Coronavirus/COVID-19 FAQs for Students

Frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19

During these unprecedented times, we are sure many of you have a number of questions. Please see below a set of questions and answers. If you have any more questions, please email your tutor or student mentor.

1. Is the College open?

The College is delivering its courses by distance learning. Students and apprentices are to remain off College site from 19th March 2020 and continue studies via remote delivery, as agreed with tutors and assessors.

2. What if I develop Coronavirus symptoms (high temperature and/or new continuous cough)?

The current Government advice is:

Stay at home

  • Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people

  • Wash your hands regularly

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact 111 to tell them. Testing for coronavirus is not needed if you're staying at home. For the latest advice on COVID-19 please go to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

3. What if someone else in my house has Coronavirus symptoms?

The latest UK Government guidance is for you to stay at home and away from people and self-isolate for 14 days if you live in a household of more than 1 person or until the symptoms have gone, as per advice on the NHS 111 website. If you live on your own you are only required to self-isolate for 7 days or until you feel well again. You do not need to let College know if you are self-isolating, only if you are unwell. If self-isolating you should still be able to study from home.

4. What if I or someone else in my house is classed as a vulnerable or ‘high risk’ person?

 The NHS has provided guidance at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/advice-for-people-at-high-risk/

5. Where will key messages be posted by the College?

These will be posted on the College website: www.grantham.ac.uk

6. Where should I access the latest government guidance?

Government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

7. When will the college be reopening?

On 10th May 2020 the Prime Minister outlined his aspiration to gradually lift lockdown restrictions. The roadmap can be found here.

This included a phased reopening of education establishments to a very limited number of students potentially from early June. The guidance can be found here

For Grantham College, the safety of our students, staff and visitors is our first and primary concern and therefore we will continue to work remotely and we will not set a specific date for reopening at this time. 

Staff and students will be involved in considering how and when we can open safely and which groups of students should take priority for a return to our physical estate. 

The government published some workplace guidance on 11th May 2020. This covers eight types of work, one of which is offices. There are some gaps for the work environments that colleges run - for example sports or performing - so the 

Association of Colleges and college leaders will work with the Department for Education and other national agencies to fill in the gaps. 

The government also published transport guidance on 12th May 2020. The guidance takes a similar approach to the workplace guidance in that it contains suggestions about minimising health risks and places responsibilities on operators to assess and manage these issues. 

We have also received some updated guidance from the Department for Education on 14th May 2020 on maintaining further education provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision?dm_i=26BG,6VGQV,FUYHLO,RL8KS,1

There is also guidance for parents and carers here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/closure-of-educational-settings-information-for-parents-and-carers

For Grantham College, appropriate time will be taken to ensure that appropriate risk assessments are carried out and any relevant purchases of equipment and/or adaptations to buildings and working practices can be made. We will communicate any planned phased reopening to all affected in advance. 

Our Health and Safety Committee will be meeting regularly. As part of our due diligence the committee will review the latest guidance from government. The committee will agree a programme of work to be undertaken to create as safe an environment as possible on the college estate. 

8. Will I still have classes when I am at a home?

Yes, following the UK Government’s instructions about social distancing, until further notice Grantham College has moved from classroom teaching to distance learning. This means that your lessons, assignments, and feedback will continue by a range of remote delivery approaches including by phone, email, the College VLE, Microsoft Teams, One Drive, Office 365, and Google Drive. Your tutor will let you know how to access your lessons.

9. What if I haven’t got a PC or WiFi to access online learning?

If you are having difficulty accessing a PC, laptop, tablet or mobile phone to participate in the online parts of your classes, please contact your student mentor to let them know by email or on 07564 063223.

As of 30th March 2020, the UK’s major telecommunications providers have agreed a set of important commitments to support and protect vulnerable consumers, and those who may become vulnerable. They have committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as well as looking at measures to help vulnerable people get or stay connected.

The UK Government has also announced on 19 April 2020 that it will be making free laptops and 4G routers available for the most disadvantaged learners. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-major-package-to-support-online-learning 

We will use the scheme to support eligible learners, and for learners who are not eligible, we will find a way to assist in accessing online learning. 

10.What if I don’t know my log-in details to my College email or VLE?

If you don’t know or have forgotten your log-in details for your College email accounts, or how to get onto the VLE, then please refer to the attached guidance, and if still in doubt, please contact ccsshelpdesk@grantham.ac.uk. Your tutor/assessor will be monitoring your attendance in live sessions, and your engagement with learning resources on the VLE and Teams. If you are not engaging with learning, your student mentor will make contact with you to discuss the reasons why.

11. How can I contact my tutor?

You can get in touch with your tutor via the VLE, through Microsoft Teams or email.

12. What about placements?

All placements have been postponed at this time. If you have any queries please contact your tutor directly.

13. Are there any UK-wide online learning resources and guides for parents available?

The UK Government has published a list of high quality resources to assist with online learning for all ages. On 20 April 2020, the BBC launched its own education package across TV and online, including for post-16 level learning. This is alongside new guidance published 19 April 2020 for parents on how best to support their child’s education and development.

14. How will I be awarded my GCSE grade this summer?

On the 18th March 2020, the Secretary of State for Education announced that all summer 2020 GCSE, AS, and A Level exam series would be cancelled in order to help fight the spread of Coronavirus and that students due to sit the exams would be awarded a grade based on assessment of the grade they would have been most likely to achieve had exams gone ahead.

On 3rd April 2020, Ofqual released guidance which aims to provide teachers, students, parents and carers with the answers to some common questions about grades to be awarded in summer 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcses-as-and-a-level-awarding-summer-2020

Ofqual also released a short video to explain grading in 2020 (below) – please note that the process explained in the video relates to GCSEs, AS and A Levels, and the process may be different for technical and vocational qualifications including BTEC. Ofqual have stated that more information will be coming soon on grading for other qualifications. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXuDOrtJY1Q&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR1M5nn_s4hJbHEvYGK8nneLBY9bWM9AtFUTcT2NaaNM_JfCq3loJkfg0pw 

Grantham College recommends that all of its students continue with their studies until the end of the academic year. Continuing studies will develop fundamental skills and give students the best opportunity to take a re-sit in the autumn if they are not satisfied with the grade awarded in August. 

15. What about my BTEC qualification?

The national regulator for colleges, Ofqual, released guidance on 14th May 2020 on vocational and technical qualifications (including BTEC courses) which can be found here.

Grantham College is following this guidance to calculate your grades. This means that as of 15th May 2020, no more assignments will be set this academic year by your tutors. Your tutors will be using the assignments submitted before 15th May 2020 to calculate your grades. This does not mean that your lessons will stop: your tutors will be continuing teaching until the scheduled end of the academic year. This is so you are ready for the next step, whether that be into employment or progressing to the next level of your studies. 

The main points of the Ofqual guidance are as follows: 

The awarding of vocational and technical qualifications (VTQs) is different this summer 

“Coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions have led to the cancellation of exams and prevented many assessments from being taken as planned. We have designed an approach that is fair to learners and ensures, as far as possible, that they receive results to enable them to progress to the next stage of their lives without further disruption. 

Awarding organisations will be drawing on a range of evidence to ensure that results will be as reliable and consistent as possible, so that they are worthy of public confidence and valued by education providers and employers as much as any other year. 

It is important that learners completing VTQs are not disadvantaged compared to their peers completing GCSEs and A levels. It is also important that learners receiving results this year are neither advantaged nor disadvantaged compared to learners in previous or subsequent years.” 

For some courses and types of qualification, it may not be possible to calculate grades or make an award before some essential practical elements are completed. We are working with your tutors and the awarding organisations to identify these cases, and will let everyone know the plans for completion as soon as possible. 

16. I am an HE student – will I still receive my final payment from the Student Loans Company in April?

Yes, we can confirm that the Student Loans Company have taken the decision to make this payment as usual.

17. Will I still receive my bursary?

Yes we can confirm that bursary payments will continue as planned.

18. I normally get a free meal at College, how do I access this if I am not attending College?

We are currently paying your FSM payments into your bank account. We need you to keep a record of receipts for the meals that you are purchasing with these payments and may request to see these when you return to College. We will review this process as we receive information from the Department for Education, but may move from a bank payment to e-vouchers to spend in one of your local supermarkets.

19. I do not feel safe at home as I am either being neglected or abused physically or mentally; who should I contact?

Please contact a member of the safeguarding team by emailing Lorna Hollands, Claire Temprell, Jo Bowman or Sarah High (only available during office hours). Or you can call Children Safeguarding (under 18 year olds) on 01522 782111 or Adult Safeguarding (over 18 year olds) on 01522 782155 or 01522 782333 (outside office hours).

20. What can I do if I am worried about online sexual abuse or the way someone has been communicating online? 

CEOP – Child Exploitation and Online Protection has a safety centre through which anyone worried about online abuse can make a report: https://www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre/

21. How do I look after my mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak?

  • Try to stay connected at times of stress, we work better in company and with support.

  •  Try and keep in contact with tutors, your friends and family.

  • Plan your day - we are all adjusting to a new, rather strange, way of life.

National Information and resources:

  • Mind is a mental health charity for better mental health, offering good practical advice on Coronavirus and your wellbeing. Web
    resources: 
    https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing/

  • Every Mind Matters – access to NHS resources for looking after your mental health. Web resources: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

  • The Samaritans offer listening and support to people and communities in times of need. Available any time and free to call from any phone. Contact Phone: 116 123, website: www.samaritans.org

  • AnxietyUK run helplines, email support, live chats and therapy services for people with anxiety disorders. Helpline: 08444 775 774, Text Service 07537 416 905

  • Student Minds is a student mental health charity. Web resources: https://www.studentminds.org.uk/coronavirus.html

  • Young Minds – is a charity for young people’s mental health. @YoungMindsUK on Twitter have posted a number of blogs etc including ‘what to do if you’re anxious about coronavirus’ and ‘looking after your mental health whilst self- isolating’. Students can text this service, 24/7. Text: 85258

  • The Mix is a support service for the under 25s. Support is online or a free confidential helpline 0808 808 4994

New applicant FAQs

Can I make a new application?

Yes. You can still make an application online. Choose your course from the appropriate menu on our homepage and apply direct from your chosen course page. Alternatively please email enquiry@grantham.ac.uk about making an application.

Is there a deadline for applying?

Please apply as soon as possible so that your application is in the system ready for a September 2020 start. Once you have applied, we will keep you up-to-date with the latest information about your course and any other important information.

I’m a school leaver and haven't had an interview yet. What happens next?

Don’t worry - all new applicants aged between 16 and 18 will be called by a student mentor over the next few weeks to discuss their application and receive an offer on the most appropriate course for them.

I’ve applied to study an HE course. Can I still apply for my HE loan and maintenance grant?

Yes. You can apply/continue your application online at https://www.gov.uk/student-finance

When will I receive my timetable?

We aim to provide all students with timetable information prior to enrolment. Keep checking our website for up-to-date details.

Will I still be able to enrol?

We will contact you over the summer with guidance on how to enrol and when this will take place.