Last updated: 15th May 2020 - 12pm

Coronavirus - Latest Guidance for Students

The health, safety and wellbeing of our students is our top priority.

As you may be aware, the Government is asking sixth forms and further education colleges to offer some face-to-face teaching support to some students from 1 June 2020.  We are awaiting further information and clarification about this from the Department for Education.

We then hope to roll out a phased reopening of the college for priority groups of students, where it is safe for us to do so.  These students will not be expected to return to college full-time.  The face-to-face teaching we provide will be designed to support the remote teaching/home study that learners will still be doing as well.

At the present time, the college (all our campuses) remains closed to all students and staff.  Going forward:

Students and apprentices must not attend college unless specifically invited to do so, and must only attend at those times specified.

We understand how important it is for everyone to be able to return to college safely. We assure you that we are doing everything necessary to bring students, apprentices and staff safely back into College once plans to reopen are finalised.  We are already conducting a comprehensive risk assessment to ensure safe working practices and social distancing can be implemented and adhered to by everyone in our buildings.

Please keep checking this webpage for further updates.

Watch the

We encourage everyone that would like to study with us in September to apply for their course NOW in order to secure their place.  Making an application is really simple – visit our course pages, find a course you like and click the Apply Now button.

After we have received your application, we will keep you updated about our Welcome Week plans for the summer.  These involve you meeting your tutors and finding out more about your course.

We assure you that whatever your exam results and your ambitions, we can fully support your move into further education and training.

Watch our 'How to find a course and apply online' video - with voice over
Watch our 'How to find a course and apply online' video - with captions

If you are a young person (aged under 19) applying for a full time course

We will offer you a place at Walsall College, subject to the information you have provided in your application. We will be in contact with you as soon as we are able to in order to arrange your enrolment for next year. If you have applied for more than one course, then we will discuss this with you as soon as possible.

If you have an Education, Health and Care Plan then your application will also be subject to a formal request for consultation by the Local Authority and review by our SEND Admissions Panel to ensure we can meet your needs.  If you have declared that you have any additional support needs we will be in touch to find out more about this.

If you are an Adult or Part Time Learner

The current situation means that the start dates before September are uncertain. We will contact you as soon as the new start dates can be put in place. In the meantime, you may want to consider one of our distance learning courses.

As a Walsall College student, you can access all of your online services and resources off campus using our Home Access service.  Click the Home Access link on the top bar of this page and choose the online service you want to access.  You will be asked to enter your college IT log-in details or SMART Assessor user name and password. 

We want you to be able to continue to study in a meaningful way and make good progress towards your next steps. Your teachers should have already clarified what is expected of you.  This may be working online or using work packs.

We will:

a) be sensitive and adaptive to your wellbeing and recognise where any health and caring responsibilities could impact on your learning while the College buildings are closed.

b) provide you with guidance on your learning, focusing on where, when and how you are expected to engage and demonstrate your learning and how assessment and feedback will be delivered.

c) review methods to record/capture lessons to allow you to work at your own pace.

 

We understand how unsettling the past weeks have been for students and how working remotely has brought different challenges depending on your personal circumstances.

Be assured that we are working with each exam board, as well as the qualification regulator, The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), to ensure that as much as possible, no students are disadvantaged as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

We fully support Ofqual’s aim to support students who are taking qualifications that are used for progression through further or higher education and to employment, and where appropriate, to receive results this summer in order to allow you to progress in a positive manner.

Ofqual are looking at a limited number of vocational and technical qualifications that signal occupational or professional competence, so in some instances, it may not be possible to safely issue results this summer. In such instances we would expect assessments to be rescheduled. We are waiting for further guidance on how this could take place.

It is important to continue to engage with your tutors at Walsall College wherever possible.  If you are not able to attend any online delivery sessions, it remains important to maintain contact with your tutor in a way that suits you best.

For most vocational programmes, tutors will no longer be publishing formal assessment grades for in-year work.  Instead we urge you to take on board tutor feedback based on what you have done well, and how you could further develop your skills and knowledge.

We can give you grades for any work produced before, or completed soon after we switched to remote working, but until further notice, we will need to use supportive and constructive feedback alone, that comes without assessment grades as such.

We will continue to accept the work you share with us will be able to give you feedback on this, as well as any wider matters where we can support you in being able to maintain your study as much as possible during these difficult times.

We may be asked to send to exam boards, various information based on what we know about your work and achievements as well as the grades we believe you were most likely to get if teaching, learning and assessment had happened as planned.

When it comes to your final grades, each exam board may ask for information regarding a range of things such as your classwork and homework; your results in assignments and any mock exams; assessment or coursework you might have done; and your general progress during your course.

This information will allow Ofqual, working with exam boards, to standardise grades across all colleges, to make sure that, as far as possible, your results are fair and that you are not advantaged or disadvantaged because some colleges are more generous or harsh than others. That means the final grade you get could be different from the one that we send to the exam board.

Please be reassured that the grades you get this summer will look the same as in previous years, and they will have equal status with universities, colleges and employers, to help you move forward in your lives as planned.

Your personal and continued development is important to prepare you for your next steps.  Therefore we urge you, where possible, to maintain communications with your tutors and to take guidance on any opportunities you may have to continue to develop your skills and knowledge.

For those of you who are able to access your personal college profile page, we would encourage you to continue to develop your Walsall College Graduate profile information whilst you study from home.  Try to keep track and reflect upon any new skills you have developed, perhaps as a result of using online technology. Revisit your WCG competencies and bring them up to date, setting yourself targets where appropriate and updating your aspirations.

Remember, your entire Walsall College Graduate profile will become part of your personal portfolio of evidence that will help you in your next steps to higher study, university or into an apprenticeship or employment.

If you are in doubt of the information or guidance here, please get in touch with your tutors for further detail. They will be able to offer you further guidance specific to the level and type of course you are studying.

 

Our intention is to deliver our teaching and training services by any alternative means available.

This includes:

  • remote working
  • telephone calls and emails
  • Smart Rooms/webinars

Workplace visits and formal reviews

In the likelihood of workplace visits being restricted, observations may proceed if the employer is happy for college staff to visit the premises.

We hope to carry on conducting formal reviews and welcome opportunities for employers to work with us so that we can complete these remotely.

What if I want my apprentice(s) to take a break from their programme?

Both our Trainers/Assessors and our sales team will co-ordinate regular communications with employers to ensure that on-going contact, attendance to remote sessions and any risk of redundancy or breaks-in-learning are identified early and appropriate action plans are implemented swiftly to support the apprentice.

If a need arises for an employer to release their apprentices from their mandatory 20% off the job training, the college will be able to apply a formal break in learning.  This would come into force if learning does not take place for more than 4 weeks.

 

Who should I contact for further information and advice?

Apprentices should contact their assessor for further details and plans for the ‘off the job’ element of their Apprenticeship or for any changes to their End Point Assessment (EPA). You must also let your assessor know if your employer is offering an essential service or if they have had to close down for this period.

Employers should contact one of the following members of our Sales Team -

Kirsty Barnard
Enquiries for Business and Professional
07920 084827
barnardk@walsallcollege.ac.uk
Kat Palmer
Enquiries for Construction Trades
07825 398840
kpalmer@walsallcollege.ac.uk
Georgia Tsinopoulou
Enquiries for Health & Education
07766 465610
gtsinopoulou@walsallcollege.ac.uk
 

Eddie Jones
Enquiries for Electrical, Automotive, Engineering and Signmaking
07702 102854
edwardjones@walsallcollege.ac.uk

Sue Poulton
Enquiries for apprenticeship levy paying companies
07392 081191
spoulton@walsallcollege.ac.uk

For the latest information please check gov.uk 

Frequently asked questions
These questions and answers will be updated regularly in line with advice from central government, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Public Health England (PHE).

For queries not covered by this guidance, please contact the apprenticeship service helpline. They can be contacted by telephone on 0800 150 600 or email helpdesk@manage-apprenticeships.service.gov.uk.

The College will provide vouchers to registered students eligible for free college meals. Students will receive an email into their college email inbox containing instructions of how to redeem the vouchers. The initial voucher will be for £20 to cover students up to the Easter break.

 

You might be worried about coronavirus and how it could affect your life. This may include being asked to stay at home or avoid other people.  The latest government advice on mental health and wellbeing during this period is available here.

The organisations below also provide advice and support: 

www.youngminds.org.uk – telephone 0808 802 5544 Weekdays 9.30am until 16.00) – a leading charity committed to improving the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people and empowering their parents and carers. 

www.kooth.com – provides free online support for young people delivered by qualified counsellors via chat based services. 

www.mind.org.uk – national mental health charity which offers support and a range of materials on all aspects of mental health. 

www.samaritans.org – telephone 116 123 any time of day or night – a confidential emotional support service for anyone in the UK for those feeling distress or despair which may lead to suicide. 

www.rethink.org – provides expert advice and information to people with mental health problems and those who care for them – advice line 

www.themix.org.uk – provides a judgement free information and support to young people aged 13-25 on a range of issues including mental health – there is support via phone, email, web chat, peer to peer and counselling services 

www.anxietyuk.org.uk – 08444 775 774 (weekdays 9.30-17.30) – helps those experiencing anxiety disorders – self-help groups, counselling, email support 

www.blackcountrywomensaid.co.uk  - 01922 649569 - independent support services for people who are being abused, have been abused, or have other specific needs they can help with.

Please follow the latest advice from Government here

 

Corona Virus advice for schools

 

The Littleton Restaurant, Graduate Academy Salon and Gym, will be closed until further notice.

It is vital that we all limit our social interaction with other people in order to reduce the transmission of coronavirus.

We urge everyone to follow social distancing measures where possible.  This means staying at home and avoiding large and small gatherings in public spaces.  Keep in touch with friends and family using remote technology such as phone, internet, and social media.

www.gov.uk – has the latest guidance on social distancing

Watch the Stay Alert  - advice from the UK Government

Little Professors Nursery is closed to all students and staff.  Nursery fees will not be chargeable after the Easter holidays (20th April).

Our Student Services teams are able to provide help with the following:

Pastoral Team  

  • For further information on how to complete learning activities during this period.
  • Support if you feel you have become disconnected from your learning activities and need further help.   They will help link you back up with your tutors so that you can continue making good progress.

Admissions and Finance Team 

  • For information on finances such as your bursary, student loans and course fees.

Careers Guidance Team

If you have queries relating to:

  • Career and course choices
  • What to do next i.e. from September onwards
  • Alternative career and course choices
  • UCAS/UCAS Extra
  • UCAS personal statements
  • Higher Education Student Finance
  • Gap Year options
  • Clearing
  • Employability skills (CVs, application forms, mock interviews)
  • Registering for Job Alerts
  • Help with finding voluntary work
  • Help with using Unifrog and Kudos (Career software packages).

Safeguarding Team

  • Help and support if you have any concerns about your safety.

 

Due to the COVID 19 situation the College's finance team are working from home and are not able to take any calls or receive any post.

If you have a query please contact finance by e-mail finance@walsallcollege.ac.uk, and a member of the team will respond.

If you have sent the College an invoice via the postal service in the last week, it is highly likely that it hasn't been received so could you please e-mail a copy to
purchaseledger@walsallcollege.ac.uk to ensure it is processed and payment made.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is resulting in an increased risk of fraud. Fraudsters will actively exploit these difficult times and target vulnerable groups, including students for financial gain.

Some learners and parents have received a letter purportedly from the ESFA asking for personal learner bank details in relation to the 16 to 19 Bursary Fund.  The ESFA would never ask for personal bank account details. This is a fraudulent letter and we urge anyone receiving this letter not to respond to this.