Last updated: 13th April 2021

Lateral Flow Device Testing

Lateral Flow Device Testing
Students and staff are encouraged to continue using lateral flow home testing kits twice per week (including through the Easter break).
For guidance on how to use your home testing kit please watch this short video.

Any students who are categorised as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable should continue to follow Government advice and shield at home.

Home Testing information

  • Staff and students should test twice weekly before coming into college, ideally the night before. If they cannot take the test the night before, or on the morning they are due on site, they should take it as soon as possible before coming into college.
  • Results need to be logged on both the college system and on the Gov.UK website.
  • If you receive a positive test, you must self-isolate immediately and book a confirmatory PCR test through the NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) service https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

NOTE: This asymptomatic testing programme does not replace current guidance for those with symptoms or those identified as a close contact of a positive case.  If you are displaying any Covid symptoms, you are not eligible for LFD testing and should book a free NHS test and follow Government self-isolation guidance until the result of your PCR test is known.

This testing is in addition to students and staff continuing to carry out the basic preventive measures while they are on campus, such as regular handwashing, wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

If you have previously tested positive for Covid then you only need to take part in LFD testing if 90 days have passed since your positive test was taken.   

Home testing kits are available from collection points on each site.  When kits are collected ID badges will be scanned to log the issuing of those kits and the details of who they have been issued to.  (Please Note - All college campuses are closed from Friday 2nd April-Wednesday 6th April).

Collection locations and opening times are as follows:

Wisemore Careers Centre / Security Desk                                8:00am – 7:00pm

Green Lane Security Desk                                                             8:00am – 7:00pm

Portland Street Security Desk                                                      8:00am – 5:00pm

Hawbush Reception Desk                                                             9:00am – 4:00pm

Whitehall Reception Desk                                                             9:00am – 4:00pm

CCM (Construction College Midlands) Reception Desk         8:00am – 3:00pm

Logging your home testing

Every time a test is taken students are required to report the results online or by phone to the NHS, even if the test is negative or void.

The NHS have an online system: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result

The college does not have access to the NHS system or the results that staff or students will upload to the NHS service. Therefore the results must also be communicated with the college so we are able to respond accordingly.

After each home test you should log your results. To do this you need to go to your home page of SharePoint click on the log your result here button (shown below) or directly via this link https://hometesting.walsallcollege.ac.uk/

Positive Test Results

If you have a positive test result this means you MUST self-isolate immediately and book a confirmatory PCR test through the NHS Coronavirus (COVID-19) service https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119. Your household and support bubble members will also need to self-isolate.

DO NOT attend college and contact:

The Absence Reporting line on 01922 657000, and choose option 3. Or alternatively contact your lecturer.

*If you are on a college site you need to make arrangements to return home immediately and follow self-isolation guidelines and notify the college straight away.

Examinations and Assessments

These represent a diverse range of qualifications (from entry level qualifications up to level 6) and will need different arrangements this year so that they can be awarded. At the end of this section, we have added a link to Ofqual’s Summer 2021 Qualifications Explainer Tool, where you can enter your specific qualification for the relevant information regarding how this will be assessed. In addition to the information provided in this explainer tool, further details about the approaches awarding organisations are taking to the assessment and awarding of qualifications in 2021 can be found on their websites.

As with last year, for many qualifications, teacher judgement will play a central role – more so in some qualifications than others. Some exams and assessments, however, will still go ahead this year either remotely, or in person where it is safe to do so.

These arrangements are not a perfect substitute for you being able to study and be assessed as you would be in an ordinary year. But they will enable you to be awarded a qualification that reflects what you know and can do so that you can progress to the next stage of your life.

 Applied Generals, including BTECs

If you are studying for a qualification that is similar to, or taken alongside GCSEs or A levels, then you will be eligible for a teacher assessed grade. This will require your lecturer to make an informed judgement on the grade you will receive using a variety of evidence, such as performance of tasks or assessments that have already been completed.

Examples of these types of qualifications are BTECs (Pearson) and OCR Cambridge Technicals in subjects such as engineering, digital media and health and social care. You should receive your results no later than students who are studying for GCSEs and A levels.

Professional or occupational qualifications

Examples of these types of qualification are: plumbing, hairdressing, electrics and construction.

If you are studying for a qualification that requires a demonstration of professional or occupational competence, then you will need to take your assessments before you can get your certificate and progress to the workplace.

Assessments for these types of qualifications are continuing throughout 2021, although your assessment may be held in slightly different circumstances to normal, using social distancing or remote assessment, for example. Each awarding organisation is allowed some flexibility to adapt how they assessed your work and your tutor will keep you up to date with what’s required for your course.

In some cases, your assessment may need to be delayed until it can be carried out safely in line with public health guidance.

 Next steps

The awarding organisation responsible for awarding your qualification, such as PEARSON, OCR, CITY & GUILDS, NOCN or NCFE, are currently updating their guidance to us about how results for each type of qualification will be awarded and what evidence is needed for different types of qualification.

You need to continue to study. Your tutors will tell you about what’s happening with your qualification and whether you will be able to take your assessment or if your grade will be awarded in another way. Please do ask your tutor if you need any clarification.

We know that this is a challenging time, but we are working with awarding organisations and Ofqual to make preparations so that students, parents, carers and everyone who relies on these qualifications can be assured of the fairest possible arrangements in this pandemic.

When you will get your results

Ofqual are working towards you receiving your results for AS and A levels on 10 August, and GCSEs on 12 August. Results for vocational or technical qualifications linked to moving on to further or higher education should also be issued to students either on or before these dates.

Your tutor will let you know when you are likely to receive your final results for your qualification.

 Appeals

The vast majority of students are going to receive grades that are fair and that will enable them to progress to their next stage. However we know there are some students and families who may want to appeal their grade.

For GCSEs, a student unhappy with their grade would submit an appeal to the College, so that we could check whether an administrative error had been made. If we do find an error in the grade submitted, we can submit a revised grade for the board to consider. If we do not believe an error had been made, we will appeal to the exam board on the student’s behalf.

Vocational and technical qualifications (VTQ) students will be able to appeal on the same basis, but the exact nature of the processes might be a little different to reflect the different nature of the qualifications. An exam board will only revise a student’s grade where the evidence cannot reasonably support that grade, rather than as a result of marginal differences of opinion. Students should be aware that grades can go up or down as the result of an appeal.

Ofqual’s Summer 2021 Qualification Explainer Tool

Ofqual have created an explainer tool to show you what's happening with your vocational, technical, and other general qualifications this year. Please use this link to access the tool: https://analytics.ofqual.gov.uk/#summerTool

 

Finally for now, we want to thank all of you for the positive way you have responded to the huge challenges you have all faced throughout the coronavirus pandemic. We know that you have welcomed the return to College campuses in March, and in being able to work with your tutors, support staff and peers in our classrooms, workshops, studios and workplaces. We look forward to greeting you all back once again after the Easter holidays.

In January, following the closure of schools and colleges to most students, it was agreed that teachers would be asked to determine students’ grades in 2021.

There was a joint DfE/Ofqual consultation launched to test proposals with students, parents, unions and head teachers. Please see the overview of the policy announcement:

  • Teachers will only assess what has been taught
  • Schools and colleges have flexibility to use a range of assessment evidence to inform their judgements
  • Exam boards will provide detailed guidance and support including questions to help them create assessments if they choose to use them
  • To ensure the process is as fair and consistent as possible there will be a quality assurance process overseen by the exam boards
  • If a student is not satisfied with their grade they can appeal
  • Most results will be issued in the week beginning 9 August
  • For students wishing to improve their teacher assessed grade there will be a full exam series in Autumn

Teachers at Walsall College will be using the following evidence to determine your grades:

  • Assessment 1 completed in October
  • Assessment 2 completed in December
  • Assessment 4 completed in April
  • Face-to-Face and Synchronous Learning evidence including any coursework produced in lessons
  • Asynchronous Learning evidence including any coursework and homework produced independently

If you wish to know more about the GCSE grading process, please contact your GCSE teacher via email and arrange an appointment to discuss progress and any questions you may have on the grading process.

Almost without exception, functional skills will be assessed by examination only.

Key Information for Students, Apprentices, Parents/Carers and Employers

Our eight-point plan for keeping you COVID-19 secure:

1.  COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
If you have any COVID symptoms or a positive test, or if anyone in your household is experiencing COVID symptoms or a positive test, DO NOT travel to college.  Follow NHS guidelines

2. LATERAL FLOW DEVICE TESTING
Please book your test as per the guidance above

3. FACE COVERINGS
Should be worn at all times inside and outside of the classroom

4. SOCIAL DISTANCING
Please observe social distancing guidelines around the college

5. HAND WASHING/SANITISER
Wash your hands and use hand sanitiser regularly

6. SOCIAL BUBBLES
Please stay in your social bubbles in college

7. MOVING AROUND COLLEGE
Keep to the left and use the stairs if you can

8. EXTRA CLEANING
Additional, regular cleaning and sanitisation of surfaces will take place throughout each day. If you have any concerns about areas that need to be cleaned, please let us know.

This short guide outlines the measures in place to provide a safe and compliant environment that also minimises the risk to you and your teachers. Read it here or watch this video.

Remember - The best way to stop the spread of COVID 19 is to stay at home. If you do need to leave your home for any reason…. Keep your distance, wash your hands and cover your nose and mouth.

The nursery will be open for the children of staff and students who are working onsite or from home. The opening hours are: 8:30am – 5:30pm.  (Students will not be able to study at the college when their children are on site unless they are students whose parents are Key Workers or Vulnerable Young People.)

If anyone requires childcare during this time, please contact the Little Professors Nursery Team on 01922 657062 or email nurseryteam@walsallcollege.ac.uk

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

Pastoral Team  

  • For further information on how to complete learning activities.
  • 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
The safeguarding team continues to be available to support staff and students throughout this new lockdown period.  There will be a safeguarding officer on site at Wisemore Campus every weekday whilst the college is open.

The safeguarding email – safeguardingteam@walsallcollege.ac.uk will be monitored every weekday from 8.30am until 5.30am.

The counselling team continue to support students over the telephone and they can be contacted by email – counsellingteam@walsallcollege.ac.uk.  All safeguarding students will be contacted on a frequent basis by the safeguarding team to ensure they are safe and well.

Food bank support

  • The college has been working with Black Country Food Bank and The Trussell Trust to support students (and their families) who may need their services.  Vouchers for food parcels are available from the Safeguarding team.  These can be redeemed at any of the sites operated by the two organisations.

After careful consideration, we have made the decision to cancel all BTEC, AQA and Cambridge Nationals and Cambridge Technicals exams across January 2021.

We want to ensure you that you will still be able to be assessed against the external assessments and Ofqual and the DfE are working to ensure that no student is disadvantaged.

• We will award a grade for any student who is unable to take their exams and has enough evidence to receive a certificate that they need for progression.
• Students unable to take their assessment this January may be able to take their assessment at a later date. If that is not possible, we will put in place arrangements to ensure you are not disadvantaged.

We appreciate this must be a very difficult time for you. We hope that this update provides you with some clarity and reassurance that you will not be disadvantaged. We will share more information when we receive further updates.

If you are at all uncertain if your exam comes under this category of cancelled exams, then please contact your tutor without delay. Thank you for your continued patience during these unprecedented times.

We recognise the past number of months have been challenging for everyone, especially for parents and carers.  Many of you are balancing working from home and supporting the learning of your young person (student).

Colleges are also facing an unprecedented challenge following the Covid-19 outbreak. Walsall College has adapted quickly to this latest lockdown, considering how best to provide students with educational provisions from the safety of their own homes.

Remote Education – Approach and Expectations

We take a ‘blended’ approach to remote learning.  This is a mixture of live sessions delivered remotely and homework tasks.

Live sessions match existing timetables as closely as possible.  Various platforms are used to deliver these.

Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Google Classrooms and Smart Assessor etc all allow the College to create virtual classrooms, so students have the ability to interact with staff.

Live classrooms enable important interaction between teachers and students through, for example, questioning, encouragement and reflective discussion.  These are likely to be more effective, support student motivation and lead to better progress.

Homework tasks are shared or uploaded for students to work on in their own time or to complete alongside their live lessons.

There may be occasions when a member of our teaching or pastoral staff may contact students on the telephone to provide 1:1 support.

When delivering remote education, our commitment to all students will focus upon:

  • frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a tutor or trainer assessor, supported through high-quality curriculum resources
  • opportunities for interactivity, including questioning, eliciting and reflective discussion
  • scaffolded practice and opportunities to apply new knowledge
  • enabling students and apprentices to receive timely and frequent feedback on how to progress, using digitally-facilitated or whole-class feedback where appropriate
  • using assessment to ensure teaching is responsive to students’ needs and addresses any critical gaps in their skills or knowledge
  • avoiding an over-reliance on long-term projects or internet research activities

(Any contact from the college is carried out in line with guidance about suitable mobile telephone use.)

Extensive additional support, pastoral guidance and counselling is available to students, where seen as beneficial.

Please see the ‘Support and Guidance for Students’ section of this webpage for further information.

Behaviour and attendance

We expect all students to demonstrate good attendance for their remote education sessions and for them to complete any work that is set for independent study, in a timely manner.

Students should take relevant notes in class and respond positively to the feedback that they receive. Students are also expected to continue following our Ready Respectful, Safe behaviours and attitudes, even when learning remotely.

Poor behaviour will be challenged and could lead to disciplinary measures, even during this lockdown period.  This is to meet our ultimate aim of helping  our students become employable and increasingly ready for the world of work.

We have instructed students to contact their tutor without delay should they have any difficultly accessing their education remotely. Relying entirely upon their mobile phones to access their education is not ideal, and we urge students to let us know if this is their situation.

Our central college number is 01922 657000. This number will be answered 9am until 5pm Monday to Friday for them to leave a message for their tutor.

Data Protection / Recording

On occasion, teachers may decide to record their live sessions so that students can revisit them for revision. Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Article 6 requires us to have a lawful basis for processing personal data.

Our lawful basis for processing this recorded data for students is for our legitimate interests.  For more information, please see our Recording Privacy Notice on our website https://www.walsallcollege.ac.uk/policies-procedures/

Recordings will not be shared to external third parties unless we have a legal requirement to provide this data. All recorded sessions will be deleted after one calendar year.

Parent/carer support and involvement

We would ideally hope to count on your support at this challenging time. For some students, accessing their education remotely can represent an additional barrier to their learning.

Our students speak very highly of the face to face support they have at college, and the inspiration that takes place in the classroom. Being removed from this experience (and exposed to the distractions available at home), mean focus and motivation can suffer.

Your involvement need not be onerous, time consuming or demanding. We appreciate you will be managing a range of circumstances at this time.

However, by frequently showing an interest in the progress of your youngster’s remote education, you may help and gently encourage them to continue  learning in a regular and meaningful way.

We know that many young people may communicate well with their friends via text messages and social media, but they might be less communicative with parents and carers. If this sounds familiar, and you feel that you need to find out more regarding their educational opportunities or progress, then please do be assured that you can contact us to.

Contacting the college

You don’t have to wait for ‘parents evening’.   Telephone 01922 657000 or email info@walsallcollege.ac.uk and we will aim to get back to as soon as possible and within three working days, depending on the nature of your communication.

When you contact the College, please ensure that you have the full name of the young person, their course title, and year of study and level of study at hand.

We can only share information with you if a student is under the age of 18.

If a student is over 18, then you will need to show proof that you have permission from the student to see their information.

(A data protection form can be completed on request.  Alternatively, an email can sent to our data protection team from the student, giving consent to release their  information.  Proof of your identity may be required by us checking your details listed against the next of kin information on their student record.)

 

Finally, we would like to thank you for the support you have provided over these last months.  With your continued support, we will ensure that education can continue in an effective and meaningful way.

We can also look forward to our students' safe return to College as soon as government guidance allows.

Please continue to stay safe, look after yourselves and others.