The Government has told all of us to Stay at Home, to Keep Safe. This means the way our students learn will be different for a while, learning by working online and not attending College.
Our message for all students is – keep studying and producing work. All the work they complete and have assessed will be important for their final grades.
To find resources to support learning, how to get the best out of online learning and activities and links, so if your children or partners are unsure, direct them to https://moodle.nptcgroup.ac.uk (The login details are the same as their college login details.)
We have set up a dedicated helpline for students and parents: 01639 648000.
Students are now able to access their Ontrack Page through Moodle. Students need to login to their Moodle account and
then locate the Ontrack Tile on the Moodle front page. (It’s better to login using a PC where possible as some content doesn’t display correctly on mobile phones).
The WJEC has now issued information regarding summer 2020 exams. They will not be moderating any controlled tasks for GCSE / AS / A2 or Skills Challenge Certificates for this summer.
We are working with our lecturers to ensure that all learners are awarded a fair grade for their work completed. These ‘Teacher Assessed Grades’ (TAGs) must represent a fair, reasonable and carefully considered judgement of the most likely grade that might be achieved in normal circumstances. The TAG is not a target or aspirational grade and is not based on one single measure (such as the student’s mock grade). Rather, the TAG is a professional judgement
based on the sources of evidence that a lecturer has relating to the student’s performance.
What are Teacher Assessed Grades?
These are assessed grades based on an overall qualification grade that students are likely to achieve, based on:
- Your performance of the assessment task or assignment
- Overall commitment to studies
- Ability to study
- To gain good grades, students need to stay focused and engaged in online studies. Their grades will then be standardised by WJEC, who will then award a final grade based against all Wales standards.
A2 Qualifications – No exams this summer
To enable lecturers to give the most accurate estimate possible, they will use four key sources of evidence: the student’s AS grade, their in-class assessments & blended work, their mock result & the End of Course Assessment. The End of Course Assessment will give the student a further opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and skills within their subject. Crucially, it will give their lecturer additional evidence to award a fair Teacher Assessed Grade. Qualifications Wales will use the Teacher Assessed Grade together with other sources of evidence to then calculate and award a final grade. Please note, it is Qualifications Wales who will award a final grade, not the College.
AS Qualifications – No summer 2020 exams
Students will receive a final grade based on evidence including tutor assessed grades. AS 2020 grades will not contribute to A2 2021 grades. In summer 2021 current students will be able to choose either
1. To sit A2 units only. The WJEC will award a grade solely based on the results of those units. Marks for AS 2020 will then be used to calculate the final grade.
2. Sit both AS and A2 units in summer 2021, the WJEC will also consider the grade awarded if they took option 1. The final grade will be the best grade awarded from either option.
GCSE – No summer exams
Students doing Year 1 of a 2-year programme will not be issued unit results this summer. Students will be provided with 2 options:
1. Sit year 2 units in summer 2021 and the grade will be calculated on those units only
2. Sit year 1 and 2 units in summer 2021. The final grade will be the best grade awarded from either option.
Those finishing summer 2020, the result will be based on unit assessment for this year.
Welsh Baccalaureate Skills Challenge Certificate
The WJEC has confirmed that results will be issued for this certificate based on teacher assessed grades as well as a range of other evidence. There will be no online controlled tasks. So it is important for students and to get the WBQ work completed and returned to tutors instead of leaving it to the last minute.
Vocational Programmes. No controlled tasks or electronic unit for this summer 2020
All grades will be based on predicted outcomes and the results and grades awarded by tutors.
- Qualifications Wales and Awarding Organisations i.e. C&G, BTEC, IMI, EAL, UAL, VTCT, AGORED are all working closely to identify a fair assessment method.
- As most practical assessments cannot be outside College we urge students to complete the theory aspects of programmes so on our return the teaching emphasis will be on the practical parts of the qualification. Further information will be given when the process is confirmed.
- All assessment results and marks awarded by tutors will be subject to Awarding Organisation standardisation processes which will ensure the fairness and equity of the final graded awarded. Any appeals relating to these will need to be undertaken through the NPTC Group of Colleges appeals process.
EMA & WGLG
The Colleges have received assurance that eligible students will continue to receive their EMA payment throughout the Welsh Government term time closure. The College will need to show Welsh Government that students have continued to be involved with their tutors and their learning programme throughout the closure for them to qualify for these payments.
If your child’s personal circumstances have changed a lot because of the pandemic applications can still be made for EMA for the academic year 2019/20. The deadline is 31 August 2020, however, please be aware that the timescales for processing applications may be a little longer than usual. Applications can be downloaded from: www.studentfinancewales.co.uk/ema
Please remember that EMA payments can only be made for college term times. EMA payments are paid fortnightly. If you have any specific concerns about payments while the College is closed, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Welsh Government has advised us they are speaking to their lawyers. They are telling us; they think WGLG will be treated in the same way as the approach taken for EMA. As soon as we receive information from the Student Loans Company we will confirm the arrangements with you.
Free College Meals and Period Dignity
The College is pleased to report the TESCO e-voucher system that will be used to support the College Free Meals service is now operational. The Student Support team is working hard to distribute the vouchers and the same will happen again in 2 weeks. If you or your child are eligible and haven’t emailed to get a voucher please contact email@example.com to be put on the distribution list. If you don’t have a TESCO that you can access – contact us to agree on another solution. The team will be creating £30 e-vouchers once per 2 weeks and these will be issued to the student directly.
The College is a member of the Welsh Government Period Dignity Programme. In line with advice from Welsh Government, the College will be sending all those eligible students an additional payment with their next Free College Meals e-voucher so they are able to purchase sanitary products whilst they are not in college.
Learning resources are available to students on Moodle: https://moodle.nptcgroup.ac.uk.
Students Working Online – Guidance for Parents/Guardians
The College has put together some helpful advice to support students working at home.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
The College has information and activities available to help students stay safe and well at this time. Information, activities and useful links in the Safeguarding section on Moodle and in the eSTEP programme.
The College also recommends the Young Minds website. The site has lots of information that has been put together just for young adults: https://youngminds.org.uk/find-help/looking-after-yourself
The College is also promoting the advice provided by the World Health Organisation on protecting our mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. It says we all should:
1. Stay connected with people
Increasing numbers will join those already in self-isolation so now might be a good time to make sure your child/ partner has the right phone numbers and email addresses in case contact is required. Make sure they have regular check-in times with classmates and tutors. If they need to self-isolate in the future, they will need to strike a balance between having a routine and making sure each day has some variety.
2. Avoid burnout
With weeks and months of the coronavirus pandemic ahead, it is important to have downtime. Mind recommends continuing to access nature and sunlight wherever possible. Do exercise, eat well and stay hydrated.
It is suggested to practice the “Apple” technique to deal with anxiety and worries
1. Acknowledge – Notice and acknowledge the uncertainty as it comes to mind.
2. Pause – Do not react as you normally do. Do not react at all. Pause and breathe.
3. Pull back – Tell yourself this is just the worry talking, and this apparent need for certainty is not helpful and not necessary. It is only a thought or feeling. Do not believe everything you think. Thoughts are not statements or facts.
4. Let go – Let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You do not have to respond to them. You might imagine them floating away in a bubble or cloud.
5. Explore – Explore the present moment, because right now, at this moment, all is well. Notice your breathing and the sensations of your breathing. Notice the ground beneath you. Look around and notice what you see, what you hear, what you can touch, what you can smell. Right now. Then shift your focus of attention to something else – on what you need to do, on what you were doing before you noticed the worry, or do something else – mindfully with your full attention.
Student Counselling Services
The College Counsellors and are able to support students by email and over the phone. They will need to complete a referral form found on Moodle: https://moodle.nptcgroup.ac.uk/mod/folder/view.php?id=249682
Once completed the form will need to be sent to:firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the team will get back and agree on the best solution.
If there are concerns relating to safeguarding, the Student Support Team has been updating the information available to students on the Safeguarding area of Moodle. The new information available signposts students to the range of local external support services.
Staying in Touch with Tutors
It is vitally important that students stay in touch with their tutors during this period so they can be updated on any changes that need to be put in place, this may include:
- Assessment and assignment final dates – work will need to be in and marked by tutors so grades can be uploaded to exam boards when required.
- Opportunities to learn through new and different websites and activities.
- Changes to sessions due to a tutor’s external / family commitments. Many tutors will also have children and partners working from home, so please be patient if tutors are not always available to speak or communicate with students when they want. It is important to know when tutors are available and students should stick to the timetables they set.
- Take advantage of organised online chats to involve all class members in discussions, other students may have found interesting information that may help with assignments.
- If students have any issues connected to online/remote learning please contact student services at email@example.com, and they will forward concerns to an appropriate person.
- Students should now be regularly sending or uploading assignments and work to their tutors, this will make marking and returning quicker rather than leaving until later. This will help tutors return and discuss work better.
If you, as a parent, guardian or partner have any concerns or comments please forward via email to the student services (firstname.lastname@example.org) and they will ask an appropriate member of staff to respond to you.