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College News

CORONAVIRUS UPDATES

Updated on March 30 2020 at 5.00pm

CORONAVIRUS | LATEST UPDATES

Parents, carers and guardians |

Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal, wrote to update all parents, carers and guardians of students on our remote working arrangements, plus the latest news on exams and assessments, and key messages for students . You can view / download the letter here


Employers |


We are working hard to keep all our valued employer partners informed about our new arrangements, the available Government support and advice, plus a range of Frequently Asked Questions and contacts for our staff. You can view this information here


We wrote to employers and apprentices on March 27 about how we will continue to support you during this time. This includes arrangements for furloughing, ongoing learning help, and key contact details for further questions or queries.  You can view this information here


Oldham College switched to online learning and remote working to keep all its 6,000+ staff and students safe during the Coronavirus outbreak.


The campus – and our Higher Education provision at University Campus Oldham – temporarily closed on March 18 until further notice.


This means all teaching and learning is being carried out online, with all students and staff working from home. Students continue to be taught online in lessons taking place, as per the normal timetable, on Google Classroom.


Tutors are supporting and monitoring learners and non-teaching staff are carrying with their roles using remote access to all key services.


Undergraduate students at University Campus Oldham have also been sent additional specific guidance.


Learners with SEND and with an EHCP in place are getting communication on a daily basis from Oldham College support staff in the Additional Learning Support (ALS) team when additional help is needed. This can also be carried out remotely either through Google Classroom, College email or by phone with an ALS staff member.


Support Staff can provide any required additional support for learning, and help with the completion of tasks and assignment work.  


Deaf learners who usually have support in the College with communication and language will already be members of the College Deaf Club on Facebook.  Direct access to their Communication Support Worker (CSW) will be made available on a regular basis and learners should access this through their Deaf Club membership.


Support Staff are also in contact with Progress Tutors and Programme Leaders both daily and when required.


Parents of students with SEND or EHCP`s can email our dedicated email address with questions or queries at any time – ehcinfo@121212oldham-ac-uk


We urge all parents, carers or guardians to check that students are continuing to work hard, and make sure they understand: IT’S NOT TIME TO SLOW DOWN.


Every staff member and student is being sent regular updates to their Oldham College email address. These should be read each weekday and action taken, where necessary.


We also know that human connections are more important than ever right now, so here are some Top Tips to help people adjust to their new working arrangements: https://www.oldham.ac.uk/top-tips-learning-and-working-from-home/


NOTE | This webpage is updated daily with the latest news for students and parents.


REMEMBER…All our staff and teams are still working and can be contacted via email during normal weekday opening hours. (Phone forwarding should also work if you know the Ext number of who you need to contact).


Here are some useful contacts:

General Enquiriesenquiries@oldham.ac.uk
Admissionsadmissions@oldham.ac.uk
ApprenticeshipsApprenticeships@oldham.ac.uk
Or call 0161 785 4330
Bursarybursaryteam@oldham.ac.uk
Campus ManagementTrish.merry@oldham.ac.uk
Communications and Marketingcommunications@oldham.ac.uk
Examsexamsteam@oldham.ac.uk 
Financeaccountspayable@oldham.ac.uk
Human ResourcesHRServices@oldham.ac.uk
SafeguardingSafeguardingandwelfare@oldham.ac.uk
Student ServicesStudentOperationsIAG@oldham.ac.uk 

With you every single step of the way: A message from Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive:


“We may not be on-site together on campus at the moment, but you remain very much a part of the Oldham College community, and we are here to help you.


“We’ll continue to update you through regular emails on what we know, as soon as we know it, plus further information, support and advice on making the best of learning from home.


“We also ask all parents and carers to play their part by ensuring learners are attending their online lessons and completing all work they have been set.


“Each and every one of us here will be doing all that we possibly can to make sure our students achieve their best possible grades, complete courses and progress to the next level.

“Please keep in close and regular contact with your tutor – and friends – and we will get through this together.”



Alun Francis, Principal & Chief Executive



Here is the latest information on key issues for students, parents and carers:

Exams and Assessments


The Government has confirmed that all exams due to take place in May and June have now been cancelled, including GCSEs. This means it’s now absolutely vital that all our students continue to work hard.


We’ve worked hard to put online learning arrangements in place because we know that learners must keep working with their tutors to finish covering all the material on the course.


Students must also complete all the assessments which they are given, which will now be completed online


If you are unwell or unable to attend online you should inform your tutor as soon as possible. Online absences must be recorded and treated in the same way as missing a lesson a lesson on campus.

Final Grades


The Government’s priority is to ensure that students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives in autumn – whether that is going into employment, starting college or university, or an apprenticeship. This means ensuring that GCSE students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in.


To produce this grade, tutors will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment.


Exam boards will combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use it to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they’ve put in.


Exam boards will ask our tutors to submit their judgement about the grade they believe each student would have received if exams had gone ahead. They aim to provide calculated grades to all students before the end of July.


Grades will be awarded in exactly the same way as in previous years so that no student faces any disadvantage from the disruption caused by Coronavirus.


It’s also likely that Government will allow further tutor assessments to take place that can be included in working out grades, so students need to understand that hard work now can still influence their final grades.


This also means anyone who did not do well in mock exams can use these further assessments to push grades up to their best potential outcome.


Students should complete all work to the highest possible standard and work with tutors to try and get the best possible grade.


Any learners who do not get the grade they think they deserve will also get an option to sit the examination in September.


University Campus Oldham has now also received information from partnership institutions on changes to their assessments. All UCO students will be sent full updates setting out their specific assessment arrangements very soon.


Practical courses


For students on courses with strong practical learning elements, our message is exactly the same.


The Government has not yet provided detail about how learners doing apprenticeships and vocational qualifications will be assessed, but the same principles – to keep working hard and influence the final outcome – also apply to these courses.


We’ll work online with you to help you get the highest grades possible for the theory parts of your course.We’ll also be working hard with the Government and awarding bodies to try and put in place ways that you can complete the practical assessments in future, once our campus is allowed to reopen.

IT Support

Please ensure you are attending all your lessons online and help us to help YOU.

If you are unwell or unable to attend online, you should inform your tutor as soon as possible.

If you have any IT problems or need IT Support to access Google Classroom or other online services, you can contact them by:


T | 0161 785 4182
E | support@oldham.ac.uk


IT can also offer remote support to you at home, if necessary.


Please also refer to the Oldham College Gateway at www.gateway.oldham.ac.uk where you can access email and other services: including an important IT Guides section with all the information you may need to use services and work information on using services remotely.


Staff should note that it is also now possible to access the SharePoint page for changing student passwords via the Oldham College gateway (Select SharePoint, then IT Services). You no longer need to be logged into the VMware (Horizon Client). 


For security purposes, please remember to check the student’s postcode and date of birth in Vital before changing their password. 


There has also been some reports from staff using webmail who have not been able to attach documents or open the address book. 


This is an issue with certain web browsers. The solution to this is to use Internet Explorer (IE) rather than, for instance, Chrome. All webmail features are available in IE. (IE is still available on all Windows 10 PCs).

Financial Support


Bursary payments will continue to be paid to students throughout the duration of the closure, with the exception of any travel payments.


For students who would usually receive a food allowance on their ID card there will be a weekly payment of £10 paid into the bank account you provided when you completed your bursary application.


Adult learners will also be paid any bursary they are entitled to at the end of each half term.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Medical advice


We remind everyone that they must follow the Government’s medical advice to protect themselves and others.


The most important thing people can do to protect themselves is to wash their hands more often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water.


Public Health England recommends that in addition to handwashing before eating, and after coughing and sneezing, everyone should also wash hands after using toilets and travelling on public transport.


Watch this short NHS film for guidance:


All staff and students should regularly check the latest medical advice information to see if it applies to them, and to act accordingly. Visit: nhs.uk/coronavirus and http://bit.ly/3a9SQC0

Government/NHS links


NHS guidance can be found at: http://bit.ly/38LjEHx


The Department for Education (DfE) has a COVID-19 helpline for students, parents and staff. Call 0800 046 8687 or email DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk (The helpline is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday).


The link to the full guidance for Educational Settings is: http://bit.ly/3aIMpG2

Travel


The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issues regular updates on travel restrictions and advice at: http://bit.ly/2xfQAeh


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