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Advice & Help Centre

We understand that with the amount of coverage in the media about Coronavirus, you may have some concerns. This page is kept regularly updated and designed to help you with clear information in relation to the College.

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General updates

  • for Students (7 January 2021)

    Dear students,

    Following the Government’s announcement of a full national lockdown for England from 4 January 2021, I would like to provide you with as much clarity as we possibly can at this stage on what this means for you.

    During the period of national lockdown, we are asked to remain open to vulnerable students and the students of critical workers only; although this is more relevant to younger educational settings, such as primaries and Secondary schools, where young people cannot work at home without supervision.

    Vulnerable students include those who:

    • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
    • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
    • have been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could therefore benefit from continued full-time attendance, this might include:
      • children and young people on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services or in the process of being referred to children’s services
      • adopted children or children on a special guardianship order
      • those at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’)
      • those living in temporary accommodation
      • those who are young carers
      • those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
      • care leavers
      • others at the provider and local authority’s discretion including pupils and students who need to attend to receive support or manage risks to their mental health

    We believe that we have the knowledge of any students fitting these criteria and as such, we will be in contact with them directly. However, whilst we strongly encourage all students to study at home where you can, if you feel that your circumstances would place you in one of these categories then please contact your PST immediately.

    All other students will learn remotely until February half term. Tutors will be in direct communication with all students with immediate effect, as we transition instantaneously into online delivery. The good news is that you have all excelled in how you have embraced a digital provision previously and our staff teams have been exceptional in providing this support.

    On Tuesday 5 January at 6.00pm, the Government gave schools and colleges the option as to whether or not to run the vocational exams planned this week if they determine it is safe to do so. We have made the decision to give every student the opportunity to take the exam if they so wish but for any students who have concerns or are unable to travel to the college, there is no obligation to attend. Students have been contacted directly on this but the full statement on this can also be found here.

    For those of you who would have been taking summer exams, many of you will inevitably have many mixed emotions about the news that they will not be going ahead as planned this year. We are still working through much of this information but we are here to offer as much support as possible for you. We do believe that our students will still get the grades that reflect their talents and abilities.

    On the matter of testing, the college, like all education establishments that support young people over the age of 11, will be providing a lateral flow testing facility from Monday 11 January. This will mean we will be in a position to provide rapid tests for staff and students who are on site from next week and this will help us further support our community in containing the virus and limiting the impact on learning. For any students on site next week that wish to be tested, full guidance and support will be readily available for them.

    Finally, I just wanted to say that collectively we overcame every challenge that 2020 threw at us – and I have no doubt that we will continue to do the same while the vaccine rolls out. In the meantime, please rest assured that we will continue working together, as one, to help and support each other and the community we serve.

    Thank you for the ongoing support and understanding.

    Warm regards,

    Dr Nikos Savvas

    Chief Executive

    West Suffolk College

    Colin Shaw

    Principal, Sixth Form Provision

    West Suffolk College

  • for Parents and Carers (7 January 2021)

    Parents / Carers,

    Following the Government’s announcement of a full national lockdown for England from 4 January 2021, I would like to provide you with as much clarity as we possibly can at this stage on what this means for our students.

    During the period of national lockdown, we are asked to remain open to vulnerable students and the children of critical workers only; although this is more relevant to younger educational settings, such as primaries and Secondary schools, where young people cannot work at home without supervision.

    Vulnerable students include those who:

    • are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including children and young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child
    • have an education, health and care (EHC) plan
    • have been identified as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children’s social care services), and who could therefore benefit from continued full-time attendance, this might include:
      • children and young people on the edge of receiving support from children’s social care services or in the process of being referred to children’s services
      • adopted children or children on a special guardianship order
      • those at risk of becoming NEET (‘not in employment, education or training’)
      • those living in temporary accommodation
      • those who are young carers
      • those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example due to a lack of devices or quiet space to study)
      • care leavers
      • others at the provider and local authority’s discretion including pupils and students who need to attend to receive support or manage risks to their mental health

    We believe that we have the knowledge of any students fitting these criteria and as such, we will be in contact with them directly. However, whilst we strongly encourage students to study at home where they can, if you feel that your circumstances would place you in one of these categories then please ask your child/dependent to contact their PST immediately.

    All other students will learn remotely until February half term. Tutors will be in direct communication with all students with immediate effect, as we transition instantaneously into online delivery. The good news is our students have excelled in how they have embraced a digital provision previously and our staff teams have been exceptional in providing this support.

    On Tuesday 5 January at 6.00pm, the Government gave schools and colleges the option as to whether or not to run the vocational exams planned this week if they determine it is safe to do so. We have made the decision to give every student the opportunity to take the exam if they so wish but for any students who have concerns or are unable to travel to the college, there is no obligation to attend. Students have been contacted directly but the full statement on this can be found here.

    On the summer exams, students will inevitably have many mixed emotions about the news that exams will not be going ahead as planned this year. We are still working through much of this information but we are here to offer as much support as possible for our students. We do believe that our students will still get the grades that reflect their talents and abilities.

    On the matter of testing, the college, like all education establishments that support young people over the age of 11, will provide a lateral flow testing facility from Monday 11 January. This will mean we will be in a position to provide rapid tests for staff and students who are on site from next week and this will help us further support our community in containing the virus and limiting the impact on learning. For any students on site that wish to be tested, full guidance and support will be readily available for them.

    Finally, I just wanted to say that collectively we overcame every challenge that 2020 threw at us – and I have no doubt that we will continue to do the same while the vaccine rolls out. In the meantime, please rest assured that we will continue working together, as one, to help and support each other and the community we serve.

    Thank you for the ongoing support and understanding.

    Warm regards,

    Dr Nikos Savvas

    Chief Executive

    West Suffolk College

    Colin Shaw

    Principal, Sixth Form Provision

    West Suffolk College

Lateral flow test updates

  • for Students (11 January 2021)

    Dear student,

    I hope you are keeping well.

    Now that we have had some time to put in plans for our lateral flow testing facility, I would like to take the opportunity to give you some detail on the latest developments around this and what this means for you.

    The college, like all education establishments that support young people over the age of 11, will be operating a lateral flow testing facility to help us further support you as our students, our colleagues and our community in containing the virus.

    Our lateral flow testing will be up and running from Monday 11 January for those students and staff present on site. Whilst we know the majority of you are currently studying from home, we will still have some students and staff on site w/c 11 January 2021 who will be able to be tested. This will be held in the main reception of The Gateway building.

    For students on site to sit exams over the coming weeks, you will be offered the opportunity to take a Lateral Flow Test depending on capacity at the time you arrive at college. If testing is not readily available at point of arrival, this will not prevent you from entering the site and taking your exams. This week (w/c 11 January 2021), we will be prioritising any identified vulnerable students and staff.

    Whilst participating in testing is voluntary, we are strongly encouraging our students and staff to take part so we can better ensure not only the safety of our students and colleagues, but also our families at home. To this end, we would like to advise all students to register for a test using this link. where you will be asked to create an NHS log in. Even if you are remote learning currently and not back on site, we would like to ask you to register for a test so that if the lateral testing facility is still operating when you are back in college, you can readily access this.

    Once registered, we would also like to ask you to complete a consent form either electronically available here. Or you can print, complete and hand in to the testing team when you are next on campus. The consent form is downloadable by clicking here. If you have challenges with this, there will be consent forms available on site for you to complete but we do encourage you to complete a form beforehand.

    An accompanying letter to give you some further information on the lateral testing which we would recommend you read before consenting is downloadable by clicking here.

    We appreciate this is a lot of information for you to process but it is vital that we must now remain as vigilant as ever to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, colleagues and wider community. If you do have any immediate concerns please contact your PST directly or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. where a team will be happy to assist.

    Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding at this time, we continue to be proud and humbled by the way in which you as our students show continued dedication, resilience and optimism in these circumstances.

    Best wishes,

    Colin Shaw

    Principal, Sixth Form Provision

    West Suffolk College

     

  • for Parents and Carers (11 January 2021)

    Dear Parent / Carer,

    I hope you are keeping well.

    Now that we have had some time to put in plans for our lateral flow testing facility, I would like to take the opportunity to give you some detail on the latest developments around this and what this means for our students. Students have been sent this communication directly.

    The college, like all education establishments that support young people over the age of 11, will be operating a lateral flow testing facility to help us further support our students, our colleagues and our community in containing the virus.

    Our lateral flow testing will be up and running from Monday 11 January for those students and staff present on site. Whilst we know the majority of students will be currently studying from home, we will still have some students and staff on site w/c 11 January 2021 who will be able to be tested. This will be held in the main reception of The Gateway building.

    For students on site to sit exams over the coming weeks, they will be offered the opportunity to take a Lateral Flow Test depending on capacity at the time they arrive at college. If testing is not readily available at point of arrival, this will not prevent them from entering the site and taking their exams. Over the coming weeks, we will be prioritising any identified vulnerable students and staff.

    Whilst participating in testing is voluntary, we are strongly encouraging our students and staff to take part so we can better ensure not only the safety of our students and colleagues, but also our families at home. To this end, we would like to advise all students to register for a test using this link, where they will be asked to create an NHS log in. Even if they are remote learning currently and not back on site, we would like to ask students to register for a test so that if the lateral testing facility is still operating when they are back in college they can readily access this.

    Once registered, we are also asking students to complete a consent form either electronically available here. Or they can print, complete and hand in to the testing team when they are next on campus. The consent form can be downloaded by clicking here. If students have challenges with this, there will be consent forms available on site for them to complete but we do encourage them to complete a form beforehand.

    An accompanying letter, which is downloadable by clicking here, will give you some further information on the lateral testing which we have recommended that students also read before consenting.

    We appreciate this is a lot of information for you to process but it is vital that we must now remain as vigilant as ever to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, colleagues and wider community. If you or your child/dependent does have any immediate concerns please ask them to contact their PST directly or you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. where a team will be happy to assist.

    Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding, we continue to be proud and humbled by the way our students show continued dedication, resilience and optimism at this time.

    Best wishes,

    Colin Shaw

    Principal, Sixth Form Provision

    West Suffolk College

     

BTEC vocational examinations

Remote Education Offer

This information has been provided to support understanding of what students, parents and carers should expect during periods of college closure or student isolation relating to coronavirus (COVID-19). West Suffolk College has taken a number of measures to mitigate the risk of coronavirus transmission and will remain open for students as far as reasonably possible and while it is safe to do so.  In the event of a local or national lockdown, the College will continue to remain open for vulnerable students, but this will remain under review. Please click the link below for full details about our Remote Education Offer.

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