COVID-19: FURTHER GUIDANCE ON BLENDED REMOTE EDUCATION

14 January 2021

The Department for Education has produced further guidance about blended remote education:

Further education guidance for restricting attendance during the national lockdown January 2021

Tracey Mace-Akroyd, the Deputy CEO/Principal is the senior leader with overarching responsibility for the quality and delivery of remote education.  Tracey.Mace-Akroyd@rnngroup.ac.uk

COVID: Important Information for students

In line with the latest Government guidance, the majority of our teaching and learning will now take place remotely online, except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, until at least February half-term. Please read carefully the sections below which apply to you.

All Students:

  • Our college campus sites are closed to general student attendance.
  • We remain open for the children of key workers and vulnerable students, including students enrolled on FLEX programmes, across the RNN Group. These students will be supported at Rotherham College campus, Dearne Valley College campus and North Notts College campus.
  • Vulnerable students and those of key workers have been contacted by the College and appropriate arrangements have been made with their tutors. Students have been provided with a safe and suitable environment to continue their learning.
  • Students who have SEND, and who are enrolled on FLEX programmes, will learn remotely where possible. Students who are not able to continue their studies remotely will attend their timetabled face to face teaching sessions on a college campus.
  • College transport will not be running.
  • If you are having trouble accessing/logging into your Google Account and Google Classroom, please email your tutor who will provide support.
  • If you have any Safeguarding concerns during this time please call the Safeguarding Team on 01709 362111 or safeguarding@rnngroup.ac.uk. See College website Safeguarding section for details.
  • All college support services will continue to be available remotely including the counselling services ‘Togetherall’. Students can register on Togetherall (www.togetherall.com), our online mental health platform, which offers students an opportunity to express themselves, access self-assessments and online learning, all of which is supported by clinical professionals 24/7. Students should speak to their course or personal tutor in the first instance for any support needs. The ‘Togetherall’ website is accessed via the College website/Student Information/Togetherall tab.
  • Any financial support students would have previously received will still be paid as normal. Those in receipt of free college meals will receive a payment to support with meals during lockdown. Any student suffering financial difficulties can email studentfinancialsupport@rnngroup.ac.uk for additional support.
  • If you have Covid-19 symptoms such as a high temperature, a new, continuous cough or you lose your sense of smell or taste you must not attend site. You need to arrange a coronavirus test as soon as possible. Further guidance is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/symptoms/.
  • Those students who do attend college must maintain social distancing at all times, and use face coverings, unless exempt. Remember: HANDS / FACE / SPACE.

University Centre Rotherham and HE students:

  • UCR is closed to general student attendance with the exception of PGCE students. However, all of courses are being taught online, therefore, PGCE students should not attend site unless they have been granted specific permission by a tutor.

Learning Centres:

  • Our Learning Centres are closed. If students require academic or research support for their studies, please see the following link for campus contact information. RNN Group Libraries

Remote Education:

  • Tutors will ensure that they deliver the core curriculum and mandatory theoretical knowledge first to ensure that students receive a good coverage of the essential curriculum to help them to progress at the end of this academic year.
  • All delivery will now take place online and teaching and learning activity will be available to students for every day they would normally attend college. The DfE intend to review this requirement after the February half term break. More information will be released once guidance has been received.
  • Teaching and learning activity may include live streaming of practical demonstrations, discussions, presentations, videos, quizzes, games and group tasks (using online whiteboards and shared documents).
  • Students are expected to log on to access and participate in all of their normal timetabled sessions. Tutors will record a register mark of attendance for each session. Please note that a register of attendance mark will only be awarded where students have engaged and participated in a teaching and learning session. Just logging into a session is not sufficient or acceptable.
  • Students will also be required to complete independent study activities as part of their programme. Tutors will record a register of attendance mark for independent study activities once they have reviewed the work produced.
  • Students are urged to attend all of their online lessons and complete all assignments in the coming months to ensure their grade outcome matches the hard work they have put in so far.
  • Apprentices will continue to receive training online and we will work with employers to arrange safe on-site activity as appropriate.

Assessments:

  • The Department for Education (DfE) announced on Tuesday 5th January 2021 that Colleges could offer exams throughout January provided safe arrangements are in place.  The Group has been able to support students who have taken exams on the 5th and 6th January 2021. However, we recognised that some students were unable or unwilling to attend exams at this stage due to concerns about Covid-19. Therefore, after careful consideration the RNN Group made the decision to postpone any further examinations in January with effect from 6th January @ 5pm. Please be assured that the Group will continue to support all students to complete their studies.
  • Internal tutor assessment will continue, and take place remotely.
  • Qualifications demonstrating occupational competency that require proficiency-based assessments will continue wherever possible, subject to public health guidance. Tutors will provide students with guidance about future arrangements.
  • Adapted examination board assessments will take place as soon as reasonably practicable and within public health guidelines. Tutors will provide students with guidance about future arrangements
  • BTEC and equivalent exams are cancelled. The DfE are suggesting that teachers will be asked to assess their students, in a fair and consistent fashion. More information about summer exams and assessments will be released once guidance has been received.
  • The College is awaiting further guidance from the government, Ofqual and the awarding bodies on future arrangements for vocational exams. Please continue to check back on our website for updates and further information.

Support for students without devices, connectivity or a suitable environment for learning:

  • Students who require a laptop or wi-fi to support remote learning should contact their Tutor or Progress Tutor to discuss their personal circumstances and requirements.
  • Tutors will inform students of the date and time that they can collect equipment from their campus. Students must attend these appointments.
  • All students have access to technical support from the college and the campus Digital Technical Assistants. Support can be provided to those studying on-site and remotely. Students should contact their Tutors in the first instance to be connected with a Digital Technical Assistant for support.

Adult students:

  • Adults will also have delivery online.
  • New programmes planned for January will go ahead remotely wherever possible.

Testing:

  • From Monday 18th January, we will be opening asymptomatic lateral flow test centres at our Rotherham College campus, Dearne Valley College campus and North Notts College campus.  Guidance on how to access these test centres will be issued shortly.
  • Staff and students on site will have the option to be tested in line with the current guidance. This is encouraged, but voluntary.

Careers Education and Guidance:

Our next virtual open days in January will go ahead to support anyone looking for advice and guidance on training or next steps. Please continue to check back on our website for updates and further information.
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COVID-19 UPDATE – IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Following the recent government announcement, please click here for more information.

Eligible for 16-18 College financial support to help with travel, meals and college expenses?
Complete the 16-18 Financial Support Application Form here: https://bit.ly/2Qi7MWA

ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS

Due to the adverse weather conditions, we have taken the decision to keep all our campuses closed on Friday 15th January 2021.
Buildings will be closed and any students that were supposed to be on site will be contacted.