Student information

When will the college re-open?

Updated: 21st May 2020

Following a detailed review of the government guidance, at present we are only arranging for first year students at The Bedford Sixth Form in Bedford to return from 8th June (equivalent to Year 12 at school).  If you are in the first year at The Bedford Sixth Form, we will write to you again week commencing 1st June to provide more details. 

We are still waiting for guidance to be published by The Office for Qualifications and Examinations Regulations (Ofqual) so that we can identify which other students will need to come in to one of our colleges to undertake assessments before September.  Once this is published at the end of this month, we will write to these students separately to confirm arrangements.

Therefore, unless you hear from us directly, you should continue with your studies from home – please do not attend our colleges.

The measures we will be taking will include implementing a range of protective measures to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff, and minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

Whilst we are working on these plans, and until further notice, please do not attend one of our colleges unless you have already been attending as a student who is classed as vulnerable, on an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan or a student whose parents/carers are critical in the COVID-19 response and you cannot be safely cared for at home.

If you are in one of these categories and would like to attend an open campus (Bedford campus, Cauldwell Street or Kettering campus, Windmill Avenue), you will need to email us by 4pm on the Friday of the week before so we have an idea to expect you and we can advise you where to report on your arrival.

Our email address is:
- Bedford campus: studentservices@bedford.ac.uk (or phone 01234 291770)
- Kettering campus: studentservices@tresham.ac.uk (or phone 01536 413232)

We will write to you again before 22nd May to confirm which students we will be open to and the protective measures we have put in place to ensure students’ wellbeing.

In the meantime, the latest guidance for parents and carers on opening schools and education settings to more pupils in June can be found here.

We hope that your family are safe and well.

College Opening Details for Vulnerable Students

The Group continues to support all of our students following the government’s announcement to close all schools and colleges from 20th March 2020 and has been open for students who are vulnerable, on an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan and students whose parents/carers are critical in the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home to access since 23rd March.

All campuses remain closed to the majority of students until further notice. We are currently working on putting measures in place to open to a small number of students from 1st June to provide some face-to-face support to supplement their online studies.

Until this time the arrangements are as follows:

Bedford College, Cauldwell Street Campus
From Monday 20th April, the College will be open to students who are vulnerable, have an EHC plan or have parents/carers who are critical in the Covid-19 response and are not safe to stay at home by request only.

Students who are in the above categories and would like to come into the College should email studentservices@bedford.ac.uk the week before they’d like to come in, for example by Friday 1st May to come in during week commencing Monday 4th May.

Tresham College, Kettering Campus
From Monday 20th April, the College will be open to students who are vulnerable, have an EHC plan or have parents/carers who are critical in the Covid-19 response and are not safe to stay at home by request only.

Students who are in the above categories and would like to come into the College should email studentservices@tresham.ac.uk the week before they’d like to come in, for example by Friday 15th May to come in during week commencing Monday 18th May.

Any student planning to attend must email Student Services before arriving:
If you plan to attend College, you must email us by 4pm on the Friday of the week before so we have an idea to expect you and we can advise you where to report on your arrival. Our email address is:
- Bedford: studentservices@bedford.ac.uk (or you can phone 01234 291770)
- Kettering: studentservices@tresham.ac.uk (or you can phone 01536 413232)

Am I counted as a vulnerable student?

Vulnerable students include those who are supported by social care and those with safeguarding and welfare needs. A full list is available here.

Am I still expected to study even though the College is closed?

We have recently shared further information about how we continue to deliver teaching to our students remotely and you should have been contacted by your Personal Achievement Tutor, Course Tutor or Training Co-ordinator to discuss your learning and our expectations to ensure you continue to achieve.

We will continue to communicate with students using our FE or HE Moodle. Please check this regularly. If you cannot access Moodle then please email moodlesupport@bedford.ac.uk

When accessing the online learning please ensure that you follow good online etiquette and please be kind and respectful by attending any online lessons on time.

You must return calls from your tutors and complete the deadlines set whilst the college is closed. If you have any concerns about completing your work or difficulty submitting your work please contact your Personal Achievement Tutor, Course Tutor or Training Coordinator as soon as possible. It is important for your progress and for when you return to College that work set is completed.

Is teaching cancelled?
No it is not. Teaching is being delivered remotely. We are doing everything we can in these difficult circumstances to support you in the development of the skills and knowledge you will require to move confidently onto your next steps. Whilst we wait for confirmation from Ofqual in regards to how vocational and technical qualifications will be assessed we intend to continue with your training in the belief that learning is not just about the qualification gained but about development of knowledge, skills and confidence to help you to succeed in life. Whatever announcement that comes from Ofqual, it is clear that it will use evidence from centres. This is another reason it is imperative we continue to support you in achieving the grade you were on target to achieve.

I am having difficultly accessing the on-line training and resources. Who can help me?
Your PAT (Personal Achievement Tutor) will be able to support you and steer you in the right direction for support. For access to the moodle pages please click here. For further technical support email itsupport@bedford.ac.uk

Access to Teaching

Please see more information on how we intend to deliver teaching activity remotely here. 

This has been working well and we will continue to communicate with students using our FE Moodle or HE Moodle. Please check this regularly. If you cannot access Moodle then please contact Moodlesupport@bedford.ac.uk.

Students must continue completing their activities, work and assignments set by their course team and meet any deadlines set, as they would if they were in College. Students need to dedicate the same time to their studies as if they were in College.

Information on how to submit assignments will be available on Moodle. For most courses this will be through Turnitin. Feedback will be provided to students using Turnitin, e-mail, BREO, NILE or on ProPortal depending on the course being studied.

If you have any queries please contact your Course Team or Personal Achievement Tutor.

Exams and Assessments

The government has recently confirmed that A and AS level results will be published on 13th August and GCSE results on 20th August 2020 based on mock exam data, individual assessments and prior attainment following a moderation process by the awarding bodies.

We are working closely with Ofqual and following their guidance, however they are yet to provide definitive guidance on how each of the vocational and technical qualifications will be awarded. Ofqual are working very closely with the awarding organisations to decide how to best progress with the complicated landscape of such a range of qualifications.
Once more information has been released we will ensure you are informed via Moodle. Some awarding bodies have issued guidance on their websites, but this is yet to be confirmed by Ofqual and so should be treated with some caution.

In the meantime, you should continue to complete your studies remotely, handing in on the expected deadlines. You should be keeping in regular contact with your tutors and Personal Achievement Tutor.

Information on how to submit assignments is available on Moodle. For most courses this will be through Turnitin. Feedback will be provided to students using Turnitin, e-mail, BREO, NILE or on ProPortal depending on the course being studied.

If you have any queries please contact your Course Team or Personal Achievement Tutor.

Guidance for Further Education vocational and technical qualifications.
We believe that education and training should provide you with more than just qualifications but the development of the skills, knowledge and behaviours you will need to move with confidence into your next steps, whether that is continuing to another programme with us, onto your chosen university, into employment or onto an apprenticeship. That is why we will continue to support you remotely during this period of lockdown. Your Personal Achievement Tutors, Teachers and Training Coordinators are still here (well in their homes) to help and support you to this aim.

How will I achieve my qualification?
We are working closely with Ofqual and following their guidance.
Ofqual are yet to provide definitive guidance on how each of the vocational and technical qualifications will be awarded. They are working very closely with the awarding organisations to decide how to best progress with the wide range of qualifications.
Once more information has been released we will ensure you are informed. Some awarding bodies have issued guidance on their websites, but this is yet to be confirmed by Ofqual and so should be treated with some caution.
In the meantime, you should continue to complete your studies remotely, handing work in on the expected deadlines. You should be keeping in regular contact with your teachers and Personal Achievement Tutor.

Who are Ofqual?
Ofqual or the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, is a non-ministerial government department which regulates all qualifications, exams and tests in this country. As such all awarding bodies and exam boards have to report and answer to Ofqual.

My programme had formal examinations as part of the assessment criteria, will I come in for these?
The procedures for sitting formal examinations and assessments is still to be decided upon and we will inform you as soon as we know.
While we are in lockdown you will not be sitting the formal examinations. The criteria is likely to be assessed in various ways depending on the qualification type. This will be decided by the exam boards and awarding bodies once working closely with Ofqual.
However your qualification is assessed it is aimed that this will be a fair, objective and carefully considered judgement based on work completed and taking a full range of available evidence.

How will the grade be decided?
Ofqual has published a message to students to reassure them that they, and exam boards, will do everything they can to make sure that, as far as possible, grades are fair and that students are not disadvantaged because of this unprecedented situation.
We will continue to assess and grade work completed remotely and it is possible that this work will contribute in some way to your final grades.

My programme contains a large amount of practical assessed activity which requires access to workshops; how will this be assessed?
Some tutors are working extremely innovatively to assess your practical work and you should continue where possible to complete this with their support remotely. However, please don’t worry if this has not been possible for you. Contact your teacher or your PAT (Personal Achievement Tutor) and they will help support you with this. For elements of the programme which are not possible to complete remotely we await further instruction from Ofqual on how these will be assessed. We are keen that no-one is disadvantaged due to not having access to resources.

How will I progress to the next course at TBCG (The Bedford College Group)?
Please don’t worry, you have been provided with automatic progression within the college.

The awarding body has published how they are planning on certificating and grading my programme and it is different from what the college is telling me, why?
All awarding bodies have to report to Ofqual and some have made decisions before the guidance has been provided. We are being cautious and waiting for this so that we don’t give you misleading information. However, as stated earlier, we still want to support you to develop and therefore will continue as an organisation to delivery online content and remote support to enable you to progress to your next steps.

How can I continue my Apprenticeship?

You will continue to be supported in your studies by your Training Co-ordinator using OneFile.

Reviews and visits will be conducted using Business Skype and day release teaching is cancelled until further notice

Technical certificates and Functional Skills will continue to be delivered remotely

Student support

Student health and wellbeing
Student Services remains open to continue to support students and can be accessed through email:
- Bedfordshire: studentservices@bedford.ac.uk
- Northamptonshire: studentservices@tresham.ac.uk
You can also contact your Personal Achievement Tutor, Course Manager or Training Co-ordinator for support in the first instance using their email.

We really hope that you are not worrying too much about this situation. It can be difficult not to – and it may be a good idea to follow some expert advice if you are feeling anxious. There is some good advice on the Mental Health Foundation website.

Your health and safety

Help to reduce the spread of coronavirus:

The latest information and advice on coronavirus – what it is, how it is spread, the risks and what you can do to protect yourself can be found on the NHS website.

You should stay at home.
The only reasons to leave your house have been defined by the government and the NHS to be:
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- Exercise for example a run, walk or cycle - alone or with members of your household. If you meet with someone outside your household you must remain a minimum of 2 metres apart.
- any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- travelling to and from work where this cannot be done from home

If you do leave your home for one of the reasons above you should:
- Stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home

The most important symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

If anyone has any of the symptoms above they should self-isolate at home.

To protect others, do not go to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Stay at home. Use the 111 online coronavirus service to find out what to do.

Check the NHS website if you have any symptoms 

We also recommend that you continue to follow these good hygiene practices:
- wash your hands with soap and water often - do this for at least 20 seconds
- Use hand sanitiser gel, if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get back home
- cover your mouth and nose with tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

What about Learning Centres?

Our Learning Centres are closed until further notice. Students have been provided with work to complete at home. If students have any queries please email:

Bedford: bedfordlearningcentre@bedford.ac.uk

Corby: corbylearningcentre@bedford.ac.uk

Kettering: ketteringlearningcentre@bedford.ac.uk

I am an ESOL or Basic Skills student. How will I study?

Classroom teaching has stopped on these courses. Your Tutor or Course Manager will continue to support you online.

What about if I study on other adult courses (e.g. counselling, AAT, CMI)?

Classroom teaching has stopped on these courses. The majority of these courses are being delivered remotely. Your Course Manager or Lecturer will have contacted you regarding the arrangements for these courses.

Courses not yet started have been postponed. Enrolments will be carried over to the next available course.

I receive a meals bursary. How is this provided whilst I am not in College?

If you don’t attend college and you currently receive free school meals, we will still continue to provide you with financial assistance. We will pay a free school meal (FSM) allowance into your bank account.

What should I do if I had a planned trip with the College?

The government advises against all overseas education trips for those under 18. Domestic trips (residential and non-residential) have also been cancelled. If you have paid monies for a trip overseas which has now been cancelled, this will be refunded to you.

How can I keep up-to-date with what is happening at my College?

We have set up this page where we will share any updates and answers to frequently asked questions, and we will also post updates via our official social media channels on Facebook and Twitter. If you have any queries that have not been answered in relation to the College’s response to the outbreak please email us on health@bedford.ac.uk

What happens with my work placement?

What happens with my work placement?
Work experience and the expectations that this will be completed this academic year has been cancelled for obvious reasons. You will still achieve your study programmes without the work experience element. If you have already completed your work experience, what you have done so far will be taken into consideration and may well contribute to the final grade awarded. Please ensure that all work placement records and reflections are completed as per awarding body requirements, in most cases this will be on your Proportal records.

What about my maths and English?

Should I still be working on my maths and English remotely?
If you are studying functional skills as part of your programme you should continue working on these remotely. Your tutors for each subject will help and support you to achieve. Ofqual are working on a solution to finding the fairest and most effective alternative arrangements for the assessment of functional skills.
GCSEs are still being delivered to enable you to continue to progress as we want everyone to continue to develop these essential skills. This will also help you with any possible resits in the future. The results for this summer’s series will be assessed by your tutor on the work previously completed. More detail on the awarding of GCSEs and A levels can be found here (insert link to https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gcses-as-and-a-level-awarding-summer-2020 )

Information for Apprentices

Apprenticeships:
I have been furloughed, can I still work on the off the job activities?
Yes you can and your Training Coordinator can discuss this with you further.
Should I be on a break in learning as I have not been able to work since lock down?
This may not be necessarily as you can still carry on with your 20% off the job training, please speak to your training coordinator to discuss your individual circumstances.

I have changed roles within the organisation I work for due to coronavirus, can I still gain my apprenticeship?
Any transferable skills which are developed in the new role can contribute to the apprenticeship and you can continue to develop the off the job content with the support of your Training Coordinator.

My job is classed as a key worker role. I am still working and am also covering staff shortages. Should I still be studying towards my off the job hours?
Yes you can, although this might not be appropriate and it depends on what your employer wishes you to do. Please speak to your Training Coordinator to discuss your individual circumstances in this event.

I still have to complete my functional skills to complete my apprenticeship. Can I still study towards this from home?
Yes you can, the functional skills team are providing teaching sessions and resources to help you prepare for this at home. Please contact the functional skills team at eisles@bedford.ac.uk to discuss this further.

I have completed all of my training, have gone through the gateway and am just waiting to sit my End Point Assessment. How can I find out when I will be able to do this as I heard that all assessments have stopped due to the coronavirus?
Some end point assessment organisations are allowing EPA’s to be completed remotely. Please discuss this with your Training Coordinator to discuss this further.

I have been told that my job is being made redundant as a result of the corona virus. What do I do?
You will still be able to continue to study towards your apprenticeship for 12 weeks following your last date of work and the college will work with you to find an alternative employer, or try to provide opportunity to complete your programme through alternative modes of study. It is our ambition to find you alternative employment so that you can continue your apprenticeship as quickly as possible.

I have been furloughed but my employer is asking me to work, what do I do?
Please contact your Training Coordinator to let them know and can advise you further with this. You cannot be asked to work during furlough and the college can support you in this event and help to explain this to your employer.

How will I progress to the next level/ stage at College?

If you are a full-time student and receive a progression offer email by Monday 4th May 2020 you will be automatically enrolled on the next stage of your course within the College. Further information about when you will start college again will be sent at a later date.
If you are interested in progressing onto another course at the College, and have not received a progression offer email, please speak with your Personal Achievement Tutor to discuss your options and complete an application.