Last updated: 14th July 2020 - 2pm

Coronavirus - Latest Guidance for Students

Some of our campuses are currently open for staff and students completing final assessments.  This follows a comprehensive risk assessment ensuring that safe working practices and social distancing are implemented and adhered to by everyone in our buildings.

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

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

Please keep checking this webpage for further updates.

We appreciate this has been a very unsettling and challenging academic year for many students and their families, so we want to offer some assurances regarding qualifications and certification.

For most qualifications, assessment submissions to our exam bodies are now complete.

(Students whose assessment was adapted or delayed because their qualification involves a licence to practise or a competency-based element are continuing this process in college.)

How final grades will be reached this year

Tutors have provided awarding bodies such as Pearson, OCR and City and Guilds with a range of information to help them to establish students’ final grades.

For qualifications where we were able to apply actual grades for work completed before the end of March 2020, we have been able to submit those actual grades as part of the overall assessment.

For many exam bodies, we were also asked to submit ‘Centre Assessment Grades’ for internal units that students were not able to complete. Tutors were asked to base these grades on available evidence and what tutors felt students were most likely to have achieved under normal circumstances. Tutors have based their decisions on a range of evidence, including any relevant assignments completed, prior exam or mock results and academic performance during the course.

For some qualifications, were also asked to supply a rank order of students, based on what  tutors felt students would be most likely achieve at qualification level, under normal circumstances. The information tutors have submitted to each exam board has been checked and verified by Curriculum Managers and signed off by the college’s Assistant Principal for Quality and Higher Education.

Exam board moderation (statistical standardisation)

Exam boards will now check and review the information they receive from the college, alongside other evidence they have, including historical performance at the college and the results for these assessments in prior years, to make sure it is comparable.

As a result of this review, which exam boards refer to as a ‘statistical standardisation’, they may need to adjust tutors’ grades either up or down. This will determine the final unit and/or qualification grade(s), so these might not be the same as the one(s) the college provided.

Because of this final adjustment by your exam board, the college will not be able to share any grades with you before results day. Neither can we share information regarding rank order.

If you would like any further clarification, please contact your tutor or our exams team

Results Days will be as follows:

13th August 2020 – for A Levels. Level 3 BTEC Nationals and Level 3 Technical qualifications

20th August 2020 – for GCSEs. Level 1/2 BTEC Firsts/Tech Awards and Level 2 BTEC Technicals

We will provide further details on how you can access your results on or after these dates.

This is likely to involve a range of opportunities to come in and collect your results, or access them via links sent to your student account with us.

Please refer back to this webpage nearer the time.

Ofqual states that on balance, it would not be in the interests of students or the fairness of the arrangements overall, if students could challenge their centre assessment grades or rank order position.

However the college will always want to hear from students should they feel their results may contain an error.

If a student thinks a mistake has been made, they can ask us to put forward an appeal to the exam board on their behalf.

Although in most cases it will not be possible to appeal on the basis of disagreement with the tutor’s professional judgement for the grades and/or rank order information submitted, the college will be able to support students with any concerns they may have regarding grades.

If anyone is unhappy with their result(s) and/or appeal outcome, some exam boards are offering opportunities to sit/resit the exam/external assessment in the next available window (e.g.  autumn 2020 or January/summer 2021, depending on qualification). Again, please talk to the college in the first instance if you want to explore this option.

For students completing vocational technical courses this summer, it unfortunately will not be possible for anyone to resubmit assignments for internal units, where results have been calculated. This is because students will have completed the course and been issued with certification.

Students who are continuing on their course with us in 2020/21 may have the opportunity to submit/resubmit assignments for units where they have received a calculated result on some qualifications and your tutors will be able to support you with this when you return for your second year of study with us.

If you would like any further clarification regarding your assessment results this year, or regarding opportunities to progress at the college, please contact your tutor or our exams team

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.

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
Watch our 'How to find a course and apply online' video - with British Sign Language

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

We can confirm that we will offer you a place at Walsall College, subject to the information you have provided in your application.

Over the next few weeks, a course tutor will telephone you to discuss your application. (You will receive a text message shortly before the tutor calls you.)

As soon as it is safe to do so, you will be invited to attend a welcome session at the college. You will also receive further details about how to enrol for September.

If you declared any additional support needs in your application, we will also be in touch regarding these. 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 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. Please visit our website to find out more about the qualifications you can gain while studying at home.

If you are looking to become one of our Higher education (HE) students

If you are applying to study at more than one higher education institution, you will also need to submit an application through UCAS. Students who intend to study at Walsall College only do not need to apply through UCAS.

Up to date frequently asked questions and government advice/guidelines on student finance etc. can be found here.

Yes.  We have set out clear, practical steps that we have taken to ensure the College is COVID-19 secure and give staff and students the confidence to return back to site.
These includes taking practical actions based on the Government’s 5 main steps to safer working together.

We have completed a comprehensive risk assessment and following this have made significant adjustments around the college. We are confident that by working together we can provide a safe ‘socially distanced’ environment for you when you come into our buildings.

We urge everyone to follow social distancing measures where possible.

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

Watch the Stay Alert  - advice from the UK Government

The Government advice states that PPE is not required, as in face masks for students and staff.  Where you are already using PPE in your work activity to protect against non-COVID-19 risks, you should continue to do so.

The Government states that, while wearing a face covering does not protect the wearer, it may protect others if people are infected but have not yet developed symptoms. It is important to know that face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk, including social distancing and increasing hand and surface washing. These measures remain the best way to manage risk in work. However, you may choose to wear your own appropriate face covering.

If you choose to wear one, it is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off. You should be prepared to remove your face covering for the purposes of identification.

If you choose to wear a face covering you should do so safely. This means:
 wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, and after removing it
 when wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands
 change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
 continue to wash your hands regularly
 change and wash your face covering daily
 if the material is washable, wash in line with manufacturer’s instructions. If it’s not washable, dispose of it carefully in your usual waste
 practise social distancing wherever possible
Even if you choose to wear a face covering, you should ensure you still adhere to social distancing.

Disinfectant wipes are available for staff and students to clean their individual working areas. Hand sanitiser has also been provided and should be used on entry and on return to a classroom/workshop.
Items/equipment used by students must be cleaned at the end of the days lesson and before the next group attend that room. Normal cleaning spray can be used to wipe down tools and equipment. Staff must familiarise themselves with whose responsibility it is to clean what areas and ensure they play their part in following this stringently.

Deep cleans have already taken place during the period where there was no onsite working. We have increased our number of cleaners and they will continue to clean the College.
Enhanced cleaning regimes have also been implemented with a focus on high-traffic areas such as toilets, handrails, lifts and door furniture throughout the day. We are also providing extra sanitation products: disinfectant wipes and hand sanitiser is available in classrooms, offices, workshops and in communal areas.
All staff have been received hygiene awareness updates and training as part of the communications and the COVID 19 Secure Workplace Induction briefing. There is increased signage reminding staff, students and visitors of hygiene practices. Students will also be receiving briefing updates as part of their return to college.
Non fire doors will be propped open to reduce contact with door handles.

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.

 

Online and on track

From the moment the lockdown was announced, we have been delivering our teaching and training services by any alternative means available. These include:
•    remote working
•    telephone calls and emails
•    Smart Rooms/webinars

It may also be possible for your staff to complete extra portions of their 20% off the job training through our online platforms.  Our trainers/assessors can provide further information on this.

We now also hope to conduct formal reviews remotely with our apprentices and welcome opportunities for employers to work with us on these.

Taking a break

We understand the challenges involved in people maintaining regular contract with everyone and/or attending remote training sessions and meetings.  If there’s a possibility that these might lead to a break in your apprentices’ learning or a risk of redundancy then we can address any issues with you as soon as they arise.

This is what we can do if you are considering any of the following :

Releasing your apprentice(s) 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.

Furloughing your apprentice(s) - We can still keep them on track with as much of their training as possible – through the remote learning options outlined above.

Alternative opportunities for apprentices

If, unfortunately you must make your apprentice redundant while they are in the last 6 months of their training, we can still help them complete their apprenticeship.

And if they are less than 6 months into their training we can now support them for 12 weeks, so there is minimal disruption to their learning.  We can also help them find a new apprentice placement.

Please do let your assessor know if, as an employer, you are offering an essential service or if you have had to close down for this period.

On the road to recovery

It's never too early to think about the future and how you might prepare for this.

Here are some additional things to consider for your workforce -

Levy Transfer - If you’re a small to medium sized business, and do not currently pay the Apprenticeship Levy, you could receive help with funding to train apprentices for your organisation. Find out more here or email businesstrainingsolutions@walsallcollege.ac.uk

Recruiting new staff - If you need an apprentice in the future you will need to sign up NOW to reserve apprenticeship funding.  Full access to the Apprenticeship Service is now available for ALL employers, including levy-payers.

This service allows employers to:
• Reserve their apprenticeship funding
• Select their chosen provider from the Register of Apprenticeship Training

See here for details.

Screening applicants - We are still accepting applications and interviewing potential apprentices.  So, when you are ready to recruit, we will have a bank of quality candidates available for you to interview.

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.

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 Graduate Academy of Hairdressing is now open for appointments with senior stylists only.  The Littleton Restaurant and Gym remain closed for the present.

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.

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.

 

It is important that all students are aware of the new guidelines, routines and behaviour expectations that will be in place when they join or return to the college.  Inductions will take place online in order for students to be aware of health and safety measures, as well as policies around technology, wellbeing and other student support services.  These induction materials will be sent to students by email over the next few weeks.

If anyone becomes unwell with coronavirus symptoms they will be sent home and advised to follow the COVID-19: guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection guidance.