COVID-19 updates from South Essex College

Latest updates

19 Mar 2021

Assessment Update – Awarding of Grades 2020/21

Assessment Update – Awarding of Grades 2020/21

We would like to thank you for your patience during this time as the college awaits the final information from the awarding organisations on how you will be awarded your grade this academic year. We expect to receive this information just before the Easter holidays so we will update you further in April.

Below is a summary of the information we have been supplied with by the different awarding organisations to date. We offer many different qualifications at the college so if you are in any doubt on what applies to you and how you will be assessed, please contact your tutor who will be able to explain the process to you. We understand that this can be a confusing time so please ask.

For all students, it is vitally important that you continue to attend your lessons, complete work and assessments set by your tutors as these will help contribute to your final grade awarded.

The Department for Education (DfE) and the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) have identified qualifications where a Teacher Assessment Grade (TAG) can be used and those where it cannot.

Qualifications with no Teacher Assessment Grade

Vocational Qualifications (Occupational skills or proficiency) (e.g. construction/plumbing and electrical qualifications/ Early Years)

Your tutor will inform you if you are studying one of these qualifications. Assessments will continue where it is safe to do so and as normal as possible. Your tutor will inform you of any assessments which have been delayed and when they are planned to take place. Your tutors will provide you with a new assessment plan in April. It is vitally important that you continue to attend, complete the assessments asked of you which may include practical assessments and examinations. Your grade will be awarded by the awarding organisation when you have passed your assessment, the work has been internally verified and signed of externally by the awarding organisation. Please speak with your tutor if you have any questions. Completion of your programme may be delayed.

Vocational Qualification (with no Teacher Assessment Grade)

You will be graded as normal according to the requirements of the awarding organisation. You should continue with you lessons as normal and complete the assessments set by your tutor. Some of these assessments may have been adapted already due to missed learning as per the Department for Education (DfE) requirements. You will be provided with an assessment plan for the remainder of the academic year. Your grade will be awarded by the awarding organisation when you have passed your assessment, the work has been internally verified and signed of externally by the awarding organisation.

Qualifications where a Teacher Assessment Grade is allowed

A-Level and GCSE

We can confirm that you will receive a Teacher Assessment Grade (TAG) which will be built around your teachers' judgements of your performance based on work and assessments you have completed throughout your course such as mock examinations, coursework and essays. After Easter we will confirm with you the evidence we will be using to produce your Teacher Assessment Grade.

We have provided you with an indication of time-frames for the rest of the academic year in the production of your Teacher Assessment Grade in the table at the bottom of this update.

We have been informed by Department for Education (DfE) and the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) that we cannot provide you with your Teacher Assessment Grade until results are released in August.

Pearson BTEC Qualifications with a Q-TAG (L1, First and Nationals). This excludes functional skills.

We can confirm for BTEC Qualifications (Entry, Level 1 to 3) that you will be awarded a Qualification – Teacher Assessment Grade (Q-TAG) as the Department for Education (DfE) have recognised that it was not possible for all assessments to take place this year. Teachers have been asked to provide a grade for your whole qualification. Pearson have confirmed that you will not receive a grade for individual units. We expect to receive more detailed information on how we are to calculate these grades just before the Easter holidays.

We have provided you with an indication of time-frames for the rest of the academic year in the production of your Qualification - Teacher Assessment Grade (Q-TAG) in the table at the end of this update.

We have been informed by Department for Education (DfE) and the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) that we cannot provide you with your Qualification- Teacher Assessment Grade until results are released in August.

Other Vocational Qualifications (including City and Guilds/Cache/UAL/EAL) which will use a Teacher Assessment Grade

We await further information from the awarding organisations on how they intend to use Teacher Assessment Grades and the evidence required. We hope to know after Easter whether TAGs will be used at unit level or for the whole qualifications. TAGs will need to be reported to the awarding organisation by 18 June so we will follow the time-frame in the table at the end of this update.

Your tutor will provide you with more information after Easter.

We have been informed by Department for Education (DfE) and the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) that we cannot provide you with your Qualification- Teacher Assessment Grade until results are released in August.

Time line for Qualifications with a Teacher Assessment Grade or a Qualification Teacher Assessment Grade

Time-Frame Activity
April Teaching and assessment will continue.
We will confirm the assessment evidence that will be used for the Qualification or Teacher Assessment Grade.
May Teaching and Assessment will continue.
June Teaching and Assessment will continue.
Assessment Grades will be quality assured by the college as per awarding organisation requirements.
Teacher Assessment Grades will be sent to the awarding organisations (18 June).
July External Verification will take place by the Awarding Organisations to confirm the final grades awarded.
August

Grades will be issued on
10 August - A Level
12 August - GCSE

Grades will be issued no later than
10 August – Vocational Level 3
12 August – Vocational Level 2

This is accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change as we await further guidance.

Infographics

Ofqual has produced two infographics which summarise how your GCSE / A-Level or Vocational and Technical Qualification will be awarded 2021.

GCSE / A-Level

Vocational and Technical Qualification

26 Feb 2021

Return to college plans

Following the government’s announcement on Monday 22 February, please see below information regarding students returning to college from Monday 8 March:

Return to college

All entry and level 1 students will return fulltime as timetabled from Monday 8 March. All other FE students will be returning from 8 March and follow a blended learning timetable, a mixed delivery of virtual online and physical on-site sessions. Adult students and apprentices will also return to a blended timetable. Timetables have now been added to the system. Tutors will be informing students of the full arrangements for their specific course next week in their next virtual session.

Face coverings

In line with government guidance, we encourage everyone to wear a face covering in all areas of the college (including classrooms) unless you have a valid reason not to. Thank you.

We understand that there are some circumstances where individuals may not be able to wear a face covering. The following circumstances are accepted as reasons why someone cannot wear a face covering and is not an exhaustive list:

  • People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
  • Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress.
  • If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate.
Testing

LFD COVID testing will be available for students and staff at the college from 1-5 March. Please visit www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19-testing for details of how to come and take your test.

Between 8 and 19 March, lecturers will book their students in for testing with the aim of completing three tests for each student during this time. For more information about the testing process and registration, please visit www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19-testing.

After these two weeks students will be able to use home testing kits provided by the college.

25 Feb 2021

GCSE, A-Level and vocational course grading

We have posted an update regarding GCSE, A-Level and vocational course grading on our Results webpage.

25 Feb 2021

COVID-19 update

Following the government’s announcement on 22 February the college is working towards resuming on-site learning for students from Monday 8 March.

We are currently finalising plans to ensure the return to college is as safe as possible for everyone and will share this information with you shortly.

We will be following current government COVID-19 guidelines which includes the rollout of COVID-19 testing at the college (you can find out more at www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19-testing) as well as making the wearing of face coverings compulsory in all areas of the college (including classrooms), unless you are exempt.

At this time, students should continue to attend online lessons. More information about timetables and return to on-site learning will be posted on our website as we continue to follow information and guidance from the government.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this time.

11 Feb 2021

COVID-19 testing

In line with the government’s mass testing programme, we will be offering all students and staff who do not have COVID-19 symptoms the opportunity to take a COVID-19 rapid test (Lateral Flow Device, or LFD).

Please view our COVID-19 testing page for full details.

18 Jan 2021

Remote Education Offer

Following the government’s national lockdown announcement, and students moving to an online learning provision the following statement sets out our Remote Education Offer.

Remote Education Offer

6 Jan 2021

Exams information

Student and staff safety is our number one priority. We fully appreciate the uncertainty this time has caused for students with the regular and last-minute changing government guidance around education.

We are now satisfied that no student will be disadvantaged by the cancellation of these exams and assessments as we have since received assurance from the Department for Education and awarding bodies that we will be able to award centre grades to students. We are continuing to work with awarding bodies regarding this and will keep students updated with any developments.

Tutors will be in touch with students to discuss what this means for them.

For the few apprentices with an EPA (end point assessment) booked, your assessor will contact you to discuss this.

While our buildings are closed to students, we continue to operate and deliver our teaching online. Whether you were scheduled to take an exam or not, it is important you continue to attend online lessons.

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

5 Jan 2021

Lockdown information

You will be contacted by your tutor with any specific arrangements for your course including assessment details. They will also be able to answer any specific queries you may have about your course.

We are also putting plans in place for our vulnerable students/children of key workers in line with government guidance.

If you are concerned about your well-being during this period, the college’s Safeguarding Team is available to provide advice and support. The Safeguarding Page on Moodle has information to support students during this time including helplines. If you fit one of the vulnerable categories (looked after child or have a social worker) you can contact the Safeguarding Team via safeguarding@southessex.ac.uk who will be able to provide support.

If you can’t access your student email or any of the required online systems to access online learning, please call the IT Helpdesk via 01702 221832 or email ITHelpdesk@southessex.ac.uk

This information is based on current government guidance and is subject to be updated as and when necessary. Please monitor your college emails, Moodle and the college website (www.southessex.ac.uk/covid19) / social media for further updates.

Thank you for your co-operation at this time.


FAQs and information


COVID-19 procedures

In line with the government’s mass testing programme, we will be offering all students and staff who do not have COVID-19 symptoms the opportunity to take a COVID-19 rapid test (Lateral Flow Device, or LFD).

Please view our COVID-19 testing page for full details.

We will be working in line with the government’s track and trace guidance and students will be contained in bubbles as they are in the college environment.

Unlike many schools, the college is a large entity spread over many campuses and we have more than 11,000 students, many of whom only come into college once or twice a week at the current time.

As you will know students have been put into class bubbles and where possible maths and English are being taught online to reduce the risk of class cross contamination.

This means that in the event of a COVID case it is unlikely that more than a class bubble will need to self-isolate according to DfE COVID guidance.

In the event of a positive case of COVID in a student or staff member we will do the following:

  1. Contact the DfE COVID helpline for first line advice, they will then refer us to Public Health England if the case requires further advice or intervention.
  2. Based on this advice we will investigate who the student/staff member has been in close contact with and write to all students that need to self-isolate for 10 days as per government guidance. If the positive case includes a lecturer this may include more than one class bubble.
  3. We will post updates regarding cases on Moodle.
  4. The wearing of face coverings in all areas of the college is now compulsory.

While we have put lots of measures in place to make the college as safe as possible for students and staff, we all have a part to play. We obviously cannot control who students mix with outside of the college environment, so please continue to observe government guidelines so we can keep everyone safe.

Thank you for your support.

Please could all students report COVID related absence using this form

This includes if you are self-isolating due to another member of your family testing positive. This will allow us to gather more information in case of a positive case.

If you receive a positive test result please let us know.

  • Complete the online form providing as much detail as possible including test date, isolation periods, expected return dates. Don’t skip boxes, please provide as much information as possible.
  • Email your tutor as a courtesy and to say that you have completed the online form.

If you display symptoms of COVID-19 you should follow government guidance and stay at home for at least 10 days from the date when the symptoms appeared. You should also arrange for a test to be carried out at the earliest opportunity. To book, visit www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or phone 119.


College procedures

  • We have created ‘bubbles’ of students to minimise contact with people outside of individual bubbles.
  • Directional signage is in operation throughout the college to remind students and staff to adhere to the 2m guidance while using communal areas.
  • We have staggered start times, breaks and lunches. This is to avoid large numbers of people in college at the same time and to avoid peak travel times where possible. Additional sanitisation facilities are in operation and cleaning will be undertaken on a more regular basis with janitorial staff on site throughout the day to clean high touch areas such as hand rails and push panels.
  • If your course requires close contact PPE equipment will be provided so that you are adequately protected.
  • Where possible our support staff teams will temporarily continue to work from home so numbers of people generally on site is reduced. Students will be able to make appointments with staff and student services teams for face-to-face and online appointments.
  • Enhanced cleaning arrangements have been implemented to ensure all common areas are regularly disinfected such as door handles and welfare facilities.
  • Each department has conducted a full risk assessment for return to college and implemented the use of PPE and other equipment.

In line with government guidance, everyone must wear a face covering in all areas of the college (including classrooms) unless you have a valid reason not to. Thank you.

We understand that there are some circumstances where students may not be able to wear a face covering. The following circumstances are accepted as reasons why someone cannot wear a face covering and is not an exhaustive list:

  • People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.
  • Where putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress.
  • If you are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expressions to communicate.

To support those who have an age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering we have introduced a simple process for tutors to give individuals exemption cards for their ID cards. This will avoid challenges from members of the college community as they move around our building.

If you require an exemption card, please speak to your tutor.

We are encouraging students and staff to walk or cycle to college where ever possible. We are also staggering start times so that people traveling by public transport can do so outside of busy work times.

  • Students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), with or without an EHC plan, will be assessed individually to ensure a safe return to college can be achieved.
  • The college will adopt control measures in a way that addresses any risks identified, allowing us to deliver education and training to our learners, including full educational and care support for those learners who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).

There is a limited catering function in the college at this time. Please bring food and drinks with you where possible. Free college meals where applicable will be provided. Unfortunately we are unable to provide the normal free breakfast service due to staggered start times and smaller numbers of students on campus at one time.

We have a click and collect service for ordering food (leaflets explaining how to do this are available in college) and we have also created dining zones to ensure students remain in their departmental bubbles. You will be advised by your tutor where your zone is.


General information for students

All students can access Moodle and email via the college website.

Your tutor should provide you with information on work to be completed, so please contact them via your college email address.

Students who receive free college meals should already have received information from the college.

If you need further financial support please email funding@southessex.ac.uk

Students

If you are not receiving information from the college and need to update your contact details please email the college at centraladministrationteam@southessex.ac.uk with your student number and your revised details.

Parents and guardians

Please also contact centraladministrationteam@southessex.ac.uk if you would like us to add your email address to the system to help us communicate with you.

If you are concerned about your well-being during this period, the College’s Safeguarding Team are available to provide advice and support. The Safeguarding Page on Moodle has information to support students during this time including helplines. If you fit one of the vulnerable categories (looked after child or have a social worker) you can contact the Safeguarding Team on Safeguarding@Southessex.ac.uk who will be able to provide support.

If you can’t access your student email or any of the required online systems please call the IT Helpdesk via 01702 221832 or email ITHelpdesk@southessex.ac.uk

Please see our Changing and resetting your password article for guidance on resetting your password.


Wellbeing and support

The current situation we find ourselves in can be scary and overwhelming. It is OK to feel worried, stressed, anxious or concerned about what is going on, you are not alone in feeling this way.

Everyone will react differently and again that is OK. To help everyone manage this difficult and uncertain time we have pulled together a range of support services and links to guide you through.

We appreciate the current situation is difficult for families and you may be experiencing trauma. Please click here to find out about organisations and helplines that may be useful (if you click this link the webpage will show in your browser simply as 'Information page' so do not worry).

You can also email safeguarding@southessex.ac.uk for advice or help.

Yes, the Safeguarding & Pastoral Team are working remotely supporting students and can be contacted via email at Safeguarding@Southessex.ac.uk

They will also take referrals from parents, carers, friends or members of the public if you are concerned about the safety of a student from the College. The Human Resources Team are also available remotely regarding any concerns about staff and can be contacted via email at Departmentofhumanresources@southessex.ac.uk

The College’s Safeguarding Policy has an Exceptional Closure Addendum which can be found here.


Contact the college

  • Call 0345 52 12345
  • Email learning@southessex.ac.uk
  • Use the online message service (Pubble) on our website, just look for the blue "ask" button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.