A message from our Principal & CEO, Laurence Frewin

Please scroll down to view FAQs for Students, Parents and Carers.

Find out if you’re a critical worker, please click here for further guidance

Statement as of 19th March at 1730

At this moment in time, every single one of us is facing a very challenging and difficult time.  Here at South Devon College we have been busy focusing on two key priorities; keeping our students and staff safe and well and the continuity of learning for our students, some via new and different formats.

As we take on board the news from 18th March 2020 that the Government has taken the decision to close schools and colleges, I wanted to provide you with a further update.

We are now clear that this College will be closed to learners for face-to-face delivery from close of business today, Thursday 19th March 2020. The College will not be open to students on Friday 20th March 2020.

Looking ahead

We are however committed to ensuring that learning continues despite our closure and we want our students to be just as committed to the learning work set for remote study. As already planned, staff will ensure that learning continues online or that home study packs are available where online study is not possible. Following Government guidelines face-to-face teaching will not now take place.

We are aware that the Government wishes us to continue to support the learning of students from vulnerable groups and those students with an Education & Health Care Plan (EHCP). We will directly contact these students, or their parents and carers.

From Monday 23rd March 2020, all our Out Centres will be closed. We will also close SWEC, University Centre South Devon (UCSD), Automotive, Construction, Hi Tech and Digital Centre (HTDC) and South Devon College Sports Centre (SDCSC). We will allocate separate students and staff entrances to ensure the safety of our staff and students. Students will only be able to gain access to the main Vantage Point building via Level 1. Staff access will be via either Level 1 or Level 3. Level 3 will be swipe card access only.

We will continue to issue communications via email, our College website and the usual College social media channels.

If you have any questions please visit our website southdevon.ac.uk, follow our social media platforms or contact us on Freephone 08000 380 123.

I wish you all the best at this difficult and challenging time and will be thinking of you all and your families.

Thank you again for your continued significant support and understanding.

 

Government Guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection

Please see the Government website for the latest guidance for households with possible Coronavirus infection:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance

 

Support services available to students outside College

Mental Health:

Samaritans: Call: 116 123 or email [email protected] or visit www.samaritans.org

Mind: 0300 123 3393 or text 86463 or visit www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/

Kooth: Trained online counsellors through an app www.kooth.com

Cruse: Bereavement Care call 0808 808 1677 or visit www.cruse.org.uk

Housing:

Torbay Emergency Housing:

Under 16 call Children’s Services on 01803 208100

16-17 go to Paignton Connections office in Paignton library or Out of hours call 0300 456 4876

Devon Housing Options: visit www.devon.gov.uk/care-and-health/adults/housing-options

YES Centre Youth Homeless Prevention Team, Newton Abbot Call: 01626 202530 or visit www.youngdevon.org/where-we-work/newton-abot-yes-centre

Domestic Abuse:

Torbay Domestic Abuse Service: 01803 698869 or visit www.sanctuary-supported-living. co.uk/find-services/domestic-abuse/devon/tobay-domestic-abuse-service-tdas SPLITZ Devon: 0345 155 1074 or visit www.splitz.org/devon.html

Food bank: Torbay PATH 172 Union Street, Torquay (Opposite Jolly Judge): 07763 398238 open daily and evening hot meals provided from 6:30pm

Brixham Food Bank: Open Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 2pm-4pm. They are located in The Torbay Room at the back of the Brixham Town Hall, behind the library TQ5 8TA

Finances:

If you are struggling financially during this time please contact your local job centre plus if you are eligable for certain benefits and consider contacting your local Citizens Advice Bureau for advice. You may also find useful information on the following link: www.gov.uk/browse/benefits

College Events: 

We hope you also understand our decision to cancel or postpone the following events: 

We will continue to issue communications via email, our College website and the usual College social media channels. Teaching staff have started communicating to their students directly on a course specific basis. 

I wish you all the best at this difficult and challenging time and thank you for your support and understanding. 

FAQS for Students, Parents and Carers

As at Friday 20th March 2020

Question Answer
Is the College closed? We are now clear that South Devon College will be closed to students for face-to-face delivery from Monday 23rd March 2020. We are aware that the Government wishes us to continue to support the learning of students from vulnerable groups and those students with an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP). We will directly contact these students, or their parents and carers.
Do I have to continue studying? Yes, we are committed to ensuring that learning continues despite our closure and we want our students to be just as committed to the learning work set for remote study. As already planned, staff will ensure that learning continues online or that home study packs are available where online study is not possible.
What are the symptoms of Coronavirus (COVID-19)? The majority of cases report mild illness and symptoms include fever (high temperature), cough, chest tightness or shortness of breath.
I suspect that I may have Coronavirus (COVID-19). What should I do? If you feel unwell and think that you may have the virus, please follow the most up up-to-date Government advice on what steps to take if you need to self-isolate. The NHS has comprehensive information on their website about what to do if you think you may have the virus, precautionary measures, and self-isolation procedures. Please continue to check the Public Health England website for the latest official advice.
I think I have come into contact with someone who has Coronavirus (COVID-19), what should I do? Health professionals are working to contact anyone who lives with someone who has tested positive for Coronavirus. If you think you have been in close contact with someone who has Coronavirus and you feel unwell, please read the answer to the question above: “I suspect that I may have Coronavirus. What should I do?”
Does Coronavirus (COVID-19) affect people of all ages? Are certain groups more vulnerable than others? People of all ages can get Coronavirus. Certain groups (someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system) are more likely to become severely ill with the virus. Please see the guidance on the Government website for more information on more vulnerable groups. People of all ages should follow simple measures to stop viruses like Coronavirus spreading, for example, by washing their hands often with soap and hot water.
I live with someone who has had a suspected or confirmed case of Coronavirus, what should I do? Please follow the current Government advice. Further advice on self-isolation is available from Public Health England. You can also contact the Department for Health helpline on 0800 046 8687 (8am-6pm, Monday-Friday).
I’m in one of the groups that is more vulnerable to the effects of the virus, or I live with/am close to someone who is more vulnerable? What should I do? There is evidence that people certain groups (people who are 70 or over, have a long-term condition, are pregnant or have a weakened immune system) are more likely to become severely ill with the virus. Please see the guidance on the Government website for more information about more vulnerable groups.
I’m not in one of the more ‘at risk’ groups. Do I need to follow advice about precautions or can I take it less seriously? The precautions are intended to apply to everyone, and everyone should follow them regardless of their age or whether or not they are more at risk from the infection. The precautions are designed to stop the spread of the virus – this includes passing the virus on to those who are more vulnerable. Please be considerate.
Should I wear a protective face mask? Advice from the NHS and Public Health England states that following hygiene precautions such as thoroughly washing hands with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose with a tissue if you cough or sneeze, and keeping surfaces clean, are the best ways to avoid catching or spreading the virus. There is little evidence that masks are effective in preventing the spread of the virus
What time will the College be open on Monday 23rd March 2020, for students who the Government have requested to continue with educational provision? The College will be open between 9am and 3pm.
Will there be Duty Managers present on site during the coming weeks? Yes. This information will be shared via the plasmas in the normal way.
What IT support will be available to me when working from home? Please contact the Helpdesk using the normal email: [email protected] or call 01803 540654
What is happening to this year’s exams? This year’s summer exam series, including A Levels, GCSEs and other qualifications, and all primary assessments, have been cancelled as we fight to stop the spread of Coronavirus.
Will I still get a grade? A Level and GCSE results this year will be partially based on teachers assessing the marks they think students would have got, the Government has announced. If students are unhappy with their grades they will have the chance of sitting exams at a later date. The exam regulator, Ofqual, and exam boards will work with teachers to provide grades to students whose exams have been cancelled this summer,following our actions to slow the spread of Coronavirus. This means ensuring GCSE, A and AS level students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to. Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students. The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead. To produce this, teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in. Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible. More information will be provided as soon as possible. The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July. In terms of a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years. We will also aim to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that in other years, so that this year’s students do not face a systematic disadvantage as a consequence of these extraordinary circumstances. It is therefore important for you to complete the work you have been set to maximise the opportunity to get best possible grades.
Will I still be able to progress? The Government’s priority is now to ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including going into employment, starting university, college or sixth form courses, or an apprenticeship in the autumn.
How can I access support for health and wellbeing? Please use our College enquiries number: 08000380123
Will I still get my Free College Meals? All vulnerable students who receive a Guaranteed Bursary and Free College Meals will still be entitled to receive this support, irrespective of whether they attend the provision or not. There will be an additional £10 per week added to this amount for students to purchase food. We are putting in place arrangements for non-bursary students to receive electronic supermarket vouchers.
Do I still have to report myself as absent if I am too unwell to take part in remote learning? No, you do not need to phone the absence line. Your tutors will be monitoring your levels of engagement on an ongoing basis.
What software is available to students for studying from home? Students can download Office 365 for free using their College email address. Contact the Helpdesk for support if needed.
What is happening with bus passes for the summer term? All bus passes were sent out before Easter, prior to travel restrictions being put in place. There is a limited bus service still being run by Stagecoach, the passes can still be used, including for travel to and from part-time work and to and from the College for those in eligible categories.  We do not know how long the travel restrictions will be in place for. Please do not cancel any direct debit payments – the College will cancel direct debits if a card is returned by post or dropped off in the letter box on the front of the main building at the Paignton campus. Post is being processed several times per week. Please note, once a bus pass has been returned, it cannot be re-instated at a later point when travel restrictions are relaxed.

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