Statement from Shrewsbury Colleges Group following the announcement from the UK Government of a national lockdown.
This is a revised statement which now includes updated information on our remote education offer and external exams originally scheduled for 2021.
Following the announcement from the UK Government on Monday 4th January of a national lockdown, Shrewsbury Colleges Group can confirm that we will NOT be requiring students, other than those identified as Vulnerable, to attend any of the campuses effective from close of normal college hours on Monday 4th January 2021.
There is a Frequently Asked Questions section available here
Remote access to education – information for students
This statement will provide clarity and transparency over the provision of remote access to education which will be provided by Shrewsbury Colleges Group during the period of National Lockdown and for any times that students are self-isolating.
How will students be taught remotely?
SCG commits to providing remote education to all students, that is 16-18-year olds, adults, apprentices and higher education students.
Remote learning and support will be delivered using the following:
- Live lessons delivered through Microsoft Teams (MT)
- Recorded lessons streamed through MT
- Accessing assignments through MT or Moodle or through email
- Submitting work teachers through MT, Moodle, Turnitin or email
- 1-1 support through MT calls, phone calls or email
- Tutorial support through MT calls, phone calls or email
- Safeguarding support from the college safeguarding team for students identified as vulnerable and recorded on the college safeguarding system
- Emotional health and well-being support through the college mentors for students in need of support
What are the expectations of students during remote learning?
Existing student timetables will continue to be followed and registers will be taken for all planned lessons. Students will be required to either:
- attend live lessons,
- or if the lesson is not being delivered live, to make direct contact with their teacher or tutor via Microsoft Teams, telephone or email during a timetabled lesson to confirm engagement in the learning scheduled for that lesson.
Students will continue to complete assessments in line with the scheme of work. Feedback will be provided for assessments in line with normal college arrangements.
Will the lessons be adapted to remote learning?
Schemes of work will be followed as planned where this is appropriate to remote education. Where it would be more appropriate to modify the scheme of work, for example, to deliver a theory unit remotely in place of a practical unit which requires access to specialist facilities, the sequencing of delivery will be adjusted, and the scheme of work changed.
Where specialist equipment is necessary on a course, wherever possible the college will provide the specialist equipment for the student to use at home, for example, provision of a laptop with specialist software.
Where the specialist equipment cannot be provided, for example, in fabrication and welding, the scheme of work will be adapted, and the sequencing of delivery changed. Theory units will be completed remotely, and practical units will be delayed until the return to campus in line with government and awarding body guidance.
Circumstances where remote education is not possible
The college gathered data at the start of the year from full-time students in relation to:
- student access to devices at home;
- student access to the internet at home;
- and student access to an appropriate place to study at home.
Students without access to a device will be contacted to confirm that they still need access to a device and if so, a device will be provided for their use whilst government guidance prevents attendance at college.
Students without connectivity or an appropriate place to study are considered to be vulnerable and will be expected to attend campus each day they have timetabled lessons where they will be provided with a personal study space and device.
Students with special education needs have had their individual plans reviewed and appropriate individual measures put in place in response to lockdown.
The last year has been extremely difficult for students, due to uncertainty over examinations and having to adapt to remote learning in lockdown. A number of students have had to self-isolate as well over the last few months.
Please be assured that we will update students and parents as we receive more information and that college staff remain available to support students in the coming weeks. There are extensive resources available to support both studies and emotional health and wellbeing on the website and Moodle.
Advice and guidance on how to access the online resources can be accessed here
Students with exams in January
Students who have been scheduled to sit external exams for BTEC and CTEC courses in January WILL be required to sit these exams unless they have been notified otherwise. The exam dates and timings remain in place and students should attend as planned.
The January A Level mock exams have not gone ahead – students should disregard all mock timetables previously available. We know that students have been working hard to revise and prepare for their mock exams and we want to provide students with meaningful feedback on that learning; individual subject areas will therefore be making alternative arrangements to assess that learning and will communicate with students directly.
Students with exams and assessments in the summer and their parents
Despite the speculation that has appeared in the media recently, we are awaiting further information about the process for exams going forward following the announcement regarding exams for summer 2021.
The government guidance published 4th January states:
“In the circumstances, we do not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. We will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.”
We appreciate that this is an extremely difficult time and that students and parents understandably will be wanting reassurance regarding the alternative arrangements.
At the moment, we do not know how any internal college assessments, coursework or assignments will or won’t be used as part of the alternative arrangements and therefore we are not in a position currently to answer any questions that students and parents may have.
We will contact students once the details have been finalised and we are able to advise.
How will learning continue:
SCG will be providing lessons and guidance for students via online platforms to continue their studies during this period.
We expect all students to continue to engage fully with their studies over the next few weeks of lockdown as this work may be used as part of the assessment process for the student’s final grades. We firmly believe that education is about learning and not just teaching to pass a test and would encourage all of our students to continue their studies to the best of their ability.
Vulnerable students and their parents & carers
The official advice is that Vulnerable students are those students who have a social worker OR those students with an educational health and care plan (EHCP) OR those with safeguarding and welfare needs.
Higher Education Students
Students studying Higher Education courses with us on either a full-time or part-time basis will continue with their education on an online basis. The Higher Education facility at London Road will be closed effective from closure of college hours on Monday 4th January 2021.
Students should direct any questions about their course requirements to their Course Leader.
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister on Monday 4th January, some Apprentices will remain in work and therefore will be able to continue their on-the-job training. The employer will inform Apprentices if they are still to attend work. All apprentices will be able to continue their off the job training with college through remote learning.
The Apprentice should contact their Assessor for further details and plans for their ‘off the job’ element of their Apprenticeship.
Students applying to SCG for 2021/22 education year and their parents
SCG is still accepting applications from students wanting to study with us in the next academic year (2021/22). We will provide further information to applicants once the government publishes the alternative arrangements for GCSEs. We will work with individual students and partner schools to ensure that no student misses out on their preferred course because of the changes.
Any student who was due to attend an interview in college for a place for 2021/22 will receive an interview via telephone. We will contact the students to arrange times.