Questions from Learners
1. What about vocational and technical qualifications?
No exams will be taking place at the College this summer. There is a very wide range of different vocational and technical qualifications as well as other academic qualifications for which learners’ were expecting to sit exams this summer. These are offered by a large number of awarding organisations and have different assessment approaches – in many cases, learners’ will already have completed modules or non-exam assessment which could provide evidence to award a grade. We are encouraging these organisations to show the maximum possible flexibility and pragmatism to ensure learners’ are not disadvantaged. Ofqual is working urgently with the education sector to explore options, and we will work with them to provide more details shortly.
2. Will exams be affected?
The coronavirus outbreak is expected to continue having a significant impact on the education system, and the country, for months to come. Therefore exams have been cancelled now to give our learners’, parents, and teachers certainty, and enable the College to focus on supporting vulnerable learners’ at this time.
3. What will happen to those who have already done some non-exam assessment?
The calculated grade process will take into account a range of evidence including, for example, non-exam assessment and mock results, and the approach will be standardised between schools and colleges. Ofqual is working urgently with the exam boards to set out proposals for how this process will work and will be talking to teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that the approach taken is as fair as possible.
4. How will you address the fact that learners’ from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to have their grades under-predicted?
Ofqual, the independent qualifications regulator, will develop a fair and robust process that takes into account a broad range of evidence, including teacher assessment and prior attainment. Ofqual will make every effort to ensure that the process agreed does not disadvantage any particular group of learners’. Learners’ who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after the College opens again.
5. Will all learners’ get their predicted grade?
No, we know that simply using predicted grades would not be fair to all learners’. The calculated grade will take into account teachers’ assessment of the likely grade as well as other factors such as prior attainment, so learners’ final grades will not necessarily reflect their predicted grades.
6. Will the College be using mock exam results as a barometer for results – and is this fair on learners’ as they did not know at the time these would be used as their final mark?
Mock exam results will be one of the pieces of evidence that will be taken into account in this process, alongside other factors. Ofqual will ensure colleges are provided with clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly.
7. Can I come back to sit my GSCE English and GCSE Maths exams in the new academic year?
Yes, we can review this should you wish to choose this option. We recognise that some learners’ may feel disappointed that they have not been able to sit their exams. If they do not think their calculated grade reflects their performance, they will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after the College opens again. Learners’ will also have the option to sit their exams in summer 2021.
8. What will be the earliest date that I can come back to College to return to studies?
We look forward to all our learners returning to study in the new academic year and shall be reviewing ways in re-engaging with our learners both past, present and future learners. Please drop by and visit our web page for further and regular updates.
9. What if I am unhappy with my grade from the College? Can I challenge the predicted grade?
We will work closely with Ofqual and awarding organisations to ensure learners’ are awarded a fair grade that recognises the work they have put in overtime. If a student does not believe the correct process has been followed in their case, they will be able to appeal on that basis.
10. What if have started my coursework but it is not finished?
Exam boards will provide advice on this to schools and colleges as soon as possible.
11. Can I still apply to university? How will my predicted grade affect my application to my chosen university?
Yes, please get in touch with us here at the College to discuss further progression opportunities. The calculated grades awarded will be formal grades, with the same status as grades awarded in any other year. University representatives have already confirmed that they expect universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students and ensure they can progress to higher education.
12. How do I continue studying at the College, during these uncertain times?
Plans are in place to ensure all of our learners’ can continue with their studies while at home and remain in contact with their tutors, where appropriate. Please get in touch with your tutor, to discuss the alternatives if you have no access to the required devices.
13. How do I submit my coursework and get feedback?
We have a virtual learning environment and learning platform called Canvas; where there are learning resources, assignments, interactive workbooks and access to conferences with your tutor online. Feedback is gathered and shared through this learning platform.
14. What is happening about my work experience placement?
All work experience placements are currently on hold and employers have been notified. Learners’ have been advised not to attend their placements until further notice. However, for a few students, if there is an opportunity for you to work remotely or online with the placement, this can be negotiated between you and the workplace. You must make sure that relevant college staff are made aware of this.
15. What does this mean for my place at College and progressing next year?
We understand this is a challenging time and uncertain time, but please do not worry. You will always have a place at Stoke on Trent College. Tutors will be in touch about what will happen and also your options for next year. When the College re-opens, you should return, and we will work with you in achieving your qualifications and ensuring you can progress with us.
16. What do I do if I think I have coronavirus symptoms?
If you do, you should self-isolate for 14 days. You should follow the stay at home guidance on the Public Health England website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance
Questions from Employers
1. Can apprentices work from home if we close our offices?
It is essential that apprentices stay safe. It is vital that their employer supports them and that employers follow government advice and guidance at all times. The College is well equipped to support apprentices with online learning resources during this time. Our dedicated staff are on hand and will remain in contact with apprentices to ensure they receive the necessary support during this time.
2. How do I advise apprentices about what pay they will receive if they are off sick or unable to work during a close down?
Please follow national government advice where possible to ensure apprentices are supported with the very best advice and guidance. We also have a team of business support advisors who are on hand to work with you and the apprentices during this time.
3. How do they access their training if they can’t get into the College?
All apprentices have access to Canvas; our online learning environment. The learning platform contains many learning resources that support apprentices to develop their understanding further on topics such as; British Values, Health and Safety, Staying Safe online and may more. Apprentices have access to the learning platform through a link, found on the college website.
4. Will, the assessor, still be visiting the apprentice at our workplace?
All assessors are not visiting learners in the workplace due to government advice and guidance. However, our assessors are using canvas conference tools and online learning platforms to undertake workplace reviews on apprentices’ progress and to continue setting homework, learning assignments and projects to keep apprentices fully engaged and active in their learning.
5. Who do I contact with any more questions?
Please contact our team of experts from the business team, our assessors or the Head of our apprenticeship provision (Emma Brannen) who will be able to answer your questions.
Questions from Applicants
1. Postponement of interview and enrolment activity (move to online interviews?)
All applicants have a guaranteed place at Stoke on Trent College. We will contact all applicants, and in the meanwhile, we are still open dealing with application enquiries and can be reached by either phone or email.
2. Securing their place on their course from September without an interview
If you have already applied to the College for a place in September, please be assured that your application has been processed and your place is guaranteed.
If you have applied to the College but have changed your mind about the course you wish to study, please contact our Admissions Team on 01782 60 or email firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can ensure your details are reserved against the correct course.
If you have not yet applied to College, don’t worry, you still have time to put in an application. All applications received are guaranteed a place in September. Someone will be in touch with you about your application and also be sure to look out for our next open event.
3. Postponement or cancellation of open events
Please continue to monitor the college website and social media. We will continue to post updates, and you will be contacted.
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