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Buckinghamshire College Group would like to reassure all staff, students, parents and business partners that it is following the Public Health guidance issued by the Government and its agencies, including any daily updates.

 

Update 14/09/2020 - Face Coverings

The College takes its commitment to safer learning very seriously. This to let you know that we have reviewed our College risk assessment and will be making the wearing of face coverings compulsory in corridors and communal areas for all staff, students and visitors from Tuesday 15th September.

Face covering are required to be worn before entering the College campus and in the following communal areas:

  • Corridors
  • Refectory areas
  • Learning Centres
  • Toilets

Students are not required to wear face coverings in the classroom in line with government guidance.

This is an additional precautionary measure to hygiene and socially distancing measures that are already in place. Please remember to continue to socially distance in communal and outdoor spaces.

There will be some students that are exempt from wearing face coverings, for example people who

  • Cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • Are speaking to or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading, clear sound or facial expression to communicate

If you are not sure if you are exempt, please discuss with your tutor. We have yellow lanyard pin badges available on each campus if you are exempt from wearing a face covering.

We will require you to wear your face covering properly and dispose of safely. This is to reduce the risk of transmission:

  • Clean hands before and after touching your face covering, including to remove and put them on
  • Store safely in individual plastic bags between use
  • Do not touch the front of the face covering during use or when removing it
  • Put your face covering on and remove by the elastic or ties
  • Dispose of temporary face coverings in black bin waste
  • Place reusable face coverings in a plastic bag and take home to wash
  • Make sure it covers your nose and mouth and do not wear under your chin
  • Remove on entering classrooms/workshop and sanitise your hands
  • Put on again as you leave the classroom/workshop and sanitise hands first

We are all becoming increasingly used to wearing face coverings and therefore we expect that most students will already have and carry a face covering. The College does carry a small contingency supply available at main reception for students who:

  • Are struggling to access a face covering
  • Are unable to use their face covering as it’s become soiled or unsafe
  • Have forgotten their face covering

We also have printed and personalised face coverings available at a cost of £4.50 from the CopyShop.

If you have any questions, please contact your tutor or curriculum manager.

Kind Regards

Karen Mitchell
Principal and CEO - Buckinghamshire College Group

Update 17/08/2020 - Welcome to College

Dear students

A warm welcome to Bucks College Group and I know that you will enjoy your time studying at College.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year will be different from other years and I wanted to share with you how this may look and feel. We want to make sure that you and all our students are able to study safely and our staff are able to work safely during this time.

From September, the College will operate a blended learning approach over a two-week rotating period. This means that you will spend one week with your group and tutors on campus in classrooms and/or workshops, and one week with your group and tutors in virtual learning classrooms from home. This is to limit the contact with different groups of students and limit the amount of students we have on campus at one time for your safety. We want you to have a great learning experience and be successful, so this approach makes sure you receive all aspects of your programme you need. This is in line with government advice.

This will reduce the numbers of students on campus, and therefore the numbers of students using transport, catering and College facilities and services. Your course group will be your nucleus bubble and this is who you will spend the majority of time with in the classroom or workshop. Each course group belongs to different curriculum areas, for example, Gaming and Graphic Design belong within the Art and Design Curriculum Area. Course groups will form Curriculum Area Zones, which are zoned physical spaces for classrooms/workshops and these Curriculum Area zones will be used to stagger break times, lunches and cross college activities. The outside spaces will also be zoned so that during your time outside of learning in the classroom/workshop you can maintain social distances.

Please note it is not currently a requirement by the government to wear face coverings in educational settings unless identified in an individual risk assessment, or undertaking an activity that requires Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Timetables and Learning
When you enrol, you will receive your induction timetable and you will attend according to this timetable for two days beginning the week 7th September 2020 with one further day of virtual induction activities completed at home. During induction, you will get to know your tutors, meet the rest of your group, find out more about your course, be shown how to access your full timetable ready for the start of teaching on 14th September. You will receive information on which weeks you will be on campus and which weeks are virtual, on-line learning with your tutors.

If you are a second year returning to the same programme, you will undertake an on-line induction with your teaching timetables starting 14th September, again you will receive your timetable and information on which weeks you will be on campus and which weeks are virtual, on-line learning with your tutor.

Foundation Learning, Life Skills Centre, Future Skills Centre
Students in these areas will be physically attending College each week in a zoned area with separate breaks and lunchtimes. The teaching and support team will be working with individual students and parents to support your individual needs and requirements

Apprentices
If you are an apprentice, the Apprenticeship Team will work with you and your employer concerning attendance at College and assessors will continue to support you in the workplace

Attendance
It is important that you attend so that you do not miss any learning. Our 100% attendance requirements remain the same, whether you are attending physically or virtually, and you are expected to attend all aspects of the Study Programme: main qualification, English, maths, digital skills, tutorial, careers and progression coaching where appropriate.

Learning Safely on Campus
When you come onto the campuses, you will need to ensure that you take COVID-19 personal responsibility for your safety and safety of others. We have taken a number of steps for your safety including:

  • 2m distance markings on entrance and around the building
  • One-way or Give-way systems
  • Hand sanitiser stations
  • Perspex screening
  • Classrooms arranged in rows for side to side or behind others to avoid face-to-face contact
  • Staggered starts, finishes, breaks, lunches
  • Revised Housekeeping and cleaning arrangements

The College has undertaken an assessment of the risks concerning COVID-19 and put in measures to reduce the risk of infection transmission.

You can help keep yourself and others safe by following the COVID-19 College rules, paying attention to hygiene and regular handwashing and wiping down your desks, workspaces and equipment after use. Due to the seriousness of the consequences, we have a zero tolerance to anyone not behaving in a COVID-19 safe way.

Public Transport
Where possible we would encourage you to walk or cycle to College. Where this is not possible and you are required to take public transport, we would advise that you should follow the government’s guidance for travelling safely.

For students who use the College minibus transport (mainly Amersham and some at Wycombe) we will continue to offer a normal service. You must follow these safety measures if you are using this service:

  • Sanitising hands before entering the minibus
  • Wear a face covering
  • Provide contact details to the driver
  • Pre-pay for tickets
  • Travel side-side or behind others to avoid face to face
  • Where possible leave space between seating
  • Avoid shouting, singing or loud talking

Catering Facilities
The College catering facilities will be open as usual but will offer a cold food (sandwiches etc) and drinks service. You may choose to bring your own packed lunch. If you are in receipt of free school meals, please talk to our Student Services department, so that we can continue to provide this service for you.

Communal and Social Spaces including Outdoor Spaces
All students are expected to maintain social distancing in common and social spaces including outdoors. All students are expected to remain within their zoned areas in the outdoor spaces

COVID-19 Symptoms
If you are showing signs of COVID-19 (temperature, new cough, and loss of smell or taste), you must not attend College and inform your tutor immediately. This is so we can track and trace others that you may have been in contact with at College. We will provide you with information on testing. You must self-isolate for 10 days unless your result comes back negative. If someone in your household is showing symptoms or has a positive test result, you must not attend College, you must inform your tutor and self-isolate for 14 days

Support with Resources and Technology
If you require support with access to resources, technology, learning or you have any other concerns at all about attending College; please contact your tutor or our Student Services Department who will be very happy to help.

I hope this information on COVID-19 Safer Learning is helpful and if you have any questions, please do talk to your tutor or the Curriculum Manager for your subject area.

I wish you every success for this year.

Best wishes

Karen Mitchell
Principal/CEO - Buckinghamshire College Group

Update 02/06/2020

Dear students and Parents

I hope that you and your families are keeping safe and well.

I wanted to write to update you on the College’s plans following the Government’s announcement on 24th May in relation to the phased opening of colleges. The Prime Minister announced that colleges should plan to broaden the number of 16-19 students attending on-site delivery from 15th June 2020. The full information is in this link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision/maintaining-education-and-skills-training-provision-further-education-providers

The College’s approach is to begin to widen our opening, week commencing 15th June until the end of the student term on Friday July 3rd. We look forward to welcoming some of you back, but only when we are satisfied that there are protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 fully in place to accommodate students and staff safely.

The College has completed a full risk assessment aligned to government guidance and preventative measures are now in place to have a limited opening from Tuesday June 16th.  The College COVID-19 Risk Assessment covering this period is available on the College website under the Coronavirus section. 

The majority of students will continue to study remotely from home. The aim for the three weeks left of the academic year is to keep staff and student numbers low on the College campuses. We do not expect any students who are shielding or living with someone who is shielding to attend.

The College campuses at Aylesbury, Amersham and Wycombe will be open on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday for invited students only. Please do not attend or come to the College campuses if you have not received an invitation as you will be turned away.

Following the government guidance, we will invite some students from the following groups to attend:

  • Students who fall within vulnerable categories
  • Level 3 students finishing the first year of a 2-year programme
  • Level 3 students progressing to a separate qualification, for example a diploma to extended diploma
  • Students of all levels that have occupationally competence based/license to practice practical assessments to complete where safe to do so

Students not undertaking practical assessments will be invited to one 2-hour session during this time to meet with their teacher to focus on outstanding work, progression, preparing for next year, and support for any concerns. The group size will be 5 students to one teacher to reduce contact and mixing with other groups. The teacher will only be permitted to work with their allocated group. Attendance is not compulsory to these sessions and students can choose to attend or continue to work remotely. Please respond to the invitation to inform us that you will/will not be attending so that we can plan for who is on campus.

Students undertaking practical sessions including Construction trades and Motor vehicle will be invited to attend the necessary sessions required to complete their qualifications. We would encourage students to attend these sessions. For any concerns, please contact your tutor remotely. Students will work in small groups of 8-10 with the same tutor.  Currently we are not able to invite Hair, Beauty or Sport students who have outstanding assessments, in line with government advice for these industries. Please respond to the invitation to inform us that you will/will not be attending so that we can plan for who is on campus.

The session(s) that may be allocated to you are:

  • 9.30-11.30
  • 10.00-12.00
  • 9.30-12.00 (Practical Assessment)
  • 1.30-3.30pm
  • 2.00-4.00pm
  • 1.30-4.00pm

We recognise that you may feel anxious about returning to College, so we will have a Safeguarding Officer present if you require any support on the day.

For those of you invited to attend we would encourage you to walk or cycle if possible or to travel in a car with a family member. You should, where possible avoid public transport and follow the government’s guidance. College transport will not be running during this time. We have planned and staggered the sessions outside of busy travel times.

The College has put in place a number of preventative measures for your safety and you will notice some changes around the College. It is very important that you keep to these measures and take responsibility for your safety and the safety of others seriously while you are on the campuses. We will ask students to leave if this is not the case.

Managing the Risk of Transmission of COVID-19

  • There is a one way system for entering and exiting the building which is clearly marked and there will be people there to guide you. Please do not congregate in the entrance but allow 2m’s between you and the next person (similar to queuing at supermarkets)
  • The College campuses have been marked out with 2m social distancing and you must stay 2m’s distance of people at all times
  • There is a one-way system around the College and where this is not possible a Give Way system. Please ensure that you follow the floor markings and instructions
  • Receptions now have screens in place and a 2m box
  • Classrooms and workshops have been rearranged to allow 2m social distancing and the furniture removed. Please do not move chairs or tables
  • Cleaning materials have been put in place in classrooms and workshops to allow hard surfaces to be wiped down after use including equipment used. We are asking everyone to do this.
  • There are a number of hand sanitiser stations on all campuses. Please ensure that you are washing your hands properly and regularly
  • Please ensure that you use tissues for coughing and sneezing – ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’
  • Single occupancy toilets are open only
  • Common areas, the refectory, outside social spaces and the smoking areas are all closed
  • You will only be able to access the College campus 10 minutes before your session and you must leave the campus as soon as you have finished your session. This is for your and others safety
  • You will be met by your teacher and must stay with them while you are on campus and until you leave
  • The government advises that face coverings should not be worn in schools and other educational settings unless required as part of a risk assessment (for example, practical assessments). https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-implementing-protective-measures-in-education-and-childcare-settings However, we do recognise that during this initial time some students and staff would prefer the choice and the College will allow this outside of classrooms, subject to the advice in the link being read as it is not appropriate for all students to wear. The College will not provide face coverings outside the requirements of risk assessments
  • We have COVID-19 procedures in place should someone become ill with symptoms at College. Please do not attend College if you have a temperature, a new cough or a new loss of smell taste, or living with someone that has these symptoms
  • We have revised cleaning arrangements in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission

Please read the risk assessment on the website for the full measures

We are continuing our planning for the new academic year and we will share these with you in due course, if you are returning next year.

It’s a very difficult time for us all and I hope that you have been managing at home and in your studies. Our College is going to look and feel different for a while and I want to thank you for your help to support everyone to work and learn safely.

If you have any questions about this letter, please contact your tutor or curriculum manager who will be able to help.

All invitations will be sent via email by the end of this week. Please check your emails and don’t forget to reply.

I hope to see some of you on your return. For all others keep up the good work remotely, and I hope you all have a good summer.

With best wishes

Karen Mitchell
Principal and CEO - Buckinghamshire College Group

Update 19/03/2020

Dear Students and Parents

I wanted to confirm our arrangements that we shared with you yesterday evening.

Students are not required to attend College campuses from Monday 23rd March and we will be moving to remote on-line learning from then. Please see below the Remote Learning Guidelines for Students and Parents. Teachers are putting in place plans for your on-line lessons to start on Monday and students are expected to attend their usual timetabled lessons virtually. The Student Cloud will be used and students should check that they are able to login remotely this week.

Virtual teacher and support will be available on Cloud to support your learning. Please read the Guidelines carefully and think about your study space and structure for the day – it’s important that you continue to learn and work towards completing your qualifications, including your English and maths. Cloud will record your attendance and we will follow-up non-attendance in the same way as usual.

We will communicate with you through the Student Cloud – through Group Discussion Forums, Instant Chat, Turnitin, Zoom, One-File and your College email.

There are some students where we are putting in different arrangements and these will be communicated directly with those students and parents.

With regards to the Exams announcement, we are waiting to hear further information from the Government and DfE to continue our planning in relation to this. Once we know, we will share this with you.

These are unprecedented times and we are receiving the information as you do. Inevitably, this way of learning and working will be a learning curve for us all to begin with, and I would ask for your patience as we settle into new routines. We will continue to do everything that we can to support students who are working so hard to achieve their qualifications.

I hope that you and your family stay safe and well.

Please continue to check the website, parent portal, Cloud, and emails for further College updates.

If you have any concerns or queries, please do contact your teacher or Curriculum Manager.

Kind Regards,

Karen Mitchell
Principal and CEO - Buckinghamshire College Group

Update 18/03/2020

Dear Students and Parents,

Following our recent communications to you regarding potential changes to learning and working remotely, shortly we will publish our Remote Study Guidelines for Students and Parents on our website, Cloud and Parent Portal.

We continue to follow the rapidly changing advice given by Public Health, the Government and the DfE, but we have made a College decision to move from face to face learning and business operations until the Easter break. We will review our position for the start of the Summer term on the 20th April.

Lessons will continue as normal with student learning and attendance until the end of this Friday. From Monday the 23rd March, students will not be required to physically attend the College for two weeks, but they must continue their studies remotely and follow the remote study guidance.

As we move to different online working arrangements, key staff will be available remotely to support students with their learning. Please ensure that all communication with tutors is through Cloud as outlined in the guidelines.

For students that have exams booked over the next 2 weeks, these will now be rescheduled and students will be informed of new dates in due course.

We will continue to follow Government advice and ensure that regular updates are provided on the Parent Portal and College Website.

Thank you for your support.

Many thanks

Clare Rooney
Vice Principal Learning & Quality

Update 17/03/2020

Dear Students and Parents

Our priority remains to help staff, students and parents to take sensible and proportional steps to support learning, health and well-being. We continue to follow the rapidly changing advice given by Public Health, the Government and the DfE. The current advice is for schools and Colleges to remain open and we continue to work as normally as possible at this time.

We have preparations in place in the event we are instructed to close the College buildings and change our arrangements to learning and working remotely. We will shortly be providing you with advice and guidance on accessing learning and working remotely.

Self-Isolation

We are asking students and staff to follow the latest public health advice for self-isolation:

1) If you have symptoms of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature you must not attend College and follow the latest guidance for self-isolation. You must let your tutor or curriculum manager know so that we can keep a central records to review any further actions that may be needed

2) If you have a family member that you live with that has symptoms of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature you must not attend College and follow the latest guidance for self-isolation. You must let your tutor or curriculum manager know so that we can keep a record, and support you with your studies remotely

3) If you have a pre-existing underlying medical condition (this includes: heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, respiratory illness, uncontrolled high blood pressure, weakened/compromised immune system), you are pregnant, you will need to follow the latest guidance for self-isolation. Please let your tutor or curriculum manager know, so that we can keep a record and support you with your studies remotely

4) If you are living with someone who has a pre-existing underlying medical condition (as above), over 70 or pregnant you will need to follow the latest advice for self-isolation. Please let your tutor or curriculum manager know, so that we can keep a record and support you with your studies remotely

5) Please continue to follow the advice for personal hygiene measures

If you become unwell with a new continuous cough and/or high temperature at College

Please let your tutor or a member of College staff know immediately. Please do not worry but we will keep you separate from other people until you are able to go home or you are collected. This is the advice we have been given to help stop the spread of an infection

Work Placements
Some of you have already had your work placements temporarily stopped as employers manage their own COVID-19 plans. We are currently talking with all employers and will communicate with you shortly on work placements

Teaching and Learning remotely
Our teaching departments have plans in place to support your learning remotely and we will communicate with you shortly how this will work and what you need to do

Apprentices
We are working with employers, and our Apprenticeship team will work with you to support you with your learning.

Student Trips
Following Government advice regarding non-essential travel we have made the decision today to cancel any planned student trips until after Easter. We will continue to keep this under review.

Examinations
We are waiting to hear from Awarding Bodies their plans for national examinations and will communicate with you when we receive information.

How we will communicate with you
For students we will use Cloud, our website, emails and text messaging if required. For parents, information will be available on the website, the parent portal and at times through email.

Student Support and Welfare
We know that this is an anxious time for many and we want to make sure that you are able to access the support and welfare that you need. Information will be communicated shortly with you on our support for you

If you have any concerns, we would ask that you contact your tutor in the first instance

Kind Regards,

Karen Mitchell
Principal and CEO - Buckinghamshire College Group

Update 10/03/2020

Dear Students and Parents,

We would like to reassure all students and parents that the College is following and monitoring the Public Health guidance issued by the Government and its agencies, including any daily updates. Government advice can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public.. The College is also following specific guidance for educational settings.

If you have symptoms that you think could be coronavirus we would ask you to not attend College and ring NHS 111 line for advice that you should follow. Please inform the College of the advice you have been given. If you have come into contact with someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus, please do not attend College until you have sought advice from NHS 111. Again please inform the College of the advice you have been given.

We thought it may be helpful if we publish the latest advice as of today with regards to travelling back into the UK (10th March) but would ask you to check the above link for any changes or updates. If any of the following applies to you we would request that you do follow the advice and let your tutor know.

If you do have to stay away from College because of the advice from NHS 111 and you are well, we will be able to make sure you have work available to complete remotely so that you don’t fall behind.

The advice if you have recently travelled abroad is this:

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms:

- Iran
- Hubei province in China
- Special care zones in South Korea (Daegu, Cheongdo, Gyeongsan)

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places, even if you do not have symptom

Italy (since 09 March)

Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild:

- Mainland China outside of Hubei province
- South Korea outside of the special care zones
- 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.

Kind Regards

Karen Mitchell
Principal and CEO - Buckinghamshire College Group

Remote Studying Guidelines for Students and Parents


For further information please refer to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public  which is updated daily at 14:00. 


Below are some Frequently Asked Questions that we hope will help reassure you:

How is the College keeping my son or daughter safe?

We are strictly following Public Health England guidance.

What do I do if my son or daughter is ill?

If you believe that your son or daughter may have any symptoms of covid-19, you should keep them at home and call NHS111 for guidance.

What do I do if my son or daughter is told to self-isolate for 14 days?

Please contact the Principal’s Office at the College so that we are aware. Each teaching department is putting plans in place to support their students’ learning if any have to be absent from the College.

What do I do if my son or daughter has an underlying medical condition?

Contact your GP or NHS111 for specific guidance and keep us informed.

What will happen if exams or practical coursework units are disrupted?

We are working with exam boards on contingency plans should this happen. The exam boards will take into account any unavoidable disruption.

What will happen if the College has to close?

The current guidance is that schools and colleges should not close unless specifically told to do so by Public Health England. Should we be told to close, we will communicate directly with you about what is happening and what your son or daughter needs to do. We are developing a range of strategies for supporting our students’ learning should the College be forced to close for any period of time. We also have plans in place should a deep clean be necessary.

How can I support my son or daughter?

  • By providing reassurance. It appears that people under the age of 20 are not as significantly affected by the virus as older people.

  • If your son or daughter has any concerns about their College work, please ask them to talk to their teachers.

  • Encourage everyone to properly follow handwashing and personal hygiene precautions.

  • Make sure we have the most up to date contact details for you and your son or daughter.

  • Stay up-to-date with the official Public Health England guidance

  • Contact your son or daughter’s tutor in the first instance if you have any concerns

    Aylesbury Campus - 01296 588 588
    Wycombe Campus - 01494 585 555
    Amersham Campus - 01494 585 273

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