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Frequently Asked Questions – Coronavirus 

During this difficult time we understand that many of you may have questions regarding your course or exam. We hope this page brings some clarity to what is an uncertain time for all. If your question has not been answered on this page please email our Customer Service Team, Enquiries@salbcp.com, so we can add the answer here for others who may have the same question. Thank you for your patience at this time.

Following the latest government guidance, we are now moving from face-to-face learning to online and flexible distance learning wherever possible. You will be contacted by your Tutor if your learning is moving online. All centres are unavailable until the 29th May 2020 when the situation will be reviewed. You will be contacted by us if you are due a refund, if you are continuting online or if another opportunity becomes available. Our phone lines are now unavailable however if your question is not answered on this page please email us: enquiries@salbcp.com 

Important Update: Were you due to take a Functional Skills exam before 31 July 2020?

In order to fight the spread of Covid-19, and in line with the directive from the Secretary of State for Education, Ofqual has now announced that Functional Skills learners due to complete their qualification between 20 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 should receive a Centre Assessed Grade (or calculated result) where there is sufficient evidence to support this approach.

At Skills & Learning we are currently identifying learners in scope for this approach and we are following the guidance issued by the Awarding Organisations to devise a fair and objective process to make our professional judgements.  We will be taking a holistic view across your whole course, using a range of permitted sources of evidence to calculate the result that we believe you would have achieved had your learning not been disrupted and had you taken your exams in Summer 2020. We are not able under any circumstances to discuss this process or your results with you as these are subject to moderation by our Awarding organisation.

If we are able to calculate a result for you, we will contact you and advise you that we have done this after the submission is complete.  Please note that we are only permitted to submit a centre assessed grade for learners who were due to take their exams between 20 March and 31 July and where we have valid and sufficient evidence to support our judgement.

 If we do not have sufficient evidence to support you receiving a centre assessed result, or if you were due to take exams in the next academic year, then you will be given priority to return to classes in the Autumn term.  We expect results to be issued by the end of July 2020 so please contact us at that point if you wish to re-enrol.

 

GCSE Summer 2020 Grading

Ofqual have issued an offical letter to GCSE & A-Level students regarding summer 2020 grading – to access this letter please click here. 

As stated in the letter, GCSE learners are not required to complete additional work for grading purposes.  As there will be an opportunity to sit an exam as early as possible in the Autumn term, our GCSE tutors will continue to support you remotely to develop your knowledge and skills while our centres are closed. 

Ofqual have also released videos to help explain the process a bit better. You can access them here.

To learners undertaking qualification courses with Skills & Learning:

 We have received some initial guidance from Ofqual about plans to manage the awarding of qualifications that would normally be conferred through formal exams or assessments.  This guidance is in addition to that already published about GCSEs, A levels and apprenticeships and applies to functional skills qualifications and some vocational qualifications.

 Skills & Learning will need to wait for clear guidance from the individual awarding organisations before being able to make any decisions about the process for calculating the award of specific qualifications.  We will need to be confident that we have enough evidence of a learner’s performance during their programme of study and we may require some further learning and assessment activities to support these decisions.  Our aim is therefore to continue delivering and supporting learning online/remotely wherever possible.  We will continue to prepare learners for re-joining classes and sitting formal exams and assessments later in the year, even if a grade/qualification is calculated through alternative means in the meantime.  We will prioritise learners who need a qualification outcome in order to take their next steps to minimise the impact of the current situation on positive progression.

 The Education & Skills Funding Agency who fully or partly fund the cost of your learning have instructed us to continue delivering learning and preparing learners for their next steps.

 In some cases where qualifications directly signal occupational competence or function as a licence to practise (e.g. hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy), it may not be safe or meet employers’ requirements to calculate possible results, and there may be no option but to wait until normal assessments can happen again.

 We will communicate more information when we have the necessary awarding organisation guidance.  For now, please continue to study and keep your skills up to date.

 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879019/Summer_2020_results_for_vocational_technical_and_other_qualifications.pdf

To learners undertaking qualification courses with Skills & Learning

To learners undertaking qualification courses with Skills & Learning:

We have received some initial guidance from Ofqual about plans to manage the awarding of qualifications that would normally be conferred through formal exams or assessments.  This guidance is in addition to that already published about GCSEs, A levels and apprenticeships and applies to functional skills qualifications and some vocational qualifications.

Skills & Learning will need to wait for clear guidance from the individual awarding organisations before being able to make any decisions about the process for calculating the award of specific qualifications.  We will need to be confident that we have enough evidence of a learner’s performance during their programme of study and we may require some further learning and assessment activities to support these decisions.  Our aim is therefore to continue delivering and supporting learning online/remotely wherever possible.  We will continue to prepare learners for re-joining classes and sitting formal exams and assessments later in the year, even if a grade/qualification is calculated through alternative means in the meantime.  We will prioritise learners who need a qualification outcome in order to take their next steps to minimise the impact of the current situation on positive progression.

The Education & Skills Funding Agency who fully or partly fund the cost of your learning have instructed us to continue delivering learning and preparing learners for their next steps.

In some cases where qualifications directly signal occupational competence or function as a licence to practise (e.g. hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy), it may not be safe or meet employers’ requirements to calculate possible results, and there may be no option but to wait until normal assessments can happen again.

We will communicate more information when we have the necessary awarding organisation guidance.  For now, please continue to study and keep your skills up to date.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879019/Summer_2020_results_for_vocational_technical_and_other_qualifications.pdf

Will I be taking my exam?

Currently all exams between Thursday 19th March – Friday 29th May 2020 have been postponed. We are awaiting guidance from the relevant awarding bodies and will update all learners who were due to sit an exam as soon as we know more information. Thank you for your patience. 

For Government updates on exams please click here.

To learners undertaking qualification courses with Skills & Learning:

 We have received some initial guidance from Ofqual about plans to manage the awarding of qualifications that would normally be conferred through formal exams or assessments.  This guidance is in addition to that already published about GCSEs, A levels and apprenticeships and applies to functional skills qualifications and some vocational qualifications.

 Skills & Learning will need to wait for clear guidance from the individual awarding organisations before being able to make any decisions about the process for calculating the award of specific qualifications.  We will need to be confident that we have enough evidence of a learner’s performance during their programme of study and we may require some further learning and assessment activities to support these decisions.  Our aim is therefore to continue delivering and supporting learning online/remotely wherever possible.  We will continue to prepare learners for re-joining classes and sitting formal exams and assessments later in the year, even if a grade/qualification is calculated through alternative means in the meantime.  We will prioritise learners who need a qualification outcome in order to take their next steps to minimise the impact of the current situation on positive progression.

 The Education & Skills Funding Agency who fully or partly fund the cost of your learning have instructed us to continue delivering learning and preparing learners for their next steps.

 In some cases where qualifications directly signal occupational competence or function as a licence to practise (e.g. hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy), it may not be safe or meet employers’ requirements to calculate possible results, and there may be no option but to wait until normal assessments can happen again.

 We will communicate more information when we have the necessary awarding organisation guidance.  For now, please continue to study and keep your skills up to date.

 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879019/Summer_2020_results_for_vocational_technical_and_other_qualifications.pdf

 

I'm a GCSE Learner - Will I take my exam?

Your tutor will have tried to get in touch with you in the last few days and will be working from home to support you. It may take us a few more days to get all our communication channels in place but we very much hope that you and your tutor will find a way to work together within the limitations posed on us all by health, restriction on movement and access to technology. In order to do this, it is also important that you access your Skills & Learning Office365 account regularly during the class closures as this is the main vehicle that we have to communicate with you.

  • Regulators will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible. Steps will be taken to ensure this is consistently applied for all students and across all exam boards. ​
  • Exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.​ To produce this judgement, teachers will be asked to take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment. Clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges soon.​
  • Exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.​ The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July.​
  • These grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years and exam boards will aim to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that in other years, so that this year’s students aren’t disadvantaged.​
  • Students will be able to appeal their grades if they don’t believe the right process has been followed.​
  • There will also be an option to sit exams early in the next academic year for any students who wish to – and students can also choose to sit exams next summer.​

We intend to continue supporting and encouraging you to prepare for and sit final exams, whenever that may be. Please be assured that we will keep you up-to-date with any information that we receive and that we remain 100% committed to supporting you.

Ofqual have also released videos to help explain the process a bit better. You can access them here.

Keep Learning & Keep Well!

 

Ofqual Summer 2020 GCSE & A-Level exam guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers

To access the Ofqual Summer 2020 GCSE & A-Level exam guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers please click here.

 

I'm a furloughed worker - can I still study a course?

Yes, furloughed workers are able to undertake training and studying during this time. We have a range of free online Level 1 and Level 2 courses you can access from home to help gain a skill in your current industry or a new skill in others. To take a look at our full range please click here.

I’ve paid for the course I am studying – will I get a refund?

As a result of our decision to suspend classes we are issuing this guidance for refunds. This only applies to learners that have paid Skills & Learning a Fee.

If you are on a Community Learning course (non-qualification course) you will be refunded on a ‘pro-rata’ basis according to the number of remaining sessions that have been cancelled.

If you are enrolled on a course that has not yet started and the course was due to start prior to the 1st June 2020 you will be refunded in full.

If you are on a course leading to a qualification we are awaiting further information from the awarding organisations and looking at methods of online delivery. We will contact you as soon as possible about this.

If you are paying by instalment we will work out either the refund or remaining fee due.

We will endeavour to undertake these refunds as soon as we can, however this will be dependent on having staff available to process these refunds.

To learners undertaking qualification courses with Skills & Learning:

 We have received some initial guidance from Ofqual about plans to manage the awarding of qualifications that would normally be conferred through formal exams or assessments.  This guidance is in addition to that already published about GCSEs, A levels and apprenticeships and applies to functional skills qualifications and some vocational qualifications.

 Skills & Learning will need to wait for clear guidance from the individual awarding organisations before being able to make any decisions about the process for calculating the award of specific qualifications.  We will need to be confident that we have enough evidence of a learner’s performance during their programme of study and we may require some further learning and assessment activities to support these decisions.  Our aim is therefore to continue delivering and supporting learning online/remotely wherever possible.  We will continue to prepare learners for re-joining classes and sitting formal exams and assessments later in the year, even if a grade/qualification is calculated through alternative means in the meantime.  We will prioritise learners who need a qualification outcome in order to take their next steps to minimise the impact of the current situation on positive progression.

 The Education & Skills Funding Agency who fully or partly fund the cost of your learning have instructed us to continue delivering learning and preparing learners for their next steps.

 In some cases where qualifications directly signal occupational competence or function as a licence to practise (e.g. hairdressing, barbering, beauty therapy), it may not be safe or meet employers’ requirements to calculate possible results, and there may be no option but to wait until normal assessments can happen again.

 We will communicate more information when we have the necessary awarding organisation guidance.  For now, please continue to study and keep your skills up to date.

 https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/879019/Summer_2020_results_for_vocational_technical_and_other_qualifications.pdf

I haven't received my refund yet

If you have not yet received your refund please bear with us. We are now running on reduced staff and are doing as many refunds as possible. All refunds will be processed in the coming weeks so please be assured if you are expecting one this will be processed in due course. 

Thank you for your patience at this difficult time.

Will I be able to continue studying at home?

Staff are busy developing content to move learning online. Your tutor will contact you and let you know how to access their online materials or lessons. There are already a full range of distance learning qualification courses that can be accessed online, from Level 1 to Level 3. Level 1 and 2 online courses may be fully funded (no cost to you). Level 3 courses will require payment of fees. You may want to consider applying for an advanced learning loan to cover the cost of these fees.

How do I look after my mental wellbeing whilst studying/staying at home?

Staying at home can have an impact on our mental health and wellbeing. It is important that we take care of our mind as well as our body during this time. Every Mind Matters is an NHS campaign with some excellent tips on how to keep well during this time. For more information please click here. 

If you are studying at home be sure to: 

  • Have a separate workspace from where you sleep or relax – it’s all to easy to take a quick nap when your in areas you associate with sleep. 
  • Eat well, drink lots of water and get a good night’s sleep.  
  • Set yourself small goals so you have something to work towards, this will help motivate 

For more study tips here are some articles we found useful: 

Oxford Learning 

Webanywhere 

Learning something new can also support with your wellbeing if you are not already doing so. Why not take a look at one of our free Level 1 & Level 2 Distance Learning Courses or explore a range of resources on our Keep Learning, Keep Well webpage here.

I need help with my digital skills - where can I go?

How the Bourne Digital project can help you!

Bourne Digital is a fully funded project (no cost to you) providing digital support to those with no or low digital skills.

We are at the end of a phone Monday-Friday 9-5pm to support you with queries such as –

  • Problems accessing your emails
  • Getting to grips with Office 365
  • Having difficulty staying in contact with others at this difficult time
  • Would like to apply for jobs for your online skills are holding you back
  • Understand how to use digital skills to help you stay mentally and physically well

Bourne Digital can support individuals living in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole during these times of social isolation.

Getting in touch is very easy, just call 01202 677557 and one of our Mentors will call you back. Contact can be made via telephone calls, webinars and email communications within the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole areas. 

Bourne Digital is part of the Power Up initiative and is delivered by Ansbury Guidance in partnership with BCP Library Service, Skills & Learning, BCHA, Routes to Inclusion & West Howe Enterprises. It is an initiative by the Good Things Foundation with the financial support of J.P Morgan. You can find out more about the funded projects and keep up to date with all the latest news from the Power Up initiative by visiting www.power-up.org.uk.

Please do not hesitate to contact us and for those that are interested, please contact 01202 677557 or email Info@ansbury.co.uk. We look forward to hearing from you. 

How long are classes likely to be closed?

All classes are unavailable up to and including May 29th 2020, excluding our online Distance Learning programme. Unfortunately, we are not able to announce whether we will re-open after this date until further Government guidance is given.  

If you are enrolled on a course that is being continued online you will be contacted by your tutor. 

Will my course carry on once you re open?

A lot of learning is moving online during the temporary face-to-face delivery suspension. Most qualification delivery has moved online.  

If you were studying on a practical, qualification course e.g. Beauty Specialist, we aim to offer all your theory learning online with an option to attend practical classes again at a later date. 

Some English, maths, ESOL and ICT classes have moved online. Where this is not possible, we hope to restart classes in June. 

If you were within a couple of weeks of finishing a non-accredited leisure learning class, this course has now been closed and will not continue, however you may be able to pick up the next stage of learning when we hope to reopen classes in June.  If your course had not yet started, we will consider if we can postpone the start date and offer a new opportunity in the summer term.  

 

Can I still enrol or apply for a course?

You can apply for any of our distance learning courses through the online application system. You can apply for admissions sessions that are available after June 2020. Applications for other courses are temporarily suspended until the end of May 2020. We expect to launch our 2020/2021 programme in June as planned.

 

Will I be able to enrol for a course starting next academic year from September?

We are planning to release our 2020/2021 programme as scheduled in late June.  Courses and admissions sessions will be available for online applications or enrolments from that time. 

 

Is your reception open?

All our centres are now unavailable to learners and the general public up to and including Friday 29th May 2020. This also means our reception is unavailable to visitors, however, you can still contact our Customer Service Team by;  

Emailing – enquiries@salbcp.com  

Or contact us on Facebook – facebook.com/skillsandlearningace  

 

Can I still access Skills & Learning support teams if the centres are closed?

Support teams will be working remotely wherever possible to continue to provide guidance to learners.  Please use the email address: enquiries@salbcp.com for all queries. We will be unable to take telephone calls or receive post during our temporary closure period 24/3/20 – 31/5/20.

 

Does the closure apply to apprenticeships?

If you are a current apprentice, you may already be working from home.  If you do continue to work either in the workplace or at home, your apprenticeship study can continue with all your learning and support moving online. If you are currently unable to work due to your employer’s decision to suspend their operations, you may be placed on a break in study.  This will allow you to pick up your apprenticeship work and learning at a later date Please contact your apprenticeship tutor and let them know if you are currently unable to work either due to ill health or lockdown. 

Most end point assessment organisations are adapting their EPAs to enable online assessment.  Your tutor will guide you if you are near to Gateway or EPA and can take this online option.  

 

Guidance for apprentices & employers
We are working with our apprenticeship tutors to move learning and reviews online where possible.  Furloughed apprentices and those working from home can continue with their training whilst away from the workplace. Please take a look at the gov.uk guidance here and contact your apprenticeship tutor about your programme moving online.

 

Can I still complete my work experience/traineeship placement?

All work placements are suspended during the temporary social distancing period. If you are fit and well and over 18, you may wish to volunteer for the NHS during this time – click here to find out more.

 

Can I post in forms that have been requested? E.g. proof of ID, learning agreements, proof of income.

We will not be able to accept incoming post during the temporary suspension period.  Please do not post items to us. We will accept scanned versions of documents or photographs of ID sent to our customer service inbox enquiries@salbcp.com. Please state clearly who you are, what you are sending and why.   

Can I post in completed work for my tutor to mark?

We will not be able to accept incoming post during the temporary suspension period.  Please do not post items to us. Your tutor will advise you if you are able to send completed work via email or through Office 365. 

 

Are Skills & Learning events still on?

All face-to-face events have been temporarily suspended during the period of social distancing. Your tutor may run some online events as part of your continued programme of study.

 

What is Skills & Learning doing about Coronavirus?

For the safety of our learners and staff, we have suspended all our classroom and face to face teaching/services temporarily and will be moving learning online wherever possible.

 

Where can I get more information about COVID-19?

The dedicated website for Government advice regarding Coronavirus can be accessed here. 

The NHS also have a dedicated webpage to provide support and more information regarding COVID-19 and self-isolation. This can be accessed here.

Reminder of the importance of hygiene

The most important responsibility we all have during COVID-19 is to have good hygiene. Remember to wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds with soap. For more information about how you can prevent germs from spreading please visit the NHS website here.

Contact us
For enrolment or queries: 01202 262300 | 01305 819059

email: enquiries@salbcp.com

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