Important information for students and parents/guardians.

The College has moved to online teaching.

The Government closed schools and further education colleges from Friday 20 March to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease. In line with the current status of ‘lock down’ this closure is highly likely to be extended for some time and we advise students and their families to check this website page and our social media channels regularly for the latest updates.  

Our summer exams, GCSE, Vocational and A Level will now no longer go ahead in May/June. The DfE have produced an FAQ document which you can access here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020. The overall message is that your results are going to be largely based on teacher assessment.  You should be reassured that your teachers are the best placed professionals to make an assessment of your ability in your subjects; they have a wealth of assessment information upon which to make an accurate judgement. Please see the FAQs below for further information on how this will happen.

These are very difficult times for everyone. Our primary concern is always the wellbeing of our students and staff, especially those most vulnerable, who we continue to make special arrangements for and work closely with to ensure ongoing support. 

We strongly encourage everyone to follow the Government guidance for ‘lock down’ and to remain in self isolation. 

We will strive to continue to provide our students with the very best teaching and learning that we can remotely, despite these unprecedented circumstances.
 
We understand that this is a concerning time, and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 
 
We will update this page regularly with more information as it becomes available. 
Contact Details

The College can be contacted by phone between the hours of 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday on 01282 440209.

Staff: Contact Human Resources on 01254 354377 or email h.resources@nelson.ac.uk 

Employers: Contact your Business Partner or ring  01282 440 317 

Here are some useful FAQs below to help answer any questions you may have. 

What’s happening with my exams and what does this mean for my future?

All summer exams including GCSE, A Level and Vocational will now no longer go ahead in May/June.  Also other exams such as AAT will be postponed.

The latest Government information provides details of how students will still achieve their GCSE, A Level and Vocational qualifications, as follows:

  • You will be awarded a grade based on teacher judgments (which teachers will make based on mocks and non-exam assessment (coursework) and will be guided by DfE/Ofqual advice). This will be combined with prior attainment and other data which exam boards always take into consideration when awarding grades to each subject qualification.
  • You will be able to sit exams early next academic year if you wish or in summer 2021 (like a ‘resit’ opportunity).
  • Grades will be available hopefully by the end of July, and have a similar distribution as in previous years (to make sure you are not unfairly disadvantaged).
  • For vocational courses where work has already been completed and assessed, these grades are likely to form part of the judgment.

What we need from you:

  • Do read the detail from the Government. It may answer some of your questions, although we are aware that there are still a lot of questions to answer – both for you and for your teachers.
  • Please do not contact your teachers to ask about what grades you are going to get.  Until we have real clarity, our teachers can’t comment on this and will not be able to discuss this with you as the results will come out from the exam boards and not from individual teachers, schools or colleges. You can, of course, continue to contact your teachers in normal college hours with regards to your work and the online / remote learning which you have been set.
  • You need to continue completing the work that your teachers have planned whilst the college is under forced closure.  It’s crucial that you get the content of specifications and all your units finished, with any related assessments,  in order for teachers to make accurate judgements of your knowledge , understanding  and skills which you have developed in relation to the whole course.  You also need to ensure that you are fully ready for your next steps; many of you will be heading to university and you may struggle if you don’t have the underpinning knowledge that your A level or BTEC provides you.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to your studies and learning.  Feel reassured that the grades you will be awarded will be a fair reflection on your ability. 

What is the latest advice from OFQUAL on my exams (A Level / GCSE students)?

OFQUAL have published more detail on the process of calculating your A Level /GCSE re-sit grades, in the light of the exams being cancelled.

In summary the key points are:

  • Your grades will be based on your teacher’s professional judgement.
  • Your teachers will use a whole range of evidence to decide your grade, including all of the in-class assessments you have done, mock exams and any coursework.
  • Your teachers will not be using any work set and submitted after 20th March as this has been completed at home and therefore not standardised.
  • As a college, we will submit your grades to the exam boards.  The exam boards will use a complex statistical process to take account your prior attainment (GCSEs) and also the college history of how much progress our students make.  The exam boards may adjust your grades.
  • The exam boards will finalise your grades and they will be released on a set exam results day, as usual (although this may be earlier than August – yet to be confirmed).

You are not required to complete or submit any more work to your teachers so in terms of assessment, your work is complete. I want to reassure you that this is the most valid and fair way of deciding your grades; your teachers are the best placed people to make a professional judgment – they know your ability and can predict your outcome with confidence.  There is a lot of research evidence which concludes that teacher assessed grades are a very good measure of ability. 

However, it is important that you are well prepared for your next steps.  The following A Level subjects have not completed the content of the specification; therefore they will be continuing with delivering lessons/resources for the first few weeks after Easter, until your teachers have informed you that it’s complete.  If you are planning to progress to university to study any subject related to those listed below, then it’s important that you complete your knowledge and understanding of the specifications:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Criminology
  • Politics
  • Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
  • History

Teachers of the following subjects will confirm whether there is any more work to cover Geography and Geology, Maths, Statistics and Computer Science.

If you haven’t completed your EPQ (A Level students), you need to do this as the exam boards could request these to be moderated.

After Easter we will send you out resources and information with regards to how you can start to prepare for your next steps; universities are busy pulling ideas and information together and we will collate all these.  There are also some useful short courses on the open university and future learn which you could complete to keep your brains exercised.

We will keep you updated in regards to results day and autumn resits as the information becomes available from OFQUAL. 

For students re-sitting GCSEs, details of your main qualification grading/assessment will be published here as soon as it’s available. 

To view the full details of the OFQUAL updates, please click here.

What is the latest advice from OFQUAL on my qualification (Vocational / Technical students)?

OFQUAL has published some information that explains how grades will be arrived at for the different types of qualifications, and you can read this here.

There are three possible approaches that may be taken, according to the type of qualification you have studied. For some qualifications, your teachers will calculate a grade. based on work you have completed. This will be subject to calculations made by the awarding organisation, which will take into account your prior attainment (such as GCSEs) and the college’s previous performance, to produce a grade. Your teacher will not be allowed to share this calculated grade with you. You will receive official notification of your grade in August.

For some qualifications where estimating a grade is not possible, it may be necessary to adapt the assessment you were due to sit. This may mean taking an online exam instead of a paper-based one.

Finally, for some qualifications where you need to prove your competence in a technical skill or are working towards a licence to practise, your assessment may be delayed to give you time to practice your skills, continue learning and take the assessment when circumstances allow.

My exams have been cancelled, what should I be doing with my time?

Your teachers and tutors will continue to teach you remotely (via Moodle, Teams and email) and set lesson work and independent work. You should continue to spend the same amount of time on this work as you would if you were still in college and keep in regular contact with your teachers and tutors, who will be setting and marking work, and monitoring your progress. It is possible that the work you do from now until the end of the year will contribute to your final grades, so it is essential you continue to focus on your studies.

How do I access IT support for distance learning?

You can still contact our IT helpdesk on 01282440239 or email itsupport@nelson.ac.uk

I’ve forgotten my password for Moodle/MyDay, what should I do?

You can still contact our IT helpdesk on 01282440239 or email itsupport@nelson.ac.uk 

I get free meals, what happens now?

Students eligible to receive free meals have been contacted and asked to provide their bank details on Pay My Student. Weekly payments will be made into bank accounts every Friday, including half terms.  Payments are made in advance of the following week.  This will continue for the period of College closure.  If you require any support or have any queries regarding this, please contact Student Services via email studentservices@nelsongroup.ac.uk or phone 01282 440209, between the hours of 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday.

I’m a HE student and I’m concerned about how the current situation will affect my university offer.

Despite the current crisis, we expect that most students who are currently studying for qualifications will be able to complete those awards and meet the requirements of their offers. Obviously, wherever that’s the case we will honour the offers made.

We don’t want anyone to be disadvantaged by circumstances beyond their control. So, should a candidate not be able to meet their offer because of the crisis, whether because they weren’t able to complete their award(s) or because they didn’t get the necessary grades, then the College will use one or both of the two methods below to determine to what extent they are ready for and able to benefit from the course applied for.

The candidate may be offered an online or face-to-face interview with a member of the relevant course team.
The candidate may be set one or more assessment tasks, which may be online tests or written assignments, that will show whether (s)he has the level of prior knowledge, skill and/or aptitude required by the course applied for.

To ensure fairness, the outcomes of these activities will be considered on behalf of the College by an admissions panel. Where the panel is satisfied that candidates are ready for and able to benefit from the courses applied for it will make those candidates’ offers unconditional.

If a particular course is oversubscribed and not able to offer places to all suitable candidates, places will be allocated in the order that applications were received.

I receive bursary payments, what happens now?

With the exception of Vulnerable Bursary Payments, which will continue to be paid in the usual way, all other bursary payments for travel to college will cease in line with the College closure. For more information on other bursary payments or your individual circumstances please contact Student Services via email studentservices@nelsongroup.ac.uk or phone 01282 440209 between the hours of 10am – 4pm Monday to Friday.

I receive additional support with my learning at College, how will I access this from home?

Individual students with an EHCP plan have been contacted directly and made aware of the support available to them during the college closure.

For all other students, if you are struggling to complete online learning, please flag this with your tutor in the first instance so that they can negotiate alternative ways of working with you.

For general enquires about additional learning support please email:

h.heaps@nelson.ac.uk

I’m a HE student completing my final assessments and need to access the College resources; will this still be available to me?

Access to essential resources for students finishing their final assessments will be made available. You will be contacted directly by your tutor who will advise you of how and when this is available.

Preparing for Distance Learning – A Guide for Students

 This guide provides information and instructions on what you should do when working from home.

How do I access support?

Even though College is closed, our staff team are still available to support you throughout these worrying times.

If you are concerned and anxious about the current situation and wish to contact the Health and Wellbeing Team about any worries you have, email health@nelson.ac.uk 

If you have any concerns about your welfare, please contact the Safeguarding Team by email: staysafe@nelson.ac.uk 

Or call for urgent enquiries: 07392 195338 

For concerns out of hours (after 5pm and weekends), or for more information on more local services available, please click here.

Further Safeguarding and Welfare information is available to students and staff by visiting Moodle: https://mymoodle.nelsongroup.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=502 

You can also visit our newly updated Health and Wellbeing page on Moodle where you can access weekly Health and Wellbeing and Extracurricular at Home Bulletins created specifically to help you during this time. Our A-Z Wellbeing Guide and general information and guidance on anything health and wellbeing related can also be found here – visit https://mymoodle.nelsongroup.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=1103 

If you are having to self-isolate and cannot leave the house during this time, please contact one of the local community support hubs that have been set up in and around Lancashire to help vulnerable people and those in need with essentials such as food shopping and picking up medication. You can find your nearest community hub by visiting Our Lancashirehttps://ourlancashire.org.uk/community-hubs-contact-information/

I’m concerned and anxious about the situation, who can I talk to?

We appreciate that this is a very worrying time for people. If you want to talk in confidence about any worries you have, our approachable counsellors are available to speak to over the phone. Please email us to request a call back at health@nelson.ac.uk

You can access free online support for the next six months using your Lancashire postcode via Big White Wall. It is a 24/7, anonymous online platform where you can speak with other BWW users, trained online professionals and access self-help resources. It is a great resource for anyone who might be struggling with their mental health, particularly during this time: http://www.bigwhitewall.com/

You can find and contact other helpful organisations listed in the A-Z Wellbeing Guide on Moodle: https://mymoodle.nelsongroup.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=1103#section-15

I need some careers advice; how can I access this from home?

You can still contact our careers team via email for support with a range of services from job search advice to UCAS applications or general careers advice and information.

careerszone@nelson.ac.uk

I’ve been asked to submit some work; how can I do this remotely?

Students can email assignment briefs to tutors, or if your work can’t be sent on email, please contact your tutor to make arrangements to drop your work off at one of our sites.

When will the College be back open?

We are planning to reopen the College sites after the Easter break, however, this may change in line with Government guidance. We will contact all students to advise of our re-opening when we have further information available.

 

Parents’ Information

Please find below the latest information for parents to download;

Coronavirus Update – Parents’ Letter 17 March

Useful contacts and links

FREE NHS 111 helpline and the NHS UK website

Government Website

 PHE website 

The Department for Education (DfE) helpline:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk

Can I still access the Learning Resource Centre remotely?

Staff at the LRC are working online and many of the resources are available through the LRC’s Moodle page. If you have any enquiries about resources available, referencing or any other library query, contact heritage@nelson.ac.uk. 

If you currently have items on loan to you, please keep them until you are contacted to say that they can be returned. You will not be charged any late fees.

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