Coronavirus Information

General

At Varndean College we continue to be committed to providing the best education and opportunities for all. We are now closed to most students and staff for the foreseeable future but we will continue to do our best to make sure we are working together with you for a bright future. We continue to be proud of the spirit, energy and determination of both our students and our staff and we wish all in our community all the very best during these times.

Exams Update

We appreciate that the current situation may generate some anxiety as regards to exams and grades. Please be assured that we will keep you up to date as we receive more guidance. The staff in the college will also do the right thing to make sure that you get the grades you have worked so hard for and deserve.

The current situation about exams is as follows:

  • Exam boards 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 to ensure this is consistently applied for all students.
  • 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 be asked to 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 soon.
  • 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.
  • Regulators and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising the approach, to ensure that it’s 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.
  • These grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years.
  • Exam boards also aim to ensure that the distribution of grades follows a similar pattern to that in other years, so that this year’s students aren’t disadvantaged.
  • Students will be able to appeal their grades if they don’t believe the right process has been followed.
  • There will also be an option to sit exams early in the next academic year for any students who wish to – and students can also choose to sit exams next summer.

Here is a link to official guidance

The situation regarding vocational courses including BTECs is similar. The exam boards are working on a process about coursework, assessment, incomplete work etc.

Just to let you know that teacher’s predictions form a part of this but not all of it. In the meantime, please do not contact your teacher regarding your predicted grades. We do not know yet as to what the process will be to determine these grades. When we know more we will let you know. The best advice is to carry on with the tasks your teachers are setting and submit work as and when they request it.

UCAS

UCAS have provided the college with the following information regarding the application process for university courses:

The admissions timetable will run similarly to previous years, and we expect all students will be awarded a calculated grade for any exam they were entered for.

As we are aware this will start to trigger a lot of questions from students, we have published updates on ucas.com and will be emailing affected applicants to explain what this means for them. In the meantime, students should not rush into making any decisions, and should carefully consider any unconditional offers.

Once further information about the process of providing and calculating grades is announced, specific guidance for each qualification we be shared. Again, UCAS will endeavour to do everything possible to students as best as we can.

Please visit their website for the latest updates:
https://www.ucas.com/undergraduate/after-you-apply/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-updates

Online learning
During your lessons you may well be using video links such as Zoom to link to your class and to your teacher. Just a reminder that if you are not comfortable with this you can turn the camera facility off, you can still link by audio or in other ways. If you are going to carry out video links etc please make sure you feel safe doing so, dress appropriately and have a look around your background shot to see what’s in the frame! If you do choose to be in a live link by video (and remember this is YOUR CHOICE) please remember to turn it off afterwards! (and don’t forget about the mic!)
Support, Wellbeing and Keeping safe
Our staff are still working during this time and are here to make sure that we support you during this challenging and ever-changing time. There is a rota of staff who are available to support you and counselling sessions will still run at your set time (just remotely). If you would like to contact one of the wellbeing team please email:wellbeingzone@varndean.ac.uk or the therapy team: therapyteam@varndean.ac.uk

FAQs

What about my Free School Meals?

We will pay your free school meals directly into your bank account every two weeks.


I am a second year student whose exams have been cancelled, will work still be set for me and do I still need to do it?

We are currently awaiting guidance on how qualifications will be awarded. Students should complete work as advised by their teachers so that they can make accurate assessments of student progress. The government is due to address this issue within the next couple of days, so we will update when we know more.


What do students do if they don’t have access to the internet or a computer/device to access online learning from home?

If students are unable to access online learning from home, for any reason, please contact IT or the main office on: office@varndean.ac.uk.


How do I contact the college during a closure?

Although the building itself will be closed, college departments will be available via email as usual. This is the most efficient way to contact staff during this closure.

For general enquiries please contact the main office and reception office@varndean.ac.uk. Calls to our main college number and student services will still be monitored and voicemails from these numbers can be accessed remotely. Please leave a voicemail if needed and we can get back to you as soon as we can.


What happens with those who receive guaranteed bursary or free school meals?

Those who receive guaranteed bursary will continue to be paid as usual. Free school meals for students will be replaced by a direct payment into their bank account so that they can continue to use this to purchase food. Please contact registry if you need to provide your bank details registry@varndean.ac.uk.


I haven’t been receiving the emails for parents, how do I update my contact details?

To update your contact details please contact the registry team on: registry@varndean.ac.uk.


I am having problems logging in to my email/moodle/google classroom. What do I need to do?

If students are having problems logging in, they should contact IT on: digitalskills@varndean.ac.uk


Where do I find the most recent announcements from the college?

Keep checking this page for updates! Following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is another great way to keep in the loop and means that you can continue to play an active part in our college community.


I am an applicant/ year 11 worried about how the exam cancellations will affect starting college in September, how will it work if I haven’t sat my exams?

It’s normal to be worried but we will make sure that your place at college is still here. Our priority is to get Year 11 students on to the right courses and we will be working with schools to make sure that we do this. If you are still waiting for your pre-enrolment interview we will be in touch to do this over the phone. Any questions or queries please contact: information@varndean.ac.uk.


What is the provision for those with EHCPs or the children of Key Workers?

The college building will remain open for vulnerable students, those with EHCPs and the children of Key workers. Our Additional Support team will be contacting individual students and their parents/guardians to discuss bespoke support. We are open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10-3. If you wish to come in please email our front office. If you’d like a hot meal please also let us know: office@varndean.ac.uk.