COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information
LATEST UPDATE: 06.04.2021
Latest Government Update
Face coverings in schools and colleges to remain in place
The government has today, Tuesday 6 April, confirmed that face coverings should continue to be worn in secondary school and college classrooms as a precautionary measure when students return after the Easter break.
This cautious approach will help limit the risk of transmission and enable continued monitoring of the effect of school and college returns, as twice weekly testing is established and embedded in pupil’s routines.
It is expected that face coverings will no longer be required to be worn in classrooms, or by students in other communal areas, at Step 3 of the roadmap, which will be no earlier than Monday 17 May. At that point the next stage of easements, including increased social contact indoors, will be confirmed following a review of the latest data on infection and vaccination rates. It will also allow time for the vaccination programme to reach everyone in priority groups one to nine with their first dose before any change is committed.
All changes will be confirmed with one week’s notice and all other safety measures will remain in place, including regular asymptomatic testing, smaller group bubbles, increased hygiene, ventilation, and social distancing where possible.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“The return to school and college from Monday 8 March has been an incredible success and I would like to thank staff, parents and pupils for their compliance with the guidance on reducing transmission of the virus. Our latest data also showed that attendance in school remains higher than at any point during the autumn term.
“On top of the protective measures previously in place such as regular handwashing and ventilation, we introduced face coverings in the classroom for secondary schools and colleges to help reduce transmission in parallel with the introduction of twice weekly testing.
“Schools and students have done a great job adapting to Covid secure guidance and working hard to make sure it doesn’t impact learning. We obviously all want to get back to facemask-free classrooms and we will do this in line with the latest scientific data while balancing the interests of students, teachers and the wider community.”
The ongoing review of evidence on the use of face coverings in schools and colleges took into consideration a number of factors including scientific evidence and data from PHE and stakeholder intelligence gathered by the Department for Education on the experiences of face covering use in classrooms.
Rapid testing will continue to play a crucial role in keeping schools and colleges safe, as millions of tests are now taken each week by students and staff. With as many as one in three people who have the virus not displaying symptoms, testing is helping find and isolate cases, stopping outbreaks before they develop. Since Thursday 4 March this year, around 17 million coronavirus tests were taken across all nurseries, schools and colleges.
Alongside rapid testing, the available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering reduces the emission of virus-carrying particles when worn by an infected user, helping to protect others.
Those who are currently exempt from wearing face coverings will remain so, including pupils or staff who are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate.
Professor John Simpson, Head of Public Health Advice, Guidance and Expertise Pillar (PHAGE) at Public Health England, said:
“The return to school after Easter will allow us to continue monitoring the impacts of measures to reduce the spread of Covid, as we encourage families to test regularly.
“Wearing face coverings in secondary schools is an extra control measure to reduce the risk of transmission to support children continuing their education in the classroom.”
The following guidance has been updated to align with this announcement:
Students will be required to wear a suitable face covering whilst in College. This will be required on public and college transport too.
Catering and vending facilities will be open, but social distancing will need to be maintained and therefore service may take more time than usual.
Public Health England have asked us to remind employers that car sharing by people outside of your household should be avoided wherever possible, in order to limit the chance of transmission of the virus.
This short video will let you know what to expect if you are taking a covid-19 test.
Information on exam results
Students will receive grades awarded and determined by teachers.
Students studying vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) that are often taught alongside GCSEs and A levels on one or two year courses, and used for university or college places, will also receive grades assessed by teachers rather than sitting exams.
Exams and assessments will continue in VTQs where they are needed for students to demonstrate the necessary professional standard in an occupation.
Schools, colleges and other educational settings will conduct multiple checks – such as checking consistency of judgements across teachers and that the correct processes were followed – to ensure as much fairness as possible.
At the same time, exam boards will conduct their own checks, through a combination of random sampling and more targeted scrutiny where they identify cause for concern.
Every student will have the right to appeal their grade.
Information for students and parents/guardians
Information for Apprenticeships
If you are an apprentice please see our Apprentice FAQ here
Information for Apprentice Employers
With the ongoing Covid-19 situation make sure you have the answers with our Covid-19 Employer FAQ section. Please see our Employer FAQ section here.
Please find our Covid-19 risk assessment available for download here: Risk Assessment – COVID-19
Code of Conduct
Please find the latest code of conduct guidance for learners relating to COVID-19: Code of Conduct Covid-19
What Parents Need to Know about Covid-19 and Colleges: Click here for Government Advice.
Government Information and links
The spread of COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving situation and the College continues to keep up to date with government advice. Our priority is the well-being of our learners, staff and our community. We are making decisions following the advice of Public Health England and will take any actions we can to limit the risk of infection among our learners, staff and our community.
Please use https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ for the latest information about the virus and how to protect yourself.
The Department for Education has launched a helpline to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows:
Phone: 0800 0468 687
Opening hours: 8am–6pm (Monday to Friday)
Duty Safeguarding Staff will still be providing safeguarding cover from 08.30 – 17.00 on normal working days although this may be facilitated remotely.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact customer enquiries on 0330 123 2523 or email email@example.com for details of the duty Safeguarding Officer.