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Important information for all our current HE students

Tuesday 24th March 2020

This Newsletter provides important updates about our higher education provision which has been put together following updates from our partners about ongoing regulatory changes they are making. These changes are being put in place to ensure that, as far as is possible, no student is disadvantaged during the current crisis, and also to try and simplify procedures and processes to accommodate the new parameters we are working under.

The Universities are dealing with matters as quickly as they are able, but these are not normal circumstances and we are addressing matters as soon as the universities provide information to us.

In order that no student will be disadvantaged, we have to ensure that methodologies and approaches are consistent within programmes validated by the same University, appropriate protocols have to be followed.

Finally, I would like to say a big thank you to all of our students for studying with us. Studying for higher-level qualifications is hard-work and challenging at the best of times, so you should all be proud of your achievements and continue your studies through this uncertain time. Please stay safe.

Clare Hagerup
Director for Higher Education

You will have all already received some communication directly from the University, and this may continue throughout the current situation. Please do bear with your teaching teams regarding these communications, as the University is often only furnishing the College with the emails at the same time as they are being sent to you. The team is working hard with the University to make necessary changes to assessments which are resulting from the current position we find ourselves in - these changes will be communicated to you by your Programme Leader once they are approved by the University, and you will be kept information of any resulting delayed submission dates which will be in place to enable you to get to grips with the new tasks. In addition, the University has simplified their processes for applying for mitigation - during the coronavirus outbreak you will no longer be required to provide evidence of a need for mitigation, but rather you will simply be notifying us of that need. Your programme leader will be able to furnish you with the relevant forms and they should be returned to your programme leader once completed. Please do bear with your teaching teams at this time - they are working as quickly as they possibly can within the regulatory requirements of the University which, as I am sure you can imagine, are changing constantly and rapidly at this time.

Students at Wakefield College who are on a Leeds Beckett validated programme will receive an automatic four week extension for any assessment deadline which was due between Monday 23rd March and Friday 1st May. The University have asked us to make clear that new submissions will incorporate any extensions you have already been given and will not be in addition. To clarify, this means that if you had already been granted to a two week extension, you would now receive an additional two weeks, making four weeks in total. The information you were sent earlier this week in my newsletter regarding mitigating circumstances remains the same, and I would encourage you to maintain contact with your Programme Leader and wider teaching team. Many thanks for your ongoing understanding and patience - we recognise that you will have frustrations over the coming weeks, and I would reiterate my request that you bear with us whilst we navigate these challenging times. I hope all of you are safe and well. Take care, Clare Hagerup, Director of Higher Education

On 23rd March 2020, we received notification from the University of their new simplified processes for student extensions and mitigating circumstances. Their message is very clear, and the following is a direct quote (the bold type is theirs also) from their statement ‘students should try to meet published deadlines if they are well and able to do so’ That said, we and the University recognise that we are not operating under normal circumstances and that, as a result, students may find it difficult to meet these deadlines for a variety of reasons. To reflect this, the University have simplified their processes and your Programme Leader has been provided with full details of the new processes. If you feel that you are going to be unable to meet the current published deadlines, please make contact with your Programme Leader and they will explain the options available to you in order to assist you at this difficult time.

Also for the University of Hull section of the Newsletter - as of 23rd March 2020, the College was made aware of processes in place at the University to make amendments to assessment methodologies which are no longer practicable under the current circumstances we find ourselves in, for example examinations or presentations. As a result your Programme Leaders will currently be working with their contacts at the University to make appropriate amendments which will also reflect where they are in terms of module teaching. Any assessments which have to be amended will also have delayed submission dates in order to ensure that you are able to raise queries with your tutors relating to the new requirements. Your Programme Leader will communicate all and any changes with you as soon as they have been approved by the University. Please do bear with your teaching teams at this time - they are working as quickly as they possibly can within the regulatory requirements of the University which, as I am sure you can imagine, are changing constantly and rapidly at this time.

Huddersfield students will have been receiving email updates directly from the University and those of you undertaking year2 of the PGCE / Cert Ed qualifications will have received information about the specialist conference. You should all have also received information regarding how Huddersfield is liaising with the ETF on how credit will be awarded this year. As soon as arrangements have been confirmed, you will be notified. Your programme leaders are being furnished with copies of the correspondence that is being sent out to you by the University, so please do keep in touch with them, and also please raise any queries about that correspondence with them so that they can offer the relevant clarification that you may need. Please do bear with your teaching teams at this time - they are working as quickly as they possibly can within the regulatory requirements of the University which, as I am sure you can imagine, are changing constantly and rapidly at this time.

Unfortunately, we have limited information available to us from Pearson at this time, however, your teaching teams are working incredibly hard to ensure that, where necessary, your assessments are being amended to enable you to complete them under these rather difficult circumstances. Each Programme Leader will be working on this individually and will keep you informed as to the changes they are making, why they are making them and, where it is necessary to adjust deadlines to enable you to get to grips with the changes, what those new deadlines are. Please keep in touch with your Programme Leader and let them know straight away if you are going to struggle to meet the deadlines you have been set due to your current circumstances and arrangements will be made to enable you to hand in at a later date. Please do bear with your teaching teams at this time - they are working as quickly as they possibly can within the regulatory requirements of the University which, as I am sure you can imagine, are changing constantly and rapidly at this time.

Learner Support
Andy Kendall is available via email to support and help with academic work, including presentations and written assignments. He can provide advice and suggestions and can also proofread any work if you feel you would need some support. Andy will be able to liaise with your lecturers and other staff to help you to deal with queries. He will also be able to advise about any DSA related issues. His email address is: a.kendall@wakefield.ac.uk

If you have any general queries or concerns, then the HE Student Support Team is still on hand. Andrew Cawtheray is available to email or call for any student enquiries and support on general issues, emergencies and student finance. His email address is: a.cawtheray@wakefield.ac.uk - mobile: 07864 689558.

Library information
The short points which we have already put on Moodle are:

  • The Library Team will be working remotely to support your online learning.
  • As the Libraries are closed all library books that are out on loan have been renewed to a future date. Please keep hold of them for now.
  • If you have a question please contact us by email: libraryhelpdesk@wakefield.ac.uk
  • You can follow us on Twitter: Library Wakefield College @libtweetswakcoll
  • Our online resources are working on a daily basis and will post a news item on Moodle if there are any issues.

Student Finance
The Student Loans Company (SLC) are continuing to support students, universities and colleges and they will be providing further relevant updates here.

Will I still get my next student finance payment?

SLC can confirm that students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their maintenance loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has made alternative arrangements for teaching.

Can I still apply for student finance?
If you’re studying at the moment or you’ll be starting a full-time, undergraduate course after 1 August 2020, you can apply online for student finance as normal.

Will you still take student loan repayments if I can’t work due to Coronavirus?
It’s important to remember that you’ll only make repayments to your student loan once you’re earning over the repayment threshold for your repayment plan. This means that if you stop working, or your income drops below the threshold, your repayments will stop too.