Covid-19 Updates

The latest updates and information for students, parents and guardians about the current outbreak

We can't wait to start the 2021-22 academic year! To ensure we are keeping you and our staff safe we have included some COVID-19 information below.

The College will be regularly reviewing the current Government Guidance, as well as safety on campus. It is important that you continue to follow Government and NHS Test & Trace guidance. We will notify you if any guidance changes in relation to your studies.

Testing

The health, safety and wellbeing of you, and all our students is our priority. Therefore, we are encouraging you to test twice weekly from Monday 30 August.

Please complete your first Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test before you come on campus and ensure you have a negative result. Below is more information on what to do if you receive a positive test and how to report it.

Tests will be available for you to collect from the Library Resource Centre (LRC) for you to use as part of your ongoing twice-weekly testing, however, you will need to source your own prior to starting. You are able to order tests online or collect them from your local pharmacy.

If you are unable to conduct your LFD test at home you can book an appointment at our on-site testing centre which is open from 8.30am - 4pm, booking is essential.

Book on-site testing


Reporting your result

If you display a negative LFD test result you do not need to report your result to the College. However, you must still report the result on the Government website.


If your LFD test result is positive please report it to the relevant campus, using the contact details below.


Once you have reported your result, a member of the College COVID Response Team will be in contact with further information about your next steps.

Report a positive LFD test result.

Seevic Campus - 01268 756 111 (ext 221)

Palmer's Campus - 01375 370 121 (option 1)

Report result on Government website


Face coverings

We encourage you to wear a face covering or a mask when in public areas around the College, such as corridors and, social and study spaces. You will not be asked to wear a face covering or mask in classrooms although you may if you wish to do so.

You are also encouraged to wear your face covering or mask when travelling to College, whether through public transport or the College bus.

Thursday 8 April 2021

Returning to College after Easter 

The College will be returning to 100% on-site delivery from Monday 12 April. All students are expected on-site and to follow their timetables from this date unless they are self-isolating. All lessons will continue to be live-streamed meaning any students self-isolating can continue to access their lessons remotely. 

On Tuesday 6 April the Government confirmed that face coverings should continue to be worn within the classroom and in communal areas in schools and colleges as a precautionary measure. 

All students and staff are encouraged to continue with twice-weekly home testing. However, the College will have a small-scale on-site Test Centre should students feel more comfortable testing on-site. 

If you are taking part in the testing programme, tests should be taken at home unless you have booked to use the on-site testing centre. If you start to display symptoms of COVID-19 or return a positive Lateral Flow Test result, please self-isolate immediately following Government Guidance, book a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test at a community testing centre and phone the College's absence line. 

Friday 5 March 

Please find below a link to a step-by-step guide for students for their first Lateral Flow Test (LFT), which includes a short video from each campus on what to expect when they arrive at college and the testing centre next week. 

If a student has tested positive for Covid-19 within the last 90 days they are not required to take and LFT at college or a home test. They are however required to seek an external test (PCR) should they develop any new symptoms of Covid-19. 

Regular testing of households of school/college pupils

One in three people who test positive for Covid-19 do not have any symptoms and so regular asymptomatic testing continues to be a vital part of managing this virus. Information on the new national scheme, which enables households with college age children to access free Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) can be found via the link below in a letter from Essex County Council. 

Letter from Essex County Council

Thursday 4 March

Dear Parent/Carer

I am writing to you following the Government’s announcement about the return to campus for all college students from Monday 8 March. We are currently preparing to welcome back all students on a phased return from this date.

We are working to keep our college as safe as possible. You will have seen that as part of the reopening of colleges and schools, testing for those without coronavirus symptoms (asymptomatic) will be rolled out across the country using new, quicker COVID-19 tests known as ‘Lateral Flow Tests’.

Along with the other protective measures we are taking, these tests will help staff and students to return to college safely. Testing is voluntary - however, we strongly encourage your young person to take part so we can help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Please remind your young person to give their consent. We have revised the consent form that we sent out last week, so please ask them to print and fill out this version and bring it with them.

Consent form

It is the intention that once students have been tested three times in college, they will then be provided with a home test pack so that they may test themselves at home regularly.

At the end of this email is a list of FAQs which may help answer any queries you may have about the college restart plans and the testing process.

Week commencing 8 March

Please note that until the day of their return, students should continue to access all of their lessons online as they have been doing during the lockdown.

Students will return to college via a phased return as outlined below.

Monday 8 March Tuesday 9 March Wednesday 10 March Thursday 11 March Friday 12 March
STEM - Level 3 STEM - Level 1/2 Sport & Public Services Business Creative Arts
A-Level - Year 2  A-Level - Year 1 Health & Social Care and Early Years    

*Friday 12 March is Staff CPD Day. Creative Arts students should attend campus for testing, as above, but there will be no lessons on this day.

If your young person is willing to be tested then they should attend on this day for their first test bringing with them a printable version of their consent form. Hard copies will be available onsite should access to a printer prior to arrival not have been possible.

Please note that your young person will only be onsite for their test on this day and there will be no onsite or online lessons. They will however be set work to complete in advance.

When and where do they go?
Their Head of Learning will contact them directly with their specific testing time slot on this day and the base room they should go to.

Whilst in the base room, they will complete the test site registration process supervised by a member of staff. They will be issued a registration card that must be presented at the test site to undertake their test - they must write their name and student number (from their ID card) on the card and ensure that all the barcode stickers remain attached. To complete this they will need the following:

  • A device with internet/WiFi access
  • Date of birth
  • First line of address
  • Postcode
  • Their mobile number
  • Their personal email address
  • Our site test number, which is UHDE

Once this has been completed they will be accompanied to the test centre, which is located in the sports hall at both campuses. They must not make their own way to the test centre.

College buses

If coming by one of the college buses then they will have access to facilities in their curriculum area and the designated area whilst they wait for their test or to use after their test if the result is negative. Relevant work will be set for them in advance by their teacher.

 

The test itself

Students will ‘self-swab’ and will be supervised by trained staff. The ‘Lateral Flow Tests’ are quick and easy using a swab of their nose and/or throat. A step-by-step guide on how to take the test will be sent to them separately. Once the test is taken they can make their way home. If the test result is positive and they are still at the college, staff will support them in getting home safely.

 

The results

If their result is negative: From the day after their negative test result they will follow the blended (on-campus and online) learning timetable they were following prior to the lockdown e.g. STEM Level 3 students will commence their blended learning timetable from Tuesday 9 March onwards after testing day on Monday 8 March.

If their result is positive: They should make their way home and self-isolate straight away. Staff can help them to get home safely if they are still at college. They should not come into college for lessons. They should call the absence line (Seevic Campus: 01268 882 629/ Palmer's Campus: 01375 898 608) straight away to advise us that they have tested positive and arrange to have a confirmation test at a community testing centre:

https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/essential-worker.

Face masks

In line with updated government guidance, the wearing of face masks will now be compulsory for students and staff in classrooms as well as other social spaces. All students are expected to arrive at college with a face mask. If they are medically exempt from wearing a face mask then we ask that they arrive with a face shield instead. It is not necessary to wear masks outside of the buildings.

Community testing

Alternatively students are able to access a test at one of the existing rapid testing centres located across Essex. If this option is taken then it should be within 48-72 hours before they return to college.

Week commencing 15 March


Students will be offered a second test in the following week on these days. Further details to follow.

By this point all students will be following a blended learning timetable but will need to be onsite as per the table below for their second follow up test.

Monday 15 March Tuesday 16 March Wednesday 17 March Thursday 18 March Friday 19 March
STEM - Level 3 STEM - Level 1/2 Sport & Public Services Business Creative Arts
A-Level - Year 2 A-Level - Year 1 Health & Social Care and Early Years    

The aim is for all students to have had a follow up test during this week on the days indicated above.

Week commencing 22 March

Academic (A-Level) students will take part in an online progress review week and will not be on-site during this week. This progress review week will include an online Student CPD Day for academic students on Friday 26 March. During the review week all of the academic students will be set work for each of their subjects and are expected to continue with their learning. Students are expected to complete a minimum of 4.5 hours independent work for each of their subjects. Subject specific workshops/revision classes will continue as normal.

Vocational students will follow their normal blended learning timetable.

Blended learning

In the first three weeks, all students will undertake blended learning, meaning that their course will involve a blend of on-campus, in-person teaching, along with live, timetabled virtual lessons or workshops which they can access at home.

This allows us to reduce the numbers of students we have in the college at any one time, so we can prioritise student safety whilst implementing an in-house college testing regime. This approach will remain under review throughout the academic year.

A-Level students

When on site A-Level students will be in one of two bubbles per campus. These include A-Level Year 1 Palmer's; A-Level Year 2 Palmer’s; A-Level Year 1 Seevic and A-Level Year 2 Seevic. This includes students studying Vocational Applied courses which are equivalent to one A-Level.

They will be attending 2/3 of learning onsite and are encouraged to attend 1/3 of learning remotely via live streaming as agreed by their teacher. If any student wishes to attend 100% onsite lessons, this will be possible and will need to be agreed by the relevant teacher and Head of Learning. Students are expected to attend and engage fully in all types of lesson. Registers will be taken for all sessions. Furthermore, additional revision and workshops will be provided to support any missed learning.

Vocational students
(Level 1, 2, 3 including BTEC, UAL and CACHE)

All vocational students will be onsite for three days per week representing 70-100% of qualification delivery onsite. When onsite vocational students will remain in curriculum area bubbles.

All remaining lessons will be completed either via live online lessons or workshops via Microsoft Teams. Students are expected to attend and engage fully in all types of lesson.

GCSE/Pre-GCSE English and Maths

If they are studying GCSE or Pre-GCSE English and/or Maths, a minimum of 50% of lessons will take place onsite. This represents 1.5 hours per week of English and Maths delivery. The remaining lessons, if not onsite, will be taught remotely using either Microsoft Teams, or Vscene software. Teaching staff will ensure that students are aware of when and where these lessons take place. Pre-GCSE students will have the opportunity to take their Functional Skills exams before Easter Break, more information will follow.

Progress Coach

All students will need to engage with their allocated Progress Coach sessions and 1:1s. All academic students will conduct their 1:1 Holistic Progress Reviews up until Easter Break. All vocational students will continue to attend 100% onsite/blended sessions and 1:1s.

Student expectations

  • If your young person is displaying any symptoms of Covid-19 (a new, continuous cough, high temperature, and/or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste and smell), they should not come into college. Call the absence line (Seevic Campus: 01268 882 629/ Palmer's Campus: 01375 898 608) to advise us that they are self-isolating and arrange to have a test at a community testing centre:
    https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/essential-worker
  • All students must wear a face mask (or face shield if medically exempt) at all times on campus except when eating or drinking when seated within the designated area for their social bubble.
  • They should remain 2 metres from others in all communal areas and when walking around the college.
  • They should wash their hands regularly and use the sanitiser stations located around the campuses.

On-campus facilities and services

Restaurant
The restaurants at both campuses will be open from Monday 8 March offering a selection of food.

Learning Resource Centre
The LRC will be open from Monday 8 March. The same safety measures will remain in place as before the most recent lockdown.

Gyms
In line with government guidance, the gyms will remain closed during this period.

College transport
The college buses will continue to run as usual with the exception of Tuesday 9 March and Tuesday 16 March, where there will be a later pick up time from college of 4:30pm.

Click the link below to see a list of FAQs which may help answer any queries you may have about the College restart plans and the testing process.

Frequently Asked Questions


Contact details

You can find the contact details of any of our Heads of Learning or Vice Principals by following the link below.

Contact us

We are very excited at the prospect of all students and staff physically returning to the college and thank you for your support and patience as we work on this phased return to ensure that our campuses can open safely. We appreciate all the efforts of the whole college community going forward, working hard to ensure that safety measures are adhered to. We will continue to keep you informed of any changes as and when we receive any further guidance from the Government about forthcoming developments following their regular reviews as we ease out of Lockdown.

Kind regards

Jon Briggs

Assistant Principal Vocational

7 January - statement of remote learning

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 4 January, the College has put together a plan for remote learning for the duration of this half term. This plan will ensure that you are fully supported in further developing skills and knowledge within your chosen subjects as well as progression towards your future career aim. The college recognises that this further disruption is not ideal for any of you and we will do all we can to continue to support you through this time.

How will the college support you through this time?

Specific Support Event for students

The college recognises that the repeated disruption as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic has left some of you feeling demotivated, demoralised and potentially needing some additional support. The college is therefore going to set up a specific support event akin to an Open Evening for existing students where drop in sessions will be held with Careers, Student Union, Admissions, Wellbeing and Higher Education.

E-mail communication

Subject teachers and progress coaches will regularly e-mail you to confirm when lessons are taking place, to check whether there are any barriers to learning and to provide you with any important updates or information.

Click Support

This year the college has introduced a platform, Click Support, enabling students to reach out remotely for specialist support from around the college. This platform can be accessed on the VLE on any device. Furthermore, you can select how you would like to be contacted to ensure you feel safe and comfortable for example, a phone conversation, teams call or email.

Wellbeing

The wellbeing team will be available remotely providing their usual services including one to one student support and a continuation of all learner voice related activities. Our Wellbeing team is available via email:

Seevic Campus – wellbeingseevic@uspcollege.ac.uk

Palmer’s Campus – wellbeingpalmers@uspcollege.ac.uk

Additional Learning Support

Additional Learning support will continue to be provided throughout the remote learning week. Learning Support Assistant’s will be present in online lessons and making regular phone calls with students to ensure work is understood.

Vocational Learners 

Vocational Lessons

You should continue to follow your normal timetable and attend all of your vocational lessons. The vast majority of the lessons for your vocational course will be live online lessons though there may be a small number of lessons where relevant and challenging work is set instead. Where this is the case, your subject teachers will inform you in advance. Your subject teachers will initially deliver these live online lessons remotely from home. When safe to do so a number of these lessons will be delivered from the college’s streaming rooms though students will continue to access from home.

Vocational Examinations

As I am sure you aware the college has taken the decision to cancel the January vocational exams in light of the recent lockdown. We will continue to work with exam boards to ensure that no students are disadvantaged by this decision. This means you will either have another opportunity to sit the examination at a more suitable and safer time or you will receive a teacher assessed grade for this unit, based upon your assignments or the work you have produced.

Pre GCSE/GCSE English & Mathematics Lessons

All of your Pre-GCSE/GCSE English & Mathematics lessons will be live online lessons. You should continue to attend all of these lessons and engage with all activities within these lessons. If specific work is requested at the end of the lesson then this must be submitted to the relevant subject teacher.

GCSE Mock Exams

GCSE Mock Exams will be held between Monday 25 January and Friday 5 February. This is a fantastic opportunity for you to demonstrate your learning within these subjects. The evidence gathered within the mock exam will support teachers with making any teacher assessed grade.

It is important that you engage in English and/or Maths classes, as securing the best teacher assessed grade will help your to progress onto the next course, higher education or employment.

Progress Coach Lessons

Progress Coaches will continue to provide one to one support throughout the lockdown period. You must ensure you use their support and raise any barriers you are facing or concerns that you have.

Calculation of Student Grades

The Department for Education, working in collaboration with Ofqual and the relevant exam boards are currently deciding upon a process for calculating grades for vocational qualifications. As soon as we have more information about this we will share this with you. Nevertheless, it is beyond doubt that the more you engage with your online lessons and the more evidence that you produce via completed assessments the more likely you will be to receive the teacher assessed grade that you deserve and which reflects your ability.

What we expect of you

To ensure that the college is in the best position to produce a fair and accurate teacher assessed grade for your subjects we expect the following of you:

  • To attend all lessons on your timetable and to be punctual to these lessons. This relates to your main qualification(s) as well as any Pre-GCSE/GCSE English & Mathematics and Progress Coach sessions
  • To engage with all activities within each lesson including having your camera switched on and behaving both appropriately and respectfully
  • To meet all deadlines for homework and completed assignments and projects
  • To maintain regular e-mail communication with your teachers
  • To share your timetable with your parents so that they are able to support you with your learning

Internal Progression

If you are currently studying Level 1 or Level 2 vocational qualifications then the process of progression to either Level 2 or Level 3 will be starting soon. To ensure you are eligible for progression and in the best place to be successful in the next academic year you should continue to attend and engage with all of your learning for all courses on your study programme.

University or Employment

Progress Coaches, the Careers Team and your subject teachers are still available to support you in achieving your career goal. If you wish to book a careers appointment then you can do so remotely via the link below.

Book a careers appointment. 

Progress Review Week & Student CPD Day 3

Progress Review Week

The college is planning a Vocational Progress Review week between Monday 8 February and Friday 12 February. This will ensure you all receive a thorough one to one with one of your subject teachers discussing your strengths and areas where you can improve. More detail will follow at a later date.

Student CPD Day 3

Student CPD Day 3 is taking place on Thursday 11 February. This will again be an online event. Teaching teams have created an exciting menu of workshops, guest speakers and other online activities designed to support all students in progressing towards their future career aim. More detail will follow at a later date.

A-Level Learners

Academic Lessons

In order to provide continuity of education, the college can confirm that learners on academic programmes (all A Levels and Applied courses) will continue to benefit from three 90 minute lessons per week to provide high quality remote teaching, learning and assessment. Learners will continue to follow their normal teaching timetable where registers will need to be taken at the beginning of each lesson. Please ensure you attend on time and are ready to learn.

Attainment and Assessment Criteria Expectations

Academic learners will continue to benefit from an assessment of knowledge and understanding of taught content. This will continue to be through bespoke assessment methods, alongside the formative assessments throughout the academic year. Learners are required to complete all the set work by their teachers. Pro-monitor will continue to be updated accordingly to provide you with updates on your progress, which can be accessed through Progress Page and Pro- portal. Please contact IT if you require additional support with log in details for these systems.

Attendance monitoring

All learners will need to follow timetables and are expected to attend all their sessions. Absences will be followed and interventions will take place as a consequence. The call centre will continue to make phone calls if you are absent; with registers being taken within the first 15 minutes of the lesson. If there are issues with attending your online lesson, please ensure you contact your teacher and the college so central systems can be updated accordingly.

Mock exams

Academic learners will benefit from a mock exam process from 8 February 2021. Learners will be off timetable for this week where revision and preparation can take place. Your teachers will arrange a MS Teams Assignment submission facility to enable remote completion of mock exams, with feedback also being provided remotely. A schedule of mock exams to take place will be sent in due course. You will need to ensure you complete the assessment within the given time period to ensure you obtain a grade for the subject. Virtual Mock Exam Results Day will be on 19 March 2021.

Progress Review Week

Progress Review Week will be on w/c 22nd of March – you will have the opportunity to meet with your subject teachers to review your progress thus far and devise a bespoke learning plan. More information will follow.

Revision Sessions

Ongoing revision sessions/workshops will continue for all your subjects and you are required to attend in order to be fully supported. These extra sessions will enhance your learning and will give you the opportunity to maximise your potential. For additional support, please ensure that you contact your individual subject teachers.

Further on-going assessments

Following on the announcement from Education Secretary Gavin Williamson ‘Teachers’ estimated grades will be used to replace cancelled GCSE and A – Levels in England this summer’:

BBC News: Teachers' grades to replace A-levels and GCSEs in England

It is essential that you engage fully with the ongoing set work/assessments to help your teachers to get the most fair and accurate picture for your overall grades.

Calculation of Student Grades

The Department for Education, working in collaboration with Ofqual and the relevant exam boards are currently deciding upon a process for calculating grades for GCSEs, AS Levels and A Levels. As soon as we have more information about this we will share this with you. Nevertheless, it is beyond doubt that the more you engage with your online lessons and the more evidence that you produce via completed assessments/set tasks the more likely you will be to receive the predicted grade that you are both happy with and which reflects your ability.

AS Level (Year 1) progression to Linear A Level (Year 2)

To ensure you are eligible for progression and in the best place to be successful in the 2021-2022 academic year you will need to continue to attend and engage with all of your subjects and obtain minimum a D grade for each subject. Not meeting this grade may result in re-coursing to a more suitable study programme.

Progress Coach Lessons

Progress Coaches will continue to provide one to one support throughout the lockdown period. You must ensure you use their support and raise any barriers you are facing or concerns that you have.

What we expect of you?

To ensure that the college is in the best position to produce a fair and accurate predicted grade for your subjects we expect the following of you:

  • To attend all lessons on your timetable and to be punctual to these lessons. You are also expected to attend your Progress Coach Sessions as timetabled.
  • To engage with all activities within each lesson including having your camera switched on and behaving both appropriately and respectfully
  • To meet all deadlines for homework and completed assignments and projects
  • To attend all scheduled mock exams on time and as planned
  • To maintain regular e-mail communication with your teachers
  • To share your timetable with your parents so that they are able to support you with your learning
  • To inform your teachers of any unforeseen circumstances

University or Employment

Progress Coaches, the Careers Team and your subject teachers are still available to support you in achieving your career goal. If you wish to book a careers appointment then you can do so remotely via the link below.

Book a careers appointment

Tuesday 5 January 

Exams

In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday evening (Monday 4 January) concerning the national lockdown, the College has decided to postpone all vocational exams that were due to take place from 6 to 28 January 2021.

This is not a decision we have taken lightly. Having reviewed our risk assessments and the level of transmissibility of the new strain, we cannot guarantee the safety of the large number of students involved and the staff that would be required to administer the exams.

Earlier today, we undertook a survey of the students who were due to attend College to sit an examination tomorrow. An overwhelming majority told us that they would either not attend their exam, or would do so as they felt they had no choice but would not feel safe. 

Furthermore, we are conscious that many learners would need to use public transport to attend the exam venue and this is at odds with Government advice.

We have consulted with other FE Colleges who have taken the same course of action and we are continuing to take part in discussions and support those lobbying the Government to make this call on a national level. We will fight alongside the exam boards to ensure that no student is detrimentally affected. If you would like to join us, you can sign the petition at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/548778

All exams will be rescheduled and this will not impact students overall grades.

Work Experience

After the Government announcement on Monday 4 January, all Work Experience Placements will continue to be suspended until further notice.

Update 31 December 2020

We have made some changes to our plans for returning to College after the festive break in light of the most recent government guidance and the particularly high infection rates for Essex. 

Start of term - 4 January 2021

The first week back will now be remote online learning for all students for the week Monday 4 January to Friday 8 January 2021.

The College will be using this week to organise and pilot the new processes for the implementation of non-mandatory mass testing for staff and students. 

Teaching staff will be facilitating live-streamed lessons to students remotely from home. Students should continue to follow their timetable from Monday 4 January. 

The College will be providing business as usual albeit in a remote capacity. This is neither a college closure nor a week off for students and staff.

Week 2 - Monday 11 January 2021

From Monday 11 January, the vast majority of students will continue to learn remotely. The College plans to invite selected groups of students onto Campus for some onsite learning. Our mass testing programme will be in place for any students and staff returning to Campus during this week. 

We will send a separate communication to these groups next week. Students who have not heard otherwise next week should continue to access their lessons online for the duration of the week commencing Monday 11 January. 

What to expect

From 4 January, students should follow their normal college timetable attending and engaging with all lessons on their study programme. This includes the main qualification(s), any GCSE or Pre-GCSE resit subjects and Progress Coach sessions.

Links to all live lessons for the first week in January will have now been shared. Student non-attendance will be followed up immediately and parents/carers will be contacted for any students not in attendance. Where necessary intervention meetings will be held with students who are not attending or not engaging with online lessons.

A team of college managers will be completing virtual learning walks to ensure the quality of these online lessons remains high. We ask that students have their camera turned on for live lessons and that as a bare minimum use the ‘chat’ function to ask questions and provide answers when requested. Students will not be marked present if they do not attend their online lessons. Any work set within lessons or as homework will need to be submitted by the necessary deadline to the relevant teacher.

If students require access to any equipment to enable them to fully participate in remote learning, they should contact their Progress Coach or subject tutor.

Exams on site during week of Monday 4 January

Particular groups of students will still be required on-site for pre-planned examinations during the first week of term. These will take place in appropriate socially distanced rooms and supervised by relevant members of staff. Any such activities will be communicated by the relevant curriculum area.

We would strongly recommend that those students taking an examination during this week book and complete a Covid-19 test at least four days in advance. You can request a test by following this link: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

College services

Transport 
College buses will remain in place for students who are required on site.

Wellbeing 
The Wellbeing Team will be available remotely providing their usual services, which includes one-to-one student support and a continuation of all learner voice related activities. 

Click Support
Click Support is an online platform that enables students to reach out remotely for specialist support from around the College. The platform can be accessed on the internet on any device and you can select how they would like to be contacted, for example a phone conversation, teams call or email. 

The College Website and Social Media 
Important updates will be provided at uspcollege.ac.uk or on the College's social media platforms, including FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Health & Safety Measures 
The College is continuing to follow the updated government guidance for schools and colleges reopening. Specifically, during these remote learning weeks there will be a deep clean of both campuses including all classrooms, social spaces, staff rooms and offices ready for all students to return on-site on Monday 18 January 2021. 

Reporting a positive case of COVID-19

If any student has a positive test result which returns after Wednesday 23 December, they should follow government guidelines and contact NHS Test & Trace. If they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace and informed to self-isolate then they should do so. The revised period of self-isolation is 10 days. If this period of self-isolation crosses over with the first week of the new academic term then you must contact the College before returning to campus. Under no circumstances should a student return to campus if still within a period of self-isolation. If this is the case they should access their lessons online until the period of self-isolation ends.

The College will continue to review updates to government advice and guidance and communicate any changes to these plans.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year and the very best wishes for the future and 2021.

Update 15 December 2020

Following our move into Tier 3, with effect from (and including) Wednesday 16 December, all students work placements are temporarily suspended until further notice and an update will follow when we return in January.

Update 11 December 2020

Covid-19 Community Testing of Children and Young People and their Families - Essex County Council

A letter to students and parents at our Seevic campus from Mike Gogarty, Director of Public Health and Wellbeing at Essex County Council.

PDF

Covid-19 Community Testing of Children and Young People and their Families - Thurrock Council

A letter to students and their parents at our Palmer's Campus from Ian Wake, Director of Public Health at Thurrock Council.

PDF

Update 25 September 2020

We have today been notified by Public Health England that a member of staff has tested positive for Covid-19.

We understand this may cause some concern, but want to provide some reassurance and information about the action we are taking in accordance with Government guidelines for schools and colleges. 

From the moment we were informed of the positive test, all processes and procedures advised were enacted.  The College followed the guidance and identified those young people and staff that had been in contact with the member of staff. 

We have spoken directly to all students and members of staff with whom that member of staff has been in close contact and, in line with advice from Public Health England and NHS 111, these members of staff and the relevant bubble of students have been sent home to self-isolate for 14 days.

We remain open to all other students in different social bubbles and designated areas of the College campus. This means that those who haven't directly been advised otherwise should continue to attend their lessons as normal. In line with our plans, the relevant areas of College will undergo a deep clean this evening.

We will of course update you if any of the above information changes. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our students for responding so positively to our Covid-19 rules, and to offer a reminder of how important it is to continue to do so. Students should continue to remain within their social bubbles and keep to the areas of the College that have been designated to their bubble, making sure they wear a mask and socially distance whenever they are outside of these designated areas, such as the hallways, toilets and restaurant. 

If any student has any concerns about their wellbeing, they are welcome to make an appointment to speak to a member of Student Services through our Click Support platform.

We thank our College community for their understanding and continued support during this challenging time.

Update 19 August 

Safety at USP College

The beginning of term is fast approaching and I’m sure that you will have some questions and concerns about starting somewhere new in these unusual and challenging times.

Safety
We’ve spent the summer planning and implementing physical measures to make being at the college as safe as possible. This includes:

  • socially distanced layouts and having sanitisers, wipes and tissues available in all classrooms
  • implementing one-way systems, sanitising stations and requirements to wear face masks in corridors
  • limiting the numbers of students on campus at any one time through a ‘blended learning’ approach to teaching and learning, which I’ll explain in more detail below

We’re continuously monitoring government guidance, testing and making changes and improvements to these measures to keep all of our students and staff safe.

Flexible ‘blended learning’ approach
Blended learning means that your course will involve a blend of on-campus, in-person teaching along with live, timetabled virtual lessons which you can access at home. This allows us to reduce the numbers of students we have in the College at any one time so we can prioritise student safety while maintaining effective delivery of all lessons.

Blended learning also provides the flexibility for us to dial up or down the virtual aspect of each course depending on individual as well as global circumstances. For instance, we could easily implement a fully virtual delivery approach should another national or local lockdown be required, or move an individual student to 100% virtual learning should they be required to quarantine or self-isolate. Should circumstances allow, we can also easily revert to a normal timetable with 100% on-campus delivery.

With blended learning, students will be expected to be in College for around 3 days a week. Whilst on campus you will maintain ‘social bubbles’ with your tutor and fellow classmates. This includes lunch breaks, which have been staggered across courses to support the integrity of the bubbles.

Our state-of-the-art virtual teaching technology
We are well-placed as a College to deliver blended learning thanks to the investments we have been making in digital and virtual learning technologies well before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. You can find out more about our approach to innovation and technology in this video.
Since the start of lockdown we have really been able to test our systems to the limits and have received some rave reviews from students who experienced fully virtual teaching before Summer.

Whilst we cannot predict when teaching will return completely to normal, we feel confident that the advanced systems and technology we have in place for the virtual element of our courses provide a fantastic alternative to face-to-face lessons.

Getting to College
I acknowledge that the thought of getting to College may be a big concern for you. Hopefully, the reduced number of days required on campus will help with these concerns. In addition, we have made the wearing of facemasks a requirement on College buses and sanitiser will be provided. First and Arriva have also announced that they will be increasing the number of buses they provide to allow social distancing to be practised on public transport.

An approach to suit everyone
The College is continuously monitoring the national picture and is able to offer flexible options in light of the pandemic. Whatever your concerns or circumstances, we’re sure we can work with you to find a solution.

BTEC Results 

Update from Pearson, BTEC awarding body. 

Pearson has issued guidance to schools and colleges asking them not to issue Level 1 or Level 2 results on Thursday 20 August. 

Please do not worry if you are looking to join us this September or are progressing to a higher level course > read more here. 

Update 11 August 

Higher Education at USP College 

If you have applied to study a Higher Education course with us this September we will honour conditional offers if you need to go through the Ofqual appeals process.

The Ofqual appeals process will conclude by 7 September, enough time that if your grade is successfully appealed you will be able to start the new term on 21 September. If however, having received your results and you do not meet all the conditions of your offer, for example, if you have not achieved the required grade, the course leader will make a final decision regarding your offer. If you find yourself in this situation and require further information or you feel we should be alerted to any exception circumstance please contact our Admissions Team (admissions@uspcollege.ac.uk). 

If you decide to take your opportunity to sit your exams in the autumn exam series, we will, unfortunately, have to defer your application to the next academic year. 

Ofqual has published advice for students receiving their results this summer but if you have any other questions please get in touch. 

Update 5 August 2020 

Enrolment

If you have applied to study with us this September (which is great we can't wait to meet you!) we have emailed you some important information about your enrolment.

Enrolment will take place virtually this year and is available from 9am on Thursday 20 August until 3pm on Tuesday 25 August, meaning you will not need to come into the College. 

Once you have received your examination results from your school please log in to our enrolment system using the log in details which we have emailed you. 

The virtual enrolment link is https://enrol.uspcollege.ac.uk.

If you are unable to log in, please contact our IT Department on 01268 882 642 or email itservices@uspcollege.ac.uk 

Alternatively, if you have any other queries or haven't received an email, please contact the enrolment team on 01268 882 644 or email enrolment@uspcollege.ac.uk 

If you would like to study with us in September but haven't yet applied don't worry - we still have spaces available. 

Discover our range of courses including A-Levels, Professional Qualifications (BTECs), Adult Education, Higher Education and Foundation Learning (we would love to have you join us!).

Exam results update

A-Level Results Day

This year we will be issuing examination results by email. We have emailed each student ahead of A-Level Results Day on Thursday 13 August. If you have not received this email please contact exams.all@uspcollege.ac.uk to ensure you receive your results on Thursday. 

On 13 August, the College will be sending your A-Level results to your e-mail address. Please check your in-box after 8am.

GCSE Results Day 

This year results will be issued via email. With have sent all GCSE students an email outlining the process if you have not received this please email exams.all@uspcollege.ac.uk to ensure you receive your results.

On 20 August, the College will be sending your GCSE results to your e-mail address. Please check your inbox after 8am.

Professional (BTEC) Qualifications Results

Level 3 BTEC Results will be distributed from Thursday 13 August. 

All results will be posted home and where applicable those who have applied to UCAS will be emailed a summary of their results. 

Level 1 and 2 BTEC Results will be distributed from Thursday 20 August and will be posted home. 

Further information

Ofqual has published a student guide providing further information on how grades have been awarded this year. Important information has been emailed to all A-Level and GCSE students, if you have not received this please contact exams.all@uspcollege.ac.uk

Update 22 July 

Summer and September plans

Enrolment 
Enrolment will take place from GCSE Results Day (Thursday 20 August), we are still in the process of developing plans for enrolment and confirmation of plans will be emailed to students in August. We are looking at face-to-face, online and blended options.

Induction 
Our Student Induction Day is planned for Friday 4 September 2020. This year we will be holding this event online which will provide students with the information they need about starting their study programme, additional support as well as allowing them to meet their peers and teachers. 

September Start 
Our plan for September is based upon the latest Government guidance. During lockdown we have been making changes to our campuses to support social distancing and limiting the spread of the virus, including the introduction of one-way systems, floor marking and signage, and hand sanitising stations. 

We are planning to initially deliver lessons through a 'blended learning' approach of socially distanced face-to-face lessons within the College and 'live' online lessons and independent study at home using the College Virtual Learning Environment (VLE). 

We will be closely monitoring Government advice and guidelines and will adjust any plans as required. 

Update: 15 April

You may be aware that The Department for Education advised last week that school and colleges will remain closed until further notice. 

We understand the Government plans to review the current measures and issue guidance following an update later this week. We will clarify our position after this announcement via email to students and parents/guardians, so keep an eye on your inbox. Stay Safe! 

Update: 31 March 

A message for our students,

As we begin the second full week of our College closure, it’s very sad that we’re not in our classrooms, mixing together and working with each other.

Learning has continued, albeit in a very different way, and we thank you for engaging with your teachers and adapting so well to online learning, which has been a learning curve for us all!

We will continue to share good news stories and positive messages across our social media to help us all feel connected.

Whilst you are at home, we want you to know that our Wellbeing team are still available to support you and you can contact them via email:

Please continue to be very self-disciplined and rigorous about your hygiene and social distancing, isolating yourself if you need to.

We wish you good health.

Update: 23 March 

Since the announcement last week that all summer exams will be cancelled, the Government has provided further clarity around what this will mean for students and how grades are likely to be calculated. 

The Department for Education’s newly published guidance seeks to reassure students, parents and educators that candidates will be awarded a fair grade that recognises the work they have put in. 

The Government has confirmed that students will not simply be awarded their predicted grades as this would not be fair to all students. Instead, grades awarded will take into account a broad range of evidence, including teacher assessment of likely grades and prior attainment, such as mock exam results. 

The information also provides reassurance that any student will be able to make an appeal or sit an exam as soon as possible after schools and colleges open again if they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance. Universities UK, which represents UK universities, has advised that it expects universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students, including allowing a delayed start time for those students wishing to sit an exam after the summer. 

More detailed information is available here.

Update: 19 March 

Distance Learning for A-Level, BTEC and Higher Education students

Further to the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson’s speech to the House of Commons yesterday (18 March), we would like to clarify that the arrangements we have put in place for distance learning for our A-Level, BTEC and Higher Education students will still stand.

Teachers will continue to work remotely to deliver these lessons as planned and those students should continue to engage with learning on a daily basis. The only change to our update yesterday for those students is that the College campuses will be not be accessible as of Monday 23 March until further notice, meaning that students will be unable to use on-site facilities such as the library during this time.

Support will continue to be available remotely from teachers, Heads of Learning, our Wellbeing Team and other staff during the campus closures. Key contact details can be found here.

Exams

The Prime Minister also confirmed that exams will not take place in May or June. Like us, we’re sure you will have many questions as to what it means for your GCSE and A Level grades and your places on future courses or study. As soon as we are given any further information we will of course let you know.

Critically, there has been no decision made regarding whether summer qualifications will be graded or allocated. We are anticipating that mock examination grades and assessments may be used to inform final grades awarded, as may projected grades. We are storing mock papers centrally if the exam boards ask for evidence from us regarding your performance to date.

Vulnerable students

We are also awaiting clarification from the Government on what yesterday’s announcement will mean for our vulnerable students. We will contact parents of our vulnerable students directly once we have further information.

Free school meals

The Government has confirmed it will put in place a national voucher system as soon as possible for those eligible for free school meals. Those who are eligible to receive these meals should expect a payment to arrive in their bank accounts this Wednesday.

 

Update: 18 March (5:50pm)

Further to the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson’s speech to the House of Commons today (18 March), the College's management team will be meeting first thing tomorrow morning to make plans accordingly. We will provide an update following this.

 

Update: 17 March (5pm)

USP College will move to distance learning from Thursday 19 March

Yesterday afternoon, the Prime Minister gave a speech introducing more rigorous self-isolation and social distancing measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus. This has resulted in a number of staff and students needing to stay at home, which means we are now going to introduce distance learning from Thursday 19 March until the beginning of the Easter break (Friday 3 April).

We have been spending the past two weeks planning and preparing for a move to a distance learning approach so we can continue to support students to achieve the best learning outcome possible.

Students are advised to come in tomorrow as usual, and their tutor will provide them with guidance on how to engage with distance learning, set clear expectations for the duration of this approach, and provide reassurance. Students who are unable to access IT equipment for online learning, please speak with your teacher and tutor.

The College campuses will remain open, and some specific groups of students may still be advised to attend in order to undertake particular assignments or assessments on campus. This will take place in small groups or in a 1:1 basis to limit contact.

This is not a College closure, and there will be clear expectations for students to engage with their learning via the online tools and communication channels that have been put place.

We would like to ask for your support in encouraging students to participate fully with this temporary change. Distance learning should be treated with the same rigour as learning on campus in order to maintain educational outcomes. 

In light of the Government advice to limit social contact, we have also taken the decision to postpone work experience placements that are currently underway or due to begin. If your son or daughter is currently undertaking or due to undertake a work experience placement, we will contact their employer to let them know that you will not be attending with immediate effect.

We are taking decisive leadership action for your safety based on our current situation. We will keep communicating on a regular basis, so keep an eye on our website and your inbox for daily changes in this fast-moving situation.

Please be assured that the College is taking all possible steps to ensure that students are not disadvantaged when it comes to their qualifications and next steps. Teachers, Heads of Learning, the Director of Curriculum and Campus Operations, and Learning Plus team will be contactable throughout this time; you can find the contact details of key staff here. 

Term is due to start again on Monday 20 April as planned, with attendance expected at both campuses as usual unless we advise otherwise.

We understand that you and your families may be feeling worried or anxious so please find some useful resources below. 

To get in touch with a member of staff please use our staff list.

Update: 16 March 2/2 (5:30pm)

Further to Boris Johnson's press conference this afternoon, we would like to ask that students, parents and staff adhere to the following new guidance to combat the spread of Coronavirus that anyone who lives with someone who has a cough or a temperature should stay at home for 14 days.

In order to support those most vulnerable to be shielded from social contact, we are contacting staff and students with serious health conditions about ways we can support them to work or study from home.

The Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, has said that school closures may be necessary, but they would need to be introduced at the right time. We will therefore remain open until advised by the Government to close, however we will continue to plan for a move to distance learning should the decision be taken by the Government for educational institutions to close.

It is our intention to remain fully compliant with the guidance of the Government, which is being informed by scientific evidence on the best course and timings of actions to slow the spread of the virus.

Update: 16 March 1/2 (12pm)

The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider community is of the upmost importance to USP College and we are committed to lessening both the risk of the spread of Coronavirus and the impact on students’ learning.

As of this morning, there are still no confirmed cases at the College. A member of staff at our Seevic Campus has reported having a high temperature and is therefore not currently in College but has not been advised to have further testing. In line with Public Health England advice, we are still taking a cautious approach in sending those with any of relevant symptoms home to self-isolate until they receive further advice from NHS 111 and undertaking a thorough and deep clean of any areas they have been in contact with.

The specialist cleaning products that we have been using on all contact surfaces since the start of the outbreak have a seven-day latency, meaning that they continue to remain active and kill germs after they have been applied.

As an extra precaution, we have also decided to postpone the Course Welcome Evenings scheduled for this week and the Student CPD Day next week, as well as cancelling all visits to and from external organisations until further notice.

The guidance from the Department of Education is still that schools and colleges should not close unless advised to by Public Health England, and so the College remains open.

The Chief Medical Officer has advised “there is no scientific evidence yet for closing schools” and Boris Johnson has stated “the scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time but of course we are keeping this under review and this again may change as the disease spreads.”

Update: 13 March

We know that the spread and impact of Coronavirus is changing rapidly and that this is causing concern for students and parents/guardians.

We are continuing to monitor developments and are closely following any changes to the Government’s published plan and recommendations. We are also remaining alert to healthcare information and advice from the World Health Organisation, Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England and daily updates from the Department for Education, and seeking advice and further clarification as needed. 

The Department of Education advice for colleges continues to be that they should remain open unless advised to close by Public Health England, and the College will adhere to this guidance.

We understand that the decision to remain open may be a cause for concern for some of you. The reason the Government is taking this decision is that introducing school and college closures too early would limit the effectiveness of these measures at the time of greatest risk but could have a huge social impact. 

We would like to assure you that we have not had any confirmed cases within the College, and we are taking a cautious approach in sending those with relevant symptoms home to self-isolate until they receive further advice from NHS 111. 
 

The latest advice if you feel unwell

Public Health England's advice is now that you should self-isolate for seven days if you have a new persistent cough or high temperature (above 37.8 degrees). We would like to emphasise that those experiencing these symptoms should not come into College. 

Any students self-isolating should notify the College on our absence reporting line:

  • Seevic Campus: 01268 882 629
  • Palmer’s campus: 01375 898 608


The advice from Public Health England is that you should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, but should use the NHS 111 website or advice line if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your condition gets worse. 

What additional measures have we put in place?

While our hope and intention is that the College will remain open in order to minimise the impact on students’ learning, the College management team is fully focused on planning to ensure that we can continue to deliver quality education remotely in the eventuality that a closure is necessary. This includes ensuring appropriate methods of communication, work-setting, assessment and feedback are available remotely, and ensuring we hold accurate and up-to-date home contact details of all students.
 
As an innovator and leader in the enhancement of education through technology, we feel well prepared to maintain educational outcomes through non-traditional classroom settings in the event of a closure.

Update: 4 March

We understand that students, parents and guardians may be concerned about the current Coronavirus outbreak and want to provide some reassurance about how we are monitoring and responding to developments within the College.

Close monitoring

We are carefully monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 in order to contain the spread of the virus whilst ensuring we maintain educational outcomes for our students. We receive daily updates and are following advice from the Department for Education, and are frequently referring to guidance from Public Health England and taking relevant action in accordance with their advice.

At present, advice from the Department of Education states that no school should close in response to a suspected or confirmed case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.

Precautions being taken

We have boosted our cleaning efforts, including more frequent cleaning of contact surfaces such as door handles, turnstiles, cash point machines, keyboards and toilet facilities, while hand sanitisers have been placed in key areas such as reception, offices, classrooms and restaurants.

In addition to information on this webpage, we are sharing information and updates from Public Health England and other partners, via:

Our response if the situation changes

The College's management team is meeting on a regular basis to review updates to information and guidance and to determine and adapt our course of action as the situation changes.

Whilst the College has no plans to close at present, we are putting plans in place to ensure that learning can continue and students are not adversely impacted if we do find ourselves having to take this course of action.

How you can help

Help limit the spread of germs

NHS England have advised that the virus is transmitted in much the same way as the flu virus through coughs and sneezes. You can help to limit the spread of germs by practising good hand and respiratory hygiene. Catch a cough or sneeze in a tissue and thrown it in the bin, and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

Get the right advice

If you are concerned that you may have come into contact with the virus and are displaying symptoms of a cough, fever and difficulty in breathing call NHS 111 for advice. They will advise on whether or not you should self-isolate.

Notify the College

Please notify the College on our absence reporting line (01268 882 629 at our Seevic Campus or 01375 898 608 at our Palmer’s campus) if: