Information about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 

This dedicated webpage features FAQs to help support our staff, students, parents and stakeholders at this challenging time.

We encourage all staff and students to check this webpage regularly and follow our social media feeds:

Twitter: @GowerCollegeSwa
Facebook: /gowercollegeswansea
Instagram: /gowercollegeswansea
LinkedIn: Gower College Swansea

Information about exams Keeping you safe and well Information for students Information for full time applicants Information for other applicants Information for apprentice employers Employment support Information and guidance about Coronavirus

Information about reopening in April 2021

I am student, when do I start back?

We are delighted to report that, from Monday 12 April, all students will be invited to return to College for face-to-face learning in the same way that we operated in the first term (from September to early December).

Check out our recent update here

Health and safety when I return to College

We are looking forward to welcoming you back this month.

Your health and safety is our top priority and we have comprehensive measures in place to keep everyone safe when on campus.

Class bubbles
For all full time students, class bubbles will return. This means you will be able to have breaks with those students in the same bubble as you. Please note: you will need to keep a two metre distance from anyone outside your class bubble. This includes your lecturers.

Class bubbles will not apply to part time students, apprentices or higher education students. These students will need to continue with a two metre social distance from everyone at all times.

Face coverings
All students will be required to wear a face covering at all times (apart from anyone with an exemption) – this includes on transport to and from College, in classrooms, in all common rooms areas, outside on campus grounds and when using the toilet facilities.

Hand washing and sanitation
All students will need to sanitise their hands on arrival to College and throughout the day using the sanitation stations. These are located around the campuses and in each classroom.

Ventilation
We will ensure that we have plenty of fresh air circulating in all classrooms, by keeping doors and windows open wherever possible.

Lateral flow testing
All students will be offered a four-week pack of lateral flow home testing kits on their return to College. The lateral flow home testing kits are not compulsory and it is not a requirement for students to take and use the home tests to return to College.

Catering
Our catering outlets will be open for a grab and go service offering refreshments such as sandwiches, crisps, confectionary and drinks.

We fully appreciate this year has once again been an uncertain and challenging one, but we have been working hard to ensure the whole College community feels safe and secure when we return after Easter.

Please help us to help you and follow the guidance we have in place. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your tutor.

Covid 19 Student Code of Conduct

Face coverings at College

It is now mandatory for all staff, students and visitors to wear a 3 ply face covering outside as well as inside when on campus grounds. 

If you wear a face shield, please be reminded that a 3 ply face covering must be worn in addition. 

The only instances where 3 ply face coverings will not have to be worn are when eating/drinking in designated areas (this can be inside or outside). 

There are exemptions that apply if you are unable to wear a 3 ply face covering, these include:

  • Underlying chronic breathing conditions (you will be asked to demonstrate medical exemption)
  • Physical or mental illness, disability or impairment
  • Accompanying someone who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate.

If any of the above criteria applies to you, please let a member of staff know who will then guide you to speak to a Student Health Advisor. If you are a staff member, please let your line manager know who can advise you further.

For more details about the changes to the advice, please visit the WG website.

Thank you for your help in doing all we can, please continue to help us keep everyone safe.

Information about transport and College buses (from 12 April)

Gorseinon Campus
Students travelling to the Gorseinon Campus will be able to use the College buses as normal, although face coverings must be worn at all times. If you need to check your bus route, please email student studentfunding@gcs.ac.uk

Tycoch, Llwyn y Bryn and Jubilee Court Campuses​
We have been advised by First Cymru that bus timetables have reduced due to the current situation, so please check their website timetable before departing.

Students must travel in accordance with the Welsh Government guidance relating to travel on public transport. In particular, it is currently mandatory to wear 3 ply face coverings on public transport.

In addition, currently due to social distancing rules, First Cymru are only carrying 50% of normal capacity on all of its vehicles, therefore there is a risk that passengers will not be able to board the bus if it is at capacity. Passengers are able to look on the First Bus app where there is a facility which shows the location of the bus on a map and also the number of available seats at any given time.

Some areas (principally the Gower) are not serviced by First Cymru. If you are travelling from these areas you will be able to purchase a bus pass from NAT for travel on their buses. These are also public transport buses and the rules for travel are the same as for First Cymru.

Information about exams

Exams and assessments (A Level and Vocational)

A Levels, AS, Skills Challenge Certificate and GCSEs
Students have now been sent information about our pillar approach to awarding Centre Determined Grades, and when and how internal assessments will take place. Pillar 1 composite grades for applicable WJEC subjects will issue to students on Friday 23 April via the eILP.

Students also received a communication from us on Friday 23 April with these details, and information on what to do to if they feel that the composite grade doesn’t reflect work completed in terms 1 and 2.

Lecturers cannot discuss the composite grades with you, as they will be focussing on supporting students through the rest of the term and preparing students for forthcoming assessments. Where students believe the grade given doesn’t reflect the marks, or where there were special circumstances that have not been considered, students can request a review of the composite grade. 

Requests for a review should be received by Friday 30 April 2021.

Composite (pillar 1) grades are based on significant pieces of work completed during terms 1 and 2, and we want students to remember that these grades will form just a part of their overall grade. This does not mean that this will be the final grade and we know that students are continuing to work hard this term to do their best in remaining assessments, so that they can maintain or improve for the final grade. 

Not all subjects will receive a composite (pillar 1) grade. For subjects that are non-WJEC (Accounts, Electronics, Music Technology, Dance, Geology, Ancient History, Classics and GCSE Psychology), students will receive final grades only in August, as the English boards will not allow us to share the grades with you before they are published formally. Some subjects, such as Visual Arts, Health and Care and PE, will also not give a pillar 1 grade at this point because of the way that coursework is assessed.

You can read details of our approach to centre determine grades below.

New and additional information from all awarding bodies is regularly being published to inform the process.  We will provide updates via your tutor to inform you of any changes and/or new information.

Vocational courses
We are working with all of our vocational awarding bodies as they determine the best solution for their qualifications and will update all students as soon as we can.  

We offer a wide range of vocational courses, by many different awarding bodies, but the qualifications we offer are generally regulated by Ofqual, the regulators of education in England.

Ofqual have issued this infographic to help you understand how vocational and technical qualifications will be awarded in 2021.

New and additional information from all awarding bodies is regularly being published to inform the process. We will provide updates via your tutor to inform you of any changes and/or new information. 

Our process for Centre Determined Grade (CDG) – AS/A Level students

This information will be shared with all AS and A2 students as part of their return to College. It outlines how the College intends to obtain the Centre Determined Grades. More specific information will be shared with students in the coming weeks and updated here.

How will Centre Determined Grades (CDG) be calculated?

In general, your grades (CDG) will be formulated using a combination of work you have already completed and two assessments that you complete in the summer term.

If you are continuing with coursework this model will be slightly different, for example a piece of coursework may replace the first of the two summer assessments.

The three pillar approach

Pillar one: Composite grade

This will be based on work you have already undertaken in terms one and two.

Pillar two: Open book assessment or coursework

Completed between 12-23 April.

Assessments will be undertaken in class and you can use your notes/handouts. The topics will be given to you by your lecturers.

Pillar three: Controlled assessment

Completed between 10-22 May. Assessments will be undertaken in class with time restrictions. The topics will be given to you by your lecturers.

What to expect next?

By Friday 19 March you will receive a letter which will have more detail about this process, along with key dates.

Your focus now should be very much on finding out from your lecturers what you need to revise for summer term assessments, particularly those after Easter, and making sure you have all the resources you need to prepare for these.

If you have queries at this stage, please chat to your tutor.

I am due to sit an exam or assessment soon, what happens?

All examinations will follow our Covid-19 regulations.

If you are unwell on the day of your exam you should tell your lecturer. You shouldn’t attend if you have Covid-19 symptoms or have been told to isolate by a contact tracer.

We will be able to make arrangements for you to take the exam at a later sitting, or if applicable, apply for special consideration for a scheduled exam.

  • Please arrive 20 minutes before the start time
  • Keep 2m distance at all times, course bubbles are not operating at the moment
  • Please wear a face covering at all times. If you are exempt, you will need to bring evidence with you
  • Please present ID on arrival to the exam follow instructions from the staff.

All other regulations for the conduct of the exam will operate as normal. 

How do I get my certificate from last summer?

Your certificate will be posted to your home address. If you have changed address, look out for an email from us, which outlines what you need to do. Posting has resumed now that lockdown measures have been lifted.

If you urgently need your certificate for employment purposes please contact examsenquiry@gcs.ac.uk

Keeping you safe and well

How can I access staff support?

All College staff have access to our employee assistance programme Health Assured who offer online counselling and a range of webinars on health and wellbeing topics. You can contact them on 0800 030 5182.

We also have a dedicated Moodle page with top tips, advice and videos on how to stay mentally and physically resilient through these times. Just use your normal IT log in to access the page and select the enrol me button.

How can I access student support?

We will be offering wellbeing support remotely including activity of the day and health tip of the day.

On Moodle, you can access some useful information from external agencies including Info Nation, Cruse, Platform and SCVS.

You can also access the student wellbeing planner on the student portal.

For student health support call, 01792 284000 or email

Angela Clarke - 07789 380084
Gill Rees - 07789 396143

Student Support Officers are now offering one to one, face to face support sessions. Their offices have been risk assessed to accommodate 2m social distancing. They can be contacted on the following numbers:

Student Support Officer    Mobile
Cathy Thomas 07946 373455​
Vicki Wannel 07393 789288
Mo Qasim 07917 136101
Naima Khanom 07768 035787
Tamsyn Oates 07867 135815
Ryan McCarley 07917 352153
Ian Billington 07880 089048
Funding Team    Mobile
Richard Hill 07776 623531
Bill Jones 07500 559246
Nicola Howell 07776 618516
Carol Jones 07500 559123

If you would like to speak to someone in Welsh please contact our main reception on 01792 284000 (Tycoch) or 01792 890700 (Gorseinon).

Access to the wellbeing portal

Maintaining a positive state of mind and good physical health can be hard when in isolation.

We have a dedicated Moodle page with top tips, advice and videos on how to stay healthy through these times. Just use your normal IT log in to access the page and select the enrol me button.

You can also access the student wellbeing planner on the student portal.

I need to access the counselling service, what should I do?

Exchange counselling is offering face to face counselling in all main campuses. All offices have been risk assessed to ensure 2m social distancing.

You can be referred by a Student Support Officer or you can self-refer using this website.

You can also access online counselling or text messaging support by clicking on the white envelope at the bottom of this webpage.

If you need help due to a bereavement, our Student Support Officers can refer you to the Exchange counselling service. Our Student Health Advisors are also available to offer support.

Cruise can help with:

  • Getting help following the death of someone close
  • Supporting someone who is grieving
  • Coping with grieving in isolation

Togetherall

If you feel you need immediate support, you can also access our free mental wellbeing portal Togetherall. You can join the portal using your College ID and date of birth.

I need to contact a Safeguarding Officer

Safeguarding Officers (for full time, part time students and apprentices)  
Ian Billington 07880 089048
Naima Khanom 07768 035787
Vicki Wannell 07393 789238
Ryan McCarley     07917 352153
Ceri Low 07800 614030
Tamsyn Oates 07867 135815
Anne Pitman 01792 284169
Safeguarding Officer (for apprentices only)     
Adele Bubear     07798 822867

You can find more useful numbers here.

You can contact a Safeguarding Officer during normal working hours.

Monday to Thursday: 8.30am-5pm and Friday: 8.30am-4.30pm

If you would like to speak to someone in Welsh please contact our main reception on 01792 284000 (Tycoch) or 01792 890700 (Gorseinon).

If you - or someone you know - is experiencing domestic abuse, there is lots of information on the Welsh Women's Aid website about how you can access support.

Other useful websites are Shelter Cymru, The Dyn Project and the Men's Advice Line.

Safeguarding online: advice for parents/guardians

Given the current circumstances, the likelihood of young people spending a considerable amount of time researching, gaming or communicating online will increase.

The priority for us all is to keep them safe online, prevent harm and safeguard at all times.

Please consider the following when you or your child is online.

Young people should:

  • Know who they are talking to
  • Check if they can access material, play games
  • Protect their online reputation
  • Only open messages from sources they trust
  • Do not give out personal information
  • Do not share images, video of inappropriate material
  • Speak to someone if they feel uncomfortable
  • Understand not everything online is true
  • Block and report people who are trolling
  • Do not give into pressure
  • Think before they post

Parents/guardians should:

  • Monitor who their child is communicating with online
  • Monitor the content and material accessed or downloaded
  • Check content is appropriate
  • Set boundaries and parental controls
  • Discuss their online activity
  • Manage/check privacy settings
  • Know where to find help

You can report any concerns here

Other useful resources

Information for students

What if I’m an international student?

International students who are planning to travel to the UK will need to follow the guidelines as advised by FCDO (the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) on travel.

They should also check which countries are exempt from self-isolation.

It is important to keep checking for updates as the situation is under constant review.

What if I'm a higher education student?

The advice is the same as for other students at the College.

If you are based at Gower College Swansea while studying your course, then please follow our guidelines.

We are working closely with our partner universities and any changes to current arrangements will be communicated as and when required.

The change in delivery method will not impact on your student loan which will pay as normal in April.

Could I be entitled to benefits?

Students' entitlement to benefits needs to be divided into what level of education and which students are entitled to benefits.

This has not been changed by the current situation and coronavirus.

More information is available on the Swansea Council website.

Will the College provide refunds for bus passes?

Bus passes for academic year 2020/21

If you have paid for your bus pass in full - the College will provide a partial refund of £125 for the unused element of bus passes purchased for the 2020/21 academic year. If you are due a partial refund, an email has been sent to your student email account. Please log in to your student email account and follow the instructions provided.

If you have opted to pay for your bus pass by installments - for those who opted to pay via card payment, the College will take a final installment of £25 on the week commencing 07/06/2021 using the details provided at enrolment.

For those who opted to pay via cheque, the College will contact you to arrange payment of the remaining £25 due.

If you have any questions in relation to a bus pass refund or payment by instalment, please email finance@gcs.ac.uk.

Can I access the Sports Centre to train?

Due to Welsh Government guidelines, the reopening of gyms and leisure centres is currently under review. Further updates to follow when we know more.

Information for full time applicants

I want to apply for a full time course, what should I do?

Applications for full time courses starting in September 2021 are now open. 

You can access our application here.

I have submitted my application, what happens next, will I have an interview?

As we are unable to conduct face to face interviews at present, we are making College offers based on predicted/actual grades. 

We will be in touch with you via email in the coming weeks.

I still haven’t had my offer even though I applied a few weeks ago

Please don’t worry, we have lots of College offers to get through and this will take us quite some time.

We only start making offers at the end of January and deal with applications in order of when they are received. You will hear from us in the coming weeks. 

If you want to check if we have received your application, please email admissions@gcs.ac.uk

I’ve received my College offer. How do I accept my place?

You will receive a follow up email within 2 weeks of your offer and it will give instructions on how to accept your place. 

I want to change the course I have applied for, how do I do this?

Please email admissions@gcs.ac.uk and the team will be happy to help.

When will I enrol at the College?

You will be invited to enrol as a student online in June, further information about this will be sent nearer the time to your email.

We are then planning face to face enrolment at the College in August so that you can confirm your final course choices. 

We will send you your enrolment appointment over the summer.

I’m still not sure I have chosen the right course, can I get some advice?

You can speak to your head of year and/or careers advisor.

As we cannot hold face to face interviews this year, we are looking to hold advice and guidance sessions with all subject areas via Microsoft Teams in May. 

We will send you information on how you can join these sessions nearer the date. You will also be able to get lots of advice at your enrolment session in August.

Is there a deadline for applications?

There is no deadline for applications but as some courses fill up quickly, we recommend submitting your application as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

Useful contacts

For full time courses and apprenticeships: admissions@gcs.ac.uk

For student funding: 07500 55912307500 559246 or email studentfunding@gcs.ac.uk

Information for other applicants

I want to apply for a part time course, what should I do?

We are pleased to announce that enrolment for our part time courses 2020/2021 is now live.

Many of our part time courses are available for online enrolment. Where an interview is required, we are undertaking these over the telephone wherever possible. Please check individual course cards for more information.

Due to Covid-19 and the associated guidelines, students can expect a blended learning approach this year. This may mean that teaching will be a combination of traditional classroom methods and online delivery.

We would like to thank you for your patience this year as we worked to finalise our part time provision for the coming year.

Don’t forget, the College also offers ongoing employability and career support available through our Better Jobs, Better Futures team.

I want to apply for an apprenticeship, what should I do?

You can continue to apply for an apprenticeship with us. 

Interviews, assessment and training will take place remotely online and by phone.

Please complete the apprenticeship application form and we will contact you to discuss further.

I want to apply for a higher education course, what should I do?

Please continue to apply for a full time course via UCAS

For a part time course, you can apply here

If an interview or audition is required for the course, you will be contacted via email to arrange an alternative. This could be via Skype or telephone.

If you have a higher education course enquiry please contact us 

Useful contacts

For full time courses and apprenticeships: admissions@gcs.ac.uk

For part time courses: info@gcs.ac.uk 

For higher education courses: contact us 

For student funding: 07500 55912307500 559246 or email studentfunding@gcs.ac.uk

Information for apprentice employers

Are apprenticeships suspended or postponed for now?

We continue to work with apprentices (including furloughed apprentices) via remote learning. Apprentices can interact with College staff using virtual classrooms and video calls. We can also support through phone and email.

Wherever possible, we will continue with remote/digital assessment, allowing apprentices to complete aspects of their course.

Awarding bodies are currently reviewing if assessment can be adapted in the current circumstances and we await further details on this.

For courses where competence and safety testing cannot be done remotely, e.g. electrical and gas, the delivery time lost due to Coronavirus can be added onto the end of the apprenticeship.

How will progress reviews be undertaken whilst assessors cannot visit the workplace?

Wherever possible, progress reviews will be conducted by video/phone and review forms will be completed through Smart Assessor.

Learners and employers can sign reviews digitally by clicking a link sent by email and logging into Smart Assessor.

If you have not used this method before, your assessor will be in touch. Where this is not possible, we will agree other methods with you.

I am not confident using Smart Assessor or have forgotten my login details

In the first instance, please contact your assessor who can arrange to provide you with further support. They can also reset your Smart Assessor password.

We realise Smart Assessor and remote learning is new to many. We are currently finalising YouTube videos for our employers and apprentices demonstrating how to use it.

I am concerned that my apprentice is struggling at the moment

Whilst College campuses are closed, please contact your assessor by mobile phone/email in the first instance.

We have increased our wellbeing resources for learners which are accessible via the College’s Moodle platform and Smart Assessor.

If you are concerned about the wellbeing of your apprentice, please contact our Safeguarding Officer, Adele Bubear on 07798 822867.

We can also provide you with additional support through our learning coaches, other safeguarding officers and refer learners to specialist support as needed.

What happens with the Employer Incentive Scheme during this time?

If we have confirmed that you are a Small Medium Enterprise (SME) employer that is eligible for Welsh Government’s Employer Incentive Scheme, this support still remains in place.

Payments will continue as normal after eight and 12 months from the apprentice’s start date, unless the apprentice has been furloughed prior to the eight month period having elapsed.

In this case, the Employer Incentive Payment will be passed to the employer once the apprentice has returned to employment after furlough.

Employment support

How do I access employability support?

Just get in touch at info@betterjobsbetterfutures.wales or call 01792 284450.

How do I access ESOL assessments?

We are still providing ESOL assessments virtually via Microsoft Teams.

To book an assessment, contact us or call 01792 284450.

Information and guidance about Coronavirus

How to download the NHS Covid-19 App

If you want to…

  • know your risk level
  • book Covid-19 tests
  • help us keep Wales safe

Download the NHS Covid-19 app today.

App Store
Google Play

Where can I find the latest guidance for the Swansea area?

For further information relevant to the City and County of Swansea area, please visit these websites:

Swansea Council
Swansea Bay University Health Board

Other guidance can be found here:

Public Health Wales
GOV.UK

Welsh Government guidance for education

Read the latest update from Welsh Government which sets out their plans and actions to ensure our students stay safe and stay learning.

Please see some useful links below:

Current guidance on further education
Current guidance on higher education
Current guidance on work based learning and apprenticeships

Post-16 Learning and Skills: here you will find material that is being produced by Welsh Government in relation to Covid-19 (including the Covid-19 Resilience Plan for the Post-16 sector), and to support distance learning.  

For more information please visit the Welsh Government website.

What can I do to help reduce the spread of the virus?

Just like the common cold, the Coronavirus usually occurs through close contact with a person who has the infection or by touching contaminated surfaces if you do not wash your hands correctly.

There are some simple things that you can do to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and look after yourself and those around you. Here are some guidelines to help you:

  • Frequently clean hands by using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover your mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue.
  • Make sure your work station i.e. PC/laptop/phone is cleaned appropriately.

Should I self-isolate?

 
Important update:
From 10 December, the self-isolation period in Wales will change from 14 to 10 days for contacts.
This also applies to people currently isolating and those returning from abroad.
More detail on the new guidance.
 
Staff or students should be in self-isolation and not attending College if:
  • they have coronavirus (Covid-19) 
  • they have coronavirus symptoms, for example a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste. You can also use the NHS Direct Wales symptom checker
  • someone in their household has coronavirus symptoms 
  • they've been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111 
  • they've been told to self-isolate by a Public Health Wales test, trace and protect service 
  • they have recently visited a country on the UK Foreign Office quarantine list 
  • they have had direct contact with a person who has had a positive test for Covid-19 (within 2 metres for 15 minutes or within 1 metre for a minute)

Those staff or students who are in self-isolation but are not sick can continue to work from home.

If you are a student and have had a positive test result, you must inform a Student Health Advisor on the campus you are based. They will then contact your tutor.
 
Angela Clark: Tycoch Campus and Llwyn y Bryn Campus
 
Gill Rees: Gorseinon Campus and Jubilee Court
 
If you are a member of staff and have had a positive test result you must inform your line manager immediately before you self-isolate. This should be done as far as possible by phone or through a direct Teams call. A message to HR can be followed up with an email if required.