How will the college be supporting my child's academic progress while they can’t access the pre-degree campus?
The college routinely uses Google Classroom as an online learning resource. All briefs are already shared via this platform and curriculum staff are working hard to transfer resources for forthcoming weeks to this location to support online teaching. Google Classroom will also function as a hub for class discussions and feedback during the suspension of face-to-face teaching.
We will be delivering live weekly briefings and lectures via Google Meet, a video conferencing app which is provided free as part of our students Google Suite. All students will be provided with information on how to use the app and guidelines for appropriate behaviour. Every student will also be issued with an online pack which includes important contact details for academic staff as well as other college services.
I am studying English and Maths qualifications - what should I do now?
OFQUAL (the government body who manages exams) have released information regarding GCSE English and Maths Exams. You can find a detailed handbook for students and parents here (Link to handbook). There is also a helpful video outlining the strategy here.
The key information is that:
- Each centre will provide proposed grades for each qualification in ranked order.
- Plymouth College of Art must not share this information with students or parents.
- It will be based on all previous work produced and the centre estimation of how performance may have developed at exam stage.
- There is no requirement for additional work to be produced following the closure of the college, including Palace Court and Palace Studios.
- There will be an opportunity in the future, likely in autumn 2020 or summer 2021, to resit these exams.
We are working hard to gather all current information on progress and produce the most accurate prediction of how the performance of our English and Maths students would have developed.
Ofqual advises that “no student should be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete any work set after schools were closed”.
Therefore, in line with other centres, our intended online mock exams and all English and Maths delivered sessions will now be suspended. There will be no requirement to attend any English and Maths sessions for the duration of the academic year.
However, we advise strongly that you check your emails regularly as we may need to contact you regarding further information. Online resources will be provided where students elect to independently maintain their skills and your English & Maths tutors can be contacted to arrange individual tutorial support.
What will happen to English and Maths resits?
On Thursday 19th March it was announced that the exam schedule for May and June, including A Levels and GCSEs, will no longer take place. This has a significant impact on our students who have been studying hard to undertake resit examinations this year.
Government spokespeople have said that students will ‘receive qualifications by August’ and that ‘progress will not be impeded’. As clearer guidance becomes available you will be contacted with more information. We are scheduling online support for all of our English and Maths students, so please ensure your child engages with these opportunities.
For students about to undertake Functional Skills exams, these have been suspended. We will aim to provide these at the earliest opportunity prioritising students that are completing their main qualifications this year. Guidance from the Department for Education indicates that Functional Skills will be awarded based on ‘calculated grades’ from the centre in a similar method to GCSEs. Once information is released from our Awarding Body for Functional Skills we will notify you as to how we will implement this process.
What will happen to end of year assessments for International Baccalaureate, Extended, Foundation and L2 Diploma?
OFQUAL, the government organisation that oversees qualifications, have released guidance for awarding bodies (the people who award qualifications) during the Easter period. To date this has focussed on GCSEs and A Levels. OFQUAL are now working closely with UAL awarding body and others to finalise how qualifications such as our Level 2, Extended and Foundation Diplomas will be awarded.
OFQUAL has reassured centres ‘that results will be issued fairly and in time for them [students] to move on as planned’ and have confirmed that UAL diplomas will be based on a calculated grade.
According to a statement released by OFQUAL a calculated grade is drawn from ‘a range of evidence, depending on the structure of the qualification. They may be based in part on centre judgements of the result each learner would most likely have achieved had they been able to complete their assessments in summer 2020. Any centre assessment grade will be based on a range of evidence held by the school, college or training provider’.
UAL Awarding Body recently announced that they ‘could not fairly determine grades based on final major project units completed, or partially completed, during school and college closures’.
As a result, it is extremely unlikely that any work you now do on a final major project can contribute to your final grade. UAL Awarding Body is working urgently to agree a way forward for students and centres affected by closures. We anticipate this to be within the next few weeks.
However, we do not believe that your creative work should stop because the assessment has changed. We will now be changing our focus onto helping you progress to the next stage of your education or chosen career, rather than a final major project. Your Subject Leader will outline this plan in briefings after the Easter break.
Some Level 2 Art & Design students have a task to address referrals for units 5, 6 & 7, for which each student has been given clear guidance on what they need to do to complete this. After completion of these units, we will be setting a ‘Portfolio’ project that will both help inform our progression decisions for Level 3 where needed, and also help you to develop your skills and portfolio further for next year on your Level 3 or other future plans.
For International Baccalaureate qualifications we are supporting teaching online to ensure there is minimal impact on progress. A detailed schedule of practice exam assessments and coursework deadlines will be shared with our students via Classroom and at the IB Core Briefing on Weds 22nd April.
The final assessed Reflective Project started before the Easter break. Students should have had their first online meeting with their supervisor, completed a project proposal and reflection and be working on developing a research question. There is weekly support and the next formal meeting is in June.
Final external exams and assessment for IBCP will take place in 2021, so should see a lessened impact from the disruption this year.
Will this affect my child's progression onto undergraduate study at Plymouth College of Art or another HEI?
We will continue to support our Pre Degree students with guaranteed progression to our undergraduate programmes and will liaise closely with the awarding body for UAL qualifications to respond rapidly to alternative measures to ensure students achieve the qualifications they deserve.
Further information on UCAS applications will become available in due course, and we will update our students with any potential impact as soon as we are able.
I'm planning my next steps - what do I need to remember?
If you are a first-year Extended Diploma student we had intended to provide activities and events centred on your next steps. We are currently working on plans to provide a comparable experience online and will notify you soon regarding this.
For Foundation Diploma & Year 2 Extended Diploma students we remind you to apply for student finance by the end of May if you are progressing onto higher education. Details on how to proceed will be emailed by our finance lead Emily Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please also continue to, where possible, develop your portfolios for interviews.
For our Level 2 students we remind you to continue to look into your next steps and we will continue to support internal progression. All Level 2 internal progression discussions should have happened but if you have any questions regarding this please contact your Subject Leader Chris Smith.
How can I help my child manage their studies?
We understand that the disruption will be unsettling for students and that the transition to studying at home might not be easy. However, we will be encouraging students to continue to work as much as possible under the circumstances and focus on the problem-solving and planning and management aspects of their unit criteria.
Without full access to spaces and equipment, we encourage students to be proactive and positive in seeking out suitable alternatives, testing out different approaches and evidencing these challenges in their respective projects.
How will the college be supporting students with additional needs?
We will continue to provide support for students with moderate needs, and those students with an Educational Health & Care Plan (EHCP). Specialist Support Workers will be in close contact with students to ensure they are able to access the learning and support remotely if required.
Communication will be through the student college account via Google Meets, Hangouts and Gmail, and will involve collaboration with tutors and parents. Regular contact will be kept with students and parents by the Learning Support Coordinator Bea Stevens.
My child receives financial support - will their bursary be affected?
We are pleased to confirm that all students who would have received travel and meals support will see money arrive into their bank accounts, most of which will have received a payment on the 27th March. Travel funding will continue to be paid in the hope that this extra money will support our students in this uncertain time.
How will the college continue to provide safeguarding support to students?
Students requiring safeguarding, welfare or financial support should email our Safeguarding Officer Carol (email@example.com) or ring on her work phone 07866 129691 (9-4pm Mon-Fri). Student Services have also set up The Big White Wall which will offer students support for their well-being 24 hrs a day. See www.bigwhitewall.com and follow the instructions with your college email address.
How will communication be maintained by college staff?
Our Pre-degree staff are committed to ensuring proactive and responsive teaching during this unprecedented time. We appreciate your patience as we continue to monitor the situation closely and will continue to update you by email as the situation evolves.
If you have an urgent concern relating to COVID-19 (coronavirus) please contact firstname.lastname@example.org