We understand that this will be a worrying time and we will endeavour to provide as much information as possible about what this means for current students, apprentices, parents and those joining us in September below.
From Monday 23rd March our courses we will transition to online course delivery, which means our staff teams will be working remotely to provide as much business continuity as possible. We will continue to provide BSDC related updates via email, text message, social media and our website. We will also keep you up to date with the Government response to the Coronavirus situation.
- What will happen with examinations and course related assessments?
At BSDC many of our qualifications are vocational/technical and therefore are not exclusively reliant on exams but are assessed through unit/module content. To maintain continuity during this unsettling period, we have implemented strategies to ensure students have access to learning via online delivery methods. Lecturers have developed programmes of work to support learning and where appropriate, assessments, assignments and revision/recap materials. It is therefore critical that you continue with your course remotely and submit all assessments using your online learning platform e.g. CANVAS. This will ensure you are in the best possible position to return to your studies and continue your course or progress to your next step.
We continue to work closely with Ofqual, the DfE and Awarding Organisations to ensure approaches to quality assurance activity are applied consistently. For our vocational qualifications (BTEC and equivalent), we are confident we can award grades to learners finishing this academic year - supporting learners to progress, recognising their learning and hard work - that is our priority and commitment to learners.
- What if I can’t login to CANVAS or I have forgotten my password?
Any Login issues should be sent directly to your area’s email enquiry address (See the Learning Enquiries section on the following page) where it will be actioned or assigned to the appropriate team.
- What am I required to study and engage with?
We have provided a short guide outlining our teaching and learning expectations during this period, and each course/study programme will continue with delivery to the normal timetabled session times. This should be accessed through CANVAS.
- What support can I access?
We have a scaled down staff provision for any additional learning support. Any access/support requests should be sent directly to your area’s email enquiry address (See the Learning Enquiries section on the following page) where it will be assigned to the Learner Services and Progress Coach Team to resolve.
- I am a progressing learner. How do I apply?
You should still apply for progression via the College website quoting the buzzword STEP20 when prompted.
Progress coaches will reaffirm the need to apply and support their cohorts of learners during this period through regular catch ups and a guide to the Progression Process is available at https://padlet.com/lsenquiries/admissions.
The Admissions Team will continue to process and send progression offers to learners as normal. However, please note that in view of the recent transition from campus-based to online learning we are aware that individuals who are undertaking self-directed studies may have concerns as to whether they will satisfy the published progression entry criteria. As a College, we would like to assure you that, the impact of the current situation will be taken into consideration when reviewing your progress against these criteria. Our overarching aim is to ensure that every learner is given a fair and equal opportunity to progress on their chosen pathway and that no one is disadvantaged due to the impact of measures associated to COVID-19.
- What about new students due to start in September?
We are really looking forward to welcoming new learners to BSDC in September, however the current situation means that we cannot deal with applications and introductions to the College in the way we normally would.
If you have already applied, had your interview and accepted a place, you will receive further communication from us in due course about potential experience events and enrolment.
If you have applied and not yet had your interview, please note that we’ve adapted our application process in keeping with social distancing. For the time being, we will not be holding open events or conducting interviews. Instead, your conditional offer will be based on predicted or forecasted achievements.
If you have not yet applied but are looking to study at BSDC in September, it is not too late. We will continue to process all online applications received via our website, however please bear with us as we may not be able to respond to you as quickly as we would do normally.
- I am studying an Advanced Learner Loan funded programme or Higher Education and I have a loan. Will this continue to be paid?
We are expecting all fees and loans will continue during this period. We are awaiting clarification and we will post updates as they become available.
- Will my work placement continue? (All industry placements, including early years)
No. We are aware of the hard work and commitment that all learners involved in placements have been making. We are proud of these efforts, but health and safety will always be paramount. Please be assured your studies will not be affected, and we will ensure you will be able to continue to progress and complete your programme of study.
- What is the guidance on breaks/holidays?
Holidays remain in place as listed in the Key Dates section on the website.
- How can I look after my mental health?
You don’t have to be self-isolating in order for coronavirus concerns to have an impact on your mental health. You might find yourself feeling worried about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on you and your loved ones. These feelings are normal and it’s important we acknowledge them and remind each other to look after our physical and mental health.
However, there are steps you can take to look after your mental health and wellbeing. A number of organisations have published guidance on mental health considerations relating to the coronavirus outbreak. A great example of this is the Student Minds website - click here.
- If I am a vulnerable learner, have an EHCP or support requirements what can I access?
All learners in this category will be contacted individually to assess their specific needs. We will be allocating spaces that will facilitate access to resources and support but will not include teaching and delivery. This will only be available through an allocated booking.
We are keen to continue our usual level of support to our most vulnerable learners through this time. Below is an outline of all the ways we will be doing this:
- Safe Space
All learners with Education, Health Care Plans (EHCPs) and or a designated Social Worker (our most vulnerable) have been contacted individually and asked if they wish to access the College (LRC) as a safe space. Where requested access has been arranged by appointment only.
If you are in a moment of crisis, please call the Samaritans on 116 123 who are available 24/7, 365 Days a year.
All normal safeguarding procedures still apply. Where a learner makes contact with the College and they are at risk of harm (from themselves or others) we have procedures in place to escalate this to a duty Safeguarding Officer who will respond directly to the learner and initiate any appropriate action.
Our Safeguarding Team will also be regularly checking in with our most vulnerable safeguarded learners and Looked-after Children (LAC) to ensure they are safe and well.
- Financial Support
The Financial Support Team have come up with some innovative ways to support learners during this time for Learners who may be currently living independently (with or without dependents) or are experiencing a moment of crisis.
Requests should initially be directed at your Progress Coaches who may then make requests for support on your behalf.
Please note that during this time you do not have to be already approved to receive financial support just be able to demonstrate a need for support. Please note, budgets are limited and support will be prioritised and cannot be guaranteed.