear a face covering where social distancing cannot be maintained.


The government's guidance on face coverings is set to change on Monday 17th May. From this date, face coverings will no longer be required in classrooms or communal areas. However, learners are still welcome to wear face coverings in any environment where they wish to.

In addition, all learners should still bring a face covering to campus. Staff have the discretion to request that students wear a face covering in certain areas, such as classrooms, so learners should be prepared to oblige with any requests.

Let's all continue to stay safe and keep considering each other as we pass this next stage of the road map.


We are thrilled that students are once again accessing in-person teaching and learning in a COVID-safe environment. However, students are reminded that they are still required to self-isolate if they develop symptoms, test positive for COVID or live with someone who falls into one of these categories.

Any learner who is required to self-isolate is still expected to keep up with their college work from home and will of course still have access to a wide range of resources and online platforms to assist them until it is safe for them to return to campus.

You can access our guide to remote learning HERE.


We are very much looking forward to welcoming students back to campus from Monday 19th April. Please be aware that upon returning to campus all learners will continue to be required to wear a face covering when in the communal areas of the college.

This safety measure will help us to limit the risk of transmission across our college community while we wait for Step 3 of the government’s roadmap, which will be no earlier than Monday 17th May.

We hope everyone had an amazing Easter break and is ready for a safe and productive summer term!


The college is now distributing home testing kits to students. These kits contain seven tests and students are encouraged to test themselves twice a week, with at least three days between each test.

Once students have completed their home test and got their result, they must provide their results to the college AND to the NHS using the links below:

If your result is positive please do not come to college. You must follow government guidelines.

Our testing centre ID code is: HHCG

In the event of a positive result from a test undertaken at home, self-isolation is required and a PCR test should be sought to confirm the result. If the PCR test result is negative and there are no COVID symptoms present, self-isolation may cease.In all cases, the result should be reported to the college.In the event that home testing is not possible, college test centres will continue to operate on a small scale on campus. The test centre will remain at Rochdale Campus in the basement of B Block and will move to the Sports Arena at Middleton Campus. The test sites will be open from 8:30am until 10am daily only for those students who are unable to carry out their home testing.

Students are strongly encouraged to do the following over the Easter Break.

  • Test twice a week at home (all those who are able to)
  • Report results online as positive, negative or void. This information is critical in helping to understand the prevalence of the virus across the country
  • Test before returning to college for the summer term, either the night before or the morning of, the first day back, to find and isolate any positive cases


We are very pleased to start welcoming students back to campus from today. However, you might be aware that bus drivers are still taking industrial action at Go North West.

This could potentially mean that some students encounter a degree of travel disruption depending on how they journey to and from college. To ensure that learners are able to get to college, the company has made arrangements with third party bus operators from around the region to operate services.

You can keep track of any timetable changes which might affect you by visiting:

Go North West has issued the following advice to its passengers:

• Check up-to-date service information before you travel

• Be aware that your bus may be a different colour, with different branding

• Wear a face covering and observe social distancing

For more information on the nature of the industrial action, please see this letter published by Go North West.

Stay safe and enjoy half term. UPDATE: friday 26TH FEBRUARY - lateral flow tests

We'll be offering students Lateral Flow Tests upon returning to college. Please watch the below video demonstration from our Deputy Principal Andrea Murphy. You'll see that there's absolutely nothing to worry about when it comes to these tests.

UPDATE: Wednesday 24th february - returning to campus

The college is currently making plans for the safe return to campus for all learners. Following the government’s announcement on Monday, we will now start to welcome more learners back to campus from week commencing Monday 8th March.

When 16-19 year old learners return to campus they will be offered a Lateral Flow Test. This will identify anyone who has COVID-19 and is not displaying symptoms.

This test will be offered three times upon return to campus before learners are then offered the tests to use at home. We encourage all learners who are offered the test to take up this opportunity to help keep the college community and the wider community safe.

Prior to taking up this offer of a test, learners need to complete a consent form that can be accessed HERE.

Adults can attend the FAST testing sites available within the borough.

It remains that if anyone has any COVID-19 symptoms, they must not attend college. They should report their absence and get a test.

Face coverings have been required throughout the pandemic and we continue to require face coverings be used when staff and students return to the campuses.

As we are preparing for a phased return, students will either come back onto the campuses week commencing Monday 8th March or week commencing Monday 15th March. Students will be contacted directly by their teacher to notify them of the date they will be coming back.

We are really looking forward to seeing everyone back learning on campus.


Please note that both Middleton and Rochdale campuses will not be open to learners during half term. During this time it is essential that learners continue to report positive COVID cases to the college. You can do this by emailing

Stay safe and enjoy half term.


Please read the following letter from Deputy Principal Andrea Murphy for parents and carers. It is regarding exams, assessments and UCAS applications.

Dear Parents and Carers,

Further to the government announcement that examinations will not go ahead as usual this academic year, we are aware that this will be causing stress and uncertainty for many of our students and their families. Whilst Ofqual continues to consult with the Department for Education we will ensure that you are updated as soon as we are aware of what the guidance is going to be. What is clear is that there will be some form of assessment in all curriculum areas and there will not be Centre Assessed Grades awarded as happened last year. Therefore, it is vital that all our students continue to engage with their learning.

Ofqual’s message to students is please continue to engage as fully as you can in your education. This will put you in the best position, whatever arrangements are made for your qualifications.”

The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson wrote to the head of Ofqual on 13.01.21 to begin to consult on alternative arrangements. A summary of this letter is as follows:


The consultation is proposing a range of evidence to support teachers to reach their assessment of a student’s deserved grade. It is proposed that there will be externally set tasks or papers as part of this process. As we know no more at this stage it is essential that all GCSE students continue to attend their maths and English classes virtually. If a student has no access to technology, then alternative arrangements will be made.

Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs) - Assessments in February and March

For many VTQs, including BTECs and other technical qualifications, internal and external assessment occurs throughout the year. The consultation suggests that where assessment has already been completed, this will be taken into account when awarding a result. The expectations is that internal assessments of particular units of work will continue to take place virtually.

The consultation is suggesting that external examinations that are due to take place in February and March may continue but only in certain curriculum areas such as:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Functional Skills
  • English as a Second Language (ESOL)
  • Qualifications that demonstrate occupational competency (for example, but not limited to, construction and hair and beauty courses)

We are awaiting further details regarding this, but all students should continue to prepare for external assessments if they are part of these curriculum areas. We will ensure that if these are to go ahead there will be protective measures put in place that adhere to Public Health England guidelines.

All other VTQs, including BTECs that have written exams in February and March will not go ahead.

Vocational and Technical Qualifications (VTQs) - Assessments from April to August 2021

  • BTECs, Cambridge Nationals and Technicals – the consultation recognises that there will need to be alternative arrangements to externally examined units so that teachers can reach a fair grade for their students. As soon as these are announced we will communicate to staff, students and parents/carers.
  • Qualifications demonstrating occupational competency – there are a number of qualifications where a practical demonstration of occupational skills is needed to award the qualification and to provide entry into a particular profession. The consultation suggests that it will not be possible to award occupational proficiency on the basis of teacher judgement alone, because often there are health and safety or regulatory elements where assessment is critical. Therefore, the consultation is suggesting that these external assessments could go ahead.

University applications

For our students who are applying for Higher Education, the UCAS deadline has been pushed back to the end of January. This will give the government time to set out their plans before the majority of offers from universities are made.

As stated at the start of this letter, it is a very uncertain time for all, and this can lead to stress and anxiety for all our students. Our 16–19-year-old students will be receiving a weekly phone call from their Progress Tutors to check on their progress and wellbeing. We are here for all members of our college community and if welfare, mental health or safeguarding support is needed please do email or

As soon as we are aware of any firm guidelines as a result of this consultation, these will be communicated to you immediately.

Yours sincerely,

Andrea Murphy, Deputy Principal

UPDATE: Monday 4th January

We are now in a national lockdown. According to government guidance, our college operations have now moved online and students should not attend campus. A small number of students have been identified as vulnerable and these learners will be contacted about the option of attending campus.

Please log on to ItsLearning, OneFile (Apprentices) and Century (Maths and English) to complete remote learning. If you have any problems accessing itsLearning, please email

Full-time learners will be contacted by their Progress Tutor or Retention Improvement Officer this week – a great opportunity to access further support. This will also be a chance to report all positive COVID-19 test results from over the break.

For the latest government advice, visit HERE.

We are monitoring government guidance very closely and will be providing updates throughout this period of lockdown. We advise all parents and learners to keep checking our social channels and website for new information as it becomes available.

in the meantime, be sure to stay safe and keep working towards your goals. Together we will overcome any obstacles and start looking forward to a brighter future. If you require any additional help or support, please don't hesitate to reach out. You can find a list of contact information HERE.

More updates will follow.

What to do if you are a student or staff member and you have tested positive for COVID-19 during the Christmas break?

Report the positive test result to the college as soon as you receive your result by email only to

The Senior Leadership Team have access to this email inbox and will pick up the cases during the Christmas break.

Please include ALL of the information required below in your email:

  • Full name
  • Student number
  • Department
  • Your line manager (if you are a member of staff)
  • Telephone number (or parent/carer’s telephone number if under 18)
  • Email address (or parent/carer’s email address if under 18)
  • Date of birth
  • Postcode
  • Date of 1st symptoms
  • Type of symptoms
  • Date last attended college campus (and which campus – Middleton or Rochdale)
  • Date of test
  • Date of positive result confirmation (please include a copy of the result)
  • The details of any close contacts you had with people within the college community (the name and student number if possible) in the 48 hours before your symptoms developed (or your positive test if no symptoms)
  • Details of how you travelled to college in the 48 hours before your symptoms/positive test

Close contacts are as follows:

  • direct close contacts - face-to-face contact with an infected individual for any length of time, within 1 metre, including being coughed on, a face-to-face conversation, or unprotected physical contact (skin-to-skin)
  • proximity contacts - extended close contact (within 1 to 2 metres for more than 15 minutes) with an infected individual
  • travelling in a small vehicle, like a car, with an infected person

If you receive a phone call at any point on the day that you report your positive test result, please answer the telephone as it may be necessary to check the details of your case prior to reporting it to Public Health England if required (attendance on college campus in the 48 hours prior to symptoms/positive test).

You will need to ensure that you self-isolate for 10 days from the date of the symptoms and this also applies to all direct contacts.

Staying safe on campus: Protect yourself and others while on campus

Keeping our community of students and staff as safe as possible is our main priority as we invite them on to our campuses. We have put in place a number of measures to keep you safe:

  • 50/50 timetabling - all our learners who are studying an entry or level 1 course will physically be in college full-time. Learners who are studying at level 2 or above will be present for 50% of their lessons physically. For the remaining 50% they will be set work to do at home via our virtual learning environment or will be accessing the lessons as they occur remotely.
  • Risk assessments of activities and spaces have been carried out
  • Face coverings to be worn in communal areas of college buildings. We expect everyone on campus to wear a face covering in communal areas inside our buildings, unless you are not able to for medical reasons
  • Safe distancing measures are in place
  • A one-way system is in place in shared areas and where appropriate
  • Limited use of and numbers in lifts
  • Fixed cleaning protocols are in place
  • Hand sanitiser stations are at entrances and in common spaces
  • Disinfectant wipes are supplied to clean desks and study areas

Help stop the spread

We need your help to keep our community safe and prevent the spread of infection. When you are on our campuses you must:

  • Stay 2m apart wherever possible
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Wear a face covering in communal areas within our buildings, unless you are not able to for medical reasons
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue and bin it
  • Clean your work or study area and kitchens after use
  • Use Microsoft Teams for meetings
  • Only use marked entrances and exits
  • Follow the one-way system, direction signs and seating plans

It is going to take some time for our guidelines to become routine for everyone and supporting each other will help to keep everyone safe. If you notice that someone is not following the guidelines, please encourage them in a friendly and polite way. Or if someone reminds you, please don’t take offence – we all need to work together as one college community.

Reporting an absence

In the event that you have to record a covid-related absence, please do so via one of the following methods before 9am:

  • Text 07860 055296 with your name, student number and reason for not attending (e.g. Joe Bloggs 12345 Migraine)
  • Email your name, student number and reason for not attending to
  • Or call 0161 643 7560 and leave your name, student number and reason for not attending


Please be aware that you must NOT attend college if you are required to self-isolate. You may need to self-isolate under any of the following circumstances:

  • You develop COVID symptoms and are awaiting a test result
  • You have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace
  • The college informs you that you have been in close contact with a positive case
  • You identify that you have been in close contact with a positive case and need to self-isolate
  • There is someone with COVID symptoms in your household
  • You have travelled from a country requiring a period of quarantine

How long you are required to self-isolate for will depend upon your individual circumstances. You can find more information HERE.

Our priorities

Protecting the health and wellbeing of our community of students and staff and those around us is our priority.

It is important that as we re-open our buildings, we are confident that we do so in line with Public Health England/UK Government guidance. This requires us to ensure that all appropriate risks have been considered and mitigated to minimise viral transmission, that enhanced cleaning and hygiene protocols are in place and that all reasonable steps to maintain safe distancing requirements are implemented.

Please remember that you must stay at home if you or a member of your household develops a high temperature, a new continuous cough and / or a loss of taste or sense of smell. If you do feel unwell and you think you may have the symptoms of coronavirus, please visit the NHS website.

face coverings

Please watch the following video tutorial on how to make your own reusable face covering if you don't already have one.


TfGM are supporting the safe return of students to colleges with boosted capacity on busy routes at peak travel times, including the number 17 .

Duplicate buses, exclusively for school and college students, will run five minutes behind scheduled services, with the usual route number starting in ‘S’. These buses are separate to our existing dedicated college bus services.

Find out all the latest information on the extra services at

Please read the Further Education travel resource pack HERE.


You can access all the latest coronavirus news updates available in British Sign Language here.