COVID-19: Course and Qualification Information

We appreciate that students may be feeling very unsure about what happens next regarding their qualifications and the move to remote learning. All lecturers are keen to support their learners in any way that they can, but we need to ensure that students are receiving consistent advice, so the following paragraphs explain the College’s current position.

For second year A Level & GCSE students

We appreciate that students may be feeling very unsure about what happens next regarding their qualifications and the move to remote learning. All lecturers are keen to support their learners in any way that they can, but we need to ensure that students are receiving consistent advice, so the following paragraphs explain the College’s current position.

On 18 March 2020, the Secretary of State announced that the summer 2020 exam series would be cancelled in order to help fight the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and that students due to sit the exams would be awarded a grade based on an assessment of the grade they would have been most likely to achieve had exams gone ahead.

On 3rd April 2020, Ofqual released guidance outlining the process for AS and A Levels, GCSEs, EPQ and AEA (maths). The full guidance can be found here: guidance for teachers, students, parents, carers

The College will be asked to provide two pieces of information:

  • a centre assessment grade for each student – the judgement submitted to the exam board by the Head of Centre about the grade that each student is most likely to have achieved if they had sat their exams. This professional judgement is derived from evidence held within the centre and which has been reviewed by subject lecturers and relevant course leaders, DTLs and PTLs.
  • the rank order of students within each grade – for example, for all those students with a grade of 5 in GCSE maths, or a grade B in A level biology, a rank order where 1 is the most secure/highest attaining student, and so on.

To make sure that grades are fair between schools and colleges, exam boards will put all centre assessment grades through a process of standardisation using a model being developed with Ofqual. The principles of this model will be consulted on, and we are making our views clear at national level, particularly our expectation that any grading system, when finalised, will reflect the same outstanding results as in previous years at Truro and Penwith College.

We would like to draw your attention to this important section of the guidance: “Centres must not, under any circumstances, share the centre assessment grades nor the rank order of students with students, or their parents/carers or any other individuals outside the centre, before final results have been issued.” We would therefore appreciate your understanding in this matter and ask that you do not ask lecturers for the grades or ranking as they will not be permitted to share this information with you, in accordance with the guidance from Ofqual.

We hope students are finding participating in the online support useful; however, we do understand some students may be at a considerable disadvantage, particularly with regard to study environments that may not be ideal and without the access to college quiet study areas, face to face support and IT facilities. With this in mind it would be grossly unfair to base any assessment on the next few weeks.

Therefore, we want to assure students that their lecturers will not be basing their assessment of students’ most likely grades on activity during this current online learning period. This is in line with the most recent guidance: “There is no requirement to set additional mock exams or homework tasks for the purposes of determining a centre assessment grade and no student should be disadvantaged if they are unable to complete any work set after schools were closed.”

However, we do still want to encourage students to engage with their education and participate in the online learning available to them as fully as possible. This enables students to continue their education, whilst supporting progression and transition to further study, apprenticeships or employment. If students are due to complete coursework for their course, we would encourage them to complete these where possible so that they can have the full educational benefit that these elements offer. Lecturers will be able to advise their students and will be flexible in their approach to take individual circumstances into account. Lecturers will ensure that their judgement for ‘centre assessment grades’ reflects students work over the extended period they have worked and supported their students closely throughout their time at college, and this will follow the latest guidance.

The updated guidance also states, “Students who feel that their grades from the summer do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand.” This is another reason why lecturers will continue to give students an opportunity to continue their revision and learning, and to receive feedback to support their learning. In addition, this communication between students and lecturers is a way that students who are progressing to university can still be supported with this transition, even though exams have been cancelled.

We encourage all our students to continue to engage with the remote learning opportunities available to them.

For Year 2 Applied General (BTEC, UAL etc) and Progression 2 (BTEC)

We appreciate that students may be feeling very unsure about what happens next regarding their qualifications and the move to remote learning. All lecturers are keen to support their learners in any way that they can, but we need to ensure that students are receiving consistent advice, so the following paragraphs explain the College’s current position.

The recent Ofqual announcement on 3rd April does not apply to vocational or technical qualifications directly, but the same aims apply. Ofqual are working urgently to develop an approach and we will provide an update with further information as soon as this is available. Awarding Organisations (such as BTEC and UAL) are regulated by Ofqual and will have to follow their guidance. We will provide further updates once we have this guidance from Ofqual and clear guidance from the Awarding Organisations.

The details released so far from the government on awarding grades still lacks the fine detail. The advice states that “The calculated grade process will take into account a range of evidence including, for example, non-exam assessment and mock results, and the approach will be standardised between schools and colleges. Ofqual is working urgently with the exam boards to set out proposals for how this process will work and will be talking to teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that the approach taken is as fair as possible.” We are making our views clear at national level, particularly our expectation that any grading system, when finalised, will reflect the same outstanding results as in previous years at Truro and Penwith College.

We hope students are finding participating in the online support useful; however, we do understand some students may be at a considerable disadvantage, particularly with regard to study environments that may not be ideal and without the access to college quiet study areas, face to face support and IT facilities. Therefore, individual circumstances will be taken into account, and lectures will be able to advise students and be flexible with submission deadlines where required. However, until we receive definitive guidance, it is extremely important that students complete any assignments that they have started and that they submit any outstanding assignments where possible. Any assignment work that students have at home must also be kept and stored safely for the time being. At this stage it is not clear what evidence the Awarding Organisations will request, but we anticipate that they will continue with a standards verification process and will ask for samples of students work in the normal way. Therefore, it is in all students interests to complete assignments and units where at all possible. Students have produced a wide variety of evidence over their time at college which will be taken into account by the Awarding Organisations.

The government guidance states, “Students who feel that their grades from the summer do not reflect their ability will have the opportunity to take their exams in the autumn series or in summer 2021. If they choose to do this, both grades will stand.” This may be relevant for students who are following exam-based qualifications, such as GCSE English and maths. This is another reason why lecturers will continue to give students an opportunity to continue their revision and learning, and to receive feedback to support their learning.

In addition, the communication between lectures and students during this period of remote learning enables students to continue their education, whilst supporting progression and transition. For example, this could support transition from level 2 to level 3, or to university, apprenticeships or employment.

We encourage all our students to continue to engage with the remote learning opportunities available to them.

For Occupational Courses

The Government guidance states, “There is a very wide range of different vocational and technical qualifications as well as other academic qualifications for which students were expecting to sit exams this summer. These are offered by a large number of awarding organisations,– in many cases students will already have completed modules or non-exam assessment which could provide evidence to award a grade. We are encouraging these organisations to show the maximum possible flexibility and pragmatism to ensure students are not disadvantaged. Ofqual is working urgently with the sector to explore options and we will work with them to provide more details shortly”.

We hope students are finding participating in the online support useful; however, we do understand some students may be at a considerable disadvantage, particularly with regard to study environments that may not be ideal and without the access to college quiet study areas, face to face support and IT facilities.  With this in mind it would be grossly unfair to base any assessment on the next few weeks. However, where possible we will continue to monitor skill development through our online delivery and ask students to collate as much evidence as they can with photographic or video evidence.

We want to assure students that their lecturers will not be basing their assessment of students’ most likely grades on activity during this current online learning period. However, if students are due to complete coursework elements this work should still continue and be completed where possible. Lecturers will be able to advise their students, and will be flexible in their approach to take individual circumstances into account. Lecturers will ensure that their assessment reflects students work over the extended period they have worked and supported their students closely throughout their time at college. 

The government guidance also states, “Pupils who do not feel their calculated grade reflects their performance will have the opportunity to sit an exam, as soon as is reasonably possible after schools and colleges open again.” This may be relevant for students who are also studying other qualifications such as GCSE English and maths. This is another reason why lecturers will continue to give students an opportunity to continue their revision and learning, and to receive feedback to support their learning.

In addition, the communication between lectures and students during this period of remote learning is a way to support students in their progression and next steps. For example, this could support transition from different levels, to apprenticeships or employment.

We encourage all our students to engage with the remote learning opportunities available to them.

For Apprenticeships

Regular updates are being sent to all apprentices with details as we have them. Please check your college emails and stay in touch with your tutors and training advisors for more details. The details released so far from the government on awarding grades still lacks the fine detail, but we do know it will involve college assessment of students work. We are also making our views clear at national level, particularly our expectation that any grading system, when finalised, will reflect the same outstanding results as in previous years at Truro and Penwith College.

We encourage all our students to engage with the remote learning opportunities available to them.

For Access to HE Students

Full information including the latest updates on Access to HE courses is available on a separate tab on the college website. Our Access to HE coordinator is in regular communication with CAVA and is updating this information regularly. Please check your college emails and stay in touch with your tutors for more information. Remote learning is available to all Access to HE students and we encourage all our students to make the most of this opportunity.