Face-to-face teaching has been suspended until further notice, in line with Government advice to help slow down the spread of Coronavirus (Covid-19). Remote learning is now taking place. We realise this presents some significant challenges and raises lots of questions. This Frequently Asked Questions page is designed to provide some clarity. Where there are things we do not know, we will update this page as soon as we get answers. Developments are constantly taking place, so keep checking back for new information. News will also be given via the Announcements page.
This was last updated on 8 February 2021.
Is the College closing?
No, we are moving to remote learning, but lessons will continue. The College Learning Resource Centre will remain open during the hours of 8.30am – 4.30pm throughout this period of national lockdown. This facility will be available to vulnerable students, those whose parents are designated as key workers by the government and to students who cannot access remote learning from home because of a lack of equipment or internet.
When is the College moving to distance learning?
Year 12 and Year 13 lessons have all moved to distance learning from Tuesday 5 January 2021 until further notice.
When will College re-open to all students for face-to-face learning?
We do not have a firm date for when schools and colleges will be re-opening for face-to-face teaching, but the indication the government has provided so far is that remote learning is likely to continue until at least 8th March 2021. We would ask for your patience and urge you to keep checking the College website, social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and College email accounts for updates.
How will remote learning be taking place?
The Teaching, Learning and Assessment provided to students will be of the same high quality as students would receive if they were in College, but adapted to reflect the fact that the students are working from home. Teachers will be delivering live Teams lessons for a minimum of one third of the weekly teaching allocation across A level and BTEC and will follow the usual timetable. Live lessons are supported by recorded lessons, discussion groups and guided learning tasks. Teachers will be communicating expectations to their students via Tyber and email and students are expected to check everyday for updates. Assignments will be set and teachers will provide guidance on how this work is to be handed in and what deadlines students must meet. Staff will be taking registers of those students who are engaging with remote learning and the normal College processes will be used in instances that students do not adhere to these expectations. If you have difficulties accessing remote learning please remember that the LRC is available from 8.30am – 4.30pm and your teachers and your academic coach is available to support you.
Are summer exams going ahead?
The government have indicated that summer exams will not be going ahead as planned. However, we do not yet have clarification from the Department of Education as to what will be replacing these formal exams and how grades will be calculated. Last year Centre Assessed Grades were calculated, but that does not mean the same will happen this year. As soon as we get official guidance from the Department of Education, we will update students. Until then, a sharp focus on continuing online learning is important to ensure students are ready for whatever measures are put in place. Our priority will be to ensure students are not disadvantaged.
I’m doing work experience as part of my course. Will that continue?
No. All work experience placements are cancelled with immediate effect. No student will be disadvantaged in their course by this decision. We will advise students in due course if work experience placements can resume.
What happens with students who are doing an Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) or Core Maths?
EPQ and Core Maths lessons are continuing via remote learning.
What will happen to my University/Higher Apprenticeship offer?
The Government will be announcing in due course how grades will be calculated. We are confident that students will get grades next summer and that these will be used to ensure students can take up places at university or with training providers. Although, we do not know how this will be calculated yet, we will keep students informed and urge students to keep checking tyber and the College website and social media. The aim is to ensure that students are not disadvantaged. As worrying as this will be for students, we would ask for your patience while this is resolved. Rest assured, the College will support students progression plans in every way we can. We will hold the government and the universities to account and make sure they deliver on the promise that the grades given will be fair and will not impede your progress to work or further study.
Will we be supported to make our decisions on UCAS for Universities?
Absolutely. Support will be provided through Academic Coaches.
Will I be able to contact my teachers if I need help?
Yes. Whenever you would normally have a lesson, you can expect to be able to reach your teacher to ask questions and get advice. This is provided that your teacher is well. If they are unwell, we will ask another teacher within that department to be available to students instead.
Can I contact my Academic Coach if I need support?
Yes. Academic Coaches will be working from home and conducting 1-to-1s remotely. They will be in touch with students via Tyber, email and by phone (they have been issued with College mobile phones for this purpose). They will be available during normal College hours, based on the days they normally work. Priority will be given to students who are most vulnerable and in need of support.
We are also continuing to deliver our safeguarding duty of care to all students.
Will I still get my Bursary and Free School Meals while College is closed?
Yes. Bursaries are still being paid directly into the bank account of those who qualify for them. Those that get Free School Meals are receiving vouchers.
Do we have to return our library books?
In the long term we would like all library books to be returned, but for now we are happy for you to hold on to them to support your self-study. They should be returned at a safe and appropriate time in the future.
What should I do?
You should continue to work and complete the GCSE syllabus as this forms the basis for your future studies. You should make sure that your knowledge of Maths, English, the Sciences and any subject that you are continuing with is very secure so that you can get the best start to your studies next year.
Will interviews still be going ahead?
Interviews this year are mostly being conducted by telephone with some by email. All the offers we are making are conditional offers, which means we need students to achieve certain grades to study A level, BTEC or CACHE courses with us. We know that students will be awarded GCSE grades this summer and information on how these grades will be calculated will be announced by the Department of Education in due course. Our entry requirements at this stage remain the same. Students will need to attain the required grades in their GCSEs in order to access courses and all offers are conditional on students meeting entry criteria.
Please be reassured that we will follow all government advice with the aim of ensuring that every student with an application is treated fairly. Enrolment is planned to take place during the last week of August and the first week of September, after GCSE exam results have been published. We will confirm details nearer the time. We thank all our applicants for their patience.
I attend an out-of-hours class at the College. Will this be continuing?
No. All external lettings on College premises are cancelled until further notice.
How will you be dealing with existing suppliers at this time?
The current outbreak of COVID-19 is unprecedented and will have a significant impact on businesses of all sizes. Many suppliers to public bodies will struggle to meet their contractual obligations and this will put their financial viability, ability to retain staff and their supply chains at risk. As a Contracting authority, Summit Learning Trust (which the College is part of) are required to support suppliers at risk so they are better able to cope with the current crises and to resume normal service delivery and fulfil their contractual obligations when the outbreak is over.
All suppliers will be paid as quickly as possible to maintain cash flow and protect jobs. The Trust will also take action to continue to pay suppliers at risk due to COVID-19 on a continuity and retention basis. As Trust staff are working remotely, please email invoices to: PurchaseLedger@summitlearningtrust.org.uk. If you have recently posted an invoice please send it again by email as not all offices are being attended and therefore mail may not get opened as quickly as normal. The Trust will be contacting suppliers who provide the goods or services that are critical to the functioning of our Educational establishments. We are complying with fresh Government instructions and will continue to do so as they are updated throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
If you are a contracted supplier who is at risk of not being able to resume normal service delivery after the outbreak is over, you will continue to be paid as normal until at least the end of June, even if service delivery is disrupted or temporarily suspended. The Government will review this date in due course. If you have not been contacted by Friday 27th March and your financial stability will be significantly impacted as a result of the loss of our business during the COVID-19 outbreak, please contact us at: SupplierEnquiries@summitlearningtrust.org.uk. We will focus our greatest effort on those suppliers that are impacted most by our temporary closure.
For further information and to keep up to date, please visit the Gov.uk websites:
(N.B. this policy note is for Contracting Authorities only, but to be transparent with all you may access it should you wish to). Summit Learning Trust values your business and endeavours to support you throughout this difficult time.