Welcome to our COVID-19 Hub. This dedicated page contains all our latest COVID-19 updates and information, plus links to external information and support.
We encourage you to check this page regularly and also follow us on social media.
We are pleased to announce that more of our students, across all curriculum areas, will be returning to the classroom after the Easter break.
We have sent individual communications to our students and their parents/guardians, but you can also see the Return to College information by clicking on the links below.
Summer 2021 Examinations
The Minister for Education confirmed in her statement of 20 January that learners in Wales studying for Qualifications Wales-approved GCSE, AS and A Levels this year will receive grades determined by their school or college, based on work they have completed over the duration of their course.
We have had confirmation from Welsh Government and our awarding bodies that A Level results will be on Tuesday, August 10 and GCSEs on Thursday, August 12. We are currently finalising our enrolment process around these new dates and will provide an update in due course.
AS, A2 and GCSE
In the absence of an exam series, and ongoing disruption to teaching and learning, centres will be determining the GCSE, AS or A level grades awarded to learners in summer 2021. Summer 2021 Centre Determined Grades (CDG) must be awarded on the basis of demonstrated attainment in areas of the qualification content that a learner has covered.
The standard expected for any particular grade is no lower than previous years but the volume of work completed in the specification will inevitably be lower for many learners. This means that learners will be awarded the same grades having covered different proportions of the specification.
Centres must provide a sound rationale and evidence base for the award of all Centre Determined Grades so that they can be sure that they have determined the correct grade for a learner and can justify the grade awarded should there be a request for a review of the grade or an appeal.
WJEC will provide Qualification Assessment Frameworks which set out the requirements to support production of CDGs for each qualification and will include descriptors for key grades that will support this process, to ‘anchor’ judgements across the grade range. CDGs must be accompanied with a clear and unambiguous rationale as to why and how evidence was selected and how a judgement was formed.
Teachers must assess their students’ performance, only on what content has been delivered to them, to determine the grade each student should receive. Teachers should make a holistic judgement of each student’s performance on a range of evidence relating to the subject content that has been delivered by their teacher (either in the classroom or via remote learning).
Centres will also be encouraged to consider the grades for this year’s cohort compared to cohorts from previous years when exams have taken place, to make sure they have not been overly lenient or harsh in their assessment of the 2021 cohort.
Schools and colleges should use a broad range of evidence across the taught content to determine grades before submitting them to the exam boards. Teachers can use evidence of a student’s performance throughout the course to inform their judgement.
Teachers should determine the grades as late in the academic year as is practicable, and not confined to a defined window, to enable teaching to continue for as long as possible. Students should continue to work on their NEA, including for Project qualifications. NEA will be marked by teachers and will contribute to the overall grade, whether or not it has been completed.
Final grade submission; 18 June 2021
Centre Determined Grades – Letters for Learners
Click the button below to read letters to students of 16 March.
Pearson, EAL and UAL Qualifications
BTECs, WJEC Vocational Awards, Applied Certificates & Diplomas and the new Health and Social Care: Principles & Contexts qualifications be awarded using a centre-determined grade.
This could include assessments completed during the course, including coursework or other assessment evidence. Results should be announced no later than learners who are studying GCSEs and A Levels:
- August 10 2021 for Level 3 qualifications
- August 12 2021 for Level 2 qualifications
Pearson has put together some FAQs that will help explain their position on assessment for vocational qualifications.
Qualifications used for progression but that do not share similar characteristics to GCSE or A Levels
Some qualifications support progression to further study or employment but are not similar to GCSEs or A levels, for example, Essential Skills Wales or ESOL. Exams and assessments for these qualifications can continue where it is safe to do so, remotely or in person.
Adaptations that have been put in place will still be available. If learners are unable to take the assessment when they need to, then alternative arrangements will be available to give them every chance to progress.
Practically-based qualifications or occupational competence
Qualifications that are used to demonstrate practical skills, such as plumbing, construction, performing arts or hairdressing, will still need to be practically assessed before they can be awarded and in accordance with the College phased return and Welsh Government directives.
Assessments for these qualifications should continue as normal where possible, although they may be held in a different way. In some cases, assessments may need to be delayed until they can be carried out safely in line with public health guidance, no student will be disadvantaged by this process in terms of passing a qualification, however, this may have to be delayed into the new academic year.
The Welsh Government is now offering a programme of asymptomatic COVID-19 testing in education and childcare settings across Wales through the use of Lateral Flow Devices (LFD). Testing is offered on an opt-in basis.
Along with the primary protective measures we are taking, such as social distancing and good hand hygiene, testing allows us to take further measures to help you and other staff members to continue working in as safe an environment as possible. Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 have the virus without symptoms so could be transmitting the virus unknowingly.
Students who attend further education colleges are now involved in twice a week home testing programme for COVID-19 using the Lateral Flow Devices (LFD).
By clicking the links below, you will find some useful information about Lateral Flow Testing in college.
It is important to know that we will prioritise the students who have been invited back to college as part of Phase 1 and Phase 2 return arrangements. At this time these are mainly students in Construction, Engineering, Building & Engineering Services, Creative, Visual & Performing Arts, Foundation Studies & Adult Community Learning and students who are completing assessments and practical tests. All other students will be contacted as further tests are delivered to college.
From March 15, we will be reopening some of the food outlets across the College.
Neath College – The Brook Café, including Starbucks: 08:30-14:00
Neath College – Starbucks, A/B Block: 08:30-14:00
Afan College – Refectory: 08:30-14:00
Brecon Beacons College – Refectory: 08:30-13:00
Newtown College – Refectory, including Starbucks: 08:30-14:00
We will be offering a grab-and-go menu at all outlets.
Internal seating will remain closed until further notice, in accordance with Welsh Government guidelines.
The current Welsh Government guidance is that staff and students must wear face coverings (minimum of 3 layers) in all internal areas (including teaching areas).
Each Reception area has been provided with a supply of College 3-layer face coverings if staff or students require them.
There are some circumstances where a pupil or staff member may not be able to wear a face covering. Whether somebody has a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering will not always be obvious. We are mindful and respectful of such circumstances, noting that some people may be less able to wear face coverings and the reasons for this may not be visible to others.
15 February Update
Dear HE Student,
I’m sure that you are aware that some school and college students have begun a phased return to face-to-face learning from Monday 22 February 2021. However, Welsh Universities (and NPTC Group of Colleges) will continue to deliver the majority of their teaching online, although some students may be able to return to campus if they need to use specialist equipment or study facilities.
Your Higher Education Coordinators and Tutors will continue to support you remotely but once we are able to provide face-to-face teaching you will receive an email from your tutor explaining the protocol for returning to College. On return to college, it is really important that you only attend your timetabled sessions so we can ensure that there are appropriate numbers of students on each site each day.
You should be aware that we have put in place all the necessary safety precautions to ensure the College is a COVID-19 secure environment and copies of the risk assessments are available if you would like to see them. On your first day back in college, a member of staff from your teaching team will meet you and update you of any changes to your programme and we will also provide a ‘Guide to Attending College Safely During the Covid-19 Pandemic – Spring 2021‘.
It is important at this time that we all think about others and we will ask each student to complete their own daily health check. It asks that if you or any member of your household becomes unwell with a high temperature, persistent cough or any other COVID-19 related symptoms you should NOT attend college and that you must inform your tutor immediately.
When in college you will be asked to:
- wear a suitable face covering (3 layer thickness) in all internal areas, including teaching areas.
- adhere to all social distancing guidelines (2 metres), in all areas of college, including classrooms and workshops.
- follow the tutors’ instructions regarding cleaning and preparing any equipment you may be using.
- follow and understand the induction guidance your tutor will give in respect of safe working practices in study areas.
Other things you should know:
- the College will be opening our refectories and coffee shops with a limited menu. Students can also bring their own food and drink into college.
- the College is working with the County Councils and the bus companies to get the ‘Home to College‘ transport started up again and details on this will be on the COVID-19 Hub on our website. Where possible, students should not use public transport and travel on foot, by bike/car/dedicated ‘Home to College‘ transport as these services only carry students travelling to college. We also ask that you DO NOT car share at this time unless you live in the same household.
We recognise that this is a difficult time for everyone. Student and staff wellbeing remains a key priority for us and we would encourage any student experiencing difficulties or hardship to contact us using the details below.
If you need further information or have queries about any of the content of this update, you can visit our COVID-19 Hub, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call our COVID-19 Helpline on 01639 648053.
From 22 February, during the phased return to face-to-face learning, students are able to use their college bus passes on public service buses. However, if at all possible, please do not use public transport – travel on foot, by bike or by car or by dedicated Home to College transport as these services only carry students travelling to college.
The College asks that students DO NOT car share at this time unless they live in the same household.
If you need further information on this you can email email@example.com or call our dedicated COVID-19 Helpline on: 01639 648053.
You can visit the Traveline Cymru website, where you are able to plan journeys and access timetables.
On 12 April, schools, colleges and universities can reopen, as well as all shops and close contact services. Travel in and out of Wales will also be allowed. Welsh Government have set out a plan to relax restrictions up to mid-May if public health conditions allow.
You can find the latest information and guidance about COVID-19 here:
Guidance for Education
Read the latest updates from Welsh Government about Further Education during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current guidance on Post-16 Learning and Skills
Student Space is run by Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity. It is safe, confidential and developed with students and experts in student well-being and mental health
Student Space makes it easier for students to find what they need during the coronavirus pandemic. Help and guidance is available aswell as a range of trusted information, services and tools to help with the challenges of student life.
There are three ways that Student Space can help during the pandemic:
- Access to dedicated support services for students, by phone or text;
- Information and tools to help get through the challenges of coronavirus;
- Help to find what support is available at college.
Staff or students should be in self-isolation and not attending College if:
- they have COVID-19
- they have COVID-19 symptoms, for example, a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste. You can also use the NHS Direct Wales symptom checker
- someone in their household has COVID-19 symptoms
- they’ve been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111
- they’ve been told to self-isolate by a Public Health Wales test, trace and protect service
- they have recently visited a country on the UK Foreign Office quarantine list
- they have had direct contact with a person who has had a positive test for Covid-19 (within 2 metres for 15 minutes or within 1 metre for a minute)
Those staff or students who are in self-isolation but are not sick can continue to work from home.
We have employed a number of health & safety changes at all our college sites, in compliant with COVID-19 legislation and Welsh Government guidance.
- Hand sanitizer dispensers are available across college sites
- Screens have been installed at reception areas
- No gathering or sitting is permitted in communal areas
- One-way systems have been clearly marked out throughout college
- There is social distancing signage and signage about how to reduce the spread of COVID-19 across college sites
You can see our COVID-19 ‘Keep Safe’ videos for each college site here.
Further information is available to students via Moodle.