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Coronavirus – Information for our students

Extra Support for 2020 Leavers

Many of you who have left college in 2020 have a clear idea of your next steps; to all of you, we wish you the very best of luck. For others though, we understand that you may still be uncertain about your future -we want you to know that we are still here to help.

With the assistance of the Southern Universities Network, we will be offering additional, dedicated Careers support for 2020 college leavers from Aug 13, 2020 until the end of September.

We are offering:

Updated 24.08.20 @ 14:30

As a reminder, the following BTECs are being reviewed and regraded where appropriate:

We promised to share an update with you as soon as we could on timings for the release of revised grades and I am now able to confirm that all eligible results will be available by August 28.

For more information on GCSEs. AS and A Levels and other qualifications in 2020, click here.

Updated 04.08.20 @ 10:30

The Government have released a Student guide to post-16 qualification results: summer 2020. This guide is for those receiving qualification results in England this summer to help you understand how results have been awarded this year and where to find more information.

Click here to view the guide 

Updated 06.07.20 @ 09:00 

We will be writing to all progressing students during July with details of whether they will be enrolled remotely or asked to come in to college for enrolment. Whilst many students can be enrolled remotely, some will be asked to come on to campus to review course options.


More Information 

We understand that this is a challenging time for our students and we have put the following plans in place to support learning and keep our community safe.

In response to the announcement by the Secretary of State for Education and the Prime Minister on the evening of 18 March 2020, from Monday 23 March onwards, the college mode of delivery of teaching and learning will be online for all theory aspects of learning programmes and support of learners which will include English and maths.

No further practical lessons will take place on site until further notice. College colleagues have been planning for this, in the expectation that schools and colleges would be instructed to close to physical, face-to-face teaching and learning which has now occurred. Your timetable will be as normal for theory lessons, but lessons/classes will be delivered online.

Our staff will be using a range of online learning techniques, all of which can be accessed by computer/tablet/SMART mobile, and these techniques have been widely tested by colleagues to ensure they operate as expected. If any student or parent is concerned about access to IT equipment, they should contact the college via tutors so we can evaluate if there is any support that might be offered.

As a result of the announcements on the evening of 18 March 2020, there is no longer any requirement to continue to attend work experience/work placement and there is no impact on the final grade for any student who is not able to/chooses not to continue with work placement.

Exams and assessments 

Ofqual, the exams regulator in England, has announced that no exams will take place in May or June this year. As a result, students will receive a calculated grade which reflects their performance as fairly as possible under the current circumstances. Exam boards across the country will ask teachers to submit their judgement about the grade they believe students would have received if exams had gone ahead. This score will take into account a range of evidence including assessments completed to date (including mock exams and non-exam assessment previously known as ‘coursework’) and other forms of prior attainment. These predicted grades will be monitored by exam boards to ensure fairness. Exam boards believe this will provide the best assessment of the work they have put in.

First Year & Second Year A-levels 

Lessons will continue online until the end of June for first year A-level students.  If you are a first year A-level student, it is vital that you continue to attend online lessons, complete work set and engage with your teachers as this will form a key part of your suitability for progression to year 2.

Lessons will continue online until May half term for second year A-level.  For second year A-level students, Ofqual have indicated that if students wish to appeal the grade they are awarded in the summer then they will have the opportunity to sit a formal assessment at a time to be confirmed, after results day

Therefore, lessons will continue to allow teachers to finish course content to prepare you for next steps at university or employment, and revise content already completed in order to prepare you as fully as possible should you wish to take part in later formal assessment.

What assessments will my teachers consider when submitting my grade?

Second Year A-levels

Your teachers will draw on a number of different assessment points across your time at college – certainly not just one or two.  This will include standards and progression exams, any non-examined assessment (coursework) you may have completed and other work set over the past few years.  Teachers will also bear in mind how you have performed in class whilst at college.  However, exam boards will conduct a process of standardisation that will ultimately dictate the final outcome for students.

Will I need to do any more assessment?

Second Year A-levels

While your teachers may set you work to do while lessons continue online to allow you to finish your course content and, if required, prepare you for progression and any later formal assessment, you will not be set any further assessments that will count towards your final calculated grade by teachers.  Ofqual’s guidelines state that work completed before late-March should be the main work considered when teachers make their final judgements.  Any work you submit after late-March will only go towards confirming the skills you have gained this year.

What if I’m not happy with the grade I get?

Second Year A-levels

Ofqual announced that there will be an opportunity for students to sit a formal assessment after results are issued in the summer if they are unhappy with the grade they are awarded.  Precise details about this process have not yet been released.  The College asks that learners and parents do not contact individual teachers or support staff in relation to teacher assessed grades.  These grades, following the advice of Ofqual, cannot be shared with learners or parents until they are formally released in the summer.  Once the grades have been submitted to exam boards, they will undergo a process of moderation and standardisation to ensure that awarding is consistent across all centres.

At the start of May, Ofqual opened a period of consultation for how grades for learners on vocational and technical qualifications will be awarded this summer, following the guidance for GCSE qualifications released last month.  For certain qualifications, the College may be determining and submitting a centre assessed grade for learners over the next few weeks and months.  Where this is the case, teachers will draw on a range of information, not just a single assessment point, across each learner’s time at college to arrive at a fair and reasonable judgement.  Other qualifications may see a further amount of external or internal assessment take place before final grades are awarded.  Further details regarding this will be shared as soon as it is made available by awarding bodies.

When will my lessons finish?

Level 1 – all years

Level 2 – all years

Level 3 – Year 1

Lessons will continue online, and follow the existing timetable, until 26th June (with the exception of Reading Break from 25th – 29th May).  This will allow teachers to continue developing your skills and knowledge, cover course content and prepare you for next steps and progression.  It is important that you continue to engage with your teachers and complete work set throughout this period as failing to do so may impact your progression at College.

Level 3 – Year 2

Lessons will continue online, and follow the existing timetable, until 22nd May.  From 1st – 26th June, learners will not be expected to follow their current timetable and engage in online lessons at these times, however further work will be provided at the start of each week to continue developing your skills and knowledge related to your qualification as well as careers.  For qualifications where further internal and/or external assessment is required, work will be set during this period.

GCSE

Lessons will continue through online project work until 22nd May.  From 1st – 26th June, learners will not be expected to follow their current GCSE timetable but will be encouraged to engage in online activities and projects linked to your current programme of study.  There will be online drop-in workshops available during the week for learners to ask for guidance and support.  These workshops will also help you to continue developing your skills and knowledge in readiness for any future examined assessment for those who do not achieve a pass grade this summer.

Functional Skills

Functional Skills classes will continue online, and follow the existing timetable, until 26th June.

What assessments will my teachers consider when submitting my grade, if applicable?

Your teachers will draw on a number of different assessment points across your time at college – certainly not just one or two.  This will include any completed assignments/assessments/exams to date alongside other work set during your studies.  Teachers may also bear in mind how you have performed in class and while undertaking practical activity.  However, exam boards will conduct a process of standardisation that will ultimately dictate the final outcome for students.

Will I need to do any more internal and/or external assessment that counts towards my final grade?

For a small number of courses, there may be work set at this time that will continue to count towards your final grade where awarding bodies deem it necessary.  If this is the case then teachers will make this clear during online sessions.

For the majority of qualifications, while teachers may set work to do during online lessons to finish course content and prepare you for progression along with any later formal assessment, you may not be set any further assessment that will count towards your final calculated grade this year.  In these instances, any work you submit at this stage will only go towards confirming the skills you have gained this year.

What if I’m not happy with any calculated grade I get?

Ofqual announced that it is reviewing possible appeal routes for learners who are not happy with the grades they receive.  There may be opportunities for learners to undertake formal assessment(s) later in the academic year to improve grades, although precise details about this process have not yet been released.

The College asks that learners and parents do not contact individual teachers or support staff in relation to centre assessed grades.  These grades, following the advice of Ofqual, cannot be shared with learners or parents until they are formally released in the summer.  Once the grades have been submitted to exam boards, they will undergo a process of moderation and standardisation to ensure that awarding is consistent across all centres.  Further information on next steps will be shared as soon as possible.

Wellbeing and Careers Advice 

Our Wellbeing team and College counselling service will continue to operate as normal; appointments will be by telephone. Students have already received an update from the Wellbeing Team via Moodle providing details on how to access this service. Students currently receiving counselling will be contacted direct by the College counsellor to confirm appointment times.

Careers Guidance about next steps can still be booked in the usual way and consultations will be available via email and telephone with further information on the Moodle Careers page.

Transport and Funding 

On 18 March the Secretary of State announced “To support children eligible for free school meals, schools will be able to purchase meals or vouchers for supermarkets or local shops”. Once details of those become available we will contact eligible students so that we can explain how their entitlement will continue.

Because the college will not be open for face-to-face teaching, any student wishing to have their bus pass refunded on a pro rata basis, for the remaining weeks of the year, should contact the college by emailing coursesandover@sparsholt.ac.uk.

Children/students of Key Workers

Parents who are “Key Workers”* or where a student has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) should contact the college by 12pm on Friday 20 March, if they wish for arrangements to be made for on-campus attendance or residency, in line with the announcement by the Secretary of State.

Health and social care

Includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment

Education and childcare

This includes nursery and teaching staff, social workers and those specialist education professionals who must remain active during the COVID-19 response to deliver this approach

Key public services

This includes those essential to the running of the justice system, religious staff, charities and workers delivering key frontline services, those responsible for the management of the deceased, and journalists and broadcasters who are providing public service broadcasting

Local and national government

This only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the COVID-19 response or delivering essential public services such as the payment of benefits, including in government agencies and arms length bodies

Food and other necessary goods

This includes those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines)

Public safety and national security

This includes police and support staff, Ministry of Defence civilians, contractor and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of key defence and national security outputs and essential to the response to the COVID-19 pandemic), fire and rescue service employees (including support staff), National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas

Transport

This includes those who will keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the COVID-19 response, including those working on transport systems through which supply chains pass

Utilities, communication and financial services

This includes staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure), the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage), information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the COVID-19 response, as well as key staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 critical services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors

Updated 12.05.20 @ 13:15 

Announcements were made by The DFE late in the evening of 11th May which mentions further education colleges being asked to offer some face-to-face support to supplement the remote education of year 12 students (circa 16 to 17 year olds). View more here. 

College staff will be working over the next two weeks to plan how best to offer this additional face-to-face support with our primary responsibility to ensure the health safety and wellbeing of staff and students

Click here to view our latest update in full