NOTICE FOR PARENTS AND CARERS OF YEAR 12 STUDENTS (UPDATE JUNE 3RD)
The College has been working hard over recent weeks to prepare for a gradual wider opening of the campuses when it is safe to do so. All planning activity has health and safety as a priority and we are working to apply the Government’s guidance (the latest update was published on May 29th) to our own local setting. As the guidance changes, our planning changes too and we are constantly reviewing what this means for us.
The earliest date that a wider opening will happen is June 15th, however, this will be for a yet to be defined small group of Year 12 (equivalent) learners. This is the group that the Government has prioritised for the receipt of some face-to-face contact and we will be able to identify who may possibly need to come on campus during the next week. This is unlikely to be our BTEC students as they are already fully engaged in online learning and currently finishing their assignments for the year.
The group we are most likely to need to come in are some of our learners studying more practical courses such as Hair and Beauty, Media Make-up, Construction and Building Services, and Accounting. It may also be the case that we need to bring in a small number of Catering learners to finish their qualifications.
The examination awarding organisations have given us very specific guidelines as to who will be required to be physically present to finish their qualifications and it will not be all learners in the aforementioned curriculum groups. As soon as this group is identified, we will be in direct contact with those learners and their parents and carers. All other learners will continue to study remotely.
We appreciate your efforts in keeping your young person engaged in their studies during this challenging time and we will continue to provide remote learning resources to ensure this learning continues throughout this period.
A newsletter will be sent to update parents and carers on wider college developments and how our plans are developing for the new academic year.
If your young person needs any advice, support or assistance at this time, please do encourage them to contact their Tutor who will be able to provide support.
COVID-19: ENGLISH, MATHS AND SCIENCE GCSE RESULTS INFORMATION (UPDATE 20TH APRIL)
COVID-19: SCAM WARNING (UPDATE MARCH 24TH)
The College would like to make students and parents aware that there are a number of scams and phishing emails circulating. In particular, one scam claims to be from the Department of Education and urges people to share their bank details.
The email reads: “As schools will be closing, if you’re entitled to free school meals, please send your bank details and we’ll make sure you’re supported”.
The Department of Education have confirmed that this is a scam. Please note that if your child is entitled to financial support, including meals, they will be contacted directly from the College and not from anyone outside of the College.
Be sceptical if you receive an email or text about the coronavirus from an unknown source. Never click on any attachments or links.
Never provide personal data such as your full name, address and date of birth. Scammers can use this information to steal your identity.
Remember that police, health workers and others officials will not and do not call at your house unannounced to test for coronavirus.
Do not transfer any money across to someone who calls you over the phone and do not part with your security details.
If you think you have been the victim of a scam, you should contact the following:
Police on 101
COVID-19: SAFEGUARDING AND PASTORAL ARRANGEMENTS (UPDATE MARCH 23RD)
The College is committed to ensuring the continued wellbeing of all students. We understand that the current climate might pose challenges for some of our learners, but we are confident that we can get through this together. We remain here for you and would urge you to consider the following channels on those days when you require our help.
Safeguarding and pastoral support are still be available for those learners at risk and in need of help and support during remote working.
SSTs are continuing to provide support for learners via the College email, ItsLearning and pro-portal, and by telephone.
Designated Safeguarding Team
The Designated Safeguarding Team are contactable by phone and email to provide help and support. Staff and learners should contact the Safeguarding Team on the following numbers:
Tracey Marrow – Designated Safeguarding Officer: 07850 323 664/ 0779 6116 535
Laura Hilley – Deputy Safeguarding Officer: 07903 680 813
Katie Howarth – Deputy Safeguarding Officer: 07903 680 819
Nimisha Mistry-Miah – Senior Designated Safeguarding Officer: 07917 233 738
Itslearning: use the Stay Safe button
Pastoral and welfare support is available from the Student Support Team. Learners will be able to contact their SSTs via email, through Itslearning or by calling the safeguarding or pastoral contact numbers.
Pastoral contact details:
Zoe Keenan: 07375 290 086
Sadia Khan: 0749 638 7321
Jenny Tait: 07375 290 096
Julie Halsall: 07802 897 228
Support for Mental Health
There will be a remote counselling service in place. Support for mental health and wellbeing will be provided to learners via telephone and email support available from the College counsellor, Hannah Starki, from 9am to 4pm each day during term time only.
Telephone: 07748 182 353
Support for SEN and High Needs Learners
Please contact the Learning Support Officer for your area or the Learning Support Coordinators. You can also contact Learning Support by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learning Support staff will continue to support students. Learners with SEND and with an EHCP in place will have access to direct College communication on a daily basis with Support Staff from the Learning Support Team when additional learning support is required. This will be carried out remotely either through ItsLearning, College email or by phone with a Support Staff member.
Support Staff will be able to provide any required additional support for learning, and to help with the completion of tasks and assignment work.
Deaf learners who have support usually in College with communication and language will be supported with direct corresponance via ItsLearning, College email and Microsoft Team with their Communication Support Worker (CSW).
All bursary payments (including free school meals) will be paid directly into learners’ bank accounts where available. This will take place on Monday of each week until further notice.
COVID-19 AND COLLEGE OPERATIONS: UPDATE MARCH 20th
The spread of COVID-19 has created a rapidly changing situation. As always, our priority is the wellbeing of our learners, staff and our community. Any actions we take are designed to minimise the risk of infection.
In line with the latest government guidelines, we have decided to keep our Rochdale Campus open for our most vulnerable 16 - 18 year-old learners and children of key workers. A list of key workers can be found HERE. The Rochdale Campus will be open from Monday to Friday from 10am - 2pm starting on Monday 23rd March until Friday 3rd April. Please note that these dates are regularly being reviewed and so we urge you to keep checking this page for updates.
This group of learners will have access to our iLearn Centre in order to complete any online learning activities. Enrichment will also be on offer, including opportunities for some “light relief” with games, as well as the opportunity to gain some life skills too.
This web page will be kept updated regularly and will seek to provide clarity and reassurance moving forward. We urge you to keep visiting this page, as well as our social media channels for the latest information and any developments.
Please note that we have had to postpone our upcoming open events planned for March 28th and April 23rd in line with government guidelines. However, we continue to welcome online applications throughout this period and our Admissions Team will be working to process all new applications in a timely manner. In the meantime, prospective students that require careers advice should email email@example.com.
In order to continue our commitment to supporting the local business community, we have streamlined our payment processes to ensure prompt payment for all suppliers. Please ensure that all invoices are emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19 AND COLLEGE OPERATIONS: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
The College understands that many of you have concerns and worries around how online learning will work. We hope the below FAQs will help to reassure you. We are doing all we can to ensure the smoothest possible transition to online learning and that students can easily access support during this period. We would urge you to please keep checking our website for updates.
Q – How will online learning work for more practical courses, such as Plumbing, UPS and Brickwork?
Learners will be set work online via our virtual learning environment (ItsLearning). All students will be monitored remotely by curriculum staff to ensure they are progressing with their learning. Unfortunately, we will not be able to assess practical work at the moment. However, learners can use online videos to develop the knowledge linked to these practical courses. As soon as we hear anything from the government or the examination boards regarding how any missed exams will be treated the College will pass this information on.
Q – How will learners who access learning support be able to learn online?
Learners with SEND and with an EHCP in place will have access to direct College communication on a daily basis with Support Staff from the Learning Support Team when additional learning support is required. This will be carried out remotely either through ItsLearning, College email or by phone directly with a Support Staff member. Support Staff will be able to provide any required additional support for learning, and to help with the completion of tasks and assignment work. Deaf learners who usually have support in the College with communication and language will be supported with direct communication via ItsLearning, College email and (Skype/video calling) with their Communication Support Worker (CSW) on a regular basis. Support Staff will also be in communication with Tutors and Area Programme Managers both daily and when required.
Q – How can learners pass their Apprenticeship without sitting exams or will these be online too?
We are awaiting government guidelines regarding end point assessments and any other exams apprentices may need to sit to ensure they complete their apprenticeships. We envisage that there will be some kind of announcement from the government and funding agencies shortly.
Q – Will the College be open for vulnerable students?
We are currently working with colleagues in the College and also the ESFA to understand what individual learners need and how we can enable them to access this.
Q – Who counts as a vulnerable student?
The official advice is that vulnerable children include: those who have a social worker and those with an educational health and care plan (EHCP) – a legal document that describes a child’s special educational needs and the support they require. Children who do not fall into these two groups should remain at home with "appropriate care".
Q – Will we be providing meals for learners on free school meals?
If you are in receipt of financial support and free college meals, please contact your SST directly. We are also awaiting updates from the government in relation to how a voucher system may be initiated nationally.
Q – What if I require IT support from home?
If students require IT support around the VLE (ItsLearning) then please contact email@example.com.
Q – How will teachers be contacting students?
Teachers will contact students through ItsLearning and other college approved channels of communication. Students will have regular contact with their Tutor and SST.
Q – What if the learner has no/limited access to a laptop or a smartphone and neither have their parents?
If a learner has no laptop or smartphone it is essential that they let their curriculum staff know so that they can assess and monitor their work in a different way. Staff can send out paper copies of work to learners.
Q – My parents and sister are all working from home, we will have to share one laptop. Will I be reported as absent if I can’t login to complete assignments until the evening?
The College appreciates that not everyone will have access to an individual laptop and you may not be available to access your sessions at the time you would normally be in College. As long as you continue to engage with the work set and complete the tasks you are set you will receive a positive register mark each week.
Q – What if a learner’s household has no Wi-Fi?
Staff can send out paper copies of work to learners. Please inform your teacher immediately if you require paper copies.
Q – How long does College expect online delivery to continue for?
Online delivery is expected to remain in place until government advises differently. Please keep an eye on the website.
Q – In a busy household with no quiet space to study, can the College offer learners any help?
The College campuses will remain closed to the majority of learners and therefore in these circumstances we are unable to offer a quiet place to study.
Q – Are arrangements the same for both campuses?
At this stage, yes. The situation is, however, fast paced and changing. We will update you with any changes via the website.
Q – Will learners be expected to access online learning at fixed times? What if they can’t get online at that point?
We recognise that learners may be ill or helping family members, but as far as possible learners should try and keep to a timetabled routine as this will give structure to their days. However, the learning resources that have been set up can be accessed at any time of day. Curriculum staff will be continuing to mark registers as normal.
Q – As a learner, why should I report my absence?
Please continue to record absences through the usual channels (firstname.lastname@example.org). Staff have to record attendance as usual but they will be doing this weekly. If learners are engaging with online work, then they will receive a positive register mark of a P that will be filled in for each session once a week. If a student is ill or can’t work due to Covid 19 then the mark used will be Q. The college’s funding depends on us keeping as accurate register mark as possible given the unprecedented circumstances. Financial support paid to learners will also be dependent on attendance as is stated in the College Attendance Policy.
Q – What if I have technical problems with the VLE/ItsLearning, how can I access IT support from home?
You can access VLE support via user helpdesk at email@example.com or general IT support at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q – I am really worried, who can help me at college?
The College Safeguarding team and Counsellor will be available to support learners throughout this period and there are also online support services available to staff and students.
Q – Will my university application be affected?
The government have said that they will try and protect university places but they have not yet given guidance on how this will work. We are awaiting further information from UCAS and the Office for Students.
Q – Will this affect applications/interviews/start dates for the next intake?
Please be assured that no applicants for the next academic year will be affected. The College will be engaging with prospective new students throughout this period to ensure they feel welcome and well informed about their College place for next year. Although face to face interviews are not going to be possible throughout this period, all applicants will be offered a place at the College.
For Apprenticeship applications, please also continue to apply online as normal. Interviews will now be conducted over the telephone for the foreseeable future.
COVID-19 update Wednesday 18th March
Please note that from today we are changing the College’s operations. The government's changes to self-isolation guidelines mean we have a significant number of staff who are unable to attend work. As a result, the following changes are planned:
Thursday 19th March 2020 – exams that are scheduled on this day will continue. These are Plumbing, AAT, Electrical, Functional Skills Maths, Functional Skills English. There is also a synoptic assessment for Animal Management students starting at 1pm.
Thursday 19th March 2020 – from this point onwards adult classes will not be delivered in a college setting and instead will be delivered online.
Friday 20th March 2020 – from this point onwards all college teaching and learning will transition to online delivery. This means there will be no face to face teaching at either campus. If you are unsure how to access our online VLE, please HERE for instructions.
We are simply moving to online delivery, with all operations now taking place online in line with government guidelines. This includes teaching, support and our application process.
Student safety is our main priority, so with that in mind we are supporting all students to ensure they are as comfortable as possible to learn from home. Student Support Tutors will still be on hand for support and are here for our learners as always.
Please can we ask that students continue to report absence in the usual way should you be unwell during this period. This means that you must email if you are unable to take part in online learning on any day. Email: email@example.com
It is a rapidly changing situation in terms of government announcements and guidelines. We will provide further information as soon as we possibly can and will keep our College website and social feeds updated.
Thank you for reading and for your support at this difficult time.
Keep safe and please take care.
Julia Heap, Principal and Chief Executive
For more information and useful links:
If you are struggling or in crisis, the following helplines are able to assist you should you require.
Samaritans (any age) 116123
Childline (up to age 19) 0800 1111
CAM crisis messenger text CAM to 85258
NHS Direct 111
Please contact 999 is there is an immediate risk to life.
You can visit Kooth if you need to speak to a counsellor. This is a messaging and online counselling service for 11-25 year olds.
Other helpful advice can be found at Mental Health Foundation.