Closure FAQ

All formal lessons in College have ceased and the College has closed 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 7 April 2020 at 9.45am – see the section entitled “Prospective students” for information about applications and enrolment. Also see our Admissions FAQ for more answers to your questions.

College Closure

Is the College closing?

No, but all formal lessons will be taught by distance learning. The College will be open to a small number of identified students who are vulnerable or whose parents are designated as key workers by the government.

How do I know whether I am a vulnerable student?

The College will have contacted you directly via Tyber if you fall into this category. You must respond to the survey if you wish to access college facilities in the learning resource centre.

How do I know whether I am a student whose parents are key workers?

The government announced the workers that are key workers. If you fall into this category, you will need to provide some evidence that both of your parents fall into this category to entitle you to work in the Learning Resource Centre.

When is the College moving to distance learning?

Year 12 and Year 13 lessons have all moved to distance learning from Monday 23 March 2020 until further notice.

When will College re-open to all students?

College is closed to most students until further notice. We do not know exactly when schools and colleges across the country will re-open, because we don’t know how long the current Coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis will go on for. 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.

Will learning continue while College is closed?

Yes. Teachers in all curriculum areas have been preparing for the possible closure of schools and colleges and have remote learning plans ready to start on Monday 23 March 2020. Not every course will do this in exactly the same way, so it’s important you look out for communications from all of your teachers. This will come to you in the way that your individual teachers have told you e.g. your College email account, Tyber, One Drive or Moodle. All students in Year 12 and Year 13 (A level, BTEC and CACHE) are expected to fully engage with this learning.

A Levels

Since A level exams are cancelled in 2020, how will I get a grade?

Ofqual provided further guidance on how GCSE, EPQ and A level grades will be calculated on 3 April and this guidance can be seen on the Ofqual website.

In summary, grades will be calculated as follows:

Exam boards will be contacting schools, colleges and other exam centres after Easter asking them to submit, by a deadline that will be no earlier than 29 May 2020, the following:
• centre assessment grade for every student in each of their subjects: that is, the grade they would be most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams and completed any non-exam assessment. Judgements should balance different sources of evidence such as:
– classwork
– bookwork
– any participation in performances in subjects such as music, drama or PE
– any non-exam assessment – whether or not complete
– the results of any assignments or mock exams
– previous examination results – for example, for any re-sitting students or those with relevant AS qualifications
– any other records of student performance over the course of study
• the rank order of students within each grade for each subject – for example, for all those students with a centre assessment grade of 5 in GCSE maths, a rank order where 1 is the most secure/highest attaining student, and so on. This information will be used in the statistical standardisation of centres’ judgements – allowing fine tuning of the standard applied across all schools and colleges
• a declaration from the Head of Centre making the submission

Read what Principal Martin Sullivan had to say about this.

Since A level exams are cancelled, what will Year 13 students be doing?

The College will complete the syllabus for all A level subjects, regardless of whether it is examined or not. This means that your knowledge will be the same as previous years, and that you will be able to progress to University, Apprenticeships or Work knowing that you have the right skills and understanding to be successful. However, the emphasis on A level exam technique will be diminished, and the checking of knowledge will be focussed on the skills needed for your next steps. If teachers are required to provide information on student grades by the exam boards they will need as much assessment evidence as possible to make this judgement.

It is important that you continue with your learning despite there being no exams and this us why: The government have indicated that all Year 13 A level, BTEC and CACHE students will get a calculated grade and that teachers will be involved in supplying information that contributes to that grade. We do not yet have details of how A level grades will be awarded but it is clear that it will take into account a range of evidence (non-exam assessment, mock results, standardisation of student marks, teacher assessment and prior attainment). The Government will not simply be using predicted grades. Therefore, all student work, including work that is currently being set and assessed remotely, will be taken into account as we strive to ensure that specifications are covered and that the awarding of your grades is fair and robust.

Non-exam assessment (where applicable for A level) is also very important so students should be continuing to work on this as advised by their teachers. In BTEC and CACHE courses, your teachers will be working with you to complete units that are already in process. You may also for example be working on units that have theory and practical assignments. Teachers will keep assessing the theory assignments so that the unit can contribute to the information we pass on to the Awarding Body. Until we hear further, we will not be starting any new units.

In addition, we have a duty and a commitment to ensuring that you complete your A level specifications and as much of your BTEC/CACHE course as possible, and teachers will continue to set and assess work which helps you to do so. Our aim is to facilitate your progression to university, apprenticeships and employment and to ensure that you have no knowledge gaps. Should you be unhappy with the calculated grade awarded to you, A level students will have the opportunity to sit the exams once schools and colleges are open again and BTEC students will have a right of Appeal to the Awarding Body.

This link summarises the Government’s current position.

Since A level exams are cancelled, what will Year 12 students be doing?

The College will continue to teach the syllabus for all A level subjects, to make sure that you cover the ground and make the progress that we have always expected of students by the end of year 12. This means that your knowledge and skills will be similar to previous years, and that there will be minimal gaps as you progress to Year 13. We will be carrying out an end of Year 12 assessment on your return to College. This will be used to check that you have the knowledge, skills and understanding to be successful at the end of your two years with us.

I am a Year 12 Student. Will my progression exams go ahead?

There will be no progression exams in April/May. Instead we will be carrying out an end of Year 12 assessment on your return to College. This will be used to check that you have been engaging with the distance learning material and have the knowledge, skills and understanding to be successful at the end of your two years with us.

BTEC and CACHE Students

Will BTEC/CACHE Assessments continue in Year 13?

You should continue to work on your assignments and complete units. Obviously, practical sessions will not be possible to do in science, sport etc, but you should complete all that you can. We are waiting for Government and Exam Board information on how the accreditation will work and we need to ensure that you are all in the position to get the best grades you can. Please do not worry. The government have assured us that no student will be disadvantaged.

Will BTEC/CACHE Assessments continue in Year 12?

Absolutely. You should continue to work on your assignments and complete units. Obviously, practical sessions will not be possible to do in science, sport etc, but do not worry about this as we will support you to plug any gaps on your return. The message is work on and complete all that you can.

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.

GCSE Resits

Do Year 12 GCSE students need to carry on into Year 13 GCSE subjects?

We are awaiting further instructions from the exam board. If necessary, we will organise for you to take a resit at the earliest opportunity.

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

What happens to Year 13 students doing an EPQ?

The work of all of the students who started and completed their EPQ in Year 12 and are now in Year 13 has been marked and moderated. These will be submitted to the board and grades awarded.

The small number of students who started EPQ in Year 13 have already been contacted in relation to this. If you have any queries please Tyber message Deborah Smail-Ross.

Progression to University, Apprenticeships and Work

What will happen to my University/Higher Apprenticeship offer if I don’t have a grade?

The Government and the University sector are working out how to accept students without final exams and you will get a grade in due course. Universities and training providers will be working with whatever new system is put in place to ensure that they are still able to enrol students for the next academic year. 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.

The latest update (24/03/20) from UCAS is as follows:

We have been informed by UCAS that following a government announcement asking Universities and Colleges in England to hold back from making unconditional offers or amending existing offers to students for up to two weeks, UCAS have taken the decision to extend May’s ‘decision and reply’ deadline by two weeks. UCAS will email further details to all applicants shortly. The extension will give you and your chosen universities extra time to fully consider any decisions and offers and ensure fairness in admissions is maintained. It also gives more time for further information to be shared on the awarding of grades for examinations and assessments that have been cancelled. When results are confirmed, UACS intend to run a clearing process to give applicants the flexibility to make further choices during the remainder of the application cycle. We will update students if we are informed of any further development.

Will we be supported to make our decisions on UCAS for Universities?

Absolutely. Support will be provided through Academic Coaches.

Are we supposed to make our decisions on UCAS for universities?

The current statement on the UCAS website reads: “Following the announcement of the closure of schools in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and the cancellation of examinations and assessments in England and Scotland, UCAS is working with Ofqual, the Department for Education, the Scottish Government, the Office for Students, and examination awarding bodies. We expect to be able to provide a further update on Friday 20 March.”

College advice is to accept offers within the deadlines stated on UCAS Track and await further instruction. Please do not panic if you are still in the process of making a decision, or have not yet heard from all of your choices. Further notes can be found on Moodle under Academic Coaching/ Year 13 /Seminar 12 UCAS Responding to Offers.

Any concerns, please Tyber message Trevor Irving.

Help

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. Read more about this here.

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 will instead be getting £10 per week paid into their bank accounts.

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.

Prospective Students

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?

Prospective students awaiting interview for their September 2020 place with us have been contacted with an email from the Admissions Office. The Interview Evenings scheduled for Wednesday 25 March, Thursday 22 April, Wednesday 29 April and Wednesday 13 May will not be taking place. Instead, interviews will take place by telephone and those who were scheduled to attend Interview Evening on Wednesday 25 March will be contacted first. Offer letters will be sent out via email. We will get to those scheduled for interview at subsequent dates as soon as we can and look to schedule those without a specific interview date as soon as possible. Students interviewed at a later date will not be disadvantaged. We do not yet know if the Interview Evening on Wednesday 10 June will go ahead or not; we will update prospective students as soon as we know more.

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 has been released by Ofqual. These grades are likely to be awarded in July. 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. We have no plans to require applicants to complete additional assessments at this stage.

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.

External Classes

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.

Suppliers

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:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/procurement-policy-note-0220-supplier-relief-due-to-covid-19

(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.