How will the college be supporting my child's academic progress while they can’t access the pre-degree campus?
The college routinely uses Google Classroom as an online learning resource. All briefs are already shared via this platform and curriculum staff are working hard to transfer resources for forthcoming weeks to this location to support online teaching. Google Classroom will also function as a hub for class discussions and feedback during the suspension of face-to-face teaching.
We will be delivering live weekly briefings and lectures via Google Meet, a video conferencing app which is provided free as part of our students Google Suite. All students will be provided with information on how to use the app and guidelines for appropriate behaviour. Every student will also be issued with an online pack which includes important contact details for academic staff as well as other college services.
I am studying English and Maths qualifications - what should I do now?
In this period of uncertainty if you are enrolled on English or Maths programmes you should continue to engage with your studies after the Easter break. We will be undertaking assessment after Easter, along with weekly remote classroom drop-in sessions and assignments posted weekly on Google Classroom.
The current indication is that information about how to award grades for English and Maths exams will be released to us during the Easter break and that prior achievement, class progress and teacher assessment will support the end results. For English and Maths it is possible that a later exam date may be an option for some students. We will inform you clearly and in a timely manner if this could be an option for you.
What will happen to English and Maths resits?
On Thursday 19th March it was announced that the exam schedule for May and June, including A Levels and GCSEs, will no longer take place. This has a significant impact on our students who have been studying hard to undertake resit examinations this year.
Government spokespeople have said that students will ‘receive qualifications by August’ and that ‘progress will not be impeded’. As clearer guidance becomes available you will be contacted with more information. We are scheduling online support for all of our English and Maths students, so please ensure your child engages with these opportunities.
For students about to undertake Functional Skills exams, these have been suspended. We will aim to provide these at the earliest opportunity prioritising students that are completing their main qualifications this year.
What will happen to end of year assessments for International Baccalaureate, Extended, Foundation and L2 Diploma?
On Friday 27 March we received further information from our awarding body, the University of the Arts London (UAL) that they ‘are developing a grade estimation model based on previously completed work, and supported by quality assurance checks, to deliver the fairest and most consistent approach to results across the UK this summer 2020. We are advancing proposals with the qualifications regulators who must sign-off on any solution to ensure that it is fair and consistent. Our expectation at the current time is that final unit projects completed after school and college closures will not factor in grade decisions this year.’
This is of course as disappointing to Plymouth College of Art as a centre that values creative making and thinking to a student’s creative practice as it is to UAL. However these major changes to final assessment are intended to ensure that all students have the best opportunity to progress unhindered towards the next level of higher study or employment.
Therefore, work on students' Final Major Project (FMP) and work on FMP proposals and planning for this project specifically should pause whilst we await further detail from the awarding body regarding whether FMPs will be assessed.
However, more generally we advise all our students to keep making and creating (whether this relates to their FMPs or not), in the interests of their own creative practice, wellbeing and to support their next steps.
For International Baccalaureate qualifications we are supporting teaching online to ensure there is minimal impact on progress, following the online timetable that was shared with all students on 25th March.
Reflective Project tutorials will go ahead via an online model and we recommend students suspend Service Learning activities to minimise social interaction in line with guidance on COVID-19 measures. All Reflective Project Supervisors are ready and able to undertake meetings online and library resources are being enhanced to support these studies. Our online library and other useful resources can all be accessed by your student portal.
Final external exams and assessment for IBCP will take place in 2021, so should see a lessened impact from the disruption this year.
Will this affect my child's progression onto undergraduate study at Plymouth College of Art or another HEI?
We will continue to support our Pre Degree students with guaranteed progression to our undergraduate programmes and will liaise closely with the awarding body for UAL qualifications to respond rapidly to alternative measures to ensure students achieve the qualifications they deserve.
Further information on UCAS applications will become available in due course, and we will update our students with any potential impact as soon as we are able.
I'm planning my next steps - what do I need to remember?
If you are a first-year Extended Diploma student we had intended to provide activities and events centred on your next steps. We are currently working on plans to provide a comparable experience online and will notify you soon regarding this.
For Foundation Diploma & Year 2 Extended Diploma students we remind you to apply for student finance by the end of May if you are progressing onto higher education. Details on how to proceed will be emailed by our finance lead Emily Smith (email@example.com). Please also continue to, where possible, develop your portfolios for interviews.
For our Level 2 students we remind you to continue to look into your next steps and we will continue to support internal progression. All Level 2 internal progression discussions should have happened but if you have any questions regarding this please contact your Subject Leader Chris Smith.
How can I help my child manage their studies?
We understand that the disruption will be unsettling for students and that the transition to studying at home might not be easy. However, we will be encouraging students to continue to work as much as possible under the circumstances and focus on the problem-solving and planning and management aspects of their unit criteria.
Without full access to spaces and equipment, we encourage students to be proactive and positive in seeking out suitable alternatives, testing out different approaches and evidencing these challenges in their respective projects.
How will the college be supporting students with additional needs?
We will continue to provide support for students with moderate needs, and those students with an Educational Health & Care Plan (EHCP). Specialist Support Workers will be in close contact with students to ensure they are able to access the learning and support remotely if required.
Communication will be through the student college account via Google Meets, Hangouts and Gmail, and will involve collaboration with tutors and parents. Regular contact will be kept with students and parents by the Learning Support Coordinator Bea Stevens.
My child receives financial support - will their bursary be affected?
We are pleased to confirm that all students who would have received travel and meals support will see money arrive into their bank accounts, most of which will have received a payment on the 27th March. Travel funding will continue to be paid in the hope that this extra money will support our students in this uncertain time.
How will the college continue to provide safeguarding support to students?
Students requiring safeguarding, welfare or financial support should email our Safeguarding Officer Carol (firstname.lastname@example.org) or ring on her work phone 07866 129691 (9-4pm Mon-Fri). Student Services have also set up The Big White Wall which will offer students support for their well-being 24 hrs a day. See www.bigwhitewall.com and follow the instructions with your college email address.
How will communication be maintained by college staff?
Our Pre-degree staff are committed to ensuring proactive and responsive teaching during this unprecedented time. We appreciate your patience as we continue to monitor the situation closely and will continue to update you by email as the situation evolves.
If you have an urgent concern relating to COVID-19 (coronavirus) please contact email@example.com