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If you test positive for Covid-19, please ensure you email [email protected] in addition to letting your tutor know.
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Principal's Statement

Kevin Hamblin - CEO of the SGS Academy Trust Sara-Jane Watkins, College Principal

Dear learners, friends, and family of SGS College,

I know that the pandemic continues to be a worrying time for us all but I am really hopeful that things are looking more positive for a further reduction of restrictions soon.

I have been incredibly impressed how both our learners and staff have coped returning to College and since the 8th March, we have conducted over 10,000 lateral flow tests, and to date we have seen just 6 positive results. We recognise how challenging our Covid restrictions, including mask wearing and social distancing, can be for our learners but they have handled all we have asked of them in a responsible, considerate and mature manner. We could not have asked for more of them during these challenging times.

As you will be aware, we are about to enter the Easter break. The College will be closed to full-time learners from Thursday 1st April and learners will return from Monday 19th April.

Over the Easter break, learners will be supplied with lateral flow home testing kits and we are currently distributing these at the College. We are asking all learners to test twice a week and within their kit packs are details on how to undertake the tests and how to report the results. Learners will need to report their positive test results to the College using the following link: https://forms.office.com/r/aFpwmTciyx

During our first week back after Easter, we will be supporting all learners to undertake lateral flow tests back at College within our lateral flow test centres in order to help provide continuous reassurance to both learners peers and also to our staff.

The government has also confirmed that face coverings should continue to be worn in college classrooms as a precautionary measure when learners return after the Easter break.

This cautious approach will help limit the risk of transmission and enable continued monitoring of the effect of school and college returns, as twice weekly testing is established and embedded in pupil’s routines.

It is expected that face coverings will no longer be required to be worn in classrooms, or by students in other communal areas, at Step 3 of the roadmap, which will be no earlier than Monday 17 May. At that point the next stage of easements, including increased social contact indoors, will be confirmed following a review of the latest data on infection and vaccination rates. It will also allow time for the vaccination programme to reach everyone in priority groups one to nine with their first dose before any change is committed.

We are really hoping we can continue to increase the number of days that learners are studying on campus and all groups should continue to be in for at least two days per week. We aim to increase the number of days learners are on site at the earliest opportunity.

SGS will continue to work with a safety-first approach to ensure all learners can feel reassured when on campus and we will continue to directly communicate our approach via TEAMs, on the College's website and through our social media platforms. Please keep checking these platforms for further updates:

Find us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Instagram

I thank you for your continued patience and support, as we take further steps to returning to normal.

I wish you a safe and restful break.

Sara-Jane Watkins
College Principal

Home Testing for Learners

Home Testing for SGS College Learners

The Government has recently announced that all college aged learners will be offered regular asymptomatic COVID-19 testing to take at home. All college aged students will be offered tests to take at home twice a week, so that we can reduce the spread of the virus.

Up to one in three people who have COVID-19 can spread the virus without knowing. This is because they have no symptoms. To reduce the spread of the virus, we need to identify those individuals. We can do this in colleges by carrying out tests at home twice every week.

On this basis, learners should continue to test twice weekly over the Easter holidays, testing before returning to college for the summer term, either the night before, or morning of, the first day back, to find and isolate any positive cases.

Testing students at home

Tests kits will be given out to learners at the Lateral Flow Test Centre from Thursday 25 March. Tests are free of charge. Learners will receive a pack of 3 tests in a box with a leaflet on how to take the test and report the results. You will need to sign for the tests you collect.

The result of each test needs to be reported using the NHS Test & Trace self-report website: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result

Learners or parents will also need to inform the college of a positive result immediately using the link below:

https://forms.office.com/r/aFpwmTciyx

If a learner has a positive test result, they should get a confirmatory PCR. The PCR test should be booked immediately either online or by calling 119 and should be undertaken within 2 days. Outside of this they should stay home and self-isolate for 10 days. If the result of the test is unclear (void) they will need to do another one.

Taking part

Taking part in testing is voluntary and all learners will be able to attend college whether they take part in testing or not.

We are strongly encouraging all learners to take part in the national testing programme.

Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns about home testing or visit www.sgscol.ac.uk/sgs-protected

Some frequently asked questions

What type of tests will be used?

We will be sending home Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests. They are a fast and simple way to test people who do not have symptoms of COVID-19, but who may still be spreading the virus.

The tests are easy to use and give results in 30 minutes.

Further information: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/understanding-lateral-flow-antigen-testing-for-people-without-symptoms

Are LFD tests accurate?

Lateral Flow Devices identify people who are likely to be infectious. These individuals tend to spread the virus to many people and so identifying them through this test is important.

These tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in asymptomatic individuals and are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested.

The tests are highly specific, with low chance of false positives. They are also very sensitive and are able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. Extensive evaluation has been carried out on the tests and it shows that they are both accurate and sensitive enough to be used in the community for screening and surveillance purposes.

It is important to remember that these tests are only an aid to help stop the spread of the virus and you should continue to follow other guidance such as on wearing face coverings and social distancing.

How are LFD tests different to PCR tests?

There are 2 main types of test to check if you have coronavirus:

  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests check for the genetic material (RNA) of the virus in the sample - you send the sample for processing at a lab.
  • Lateral Flow Device (LFD) tests detect proteins called 'antigens' produced by the virus - LFD tests give rapid results, in 30 minutes after taking the test.

How will personal information and test results be shared?

When learners take a Lateral Flow test, they need to report the result. This is so that their test result can be traced, which means that they need to share some information about the learners.

They need to tell the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC):

  • their name
  • their test result
  • the reference number on the test Kit

They will also need to tell the college their test result.

Under UK law, a child's college can collect and store test result data because it is in the 'public interest'.

Colleges will only share information with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) if the test kits used are found to be faulty. If this happens, DHSC will use our information to contact people who used the faulty tests, so that they can be tested again.

When a person reports test results online, they are sharing information with DHSC, who may then share the information with a GP, local government, NHS, and Public Health England. This is so that they can offer health services and guidance if someone needs to self-isolate. They might also use data anonymously (a person's name or contact information) to research COVID-19, and improve our understanding of the virus.

For more information on how personal data is used for testing please see the detailed privacy notice, please click here.

Useful Documents

A Guide to Regular Testing for Parents with Children at Nurseries, Schools and Colleges
SEND Schools How to Test

Current Cases Tuesday 11th May

Campus Live Positive Cases Subject Area(s) In Isolation Isolation End Date
Filton Main 0 N/A N/A N/A
Filton Sixth Form 0 N/A N/A N/A
Wise 0 N/A N/A N/A
Queens Road (Bristol School of Art) 0 N/A N/A N/A
Stroud 0 N/A N/A N/A
Bristol Zoo Gardens 0 N/A N/A N/A

If you wish to contact SGS about this message, please email [email protected]

SGS Protected

'SGS ProtectED' - you will be safe if you attend college

As SGS reopened in June 2020 we have had the opportunity to successfully implement and trial a robust approach to onsite health, safety, well-being and hygiene plans to ensure you are safe when onsite.

Details of what is in place:

  • Every classroom, workshop, library and social area is set-up to ensure you can study and socialise safely to reduce Covid-19 spreading.
  • We have extra cleaning, extra hand-washing facilities, and extra staff on hand to make sure everyone sticks to the rules.
  • Clear safety signage is in place across all campuses.
  • Start and finish times vary for different classes to support safe access to public transport to and from college.
  • We have fewer learners on our campuses on a day to day basis to ensure social distancing can be managed effectively.
  • Departments operate as dedicated zones and learners per day will be viewed as a 'bubble' to limit contact with others onsite.

Important - Guidance That Must Be Followed To Ensure You Are Safe Onsite

Please note the conditions outlined below. These are for your safety and that of others on campus, you MUST make yourself familiar with these and follow them while you are on campus.

These are for your safety and that of others on campus, you MUST make yourself familiar with these and follow them while you are on campus.

  • Do not attend the campus if you have any Covid-19 symptoms (e.g. raised temperature, fever, sore throat, loss of taste, loss of smell etc.)
  • Ensure that you sanitise your hands, as directed, when you arrive at campus, regularly during your time on campus and following the use of toilet and other onsite facilities.
  • Remind yourself of social distancing put in place to reduce the transmission rate of Coronavirus.
  • Parking management and enforcement is in operation. A link to register your vehicle is below: https://www.uk-carparkmanagement.co.uk/permit-order/university/signup.php
  • You will only be allowed to remain on site for your allotted lessons and you will need to leave the campus immediately after your session has been completed - you cannot currently stay on site to socialise.
  • Break times are at set times during the day and must be adhered to.
  • Smoking is currently banned across the whole campus, which includes the car park.
  • If any of the above guidance isn't followed you will respectfully be asked to leave the campus immediately.

Video Overview of Studying at SGS from September

'SGS ProtectED' - keeping you safe if you attend your exam at college

The Secretary of State for Education, The Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP and the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual), have now confirmed that summer examinations for GCSE, AS, A Level qualifications and BTEC qualifications will no longer take place. Learners on these qualifications will now receive grades for the examined elements of their qualifications determined by their teachers.

Fairness and flexibility are at the heart of the Government's plans and this is to ensure that you can still get to the next stage of your education or training. Your teachers will be able to draw upon a range of evidence when determining your grades, including the optional use of some questions provided by the exam boards, as well as mock exams, coursework, and other work that you have completed as part of your course. There will be no use of any algorithm this year and therefore you will receive the grades that you earn from the work that you have done so far and will continue to do this year.

We will submit your grades by June the 18th, allowing as much teaching time as possible for you to improve your grades. Results for A level and level 3 vocational qualifications will be issued on the 10th of August with GCSE and level 2 results issued on the 12th of August. These earlier dates provide additional time for appeals to be completed so, if you are reliant upon your grades to accept a university offer, you will have the best chance of securing your place.

If you are studying a vocational, technical or professional qualification (like the qualifications needed to enter directly into employment) or qualifications that are competency based such as those offered by VTCT, City and Guilds, EAL, AAT or CIPS) . Then you will be required to complete the examination elements of your qualification because these are critical to demonstrating occupational and professional competency and these examinations can still be delivered in line with Public Health England measures. However, where these examination and assessments cannot take place safely, they will be delayed but not cancelled.

If you are studying toward a smaller qualifications such as those taken for mixed purposes like Functional Skills qualifications and English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) then your examinations will go ahead as planned where they can be delivered safely (or remotely) but with alternative arrangements available for those who cannot access the assessments.

If you are unsure about how your qualification is assessed or about how your grades will be awarded then please speak to your tutor who will be able to explain.

These proposals were supported by responses to Ofqual's largest ever consultation, with over 100,000 responses, of which just over half (52%) came from pupils.

Therefore, SGS College is committed to supporting our learners to access their examinations and in doing so we will comply fully with the Public health guidance issued to support exams in January 2020. If you have an examination scheduled or if you have been notified that you should attend an examination; we are recommending that you should attend as planned. We do however recognise that some learners may not be able to sit scheduled examinations and if this is the case the College remains committed to supporting you to ensure that you are not disadvantaged.

Examinations Arrangements

Where candidates are travelling to or within an area under local restrictions to take exams, they should refer to the local restriction's tiers guidance. Candidates should expect to be able to travel for the purpose of taking exams. Travel into or out of tiers for the purposes of education and training, including exams and assessments, is allowed.

SGS is fully engaged with NHS Test and Trace and all examination candidates are asked to register on site and log their attendance directly with NHS Test and Trace if they have access to the NHS COVID-19 app. Every exam has a seating plan.

Students taking exams in the summer 2021 are encouraged to undertake a lateral flow test prior to sitting their exam or assessment. However, as testing is not mandatory no learner will be refused access to their exam if they have not already been tested.

Candidates are asked to read the safer travel guidance before planning their journey to their exam and detailed information can be found on this page.

When candidates arrive for the scheduled start time of their exam, social distancing measures are in place and face coverings are mandatory.

Where possible, examinations will be delivered in bubbles with no mixing between groups.

The College stringently follows the guidance for cleaning non-healthcare settings and exam rooms are always kept clean. This includes frequently touched surfaces (for example, door handles, individual desks, keyboards, and other IT equipment) which are cleaned after every exam.

All examination rooms are set up so that no candidates sit face to face and all examination desks are at least 1.5 meters apart (the minimum distance in all directions is 1.25 metres) and, where space allows candidates will be spaced at least 2 meters apart.

All examination candidates and invigilators will wear face coverings in communal areas and all candidates and invigilators are encouraged to wear face coverings during exams. Hand sanitiser, PPE and sanitising wipes are available to all examination candidates in all examination venues.

SGS College's Approach to Onsite Learning

What SGS College will look like from the w/c 19th April onwards and how we will operate our onsite learning is outlined below:

  • SGS will be asking all 16-18 learners to return onsite for 2 days per week during w/c 19th April with the number of days increasing to 3 per week from w/c 26th April for subjects that require access to practical facilities. Degree level learners will return for between 2-3 days depending on delivery location and subject area. Preparation for Work and Life provision and days onsite will remain unchanged. Tutors will be in touch with learners to confirm exact arrangements.
  • SGS will be asking the majority of adult and apprentice learners to return onsite during w/c 19 April; especially those who have upcoming exams or need access to practical facilities. Learners will be contacted directly with details of their return.

Travel to College

SGS is working closely with local authorities and local Government to ensure that there is enough transport to support learners getting to College. Please ensure you check what services are running and plan ahead to manage your journey into College. Additionally, please ensure you have a face mask, as these are compulsory in order to travel on public transport. Bins for used face masks will be available on entry to the College, along with hand sanitising facilities.

Remote Education Offer

What remote education will be made available for different learner cohorts following March the 8th 2021

The following statement confirms the college's approach to online and remote learning when lessons are not on campus, for learners who are shielding (because they are clinically extremely vulnerable) or during periods when learners are self-isolating. Regardless of the type of provision you are currently studying, you are still expected to engage effectively and this includes arriving promptly to all timetabled sessions and actively participating in lessons both in class, where applicable, and online.

SGS is committed to supporting learners to continue to access their vocational and technical exams in a COVID-SAFE environment. If you are scheduled to take an examination, we would encourage you to do so, but you should not travel to an examination venue if you are currently self-isolating or experiencing symptoms of coronavirus.

The College's Well-being Team is dedicated to ensuring that you not only gain qualifications but that you also enjoy your time with us here at the College. More information about the Well-being Team, including our contact details can be found here.

At SGS College, the Curriculum has been carefully amended in light of the ongoing Covid pandemic. When the College is open to learners, practical elements of your course will be delivered face to face. Where online learning is appropriate, parts of your programme will be delivered remotely.

Across the College, a blend of online learning and face to face learning have taken place since September 2020 for all learners, including for those who are Pre-16, Apprentices and adult learners. Throughout this time, our key focus has been on ensuring that learning is engaging and enables you make positive progress towards completion of your qualification.

It is our aim, as far as possible, and in line with the guidance issued from the Government, that remote learning will only be a small element of your course. However, the proportion of remote learning will vary from course to course - your course tutor will explain to you exactly how your course will be delivered and what is expected from you. As a minimum, each learner can expect a range of live and pre-recorded learning sessions, self-directed study activities and 1:1 tutorial meetings.

Delivery arrangements, such as timetabling, virtual learning environments and assessment arrangements

All of the information that you need about the delivery arrangements of your programme can be found on e-campus, including the link you'll need to access your timetable.

All timetables are held on the pro-portal system, which you can access via e-campus. If you have forgotten your pro-portal password you can re-set it here.

To view your timetable on pro-portal, click on the menu icon or 'Information' and select 'Lesson timetable' from the drop down. You'll then need to select 'week commencing' and click 'update' in order to view your timetable for that week.

Please make sure to check your timetable regularly for any updates or changes.

All remote and virtual learning takes place using Teams and you can access Teams via e-campus here.

Within your Team you will find all of the information you need about your course and your assessments. Your Team will also include a link to the Learning Resource Centre where you can access resources relevant to your course or you can 'jump' straight to the LRC home page from here.

Your assignments and assessments will also be set and accessed via Teams and you should also submit your responses via Teams.

Written feedback will be provided on all of the work that you submit and you will have an opportunity to discuss this feedback when you meet with your tutor on a 1:1 basis; you will be expected to take part in a 1:1 meeting with your tutor to review your progress at least every 6 weeks.

Apprentices will receive feedback through Smart Assessor as usual and you will have the opportunity to discuss this feedback at your scheduled progress reviews.

If you are an adult community learner, your remote lessons may take place via Zoom. If this is the case, your tutor will invite you to each session in advance and provide you with instructions on how to get the most out of Zoom.

In the unlikely event that you have difficulty in accessing the technology necessary to attend remote lessons you should contact your tutor in the first instance.

Expectations of Students

Remember you are expected to attend all of your scheduled sessions and remote lessons are treated in exactly the same way as on-site face to face learning. That means you must attend remote lessons on time and with all of the resources and equipment that you would usually bring to on-site classes.

During each remote learning session, you must be able to participate fully which means you should choose a suitable location and be prepared to complete tasks when required and respond to questions that are asked.

You will also be asked to turn your camera and/or microphone on during each remote learning session so that you can participate fully and so that your teacher can mark the register.

During online activities always wear appropriate clothing (the same as you would on campus) and have a suitable background (you can use the 'blur' feature in Teams to help achieve this where needed). Remember that learning online is the same as learning within the classroom so always be respectful towards staff and you peers.

Always try to listen carefully and ensure you keep up to date, understanding:

  • How your assessments are taking place
  • What work you need to submit and when
  • Your current progress against targets; and
  • How to improve your work and by when, in line with your targets and progression goals.

If you are unable to attend either a face to face or remote lesson due to sickness or another issue, you must inform your tutor directly and you can do that here.

Parents of 14 to16 year old learners should also continue to report absence by calling 07984 540873 (In addition to the learner contacting their tutor directly).

Please note, failure to report your absence will result in it not being formally logged with your course tutor and this could affect your attendance record or entitlement to a bursary. After 7 days of no contact, we report you as a 'child missing in education'.

Arrangements for students studying courses that require specialist equipment or facilities

Course delivery models vary across our range of programmes; many practical courses require significant time in studios, workshops, salons, and gyms; whereas programmes with more theoretical content may require less face-to-face delivery. The College has considered the delivery of each qualification individually to ensure learners have the best learning experience, whilst maintaining a Covid safe environment for all.

During periods when on site access to resources is limited, remote learning sessions will focus of theoretical content and knowledge development. However, if you need access to resources or materials to support your studies you should discuss this with your tutor in the first instance who will be able to support you to access resources and materials where possible at managed times.

Support for students without devices, connectivity or a suitable environment for learning

We understand that it is sometimes difficult to access IT at home or find a suitably quiet space to join remote lessons.

You can loan certain equipment from the College and you are always welcome to use the College's Learning Resource Centres, even during periods of lockdown. If you would like to access any of the College's Learning Resource Centres please contact us by completing this form. Once you have submitted your form please wait for us to contact you to arrange access to campus.

To access the College's Learning Resource Centres simply follow the LRC footprints which you'll find at each student entrance when on campus.

The College's Learning Resource Centres operate as its own bubble and therefore you can access these spaces regardless of which faculty bubble you belong to. The Learning Resource Centres have strict social distancing measures in place which you will be expected to follow and you will be asked to wear a face covering if you do not have a purple lanyard proving your exemption.

Remember, although you are free to use the LRC's at any time you must stick to your staggered breaks and lunchtimes to avoid mixing in the College's social spaces outside of your bubble. If you receive free-college-meals you can also get refectory tokens from the LRC staff (which won't affect any other bursary payment that you're already receiving).

Support for students with SEND

With additional safety measures in place, SGS continues to offer onsite curriculum provision for all Preparation for Work and Life learners, even during periods of Lockdown. If you are a Learner in the Preparation for Work and Life Team, your timetables will remain the same and you should continue to attend College where it is safe for you to do so.

The College has also opened additional specialist Hubs at each of our main campuses (Stroud, Filton and WISE). If you have special educational needs, you may attend your campus more frequently so that you can meet with your support team and access additional IT and other accessibility equipment.

If you have an Education Health Care Plan (EHCP) and would like to access any of the College's Specialist support Hubs, please get in touch by completing this form. Once you have submitted your form please wait for us to contact you to arrange access to campus.

Remember there are also lots of great accessibility tools embedded within Teams that you can use to help you if you cannot come on site.

Check out this helpful video showing how to use immersive reader in teams.

If you have an EHCP and receive in class support, this will still be made available to you during your online sessions. Support online could include note-taking, organisational support, breaking down information, scribing or assignment support. Your support worker will also make regular contact with you to make sure that you are continuing to make progress and to enquire if you require additional support.

Finally, if you are struggling with online learning please discuss this with your tutor and support worker, who may be able to provide additional help or access to physical learning packs for study during any lockdown period.

Bubbles and Zones - How will they work from 8 March?

We will be adopting exactly the same Bubbles and Zones that have applied throughout this academic year (September - December).

All learners will continue to be grouped by department or faculty and class type.

As far as possible, normal social distancing rules will apply within bubbles and zones.

Learners should be aware of their Zone and Bubble from the time spent on campus earlier in the Academic Year. However, signage is displayed around all campuses detailing these arrangements.

Please note there should be no mixing or socialising outside of these bubbles and zones, with learners leaving immediately on completion of their time on site.

How will we identify learners from different zones?

Different coloured lanyards will still need to be worn for each zone; zone colours remain the same as have been applied throughout this academic year (September - December)

The colour-coding is highlighted on signage around all campuses; all signage is already in place.

Learner Break Rota - How will they work from 8 March?

As before the lockdown, we will be adopting exactly the same Learner Break Rota that has applied throughout this academic year.

This rota must please be followed to allow bubbles to be managed safely.

Any learners leaving class outside of agreed break times will be sent back to their room.

Additional signage to publicise this information is already in place at each campus.

NHS Test & Trace App

The NHS Covid-19 App is the simplest way to help protect you and your colleagues and is a vital part in the fight against the virus.

Should you come into close contact with another user who reports a positive test result, the App will send you an anonymous alert.

A built-in QR scanner within the App lets you check into the College and other venues quickly and easily. You can check your symptoms in the App and if they suggest you may have Covid-19, the App is an easy way to get tested.

Any data shared with the App is held on your phone. Nobody will know who or where you are. You can delete the App and all data at any time.

The NHS Covid-19 app is the fastest way to see if you're at risk from the virus. The faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect your loved ones.

To download the App and for further information, including frequently asked questions, please visit covid19.nhs.uk

Test and Trace App - Registration Points / QR Codes

NHS Test and Trace QR codes are available at all Receptions areas of SGS College learners who have the App.

Face Coverings

Learners no longer need to wear face coverings in classrooms or communal areas.

Staff are not required to wear face coverings in the classroom but should continue to wear them in communal areas such as the staff room, where social distancing may not be possible.

Visitors must still wear masks and be advised of this when arriving onsite.