Coronavirus response update - 20.04.20

20 April 2020

Coronavirus response update: 20th April 2020

A warm welcome back! I hope you and your families found some time for rest and relaxation over the Easter break. For once, the weather was good which made the experience a little easier as the daily walk, run or cycle could take place in the sunshine. There have been some amazing people doing some amazing things; Captain Tom and his 100 lap walk raising over £20 million for the NHS is one of them, displaying the very best of human spirit in these strange times; hats off to him and those like him! There has been speculation on the length of lockdown and the re-opening date for schools and colleges throughout the UK. As confirmed yesterday, there is no date for the re-opening of any educational institution. We will, of course, keep you posted if anything changes.

There have been a number announcements made since our last update. Ofqual released information about the mechanism for awarding grades for vocational, technical and other qualifications during the break. The document did not provide answers to the many questions which staff, students or parents / guardians / carers have. Fundamentally, classroom based BTEC and equivalent qualifications will use the same mechanism as A level and GCSE; a Centre Assessment Grade (CAG) will be generated to support the awarding of qualifications with some awarding bodies asking for a rank order, but not all. It is likely that different awarding bodies will choose different methods to arrive at these grades; we will share any information we receive as soon as we are able.

Ofqual have launched a consultation on the methodology for the awarding of grades for A level, GCSE and EPQ qualifications. This closes on Wednesday 29th April and can be found at  https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-seeks-views-on-gcse-and-a-level-grading-proposals-for-2020 If you are affected by this process, I would encourage you to read this document and respond if you have any comments to make. Please send you contributions directly to Ofqual.

As a result of the information released by Ofqual over the holiday, we have taken the decision to advise all A2 (A level, GCSE, EPQ and BTEC or equivalent) students to stop working on their qualifications. It is highly likely that any work completed after 20th March 2020 will not be used to determine grades. All Level 2 and A1 students should continue with their learning. For level 2 students, teachers will be looking for evidence to support their transition from level 2 to level 3 and to test their appetite for learning.

You may have heard that there are a number of new electronic resources available from today to support remote learning. Unfortunately, these are for school age children only. Please continue to support your son or daughter in their online learning if they are in the first year of their studies; there are many resources available on Canvas and teachers continue to set and assess work. It is important that A1 students use this time well and continue to engage so we can hit the ground running when we eventually return to a more normal way of working.

Yesterday, the Government also announced support for some student groups with access to laptops, tablets or with internet access. More detail about this scheme will be provided on Wednesday. Once published, we will look carefully at the guidance to see if any of our students are eligible. Please do not contact your son or daughter’s Senior Tutor at this time about eligibility. Any updates will be publicised through our website and through daily emails. 

We have received a number of queries about Progression Examinations. To clarify, there will be no Progression Examinations this academic year. Should the college re-open before the summer holiday, we feel that it is more important to spend time teaching students rather than testing them. We will work with students to make sure that they are on the right course and we will provide advice and guidance, as appropriate.  

In a further update, the dates for results days have been confirmed as Thursday 13th August for A level / BTEC Level 3 / EPQ with Thursday 20th August earmarked for GCSE and BTEC Level 2 results.    

Take care, look after yourself, your families and each other. Stay positive!

Anton

Principal