COVID Response - Spring 2021
From 8 March, people in England will see restrictions start to lift and the government’s four-step roadmap offer a route back to a more normal life.
The success of the vaccination programme is one factor - so far over 17 million people have had their jabs - but by no means the whole story. The public have also risen to the challenge of suppressing COVID-19: by obeying the law; staying at home; getting tested when needed; isolating when required, and following the ‘hands, face, space’ and ‘letting fresh air in’ guidance.
Taken together, this means that even though absolute case numbers remain relatively high, we will be able to begin relaxing the current strict lockdown. While we must all remain vigilant - in particular against the threat from new COVID-19 variants - and continue to protect the NHS, a safe exit from lockdown can begin. It will take place in four steps; and at each step, we plan to lift restrictions across the whole of England at the same time.
In implementing this plan we will be guided by data, not dates, so that we do not risk a surge in infections that would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS. For that reason, all the dates in the roadmap are indicative and subject to change. There will be a minimum of five weeks between each step: four weeks for the scientific data to reflect the changes in restrictions and to be analysed; followed by one week’s advance notice of the restrictions that will be eased.
Only when the government is sure that it is safe to move from one step to the next will the final decision be made. The decision will be based on four tests:
- the vaccine deployment programme continues successfully
- evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
- infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS
- our assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new Variants of Concern
The government will continue to protect the public by ensuring local outbreaks are managed quickly and effectively and that we combat new dangerous variants, both within the UK and at the border. The government will also continue to support families and businesses throughout the steps set out in the roadmap - details of which will be set out by the Chancellor in the Budget on 3 March.
Step 1 - 8 and 29 March
Changes on 8 March
In Step 1, our priority is to ensure that all children and students return safely to face-to-face education in schools and colleges from 8 March. Childcare and children’s supervised activities can also resume where necessary to enable parents to work or engage in similar activities. We are introducing twice-weekly rapid testing for secondary and college pupils - in addition to regular testing for all teachers - to reduce the chance of the virus spreading in schools.
Higher Education students at English universities on practical courses can also return from 8 March.
People will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, if they are eligible for one, or with one person from outside their household. Care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.
Changes on 29 March
The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. And this is why from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.
Business and activities
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.
Step 2 - not before 12 April
Business and activities
Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.
While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.
Step 3 - not before 17 May
As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.
This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted - although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply - we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
As soon as possible and by no later than Step 3, we will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.
Business and activities
Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen - and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.
Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
Review of social distancing
Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.
Step 4 - not before 21 June
By Step 4 which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.
Business, activities and events
We hope to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.
As we move through each of these phases in the roadmap, we must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe. We must carry on with ‘hands, face, space’. Comply with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested when needed. Get vaccinated when offered. If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.
Please click the link below to access a Government NHS video which shows how to do a Covid-19 Self-Test (rapid antigen test) at home. Click Here
Updated timetables are accessible via the Stanmore College App which indicate whether classes are on site or remote. Any student with concerns in relation to these Measures should speak to their personal tutor in the first instance. For short courses students should speak to their teacher/ course leader.
College managers are regularly reviewing the volume of face to face learning on site over the coming weeks in line with changes in the Covid-19 circumstances, and it is intended to increase the number of students on site over a period of time. We will write to students again during the week commencing 15th March to this effect.
Health and welfare
We have, once again, reviewed all our risk assessments, and health and safety procedures to ensure that we are doing everything possible to welcome students back safely. These measures will continue and include social distancing, wearing face-masks apart from those who are exempt, use of hand-sanitisation stations, adhering to one-way systems in corridors, frequent cleaning, wearing of ID cards and insisting that anyone who has Covid-19 symptoms, or has someone in their house who has, should not come onsite.
Covid-19 Testing for Staff and Students
In line with government guidelines, the College is delivering rapid asymptomatic testing. Rapid testing remains an important part of the government’s plan to suppress the virus, in education and childcare settings and across society. This sort of testing means that people who have Covid-19 but do not have any symptoms of it, who might otherwise continue to attend educational settings, can be identified and self-isolate.
All students who consent and are timetabled to attend the College onsite will be offered three rapid tests which will be undertaken in the Main Hall at the College in the initial weeks of return three to five days apart. This will help students to get used to swabbing themselves for the tests, after which they will then be provided with rapid tests to use at home. The home test kits do come with clear instructions for use and how to report the results.
Thank you, once again, to students, parents/guardians and staff for their efforts and goodwill in these difficult circumstances.
Please see information published by the DfE on 25th February for parents and students relating to the latest government announcement and grades in 2021
Given the worsening public health situation and the new lockdown measures introduced, the College site is now closed for students, apart from those who are vulnerable and the children of key workers. All teaching and learning is being delivered via 100% online lessons. The very serious nature of the current situation seems to have given the Government little choice but to put in place the strict rules to avoid people from becoming seriously ill and dying. The proposed timeline for this closure is now planned to be until 8th March though the Government have yet to confirm.
If you have any specific requests or need resources, please contact your tutor in the first instance.
The situation regarding examinations has also changed. It was announced that GCSE and A-level exams will not now go ahead as planned in the summer, with alternative arrangements to allow students to progress fairly. Similarly, alternative arrangements will be made for summer vocational qualifications such as BTECs.
It is important that all students keep going with all aspects of learning in the weeks ahead and remain motivated, engaged and focussed on the future beyond the immediate difficulties we are all experiencing. Participation in online learning and submission of work will form part of students’ assessment.
HARROW IS IN LOCKDOWN – ONLY LEAVE HOME WHERE NECESSARY.
Department for Education Update – 6th January 2021
Secretary of State’s Statement to Parliament
The Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson, has today made a statement to the House of Commons about the closure of schools in England during the national lockdown.
He stated that schools have not suddenly become unsafe but limiting the number of children and students who attend them is essential to curb the escalating cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) throughout the country and prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed.
The key measures to support the education of children and young people during the national lockdown include:
- early years settings remain open to all
- schools open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers
- clear requirements for schools to provide high-quality remote education
- stepping up the digital support to schools and parents
- working with the UK’s leading mobile network operators to provide free data to key educational sites
- continued provision of free school meals or food parcels for eligible pupils, whether or not they are attending school.
The Secretary of State confirmed that we will not be asking students to sit SATs, GCSEs and A and AS Level exams this summer. Together with Ofqual, we will consult next week on how to fairly award all pupils with a grade to ensure they can progress to the next stage of their lives.
The Secretary of State also confirmed that testing is going to be at the centre of our plans to return children back to school and college.
The Secretary of State thanked all social workers, teachers and other education staff for all they have been doing to keep children and young people safe and learning over the last difficult term.
Department for Education guidance
Our guidance to support education providers, local authorities and parents during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can be accessed using the links below:
- Guidance for early years and childcare providers
- Guidance for schools
- Guidance for further and higher education providers
- Guidance for local authority children’s services
- Guidance for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings
Updated guidance on national restrictions for education and childcare settings
We have updated our guidance on what the national restrictions mean for education and childcare settings to include further information on the provision of extra-curricular activities, sport and physical education in schools and colleges. This update also includes information for further education providers on the provision of remote education and enrolment during the period of national restrictions.
We have also provided information on the provision of children’s services and social care to vulnerable and disadvantaged children and young people, including information on access to respite and leaving care. The national restrictions are in force up to and including Wednesday 2 December.
Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) paper on the benefits of remaining in education
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has published a paper that provides the latest evidence of incidence and transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) in schools and the benefits to children and young people of remaining in education. This research shows that closing schools would have a negative impact on children and young people’s mental health and development. We are prioritising their education and wellbeing by keeping schools open.
Please see below information received from the Department for Education on 30th October.
What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
We have updated the guidance on what parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to include the latest information on self-isolation and shielding, who needs to get a test for coronavirus (COVID-19), face coverings, assessment and exams.
NHS Test and Trace Covid-19 app: resources for schools, parents and young people
On 24th September 2020 the NHS Test and Trace launched the NHS COVID-19 app. The app has been launched to help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It will do this by alerting people who may have been exposed to infection so that they can take action.
The app is available to download on smartphones for anyone aged 16 or over. This means that our students will be eligible to use the app and benefit from its features.
In addition to the guidance for schools and further education colleges recently published, NHS Test and Trace has published guidance and resources to support the use of the app which are available to download.
Letter for parents about COVID-19 symptoms
Public Health England have produced a letter for schools to distribute to parents which explains when a person requires a coronavirus test and what the symptoms of coronavirus are. The Department would be grateful if you could share and circulate this letter amongst parents at your school.
The intention of the letter is to help prevent children being taken out of school unnecessarily and answer some of the questions parents may have around testing.
NHS Test and Trace COVID-19 app – resources for schools, parents and young people
Today, NHS Test and Trace has launched the NHS COVID-19 app. The app has been launched to help control the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). It will do this by alerting people who may have been exposed to infection so that they can take action.
The app is available to download on smartphones for anyone aged 16 or over. This means that some students in year 11, students in years 12, 13 and in further education colleges will be eligible to use the app and benefit from its features. In addition to the guidance for schools and further education colleges which we published yesterday, NHS Test and Trace has published guidance and resources to support the use of the app which are available to download.
Your Health and Safety comes first
OUR PRIORITY is to ensure the safety and welfare of all students, staff, your families, and our local community. When we welcome students in the new academic year, starting in September, we will ensure our facilities at the College meet all the Government guidelines. Covid 19 has had a major effect on our country and the whole world. We have reviewed and amended all our risk assessments, and health and safety procedures, to ensure that we are meeting all the national and local advice, and we are doing everything possible to welcome students back safely. So what measures are in place?
- We are only inviting students into College when the Government indicates that it is the right time to do so.,
- Effective infection protection and control, with sanitising stations in all buildings – you will not have to look far to access protection.
- Cleaning hands more often than usual, and for 20 seconds with running water and anti-bacterial soapwash, ensuring that all parts of the hands are cleaned.
- Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who may have coronavirus symptoms, or who have someone in their household who does, does not attend College.
- Providing a one-way system of movement on the campus, and keeping social distancing, for the enrolment system, with hand sanitiser stations and an online enrolment facility that many students can access.
- Ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach.
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces often using standard products, such as detergents and bleach.
- Minimising contact and mixing by altering, as much as possible, the environment (such as classroom layout) and timetables (such as staggered break times).
- Supplementing remote education with face to face support for students in reduced class sizes.
- More online learning facilities and resources, but also face to face (at a distance) teaching to meet the needs of students.
- A deep cleaned College with many refurbished areas.
- Ensuring bins are emptied more often throughout the day for tissues and similar.
- PPE for vulnerable students as required.
Rest assured, each and every detail has been considered and plans implemented to see to it that Stanmore students have returned to education in a safe and healthy environment from both physical and emotional perspectives.
Communication tools for students and staff
Students: we will continue to support you online and focus on communication, access to learning resources, online teaching and virtual learning, keeping you safe online whilst working from home, and ensuring your well-being. We will be keeping you up to date by email and other means during this period. The Stanmore College App can be used messaging between learners and staff. This can be accessed via mobile app stores or a web browser: Stanmore App enables you to view your timetable and other information. The College’s Virtual Learning Environment, StudySpace will be used for delivering online course materials and assignments. Microsoft Teams will be used for virtual classrooms. You can install it on your phone via the app stores, any desktop or laptop computer, or you can access it via the web.More Information on Microsoft Teams.
Frequently Asked Questions
(Existing students please scroll down)
Applicants for 2020/21 Academic Year
Q: I have not attended an interview. How will I be offered a place?
A: Teachers are trying to contact those who did not have an opportunity to attend an interview before the locked to conduct interviews over the telephone. You should receive a telephone call before mid-May. For those who apply later they will be contacted after receipt of their application.
Q: What is the deadline to accept/decline the offer?
A: We request that you confirm your during the telephone interview.
Q: I also have offer(s) from other school/college(s), what should I do?
A: You can accept offers at more than one college or sixth form to keep your options until you have GCSE results, if you wish.
Q: What should I do if I do not receive a call/telephone interview.
A: If you do not receive a call it may be because the College does not have a correct telephone number for you or it may not have been entered on your application form. You can email your telephone number, full name, date of birth and state which study programme you applied for to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will update your application. The College will still make every effort to contact you.
Q: If my GCSE grades are not high enough for a Level 3 study programme at Stanmore College can I still enrol and do the subject I wish to study?
A: Yes you will be able to enrol but we will only make the final decision on the level of the study programme you enrol on at enrolment which starts on GCSE results day. If you meet or exceed your GCSE entry requirements and meet any other stated requirements of your study programme, you will be invited to enrol on the most appropriate level for you.
Q: I changed my mind and want to study something else. What should I do now?
A: If you email email@example.com the College will update your record so the correct subject teacher contacts you to interview you for your chosen subject. If you have changed your mind since being interviewed don’t worry, you can be reinterviewed for the subject you now wish to do at enrolment.
Q: When will I receive information about how I should enrol?
A: You will be sent a letter from the College in July 2020 inviting you to enrol in August and outlining when you should go to the College and what you will need to bring with you. Enrolment starts on GCSE results day which is 20th August and goes on for a number of days.
Q: College day is 9:00am - 5:00pm - do I have to be onsite for all of this time if I do not have lessons?
A: You will receive your timetable after enrolling. The number of hours you do depends on the study programme you are undertaking. This will include English and maths if you did not achieve a grade 4 or above in in your GCSEs. You may also have enrichment, trips, industry placement or work experience on other days too.
In between lessons you will have time for personal study, homework, revision… not “FREE” time! If there is a whole day or half day when you have no lessons then you do not need to be on site.
Q: Will I be required to come to College every day or will there be day(s) off?
A: Yes - your timetable will cover Mon-Fri but not every class of every day; you will have scheduled "classroom" lessons for 15-20 hours per week (out of a possible 25).
Q: Can I progress to university after completion of a study programme?
A: Absolutely! Over 80% of our students progress to universities all over the UK. We also have a partnership with The University of Portsmouth and we offer HNDs in Computing and Business and Foundation Degrees in Early Years which are delivered at Stanmore College itself. Our students go on to fantastic careers. A level 3 study programme is equivalent to 3 A levels.
Q: I have accepted my offer. Is there anything else I need to do?
A: No - stay safe under COVID-19 restrictions. Keep a regular eye on email and we will contact you again when anything changes or to invite you to enrolment.
Q: Do I need to continue with my coursework and attend online lessons?
A: YES it is very important that you complete your study programme, attend online lessons and complete and submit all assignments by the deadlines set as this will affect your results and future success.
Q: I want to progress to the next level of my course at Stanmore College. How can I do that?
A: You need to complete your current programme. A letter was sent to existing students stating that, subject to completion of your current programme you will progress to the next level. If you do not wish to progress at Stanmore College you should let your personal tutor know. You will receive a letter in July inviting you to attend enrolment which starts on 20th August – you will be notified of the date that you should attend enrolment.
Q: I have not yet had a conversation with the Careers’ Adviser. How do I arrange one at this time?
A: If you have not chosen to apply to university and you have not had a conversation with the careers adviser we recommend that you email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to arrange one.