We understand that this is a challenging time for our student community due to the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). This page provides you with answers to some of the most common questions. However, if you have a question not answered here, please do not hesitate to contact your Progress Mentor.
- 1. What are the arrangements for the return to college campus in April 2021?
We are pleased that the Prime Minister has now set out the next phase of the Government’s response to coronavirus (COVID-19), including where restrictions on attendance at education settings can be lifted. The decision to ease restrictions is made on the balance of risk to public health and educational considerations.
The following arrangements are now in place, depending on individual students’ learning programmes:
Week of 12th April (after Easter break)
Pre-Advanced Vocational (Level 1, Level 2, Entry Level) On campus for whole timetable; students taught in class-sized “bubbles” Advanced Vocational (Level 3 Applied Science, Music, PPP, Hair & Media Make-Up, Graphics, Art & Design, FAD) On campus for whole timetable; students taught in class-sized “bubbles” A Level On campus for whole timetable Adult courses & HE Blended learning; individual arrangements by course, predominantly online Apprenticeships Blended learning; individual arrangements by course, predominantly online
- 2. How can I stay up to date with communications from the college?
All Runshaw students will receive regular updates via their college email account. Please therefore check emails on a daily basis and follow all instructions from your teachers and progress mentor. If you have forgotten the password to your college account, you can reset it using the password management tool.
The parents/guardians/carers of Runshaw students will receive regular updates via the Communications Portal. If you do not already have an account, please sign up here.
- 3. How can I be sure that the college is COVID-secure?
We are committed to providing outstanding teaching, learning and assessment for all students, within an environment that protects the health, safety and wellbeing of our whole college community.
Our absolute priorities are to:
- Protect the health, safety and wellbeing of all members of our college community
- Provide outstanding teaching, learning, assessment and support for all learners
We have introduced 10 key controls, to ensure that our campus is COVID-secure:
You can also check out the full college risk assessment here: Covid 19 Risk Assessment
- 4. When do I need to wear a face covering?
You must wear a face covering in all indoor areas of the college campus, to help protect all members of the college community. We require you to wear a face covering in corridors and communal areas, as well as classrooms and workshops, because it will not always be possible to maintain a social distance from other students or staff. The wearing of face coverings is important to reduce the risk of transmission. This is in line with the latest government guidance.
Face coverings should cover both your mouth and nose. You must take care when putting on or removing your face covering. Clear guidance is available on how to wear a face covering. We recommend washable, fabric face coverings, rather than disposable ones, for environmental reasons. You are likely to need at least 3 clean face coverings during a college day, including your bus journeys, so please have these with you in small plastic bags, and then wash them each evening.
In accordance with our usual college dress code, we ask students not to wear face coverings which may cause offence to others (e.g. those that display offensive slogans or images).
Some people are exempt from the wearing of face coverings, and if this applies to you we ask you to wear a badge on your lanyard to indicate this, so that you are not requested to put one on. These badges are available from your Progress Mentor in the Programme Office.
- 5. As a student or staff member, how can I access regular testing for myself and others?
Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus (COVID-19) do not have symptoms but can still pass it on to others. Regular testing of people without symptoms (asymptomatic testing) is important to help stop the virus spreading. As lockdown restrictions gradually ease, we all need to play our part to help protect each other.
We strongly encourage all students and staff to test themselves twice every week at home. Anyone in England who does not have symptoms can now get regular rapid lateral flow tests to check for coronavirus.
You are asked to:
- take a test twice a week (every 3 or 4 days)
- report every result to NHS Test and Trace on the same day you take the test; Report your test result online or by calling 119
If you test positive or get coronavirus symptoms, you should notify college and:
- self-isolate immediately
- get a PCR test to confirm the result
- follow the stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus infection
You can access the twice-weekly testing as follows (in order of preference):
- Your local rapid lateral flow test site
- You can take a rapid lateral flow test at a local site. Testing at these sites is assisted, which means you will swab yourself under the supervision of a trained operator. You may need to book an appointment.
- Find your nearest rapid lateral flow test site.
- Collect a home test kit from a pharmacy or test site
- You can get rapid tests to do at home. You can collect up to 2 packs of 7 tests from a local pharmacy or test site:
- find a pharmacy where you can collect rapid tests
- find a test site where you can collect rapid tests
- Collect a home test kit from college
- These are available each day in the Student Entrance, from 3:15pm.
- Order a home test kit online
- If none of the above options are available to you, you can order a home test kit online. You can get a pack of 7 tests sent to your home.
- Order rapid lateral flow home test kits on GOV.UK
This guidance provides full information on who can be tested and how you can get a test.
- 6. What are the arrangements for COVID-19 asymptomatic testing in college?
Now that students have completed 3 tests in our on-site testing facility, we are moving to a home testing model for all staff and students. The lateral flow devices used have received regulatory approval from the medicines and healthcare regulatory agency (MHRA) for self-use. Testing remains voluntary but is strongly encouraged.
Please see the question above for details of regular home testing.
There is a small Asymptomatic Test Site on campus, to be used by students who are unable or unwilling to test themselves at home.
If you wish to use this facility, please book a test appointment during a study period. Please log on to the Student Portal and click “COVID-19 Lateral Flow Testing, View Information & Consent”. Once you have given consent, the “Book Appointment” option will be available and you should book a test as soon as possible after arriving to college.
The full government guidance on the testing programme is here.
- 7. What happens if I develop COVID symptoms while at college?
The NHS currently defines coronavirus symptoms as:
- a high temperature,
- a new, continuous cough,
- a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste.
If you develop any of these symptoms in college, please immediately speak to any member of staff. They will provide you with personal protective equipment and will escort you to the isolation room (there is one on each campus). You will then need to go home, get a test and self-isolate following government guidance.
- 8. What will happen if a student or member of staff at the college develops COVID-19?
Any students or staff with symptoms must stay at home, get a test and self-isolate following government guidance. If a test confirms a case of COVID-19, then the college will immediately contact Public Health England and follow their instructions.
Any close contacts of the infected person will be identified. The definition of a close contact can be found here. Close contacts must self-isolate. In the case of students, they will be informed via text message and via a letter to their college email address. Parents/carers of the students will be sent a copy of the letter via the Communications Portal.
Any other people who may potentially have been in contact with the infected person will be identified. These people do not need to self-isolate, but they will receive a letter of guidance, asking them to be alert to any potential symptoms.
Students who are self-isolating for any reason, but are feeling well, will continue their studies remotely. They will not be disadvantaged by following the instruction to self-isolate. Teachers and Progress Mentors will continue to support students through any period of self-isolation.
- 9. Where can I find the government guidance that the college is following?
The government guidance that applies to Further Education colleges can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision
Please note that this guidance differs from the government guidance for schools.
- 10. When will the college be reviewing the COVID restrictions in place?
The current control measures are now in place until the end of term in July 2021. If government guidance changes significantly, then the college will respond accordingly.
- 11. What will happen with the exams in the summer?
It is government policy that this year’s cohort of GCSE, A Level and many Vocational students should receive grades based on teachers’ judgements of their performance based on a range of evidence. The approach should give students confidence, maximise remaining teaching time and be flexible to accommodate changes to public health advice.
You will continue studying, following your normal timetable and completing the types of assessments that would normally form part of your course. Your teachers will then use a range of evidence to work out your grade. The college will let all students know exactly which evidence will be used to work out the grades for each course. You will be able to see the evidence on which your grade is to be determined, before grades are submitted to the exam boards.
For further details, please see the links below:
- 12. Where can I find my timetable and will it keep changing throughout the year?
Your timetable is available at all times via the Student Portal.
Once in place, your timetable will not change throughout the year. We have managed to develop student timetables that are flexible, so that you can be sure of the same timetable right through the academic year. Your timetable shows the lessons you will have each period, each day. The only thing that may change throughout the year is the location of these lessons, and whether they are on-campus or online.
- 13. Who can I talk to, if I am worried about my learning or my wellbeing?
Pastoral support at Runshaw College has been recognised by Ofsted as “in a different league”. All Runshaw students have a dedicated Progress Mentor who is available via a direct phone number and email address, for support at any time. If you have any concerns, about anything at all, please let them know and they will be happy to help.
In addition, our student support services, including counselling, are fully accessible online as well as on campus.
- 14. Do I need a laptop and is there technical support from college?
We recommend that all students have access to their own technology to access their study programme, including the right hardware (for example, a laptop), software and connectivity (for example, broadband).
If you find that obtaining the right technology is difficult because of financial reasons, the college might be able to support you. Please ask your progress mentor about our bursaries and laptop loans.
Our friendly and award-winning IT Services team are always happy to help with any technical support needs. Please access their support via the Student Portal.
- 15. Where can I find information about travel and bus passes?
Will I receive money back for my bus pass if I have only been travelling into college one day per week?
We are offering a bus pass rebate scheme for this purpose. Eligible students will be issued these funds to their nominated bank account or their RunshawPay at the end of each half term.
Will I receive a partial refund for my bus pass during the national lockdown?
We will be issuing partial refunds for this period of online learning (from 4th January to 12th February) therefore if you would like these funds to be transferred to a preferred bank account, please enter your details onto the Student Portal. This partial refund will be £10.90 per week (Leyland Zone £5.09 per week) which will be issued on the last day of term. These refunds will be automatically transferred to the students RunshawPay account if we do not have their nominated bank details.
Do I still need to purchase a Semester 2 Bus Pass?
We have extended the deadline to apply for a Semester 2 Bus Pass to the 5th March 2021. The pass price has been reduced pro-rota to £156.00.
- 16. Can I still buy food and drink at college?
Yes. Our wide range of college restaurants are open, and we have adapted our service to take into account the current restrictions. Most food is now “grab and go” so that you can collect food quickly and limit contact with other people. Seating in the restaurant areas is spaced out to accommodate social distancing, with Perspex screens so that you can talk to friends safely, and we have set up a number of additional seating areas to provide space for everyone to eat safely.
For good hygiene, we prefer contactless payments using Runshaw Pay, and you can top up your card via the Student Portal.
- 17. How can I get involved with enrichment and Horizons activities at college or online?
The usual outstanding array of Horizons academies, societies and enrichment opportunities, continue to be available, both on-campus and online.
- 18. How can I be sure that Runshaw College is adapting appropriately, as a result of the pandemic?
Ofsted are not currently carrying out full inspections, but they did come to visit Runshaw College in October 2020, for an “interim visit”.
In this visit, the two Her Majesty’s Inspectors explored the following 3 themes:
- What actions are leaders taking to ensure that they provide an appropriate curriculum that responds to the reasonable needs of learners and stakeholders and adapts to changed circumstances?
- What steps are leaders, managers and staff taking to ensure that the approaches used for building knowledge and skills are appropriate to meet the reasonable needs of learners?
- How are leaders ensuring that learners are safe and well informed about potential risks, including from online sources?
They were extremely positive about everything they saw. Their full report has now been published – here.