Coronavirus Update

27 May 2020

The Principal has written to parents and carers with an outline of the College’s plans for a phased opening of all three campuses. Our outline phased opening is as follows:

Dates Priority
8 June – 20 June
  • Students who need assessments to have a license to practice
  • Other vocational students who need vocational practical assessment to progress to next level
  • Identified students not engaging in online learning
  • Other vulnerable students continuing to access the College
20 June – 8 July
  • A timetabled class to ensure face to face sessions for all progressing students with either a subject teacher or tutor. Sessions will be approximately 2.5 hours.

 

To read more, view the letter issued to parents and carers on 21 May 2020 here and the letter issued to students on 27 May 2020 here.

11 May 2020

As we enter the fourth week of the summer term, we sincerely hope that you and your families are well and managing to cope with the challenges presented by the current lockdown.

Teachers of all courses are continuing to support students with remote learning, offering guidance, support and enrichment opportunities, whether they are completing their programmes this year or at the end of their first year.  Whatever stage you are at, it is so important to keep engaging with your studies, but if you are finding it a challenge please let your teachers know so that we can support you.

We are now into the eighth week of lockdown and we know that this is a time of anxiety for many of you – whether that be about your studies, your plans for next year or your university place. Please remember that you are able to access Careers, Higher Education and Work Experience support from home via the HSDC intranet, email and telephone. Alternatively, book a telephone appointment with a Careers Adviser by contacting careers@hsdc.ac.uk if you are on the Havant or South Downs campuses or via Moodle if you are on the Alton Campus.

We will continue to update you with information as we know more but the most important thing you can do for your future success is to continue to engage with your studies and your teachers as we move through this period. If you have any questions at all please contact us at customerservices@hsdc.ac.uk.

17 April 2020

Earlier this week, Ofqual published an update for Vocational, Technical and Functional Skills qualifications. You can view their update here. Following their update, we have contacted both students and parents today with our own Exams Update and you can read it here. We will issue further information about specific qualifications in the coming weeks. Please keep checking your emails and this page for further updates.

3 April 2020

Today we have received guidance on the process and timeline for awarding A Level and GCSE grades in lieu of formal examinations. Following this guidance from Ofqual, we would like to update you on what we are doing to ensure you gain the correct grades for your studies. Please click here for the full HSDC response.

Although this additional information is very welcome, we appreciate the feeling of uncertainty this still brings and the desire to contact your teachers/lecturers. Please be assured that the College will do everything to ensure the centre assessment grades given are up-to-date, accurate and fully take into account every students’ individual circumstances. Therefore, you should not contact your teachers/lecturers unless absolutely necessary. Colleges have been informed that under no circumstances can they share centre assessment grades with students, parents or carers prior to final results being issued.

We await more information regarding the process by which students studying vocational/technical courses will receive their final grades and we will update our information accordingly as soon as possible.

Further information regarding the recent Government update, including a letter from Ofqual to students, can be found by following the below link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/how-gcses-as-a-levels-will-be-awarded-in-summer-2020

1 April 2020

If you are planning to attend Alton Campus between Monday 6 and Thursday 9 April, or Tuesday 14 and Friday 17 April, please can you contact us as soon as possible on 023 9279 7999 before 4pm this Friday (3 April).

If over the Easter break you find that you do need to attend Alton Campus, please contact the same number and leave a message and we will respond to you as soon as we can. Please remember that this only applies to students who we have contacted previously about this option or if you are the son or daughter of a key worker. All other enquires please contact customerservices@hsdc.ac.uk.

Wherever possible all students should follow the Government advice of staying at home.

Our South Downs Campus remains open and all of our support services remain available online.

26 March 2020

Please be aware that our Alton Campus will be closed on Friday 27 March and Monday 30 March and will re-open on Tuesday 31 March. If you were planning to attend Alton Campus on these two closure days, please contact us as soon as possible on 023 9279 7999 before 8pm today (Thursday 26 March). Our South Downs Campus remains open.

All of our support services remain available at this time as previously communicated on this page.

Any urgent enquiries can be sent to customerservices@hsdc.ac.uk or safeguarding@alton.hsdc.ac.uk

24 March 2020

Due to the recent Government update advising of stricter guidelines on staying at home and our need to do more to minimise staff working on our campuses, we have made the decision to close our Havant Campus. As such, today (Tuesday 24 March) will be the last day that Havant Campus will be open to students. From Wednesday 25 March, both our Alton and South Downs campuses will remain open, serving our vulnerable students and those whose parents/carers are key workers, but with minimal staffing levels and social distancing protocols in place.

22 March 2020

Following on from our communication on Friday 20 March, that from Monday 23 March until further notice, we will be delivering virtual learning through Google Classroom and Moodle to the majority of our students, please be aware of the following:

If you are one of the students who have been contacted about coming in from tomorrow, are the child of a key worker or you are a member of staff planning to attend one of our campuses, please head to Reception on arrival and make sure that you sign in and out every day that you attend. It is essential that we know who is onsite and only certain buildings on each campus will be open every day. Once onsite, there will be signage and guidance about what areas of the Campus will be open and how to move to those areas safely, allowing for social distancing to be implemented effectively.

20 March 2020

College Campuses

As announced yesterday, the College campuses will not be open for the majority of students/visitors from Monday 23 March until further notice. Next week we will have limited provision for a small number of identified and vulnerable learners with a rota of staff to support them. We have communicated details of this directly to them.

Please do take some time to go through the best ways to approach remote learning. Jon Myers, Vice Principal Student Services has written some advice about health and wellbeing here.

Tutors are expected to provide remote tutorials for students following centralised resources and they have also been asked to provide online support for students in terms of checking in with students in their tutor groups and messaging through virtual one-to-ones for all who want or need it.

How to Contact the College

HSDC’s phone system has been switched to answerphone. We will be asking people to refer to key email addresses to make contact with us. This will be helpful for your communication with us, as many staff are home-working in keeping with government advice.

Please see the list provided at the end of this update.

Open for Key Workers Children and Vulnerable Students

We continue to be open for key workers who would like their son or daughter to be accessing the College. As a post-16 provider, we believe the best way we can support the children of key workers is by continuing to provide remote learning specific to the individual courses they will be following. However, in line with the government’s request, we continue to be open for key workers children and will create a safe environment for these students to be accessing materials remotely and to use the LRC/Libraries. This provision will be open from 9.00a.m. to 5.00p.m

We will also be providing limited provision for our most vulnerable students (those with EHCPs, or who are in care or have a social worker) as agreed locally with individual students/parents/carers.

Free College Meals and Bursary

Students in receipt of bursary and free college meals will be receiving money directly into bank accounts during this period.

Final A Level and GCSE exams and Vocational grades

We have not yet had any communication as to the mechanism by which final grades will be devised. We fully understand the concern that this uncertainty is causing.

All students need to keep working on their courses. The working assumption is that there will be opportunities to update college grades which will then become final outcomes and these may well reflect work yet to be completed by students. When the full details of the mechanisms for awarding grades come through, we will share these with students and parents/carers.

Exams

We have now taken the decision to cease external examinations and assessments from Monday 23 March 2020.

We still await clarity from the relevant authorities, but with some awarding organisations already ceasing examination processes and with the health of students & staff the clear priority for a college, we believe this is the correct course of action.

There are currently no plans to run a summer series of formal examinations. The government has promised guidance for schools and colleges regarding how to ensure students still achieve their qualifications – and as soon as we understand how this will work, we will be in touch with them.

We are advised that this also includes all ‘exams’ related to vocational assessments at this stage.

The most recent published guidance from the government states that –

GCSE, A and AS Levels students will be awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work they have put in. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to. Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students. The 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, teachers will 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. The 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.

Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible. The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July.

For further details on exams and grades, please visit the Government’s website.

University Offers

We are awaiting further information on how universities will respond and there may not be a whole sector response, with different universities or even courses behaving differently.

The government has been clear that students will not be disadvantaged by the cancellation of exams.

We have an excellent reputation as a college – as do our students. We have yet to hear how this will work but please be reassured we will do all we can to support all students in the coming months. For now, universities are likely to be overwhelmed with queries and they themselves will be considering the implications of this announcement.

Our advice for now, is to confirm your offers as normal (by 5 May, if all your universities have replied) and keep an eye out for news of your status.

Student Illness and Absence Reporting

Students should still inform us if they are ill and unable to study using customerservices@hsdc.ac.uk

This will help us track any reasons for the non-completion of work.

We have also been asked to provide data to the government regarding levels of absence.

Finally…

Please accept my sincere thanks to all our students and parents/carers who are supporting us so much at these unprecedented times. I am very much aware of the support in the communities we serve. We thank you for all your efforts as we all have to adapt to a completely new way of delivering learning and deal with our own life circumstances.

At the end of the day, we must all remember that this is a health crisis and we must do everything to protect our loved ones.

Kindest regards
Mike

Mike Gaston
Principal & CEO

How to contact the college:
Absence for Students: customerservices@hsdc.ac.uk
HSDC Support: safeguarding@alton.hsdc.ac.uksafeguarding@hsdc.ac.uk, Health & Wellbeing Google Classroom Code: ur7eqxv
Technical Support: itservicedesk@hsdc.ac.uk
Exams Offices: exams.alton@hsdc.ac.uk, exams.havant@hsdc.ac.uk, exams.southdowns@hsdc.ac.uk
Admissions for students: admissions@hsdc.ac.uk

19 March 2020

The Prime Minister announced last night that schools and colleges in England will be closed from Monday 23 March to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. He also informed us that exams will not take place as planned in May and June. This is obviously one of the most significant announcements for the education sector in living memory and it will take some time to process and understand the ramifications of this. Whilst this will be a considerable shock and of concern to parents and students, my plea is that students remain committed to their studies and learning. I hope studying via our virtual learning platform will provide some sense of normality during this time.

The announcement also included some information around the requirement to remain open for vulnerable learners and children of key workers. We will need some time to process the detail of this and will update you when we have a firmer understanding of who this affects and how we will facilitate our responsibilities to these groups.

Thank you for your continued support,

Mike Gaston
Principal & CEO

Interviews

We will be conducting all interviews for students studying in September 2020 via telephone. If you have an interview slot booked, the College will call you on the date/time that your interview has been booked for.

18 March 2020

Following the Government information and advice issued yesterday, all HSDC campuses will remain open for learning with our normal timetable in operation. However, to support our teaching staff and tutors in the preparation of online materials and remote learning, should this be needed, we will be suspending classes at the College to students this Friday 20 March, for one day only. We plan to then resume with normal timetables on Monday 23 March. We trust you will understand this action in ensuring that we are best prepared should it be necessary for us to close a campus or the College. Please note that any exams timetabled for this Friday will not be impacted upon and students should attend their planned exams as normal on campus to complete.

Please be assured that we continue to monitor the situation and will advise students, parents and carers should the situation change. If you have any questions relating to the College and Coronavirus, you are able to contact the Department for Education Helpline (details below).

Further advice will be communicated via our website and social media in due course.

The most recent Government advice on isolation/symptoms has been added to this page (18 March 2020):

If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19)
However mild your symptoms, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus
Then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. See the explanatory diagram.

For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms
They need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period. The ending isolation section below has more information, and see the explanatory diagram.

It is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community

If you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period. If you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible.

If you have coronavirus symptoms:

    • do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital
    • you do not need to contact 111 to tell them you’re staying at home
    • testing for coronavirus is not needed if you’re staying at home
    • if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home, or your condition gets worse, or your symptoms do not get better after 7 days, then use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service. If you do not have internet access, call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999

For students, parents/carers and staff, follow the usual absence notifying procedure to inform the College.

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a new helpline dedicated to answering questions about COVID-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people are welcome to contact the helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: 8am to 6pm (Monday to Friday)

This strain of Coronavirus is most likely to spread when there is close contact (within 2 metres) with an infected person. Droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes containing the virus are most likely to be the most important means of transmission. It is also possible to be infected by touching a surface or object that has been contaminated with droplets from an infected person.

Coughing/sneezing – try and sneeze into tissues and bin them straight away. Follow by washing your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser (with at least 60% alcohol ingredients) straight away.

Washing hands – wash your hands with soap and water or hand sanitiser after the following activities –

  • After breaks and sport activities
  • Before cooking and eating
  • After using public transport
  • On arrival at college or any other educational setting
  • After using the toilet
  • Before leaving home/college

Avoid touching your face – especially your eyes, nose and mouth

This information is just an overview therefore for detailed information and guidance, visit the NHS website.

All information above is taken from NHS/Government guidance.

Coronavirus poster on washing hands guidance

From 1 June 2020, Alton College Nursery (Alton Campus) and Little Faces Nursery (South Downs Campus) will be reopening for an increased number of children. Unfortunately, at this stage, it will not be open for all children due to current Health & Safety requirements, as well as limitations to staffing. We are working closely with all parents to be guided on possible return dates for their children. We will be operating under strict guidelines obtained from the Department of Health, PHE and current Government advice, to ensure we are doing our very best to ensure the safety of the children, their parents and our Nursery staff attending at this time. Any requests for places, email littlefaces@hsdc.ac.uk (for Little Faces at HSDC South Downs) or jo.osgood@alton.hdsc.ac.uk (for Alton College Nursery) to arrange a future viewing for when it will be safe to do so.

In response to the current COVID-19 crisis and the Government’s wish for nurseries to be opened to more children, from 1 June until 31 August, Little Faces Nursery’s (South Downs) operating hours will be 8-5pm Mon-Fri.  This will enable more robust risk assessments to be completed at the start of the day, and time at the end of the day will be allocated for enhanced cleaning to take place.  This will be reviewed in August regarding current advice at that time.

We will be conducting all interviews for students studying in September 2020 via telephone. If you have an interview slot booked, the College will call you on the date/time that your interview has been booked for.

We understand that this is a difficult and worrying time for our HE applicants, but please be assured that we are working on understanding the situation.

Our advice, for now, is to confirm your offer as normal and as the situation becomes clearer, we will provide further information on how we are managing our admissions process.

You can also visit the UCAS website for further information.

Please be aware that due to the current Coronavirus situation, local bus companies are operating a reduced service to our campuses.

First Bus (Havant & South Downs campuses) – they have stopped all buses except a Saturday service, no school services will be undertaken until further notice.

Stagecoach – (all campuses) – they are running a School Holiday timetable as of 23 March and will confirm the timetable for the following week.

Please check both of their websites for further details.

Classes

Please note that there is a temporary suspension on the following Foundations for Learning courses until after Easter at the South Downs Campus only:

  • Vocational Studies Entry 1
  • Vocational Studies Entry 2
  • Vocational Studies Entry 3
  • Pre-Internship Supported Internship

Communication has been sent to students and parents affected.

Events

Please check the individual events on our Events page to see what has been postponed/cancelled.

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you have returned to the UK after travelling to the following places – even if you do not have symptoms

  • Anywhere in Italy on or after 9 March 2020
  • Specific areas in Northern Italy in the last 14 days
  • Iran in the last 14 days
  • Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
  • Daegu, Cheongdo or Gyeongsan in South Korea in the last 14 days

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you have returned to the UK after travelling to the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath – even if your symptoms are mild

  • Italy (outside specific areas in Northern Italy) before 9 March 2020
  • Mainland China outside of Hubei province
  • South Korea outside of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan
  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • Laos
  • Macau
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Singapore
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Vietnam

Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do next. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

If you have travelled back from any of the areas listed above, we ask that you contact safeguarding@hsdc.ac.uk for Havant and South Downs campuses or safeguarding@alton.hsdc.ac.uk for Alton Campus.

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