Update 19 August
Safety at USP College
The beginning of term is fast approaching and I’m sure that you will have some questions and concerns about starting somewhere new in these unusual and challenging times.
We’ve spent the summer planning and implementing physical measures to make being at the college as safe as possible. This includes:
- socially distanced layouts and having sanitisers, wipes and tissues available in all classrooms
- implementing one-way systems, sanitising stations and requirements to wear face masks in corridors
- limiting the numbers of students on campus at any one time through a ‘blended learning’ approach to teaching and learning, which I’ll explain in more detail below
We’re continuously monitoring government guidance, testing and making changes and improvements to these measures to keep all of our students and staff safe.
Flexible ‘blended learning’ approach
Blended learning means that your course will involve a blend of on-campus, in-person teaching along with live, timetabled virtual lessons which you can access at home. This allows us to reduce the numbers of students we have in the College at any one time so we can prioritise student safety while maintaining effective delivery of all lessons.
Blended learning also provides the flexibility for us to dial up or down the virtual aspect of each course depending on individual as well as global circumstances. For instance, we could easily implement a fully virtual delivery approach should another national or local lockdown be required, or move an individual student to 100% virtual learning should they be required to quarantine or self-isolate. Should circumstances allow, we can also easily revert to a normal timetable with 100% on-campus delivery.
With blended learning, students will be expected to be in College for around 3 days a week. Whilst on campus you will maintain ‘social bubbles’ with your tutor and fellow classmates. This includes lunch breaks, which have been staggered across courses to support the integrity of the bubbles.
Our state-of-the-art virtual teaching technology
We are well-placed as a College to deliver blended learning thanks to the investments we have been making in digital and virtual learning technologies well before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. You can find out more about our approach to innovation and technology in this video.
Since the start of lockdown we have really been able to test our systems to the limits and have received some rave reviews from students who experienced fully virtual teaching before Summer.
Whilst we cannot predict when teaching will return completely to normal, we feel confident that the advanced systems and technology we have in place for the virtual element of our courses provide a fantastic alternative to face-to-face lessons.
Getting to College
I acknowledge that the thought of getting to College may be a big concern for you. Hopefully, the reduced number of days required on campus will help with these concerns. In addition, we have made the wearing of facemasks a requirement on College buses and sanitiser will be provided. First and Arriva have also announced that they will be increasing the number of buses they provide to allow social distancing to be practised on public transport.
An approach to suit everyone
The College is continuously monitoring the national picture and is able to offer flexible options in light of the pandemic. Whatever your concerns or circumstances, we’re sure we can work with you to find a solution.
Update from Pearson, BTEC awarding body.
Pearson has issued guidance to schools and colleges asking them not to issue Level 1 or Level 2 results on Thursday 20 August.
Please do not worry if you are looking to join us this September or are progressing to a higher level course > read more here.
Update 11 August
Higher Education at USP College
If you have applied to study a Higher Education course with us this September we will honour conditional offers if you need to go through the Ofqual appeals process.
The Ofqual appeals process will conclude by 7 September, enough time that if your grade is successfully appealed you will be able to start the new term on 21 September. If however, having received your results and you do not meet all the conditions of your offer, for example, if you have not achieved the required grade, the course leader will make a final decision regarding your offer. If you find yourself in this situation and require further information or you feel we should be alerted to any exception circumstance please contact our Admissions Team (email@example.com).
If you decide to take your opportunity to sit your exams in the autumn exam series, we will, unfortunately, have to defer your application to the next academic year.
Ofqual has published advice for students receiving their results this summer but if you have any other questions please get in touch.
Update 5 August 2020
If you have applied to study with us this September (which is great we can't wait to meet you!) we have emailed you some important information about your enrolment.
Enrolment will take place virtually this year and is available from 9am on Thursday 20 August until 3pm on Tuesday 25 August, meaning you will not need to come into the College.
Once you have received your examination results from your school please log in to our enrolment system using the log in details which we have emailed you.
The virtual enrolment link is https://enrol.uspcollege.ac.uk.
Enrolment Check List
Please ensure you have the below items to hand or saved in advance to enable you to enrol.
- Your log in details
These have been email to you
- Your exam results
You will be asked to show evidence, such as the email you received from your schools or your results slip as well as any previous certificates
- Passport-style photo
Please have a passport style photo of yourself ready to upload, this needs to be on a plain background and from your shoulders up for you ID card
If you are unable to log in, please contact our IT Department on 01268 882 642 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, if you have any other queries or haven't received an email, please contact the enrolment team on 01268 882 644 or email email@example.com
If you would like to study with us in September but haven't yet applied don't worry - we still have spaces available.
A-Level Results Day
This year we will be issuing examination results by email. We have emailed each student ahead of A-Level Results Day on Thursday 13 August. If you have not received this email please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure you receive your results on Thursday.
On 13 August, the College will be sending your A-Level results to your e-mail address. Please check your in-box after 8am.
GCSE Results Day
This year results will be issued via email. With have sent all GCSE students an email outlining the process if you have not received this please email email@example.com to ensure you receive your results.
On 20 August, the College will be sending your GCSE results to your e-mail address. Please check your inbox after 8am.
Professional (BTEC) Qualifications Results
Level 3 BTEC Results will be distributed from Thursday 13 August.
All results will be posted home and where applicable those who have applied to UCAS will be emailed a summary of their results.
Level 1 and 2 BTEC Results will be distributed from Thursday 20 August and will be posted home.
Ofqual has published a student guide providing further information on how grades have been awarded this year. Important information has been emailed to all A-Level and GCSE students, if you have not received this please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Update 22 July
Summer and September plans
Enrolment will take place from GCSE Results Day (Thursday 20 August), we are still in the process of developing plans for enrolment and confirmation of plans will be emailed to students in August. We are looking at face-to-face, online and blended options.
Our Student Induction Day is planned for Friday 4 September 2020. This year we will be holding this event online which will provide students with the information they need about starting their study programme, additional support as well as allowing them to meet their peers and teachers.
Our plan for September is based upon the latest Government guidance. During lockdown we have been making changes to our campuses to support social distancing and limiting the spread of the virus, including the introduction of one-way systems, floor marking and signage, and hand sanitising stations.
We are planning to initially deliver lessons through a 'blended learning' approach of socially distanced face-to-face lessons within the College and 'live' online lessons and independent study at home using the College Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).
We will be closely monitoring Government advice and guidelines and will adjust any plans as required.
Re-opening Risk Assessments
Update: 15 April
You may be aware that The Department for Education advised last week that school and colleges will remain closed until further notice.
We understand the Government plans to review the current measures and issue guidance following an update later this week. We will clarify our position after this announcement via email to students and parents/guardians, so keep an eye on your inbox. Stay Safe!
Update: 31 March
A message for our students,
As we begin the second full week of our College closure, it’s very sad that we’re not in our classrooms, mixing together and working with each other.
Learning has continued, albeit in a very different way, and we thank you for engaging with your teachers and adapting so well to online learning, which has been a learning curve for us all!
We will continue to share good news stories and positive messages across our social media to help us all feel connected.
Whilst you are at home, we want you to know that our Wellbeing team are still available to support you and you can contact them via email:
- Seevic Campus – email@example.com
- Palmer’s Campus – firstname.lastname@example.org
Please continue to be very self-disciplined and rigorous about your hygiene and social distancing, isolating yourself if you need to.
We wish you good health.
Update: 23 March
Since the announcement last week that all summer exams will be cancelled, the Government has provided further clarity around what this will mean for students and how grades are likely to be calculated.
The Department for Education’s newly published guidance seeks to reassure students, parents and educators that candidates will be awarded a fair grade that recognises the work they have put in.
The Government has confirmed that students will not simply be awarded their predicted grades as this would not be fair to all students. Instead, grades awarded will take into account a broad range of evidence, including teacher assessment of likely grades and prior attainment, such as mock exam results.
The information also provides reassurance that any student will be able to make an appeal or sit an exam as soon as possible after schools and colleges open again if they do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance. Universities UK, which represents UK universities, has advised that it expects universities to be flexible and do all they can to support students, including allowing a delayed start time for those students wishing to sit an exam after the summer.
Update: 19 March
Distance Learning for A-Level, BTEC and Higher Education students
Further to the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson’s speech to the House of Commons yesterday (18 March), we would like to clarify that the arrangements we have put in place for distance learning for our A-Level, BTEC and Higher Education students will still stand.
Teachers will continue to work remotely to deliver these lessons as planned and those students should continue to engage with learning on a daily basis. The only change to our update yesterday for those students is that the College campuses will be not be accessible as of Monday 23 March until further notice, meaning that students will be unable to use on-site facilities such as the library during this time.
Support will continue to be available remotely from teachers, Heads of Learning, our Wellbeing Team and other staff during the campus closures. Key contact details can be found here.
The Prime Minister also confirmed that exams will not take place in May or June. Like us, we’re sure you will have many questions as to what it means for your GCSE and A Level grades and your places on future courses or study. As soon as we are given any further information we will of course let you know.
Critically, there has been no decision made regarding whether summer qualifications will be graded or allocated. We are anticipating that mock examination grades and assessments may be used to inform final grades awarded, as may projected grades. We are storing mock papers centrally if the exam boards ask for evidence from us regarding your performance to date.
We are also awaiting clarification from the Government on what yesterday’s announcement will mean for our vulnerable students. We will contact parents of our vulnerable students directly once we have further information.
Free school meals
The Government has confirmed it will put in place a national voucher system as soon as possible for those eligible for free school meals. Those who are eligible to receive these meals should expect a payment to arrive in their bank accounts this Wednesday.
Update: 18 March (5:50pm)
Further to the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson’s speech to the House of Commons today (18 March), the College's management team will be meeting first thing tomorrow morning to make plans accordingly. We will provide an update following this.
Update: 17 March (5pm)
USP College will move to distance learning from Thursday 19 March
Yesterday afternoon, the Prime Minister gave a speech introducing more rigorous self-isolation and social distancing measures to limit the spread of Coronavirus. This has resulted in a number of staff and students needing to stay at home, which means we are now going to introduce distance learning from Thursday 19 March until the beginning of the Easter break (Friday 3 April).
We have been spending the past two weeks planning and preparing for a move to a distance learning approach so we can continue to support students to achieve the best learning outcome possible.
Students are advised to come in tomorrow as usual, and their tutor will provide them with guidance on how to engage with distance learning, set clear expectations for the duration of this approach, and provide reassurance. Students who are unable to access IT equipment for online learning, please speak with your teacher and tutor.
The College campuses will remain open, and some specific groups of students may still be advised to attend in order to undertake particular assignments or assessments on campus. This will take place in small groups or in a 1:1 basis to limit contact.
This is not a College closure, and there will be clear expectations for students to engage with their learning via the online tools and communication channels that have been put place.
We would like to ask for your support in encouraging students to participate fully with this temporary change. Distance learning should be treated with the same rigour as learning on campus in order to maintain educational outcomes.
In light of the Government advice to limit social contact, we have also taken the decision to postpone work experience placements that are currently underway or due to begin. If your son or daughter is currently undertaking or due to undertake a work experience placement, we will contact their employer to let them know that you will not be attending with immediate effect.
We are taking decisive leadership action for your safety based on our current situation. We will keep communicating on a regular basis, so keep an eye on our website and your inbox for daily changes in this fast-moving situation.
Please be assured that the College is taking all possible steps to ensure that students are not disadvantaged when it comes to their qualifications and next steps. Teachers, Heads of Learning, the Director of Curriculum and Campus Operations, and Learning Plus team will be contactable throughout this time; you can find the contact details of key staff here.
Term is due to start again on Monday 20 April as planned, with attendance expected at both campuses as usual unless we advise otherwise.
We understand that you and your families may be feeling worried or anxious so please find some useful resources below.
- How to cope if you are feeling anxious about the outbreak
- How to look after your mental health and wellbeing if you are self-isolating
- Chat online to a friendly counsellor, read articles written by young people and get support from the Kooth community
- Samaritans - providing emotional support, often through a telephone helpline, available through the UK and Ireland
- Mind - mental health charity providing information and advice
- SANEline - out-of-hours mental health helpline
- Student minds - student mental health charity
- Every Mind matters - gives simple and practical advice to stay mentally healthy
- NHS - mental health and wellbeing, dealing with stress, anxiety or depression.
To get in touch with a member of staff please use our staff list.
Update: 16 March 2/2 (5:30pm)
Further to Boris Johnson's press conference this afternoon, we would like to ask that students, parents and staff adhere to the following new guidance to combat the spread of Coronavirus that anyone who lives with someone who has a cough or a temperature should stay at home for 14 days.
In order to support those most vulnerable to be shielded from social contact, we are contacting staff and students with serious health conditions about ways we can support them to work or study from home.
The Government's Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, has said that school closures may be necessary, but they would need to be introduced at the right time. We will therefore remain open until advised by the Government to close, however we will continue to plan for a move to distance learning should the decision be taken by the Government for educational institutions to close.
It is our intention to remain fully compliant with the guidance of the Government, which is being informed by scientific evidence on the best course and timings of actions to slow the spread of the virus.
Update: 16 March 1/2 (12pm)
The health and wellbeing of our students, staff and the wider community is of the upmost importance to USP College and we are committed to lessening both the risk of the spread of Coronavirus and the impact on students’ learning.
As of this morning, there are still no confirmed cases at the College. A member of staff at our Seevic Campus has reported having a high temperature and is therefore not currently in College but has not been advised to have further testing. In line with Public Health England advice, we are still taking a cautious approach in sending those with any of relevant symptoms home to self-isolate until they receive further advice from NHS 111 and undertaking a thorough and deep clean of any areas they have been in contact with.
The specialist cleaning products that we have been using on all contact surfaces since the start of the outbreak have a seven-day latency, meaning that they continue to remain active and kill germs after they have been applied.
As an extra precaution, we have also decided to postpone the Course Welcome Evenings scheduled for this week and the Student CPD Day next week, as well as cancelling all visits to and from external organisations until further notice.
The guidance from the Department of Education is still that schools and colleges should not close unless advised to by Public Health England, and so the College remains open.
The Chief Medical Officer has advised “there is no scientific evidence yet for closing schools” and Boris Johnson has stated “the scientific advice is that this could do more harm than good at this time but of course we are keeping this under review and this again may change as the disease spreads.”
Update: 13 March
We know that the spread and impact of Coronavirus is changing rapidly and that this is causing concern for students and parents/guardians.
We are continuing to monitor developments and are closely following any changes to the Government’s published plan and recommendations. We are also remaining alert to healthcare information and advice from the World Health Organisation, Health and Safety Executive, Public Health England and daily updates from the Department for Education, and seeking advice and further clarification as needed.
The Department of Education advice for colleges continues to be that they should remain open unless advised to close by Public Health England, and the College will adhere to this guidance.
We understand that the decision to remain open may be a cause for concern for some of you. The reason the Government is taking this decision is that introducing school and college closures too early would limit the effectiveness of these measures at the time of greatest risk but could have a huge social impact.
We would like to assure you that we have not had any confirmed cases within the College, and we are taking a cautious approach in sending those with relevant symptoms home to self-isolate until they receive further advice from NHS 111.
The latest advice if you feel unwell
Public Health England's advice is now that you should self-isolate for seven days if you have a new persistent cough or high temperature (above 37.8 degrees). We would like to emphasise that those experiencing these symptoms should not come into College.
Any students self-isolating should notify the College on our absence reporting line:
- Seevic Campus: 01268 882 629
- Palmer’s campus: 01375 898 608
You can also notify us by emailing email@example.com with details of the symptoms.
The advice from Public Health England is that you should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital, but should use the NHS 111 website or advice line if you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home or your condition gets worse.
What additional measures have we put in place?
While our hope and intention is that the College will remain open in order to minimise the impact on students’ learning, the College management team is fully focused on planning to ensure that we can continue to deliver quality education remotely in the eventuality that a closure is necessary. This includes ensuring appropriate methods of communication, work-setting, assessment and feedback are available remotely, and ensuring we hold accurate and up-to-date home contact details of all students.
As an innovator and leader in the enhancement of education through technology, we feel well prepared to maintain educational outcomes through non-traditional classroom settings in the event of a closure.
Update: 4 March
We understand that students, parents and guardians may be concerned about the current Coronavirus outbreak and want to provide some reassurance about how we are monitoring and responding to developments within the College.
We are carefully monitoring the situation regarding COVID-19 in order to contain the spread of the virus whilst ensuring we maintain educational outcomes for our students. We receive daily updates and are following advice from the Department for Education, and are frequently referring to guidance from Public Health England and taking relevant action in accordance with their advice.
At present, advice from the Department of Education states that no school should close in response to a suspected or confirmed case unless advised to do so by Public Health England.
Precautions being taken
We have boosted our cleaning efforts, including more frequent cleaning of contact surfaces such as door handles, turnstiles, cash point machines, keyboards and toilet facilities, while hand sanitisers have been placed in key areas such as reception, offices, classrooms and restaurants.
In addition to information on this webpage, we are sharing information and updates from Public Health England and other partners, via:
- Posters on display around the college
- Email updates as needed to staff, students and parents
- Posts on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts
Our response if the situation changes
The College's management team is meeting on a regular basis to review updates to information and guidance and to determine and adapt our course of action as the situation changes.
Whilst the College has no plans to close at present, we are putting plans in place to ensure that learning can continue and students are not adversely impacted if we do find ourselves having to take this course of action.
How you can help
Help limit the spread of germs
NHS England have advised that the virus is transmitted in much the same way as the flu virus through coughs and sneezes. You can help to limit the spread of germs by practising good hand and respiratory hygiene. Catch a cough or sneeze in a tissue and thrown it in the bin, and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.
Get the right advice
If you are concerned that you may have come into contact with the virus and are displaying symptoms of a cough, fever and difficulty in breathing call NHS 111 for advice. They will advise on whether or not you should self-isolate.
Notify the College
Please notify the College on our absence reporting line (01268 882 629 at our Seevic Campus or 01375 898 608 at our Palmer’s campus) if:
- You are unwell and have been advised by NHS 111 to self-isolate
- You have recently returned from a category 1 or category 2 area as identified by Public Health England.
Department for Education Coronavirus helpline
The Department for Education has launched a new helpline, open 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, to answer questions about COVID-19 related to education.