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 and guidance about Coronavirus Information about summer assessments 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

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

Just like the common cold, 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 the virus. Here are some guidelines to help you:

  • Take a lateral flow test before you attend College (we can provide these)
  • Sanitise your hands on entering the campus buildings
  • Wear a face covering (unless exempt) 
  • Try to keep physical distance from others. As a guide, try not be within two metres of another person for 15 minutes or within one metre for a minute
  • Frequently wash your hands 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.

Updates to Covid-19 testing for students

In line with recent Welsh Government guidelines to further reduce the transmission of Covid-19, the following changes will now be in place from Monday 11 October:

  • If you live in a household where someone tests positive, please continue to come into College provided you are not displaying any symptoms and feel well. However, it is recommended that you take a daily lateral flow test for seven days. You can get these tests from the College libraries. 
  • If you live in a household where someone tests positive, and you are showing symptoms, it is advised to take a PCR test. You can book a test here.

Should I self-isolate?

Staff or students should be in self-isolation and not attending College if
  • they have coronavirus, which is confirmed by a PCR test 
  • 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
  • they have a positive lateral flow test and are awaiting a PCR test or result 
  • they have been told to self isolate by Track, Trace and Protect
  • they have recently visited a country on the UK Foreign Office red list of countries. 

Those staff or students who are in self-isolation but are well enough to work or learn can continue to from home.

Students
If you are a student and have had a positive PCR test result, you must inform our covid administrator via email covid@gcs.ac.uk
You will need to share the following information:  

•    Date of PCR test or date symptoms started if before. 
•    Last day in College 
•    Date isolation end.

The covid administrator will share with your tutor and any other staff in College. 

Staff
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.

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.  

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

Advice on how to get a Covid pass

How to get the NHS Covid pass to prove that you are vaccinated against Covid-19 or have tested negative.

Get your NHS COVID Pass | GOV.WALES

Guidance
Use the NHS COVID Pass to attend large events and venues | GOV.WALES

Information about summer assessments 2022

GCSEs, AS and A levels, and the Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications  

WJEC and the other examination boards have made changes to the qualifications for summer 2022. There is information about these changes available on WJEC’s website.   

For English-based exam boards you can get the latest information from the JCQ website.  

These changes are in place because of the disruption to your learning caused by the pandemic. They are different in each qualification and will help you to focus your time when it comes to preparing for your exams next summer. 

How will GCSEs, AS and A Levels, and the Skills Challenge Certificate qualifications be assessed and graded in summer 2022?  
The plan is for examinations to take place next summer. This means that you should be assessed as usual in your subjects. 

The grading process needs to be as fair as possible to everyone and reflects the disruption to teaching and learning that you have experienced to date and may also experience this year. So, for summer 2022, the approach will be the same for you as other parts of the UK.  

This is also important so that you have qualifications that are of equal value to those taken by learners from other parts of the UK so that you can move on to the next stage of education or career.  

What happens if GCSE, AS and A Level exams cannot go ahead in summer 2022?  
We expect exams to take place as planned and they will only be cancelled in exceptional circumstances. But, if the exam series is cancelled, then the following backup plan will be put in place.  

Backup plan – your lecturers will be asked to award your grades based on your work in assessments across the qualification throughout the year. By the end of November 2021 we will tell you what assessments we might use.  

Vocational qualifications

It is planned for vocational qualifications to be assessed as usual this year. You will complete the appropriate assignments as part of your course. 

If all or part of your vocational qualification is assessed by exam, these will go ahead as planned. However, if any of the exams are cancelled, a backup plan will be put in place.  

Backup plan – where possible the exams will be rescheduled for later in this year. If this is not possible, your lecturers will be asked to award your grades based on your work in assessments across the qualification throughout the year.  

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?

Your certificate will be posted to your home address, once it has been received in College. If you have changed address since starting your studies, please contact enrolment@gcs.ac.uk 

If you urgently need your certificate for employment purposes, please email 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).

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

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.

Can I access the Sports Centre to train?

Due to the College’s guidelines of safe operations, the Sports Centre at our Tycoch Campus will only be open to members of the public between the following hours from 1 September 2021:

Monday - Friday: 6.30am-8.30am and 4.30pm-10pm

On Saturdays and Sundays, we will operate as normal.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, but the decision has been made in line with the most recent post-16 Welsh Government guidance relating to covid safety.

The decision will be reviewed on 31 October 2021.

Should you have any questions, please contact us on sportscentre@gcs.ac.uk or 01792 284088.

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 regarding your offer. 

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

Please don’t worry. We usually deal with applications in three to four 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?

We are holding face to face enrolment sessions at the College in June and August

You will be sent your enrolment appointment by post.

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.

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: 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.

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?

In line with latest Welsh Government guidance, all apprenticeships are being delivered as normal.  

All College campuses are now open and assessors are visiting work places (in line with our covid-19 risk assessment processes) to complete assessments and progress reviews. We continue to use a mix of online and blended learning and your tutor/assessor can provide more information on this for you.

We have worked with learners, employers and awarding organisations to prioritise assessment for the apprentices who were due to complete assessments and exams during covid-19 lockdown periods, extending their target completion dates as needed to minimise the impact of delays.

We continue to support employers to recruit and train new and existing staff during this time.

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. Our support staff can provide you with training and we have created YouTube videos for our employers and apprentices demonstrating how to use it. Ask your tutor/assessor who can arrange this for you.

I am concerned that my apprentice is struggling at the moment

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?

Employer Incentive is for all employers who have recruited a new member of staff as an apprentice from 1 August 2020 to 30 September 2021.

Payments will continue as normal, 50% after 4 weeks and the remaining 50% after 270 days from the apprentice’s start date.

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.