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 during the national lockdown?
A national lockdown was announced on Monday 4th January. As such, all learning programmes have now moved entirely online and this will continue until after February half term (ending 21st February). All students should follow their normal timetable and check instructions provided by their teachers (please see the questions below, relating to online learning, for more details). Online learning at Runshaw College is outstanding, and you can be sure of all the support you need to complete your course successfully.
- 2. I need to attend college during the national lockdown. What should I do?
During the national lockdown, the college remains open for vulnerable young people and the children of critical workers. If you would like to attend the college campus to access remote learning, please make arrangements for this by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that it will not be possible to access the college unannounced. College bus services will not operate during the lockdown.
- 3. 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.
- 4. 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/further-education-fe-operational-guidance.
Please note that this guidance differs from the government guidance for schools.
- 5. When will the college be reviewing the COVID restrictions in place?
The current control measures are now in place until 22nd February 2021. If government guidance changes significantly, then the college will respond accordingly.
Whatever happens, we will review our plans each half term. We will provide updates by the following dates:
Update by: For the term/half term beginning on: 12th October 2020 2nd November 2020 14th December 2020 4th January 2021 8th February 2021 (NB. This may be delayed depending on the review of the National Lockdown) 22nd February 2021 22nd March 2021 12th April 2021
We aim to return to fully on-campus learning for all students as soon as it is safe to do so.
- 6. 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.
- 7. How can I return my library books and access library resources during lockdown?
The libraries on both sites are closed due to the national lockdown and the Click & Collect Service is suspended. However, there are thousands of e-resources available through EBSCO Discovery and the Library Catalogue – available on the Library Moodle pages and on your course Moodle pages.
All books due back in January will be renewed until 26/02/21 by the Library Team, and beyond that if needed. Our Library Management System is currently being upgraded so students and staff cannot access their records remotely. Contact the Library team on email@example.com if you need any help.
- 8. 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.
- 9. 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.
- 10. What will online learning be like during lockdown?
Online lessons will mirror as closely as possible the activities that would take place in a normal classroom setting. Each lesson will contain some element that is “live”, for example, teacher explanations and demonstrations with the opportunity for students to query the task or ask further questions to aid their understanding. In addition, students may be set group, pair or individual tasks that they can work on outside of the live online lesson before returning to the lesson for assessment, feedback or further activities.
Your teachers, progress mentor and other staff are available to support you as always, both online and on the phone.
- 11. 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.
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.
- 12. I have paid for a bus pass but won’t need it when studying at home. What can I do?
We are offering a bus pass rebate scheme for this purpose. Full details are in the Transport Welcome Guide, provided on Moodle as part of your welcome pack. All bus pass holders will receive a pro-rata refund of £10.90 per week for this period of online learning (from 4th January to 12th February). This refund will be issued at the end of this half term. Students must enter the appropriate bank details on the portal for this refund to be issued, otherwise these funds will be automatically issued to their RunshawPay account.
- 13. I normally receive Free College Meals – will this continue during online learning?
If you normally receive Free College Meals, you will instead receive direct payment into your bank account, to ensure that you can pay for a cooked meal each day. To ensure payment of this, please input your bank details into the secure form on the Student Portal.
- 14. What will happen with the exams in the summer?
The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that “we do not think it is possible for all exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. We will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.”
Ofqual and the DfE are in the process of a consultation regarding arrangements for this summer’s assessments. Please see the following links for full details:
This page will be updated once the outcomes of the consultations are published.
- 15. What does the announcement about mass testing in Schools and Colleges mean to me?
The government have announced that schools and colleges should create test sites so that staff and students can be tested for COVID-19. If you would like to volunteer to support the college with its testing programme, please see the details here.
All staff working on campus will be offered a test twice each week. All students will be offered a test when they return to campus.
The full government guidance on this is here.
- 16. 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.