Frequently Asked Questions – Covid-19 Summer Term 2020

APPLICANTS FOR SEPTEMBER 2020

We appreciate that you may be worried about your GCSE results particularly as it is entirely out of your hands. We also understand that this constant worry is not good for your mental health which adds to the challenges of being in Lockdown.

To relieve some of this stress, we would like to give you a GUARANTEED PLACE with us for September 2020.

What does this mean for you?

  • If you have already applied and we have made you an offer, we guarantee you a place on a learning programme at Cirencester College.
  • If you have already applied but are waiting for an offer, we will send this through in due course. It may be that we want to talk to you about your choice of programme or that some of the information we need is incomplete. As soon as we have spoken to you, we can send you an offer.

The offer you have been/will be given is based on your predicted grades. We know that most schools are fairly accurate with these grades and as such, if your actual results are in-line with these, everything will be fine. However, if there is a big difference between the predicted grades on your application and the actual grades you achieve, we may need to adjust your learning programme in September but, we still promise that we will have a place for you which will get you to your ultimate career aim.

  • If you have applied but are still unsure whether you have chosen the right course or combination of courses, don’t worry, we can talk you through your options. Just let us know that this is the case (journeyteam@cirencester.ac.uk) and we’ll arrange a time with you.
  • If you haven’t applied yet then there is still time to apply. You will find an application form here. https://www.cirencester.ac.uk/registration/
  • If you’re not sure what you want to do, we are running Information, Advice and Guidance sessions to help you choose the right path (even if that isn’t with us). You can talk through what you can do at college and school and also apprenticeships, exploring the best way to get you where you want to be to fulfil your career aims. Contact journeyteam@cirencester.ac.uk to arrange a convenient time for us to talk to you.

We are also planning a Virtual Open Evening on Thursday 25 June, between 5pm and 8pm so you can explore options before you commit to subjects, not that this should prevent you from putting in an application. You can change your mind about a subject right up until just after you start the programme.
Register for the open day here https://www.cirencester.ac.uk/registration

If you have applied, you should be receiving emails from us with news and information about how you can prepare yourself for coming to college in the Autumn. If you haven’t been receiving any emails – please contact us on student.journeyteam@cirencester.ac.uk. Also, don’t forget to look at the Applicant Portal where we are uploading resources to help keep you physically and mentally healthy whilst you are at home or in isolation.

We will be keeping in touch with you over the summer and we are looking forward to seeing you in September.

If you have already accepted your place at Cirencester College, we will be giving you access to the Applicant Portal where you will find our ‘Flying Start’ programme, which takes you through to Moodle.

Make sure you are familiar with the applicant portal and can login easily. If you have any problems with this, please let us know via Student Journey and we will help where we can.

Moodle contains course specific information including some fun activities and things you can read to broaden your knowledge of your subject. There will also be some work we would like you to complete over the summer, this will be marked and returned to you at the start of your course. There are some optional activities and activities we require you to do; these are clearly marked.

If you have any further questions please contact us on student.journeyteam@cirencester.ac.uk

HOW DO I GET TO COLLEGE?

For applicants and current students who intend to come to college on the bus network from September; the travelling to college page on our website gives you the links to the bus stops and routes. This year, all of our routes are through Stagecoach; if you have previously used college coaches on our Swindon and Oxford routes, you will need to check where you will need to catch the bus going forward. Please note, some of the Gloucestershire routes have changed slightly too. Check out which bus and stop is best for you here https://www.cirencester.ac.uk/college-life/travelling-to-college/

This year, we have moved all of our services to Stagecoach which means that all students can use their passes to travel the whole network. It also means that there are more options for students to come in or go home at different times, if their timetable allows this and they prefer to do their study at home.

RESULTS – GETTING YOUR GRADES

Ofqual’s over-riding aim ‘is to be fair to students this summer and to make sure you are not disadvantaged in your progress to sixth form, college, university, apprenticeships, training or work because of these unprecedented conditions.’

For GCSE, AS and A-level, Applied General and Vocational courses including BTECs and CTECs, Functional Skills and Core Maths, the guidance asks that we treat all of these subjects in much the same way, although, for most vocational courses, there will be assessed work to be taken into consideration.

We have been asked to produce Teacher-Assessed grades for each subject. We will then have to put all students for each grade into a rank order and send these lists in to the Exam Boards. They will then moderate our lists with those from all over the country. You will then get your grades in August as you would have done had you sat the exams. We are not allowed to discuss the grades that are being submitted with you or your parents. We will draw on the work you have done over your course, looking at all the evidence we have available. Grades won’t be solely based on mocks, UCAS predictions or CPGs although all will play a part.

The school standards minister Nick Gibb, has confirmed that GCSE and A-level students will still receive their exam results as planned this summer, on Thursday 20 August and Thursday 13 August respectively. Vocational course results will also be released at this time; we are assuming that Level 2 will be on the GCSE date and the Level 3 will be on the A-level date but this is an assumption and has not been confirmed.

Those who have completed their course and will be leaving us this summer should continue to access support remotely through the pastoral team. Help with university, student finance, apprenticeship applications etc., is still available as always just through email, Microsoft Teams or phone instead of face-to-face. If you have changed your mind about what you want to do in September, please contact your tutor and/or the pastoral team and make use of the advice and support that is here to help you. Also, don’t forget that you can access the careers support service for up to 12 months after you leave us so, if you are planning to take a gap year or decide to go to university or take an apprenticeship next year, we can help you with your applications, references etc., just contact us on student.journeyteam@cirencester.ac.uk

STAYING AT COLLEGE IN SEPTEMBER 2020

Those on the first year of a two-year course – ie, all those who will be doing exams for their current programme next year, are the ‘Year 12’ group referred to in the Government guidelines; we are expected to be able to offer some face-to-face contact for you from 1st June. This will not be a return to full timetables and it doesn’t mean that you will be back in college full-time, rather that there will be some support to supplement your remote education. We do however, need to implement protective measures, plan for small groups with limited contact outside that group and ensure public transport use is minimised.

At the moment, we are not yet sure how this will look. We are working on various plans (just in case they need to change again before the 1st June) and will let you know in a timely way, when and how you can come in to College.

With regard to next year, we will shortly be rolling over your enrolment to the new academic year. We will ask you to confirm that we have your programme correct. Once this is confirmed, we will sort out your timetable for September so that you can plan which enrichment you would like to do.

If you have completed a Level 1, Level 2 or Access to A-level programme this year and plan to progress to a higher programme in September, your tutor should be aware of this. If you have not had this discussion with your tutor or you have changed your mind, please email them. We are in the process of ensuring you have a priority place and are automatically enrolled onto your chosen programme, assuming you were on track to achieve the relevant entry requirements. Once you have confirmed that this is still what you want to do, you will be given access to the appropriate summer work to make sure you get a ‘Flying Start’ to your new course in September.

STUDENT FINANCIAL ISSUES

We are ensuring that bursary students and Free School Meal (FSM) beneficiaries all continue to get this financial support. We now know that the details of the new voucher scheme permit us to pay by BACS, as we have done this previously for some students. Payments will be made directly into your bank account (make sure we have you bank details) which will ensure you have the money now and are not waiting for the voucher scheme to start. FSM payments will continue until the middle of June as they would have done if the College was still open. Please be aware that there are a number of fraudsters operating fake voucher schemes in the guise of Free School Meals.

We are making appropriate refunds on parental student transport contributions, car parking charges, trips (where no insurance claim needs making), parental deposits on student catering and reprographic cards. According to our records, all of these refunds have now been processed.

If you are holding an academic year mega-rider pass with Stagecoach, please contact them. If you are a first year who is returning to college next year, they are crediting the proportionate balance to your account for next year. If you are finishing with us this year, they are making proportionate refunds on request. Please be aware that this is not an automatic process and you will need to contact them to make this happen.

ADULT LEARNERS

If you have been taking part in our courses for Adults, you too have been disrupted.

Those of you doing English and Maths GCSEs will go through the same process as the full-time students. We have been asked to produce Teacher-Assessed grades for each subject. We will then have to put all students (you and full-time students) for each grade into a rank order and send these lists in to the Exam Boards. They will then moderate our lists with those from all over the country. You will then get your grades in August as you would have done had you sat the exams. We are not allowed to discuss the grades that are being submitted with you or your parents. We will draw on the work you have done over your course, looking at all the evidence we have available.

Those doing Functional Skills and ESOL, exams have been postponed until the social distancing measures are relaxed. Those doing Pre-GCSE and ESOL are continuing their learning remotely with the intention of joining the next class in September. In all of these cases we will keep you informed through your teacher and through the Adult Ed email system. If you have any concerns, please email adult.education@cirencester.ac.uk

Clearly, we have had to cancel our summer programme of leisure learning. If you were booked onto the summer term leisure courses, you will by now have had a full refund. We are scheduling the programme for next year and these are going up on the website as they are booked. You may want to join the Facebook group @CirenCollAdultCommunity or your specific course group, to chat with your classmates or find out what other people thought of some of the other courses. We are exploring on-line versions of our leisure courses where possible, our watercolourists have helped us do a trial.

If you have any requests for leisure courses to run in September, please let us know by emailing adult.education@cirencester.ac.uk