We understand that many applicants, students, parents/carers and staff have questions about campus re-opening and what this means for students starting courses in Autumn 2020.
We have put together some of our most frequently asked questions and their answers. If you have any questions that aren't answered below, email firstname.lastname@example.org
- When will my course start?
There will be a range of start dates for courses to ensure we can accommodate safe numbers of people on campus and adhere to social distancing guidance. For most full-time and part-time courses, the start date will be week beginning 21st September 2020. Every student will receive updated confirmation of their course start date soon. Please remember to keep checking your email, our social media channels and website for more information.
- When will inductions take place?
Inductions will take place week beginning September 14th for most full-time courses. This will take place virtually for most courses, with face-to-face inductions taking place with a small number of courses.
Please ensure you are available during this week to undertake your induction as you will be enrolled as a student during these sessions.
More information will be published and sent to all applicants over the coming weeks.
- Will the course end date change?
We are discussing this as a college and will update all applicants as soon as a decision has been made. Timetables will be published and sent to all applicants in July.
- How much time will I have in college, and what about practical classes?
We are looking at this to get the right solution for all students on their courses. We need to limit the number of people on campus at any given time so we can adhere to social distancing guidance. That means that at least some of your classes and learning will be done remotely (like online sessions or activities that you will complete from home).
If you have practical classes that take place in kitchens, workshops, salons or laboratory’s this will require you to be on campus. We are planning the details of this to ensure we maximise the learning experience for students whilst ensuring the safety and wellbeing of students and staff.
- What about schools courses?
Schools courses will commence on the 20th August, similar to the start date for schools. We are working closely with West Lothian Council and local schools to ensure we are following Government guidance ensuring that it is safe for school students to return to campus.
More information will be communicated to all schools and applicants soon.
- Will I have to do remote learning rather than coming to college?
In order to limit the number of people on campus at any given time, all courses will have an element of remote learning (like online sessions or activities that you will complete from home). All courses will make use of online learning sites (like Microsoft Teams and My Learning, which you might’ve already used if you’ve been at college) for at least part of the learning, if not all. We’ll refer to learning and attending classes like this as remote learning.
- What if I don't have access to a computer at home?
We will make every effort to support you accessing computers and software that you need to complete your studies. We will be contacting students over the coming weeks to ascertain what support you might require to enable you to study remotely.
- When will I get my timetable?
We are currently working on timetabling for all courses and will confirm with each student during July. Once you have been issued with a timetable, we will do our best not to make any more changes to it, however we may need to make changes based on Scottish Government’s guidance. Any changes will be communicated to each student.
- What about funding?
For full-time courses your funding will start from the revised induction date and continue as normal. We will ensure that the updated course dates are incorporated into funding arrangements.
- What about travel to the College campus?
We will be considering travel arrangements alongside timetables so we can do our best to support you getting to and from campus safely. This is likely to be complicated, so we’ll work with partners like First East Scotland and Lothian Buses where we can, and keep you updated as more is known.
- My course includes a work placement, what will I do?
We are looking at how we can continue to give students the chance to gain work experience as part of your course (where applicable). Discussions are underway at the national level with SQA and other awarding bodies on arrangements for courses which have a compulsory placement requirement. Once this guidance becomes available we will work closely with our placement providers to agree when and how students can safely go out onto work placement in line with the appropriate guidance. We are also looking at other ways for students to gain the skills required by employers until they can safely go to the work placement. We will share more information about the plans as they progress.
- What about Support Services?
As with the delivery of your course, all student support services are reviewing how they can deliver their services to students successfully. More information will be provided to you about accessing these services when we have more information. In the meantime, you can contact us:
- Will I be tested for Covid-19 before I come to on campus / access college buildings (or regularly afterwards)?
The college is following Scottish Government guidance on arrangements for Test and Support. This guidance doesn’t currently require routine college-based Covid-19 testing as part of our reopening activities, but if this guidance changes then testing will be put in place as needed.
- What if I am shielding?
Current guidance confirms those groups that should follow the shielding requirements. This will also be supplemented for those that are required to self-isolate under the Test and Protect strategy. The college is fully supporting this guidance and will expect that any student who meets the official criteria will follow the shielding / isolation guidance – including not coming onto campus/accessing college buildings.
- Will SQA and other Awarding Bodies that give my certificate/s make allowances for the disruption to learning?
As you would expect, the national discussions with SQA and other awarding bodies have been focused on students who have been studying this year (2019-20). Discussions are now focusing on students studying with us next year (2020-21) and discussions are taking place around the need for further changes to recognise the disrupted learning. There are no outcomes regarding this as of yet, but this work will continue and all involved are keen to ensure that arrangements are developed that reflect the challenging situation we’re in.
- Is it safe to reopen – should the College wait a bit longer?
Yes, it will be safe to reopen for the new academic year based on the Scottish Government’s guidance. The Scottish Government has planned out how all sectors of Scottish society can begin to move on from lockdown and return to (near) normal life in a planned, phased and safe basis. This guidance is based upon the most up to date scientific information available, including the assessment of the risks surrounding COVID-19 and the risks associated with living in lockdown. The college is, and will continue to follow the official guidance available.
- How long will these arrangements be in place?
The Scottish Government Route Map guidance outlines four phases for moving from lockdown, with lower restrictions and a move towards near normal activities growing with each phase. These guidelines currently anticipate that phase 2 is expected to start in mid-June, and Phase 3 being reached in August 2020. Phase 4 is estimated at some point over the remained of the current calendar year. Please note though that these timings are subject to change depending upon the scientific evidence.
- I have applied for a course, are interviews still going ahead?
Yes alternative interview arrangements will be going ahead for courses whilst the college campus is closed.
- Can I still apply for courses while the campus is closed?
Applications remain open during this time. View our courses by clicking 'Courses' at the top of our homepage.