COVID-19: Higher Education and Access Advice

UPDATE: Monday 6th April // 3.00pm

Applications to Truro and Penwith College University level courses

We are still processing applications as normal.

Please apply via if you would like to study full time.

Alternatively, if you would like to study part time, please download an application form from: and apply direct to us.

Please be aware that we are taking guidance from the Government, UCAS and the Office for Students about changes to the awarding system.

To ensure that our admissions process remains fair, consistent and in the best interests of all our applicants, at this time there will be no changes to our entry requirements or any offers that have already been made. We are confident the revised grading system will provide students with the grades they need to move on to the next stage of their lives.

For any queries or help, please contact our friendly admissions team on


The College is following Government advice to stop face-to-face teaching for students from Friday March 20th, at 4.15pm. Students are not expected to travel to College from this date until further notice.

College staff have been preparing for such an eventuality but will need a little more time to prepare and produce the wide range of resources to be used. Online delivery of courses will proceed from Wednesday 25th March.

The Summer Term starts again on Tuesday 14th April. 

From this point on, we will be replacing the 2 x 1 hour study skills support sessions with 6 hrs of support time that can be booked through the HE enquiries email: as 30 minute slots for an online discussion. We will confirm the times of these sessions in the first week back.  We are also continuing to hold student support meetings for any students who have concerns about their ability to complete and are recommended for a meeting by their tutor. Again please agree with your tutor and book through HE student enquires. 

Accessing Practical Resources

For courses where there is normally access to practical resources, Programme Teams are reviewing all the practical requirements and assessments and Truro and Penwith College aims to have a response for every course and cohort at the start of next term. In the meantime, students should continue as planned and engage with their tutors to discuss the aspects of their assessments that can be completed online or away from college.


During the Easter break we have been working through assessments and planned examinations and for most courses we have identified any changes or modifications to assessments that will be needed in the current Covid-19 pandemic and 'online' environment.  Exams will now be replaced with a series of online assessments during the last two weeks of term (18-22 May and 1-5 June).  Your PLs will share these changes with you as soon as they can at the start of term.  In a few cases, because of staff absence or leave there has been a slight delay in the process but please bear with us and the changes will be completed as quickly as possible at the start of term.

Extenuating Circumstances

Until further notice, we have removed the requirement to submit an Extenuating Circumstances claim, either self-certified or evidenced, for any assessment that was due to be submitted on or after Monday 16th March 2020. This applies to all HE students on University of Plymouth and Pearson courses at Truro and Penwith College.

Students unable to submit by the original deadline can submit up to ten working days late without penalty and without making an application for Extenuating Circumstances. If you are unable to submit assessments within those additional ten working days, this will be recorded as a non-submission and you will be offered re-assessment without penalty over the summer break (i.e. at the same attempt).

Please note, the College will continue to follow the 60 credits limit on re-submissions in the summer. Students who miss over 60 credits of work (this usually equals about three assessments) will be required to repeat with attendance next year before graduating or progressing to the next stage. Please check with your tutor what impact missing a hand-in could have on you.

We strongly recommend you continue to work to meet your current published assessment deadlines where possible.

If you have any queries about Extenuating Circumstances or guidance about the ten working day extension then please contact

Advice for University level students who work as Key Workers

If you are being asked to work as a ‘key worker’, please ensure your tutor or the HE Team ( are aware of the circumstances and implications for your studies. Someone at the College will be able to support you through an online or telephone student support meeting, to help maximise the opportunity you have to complete through the referral process and avoid you being in the position of repeating the year.


The University of Plymouth has released guildance outlining their proposals for a 'safety net'. The principle of this 'Safety net' or 'no-detriment policy' is that no student will see a drop in their current grade based on work submitted next term.  The details of how this will be put into practice are still to be determined because we have to consider every programme at the University and partner colleges, but in effect, “in calculating your degree classification or year average (for non-finalists), we will use marks that are the same as, or higher than, the average that you have attained to date during this academic year. It is essential that you continue your studies and submit any assignments that we have set or will set for Semester 2 as these will give you the opportunity to retain your existing grade and improve your final degree grade.”

Please note that you will still need to pass the required summative assessments in order to demonstrate you have met the programme learning outcomes and be awarded credits so that you can either progress and/or receive a qualification. for further information regarding the ‘Safety net’ visit

Any student who fails to complete more than 60 credits would normally be expected to repeat the year and not progress, so please do keep your tutor aware of your circumstances and obtain guidance about assignments to target.


At this point in time, Graduation will be continuing to take place on Friday 23rd October 2020 at Truro Cathedral. More information will become available about this after results day.

Advice for Access to HE Students

We would like to reassure all students that as a provider of Access we are working closely with Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA) to put contingency plans in place that will allow students to successfully complete Access. 

On April 3, the DfE issued a letter to Access to HE students regarding assessment for the Access qualification.

Letter to Access to HE students

Classes, attendance, submission of work and extenuating circumstances

All Access classes are being delivered remotely during their allotted time on the course timetable. These should be delivered by the relevant lecturer, and in most instances assignments will be set as usual. Resources are still available on moodle and students can continue to contact tutors and lecturers for help via email or teams. The lecturer will provide instructions for submission of assignments. If the lecturer is unable to deliver the lesson then cover work will be arranged via email or teams, or a pre-recorded lecture will be made available. Online lectures will cease during the Easter break (mon 30th March to Mon 13th April) and will recommence on Tuesday 14th April. Attendance will be recorded by the lecturer, you will be considered present if you attend the online lecture. If students are unable to attend lectures, please inform the curriculum secretary and lecturer via email to authorise your absence. If there is likely to be a long-term absence (e.g. due to any illness or inability to engage due to covid 19 related issues) and this affects a student’s ability to complete assignments please complete an extenuating circumstances form and email to the relevant lecturer and course lead. Evidence for extenuating circumstances will not be required until further notice due to the impact of covid. Please discuss any concerns you have relating to completion of assignment work with the relevant lecturer and/or course lead, and if possible complete the extenuating circumstances form prior to the assignment deadline. 

Advice for Access students who work as Key workers

We appreciate that as a key worker you are playing a vital role in these uncertain times and your commitments as a key work may leave you unable to engage with online lectures and unable to complete assignment work. Please ensure you email the relevant lecturer and course lead to inform them of any difficulties you have engaging in lectures and completing assignment work, please complete an extenuating circumstances form as explained above. 

Accessing practical resources and equipment or specialist facilities

Each Access course has been impacted to varying degrees depending on the nature of the course. Therefore, each course lead will be in contact with their relevant students in due time to resolve these issues. We appreciate that these are stressful and challenging times for our Access learners but please be reassured that each course lead is working closely with the external moderator from Cambridge Access Validating Agency (CAVA) to find a way forward that will allow our learners to successfully complete Access.


At present please assume that closed book exams will go ahead in some form or fashion for those Access courses that include an examined element e.g. the ungraded Exam Technique and Practice Unit. Cava have now released a statement (which can be found in full following the 'Letter to Access Students' button above.

DfE and QAA statement is:

If you’re due to complete your Access to HE studies by 31 July this year, you will now receive calculated grades for all remaining assessments with submission dates after 20 March 2020.

We are working hard to provide you with information about exactly how your grades will be calculated as quickly as possible. Once available, we will publish it on the Access to HE website. 

In the meantime, we’re working with Access Validating Agencies and course providers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that the principles for the assessment of grades are fair and robust.  

How will our results be determined if we can’t continue with the teaching and assessments?

Quote from QAA – The UCAS website is updated regularly with information for applicants. The current information notes that 'During this time, it’s important to remember that places are not decided on grades alone. Information in your personal statement and reference are part of the decision-making process along with your interview, portfolio, audition, and any other information that’s relevant to your potential to succeed on an undergraduate course'.  

Access celebration

It is with great sadness that we have made the decision to cancel this years Access Celebration, which was due to be held on the 1st of July. We appreciate this will come as a great disappointment to many of you so we will be exploring the possibility of arranging a celebration later in the year when it is safe to do so.

I want to apply to take an access to HE course. How do I do this if the college is closed?

Whilst the campus is closed, admissions staff and lecturers are working from home to deliver online lectures and respond to course enquiries. Please visit the website to find out more about our Access Diplomas and how you can apply ( You can also use the enquiries email for further information, your email will be forwarded to the Access coordinator or the relevant course lead (  The Access prospectus contains more concise information about each of our access courses with examples of progression routes. You might find it useful to look at our Career Coach tool to help you find out more about the career path you would like to follow and to find relevant courses.