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: www.facebook.com/gowercollegeswansea

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

Information and guidance about Coronavirus

Important message from Principal Mark Jones (6 November) 

As the firebreak lockdown comes to a close, here is some important information for when you return to College next week.

From Monday 9 November

We will now resume our face to face method of teaching for all our full time students.

If you are a part time student or an apprentice, your course will resume in the same way as it did before the firebreak lockdown.

If you are unsure of any details in relation to your course, please contact your tutor. Don’t forget to check the student portal for access to key information including wellbeing support.

We are here to support each other and it is so important that we follow Welsh Government guidance and keep each other safe. So ahead of next week, please continue to remember the following:

  • Keep a 2 metre safe distance from others
  • Wash your hands regularly and use the sanitiser in the classrooms and around the campuses
  • Wear your face covering in communal areas or public spaces.

If you are feeling unwell, please do not come into College, you should book a Covid-19 test if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • a new, continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • loss or change to taste or smell

Also, familiarise yourself with our video to remind you of the safety measures we have introduced at College.

If you are finding it difficult at any point please let us know by either contacting your personal tutor or any of the support services via the portal.

The Sports Centre will also reopen from Monday 9 November for staff and students. Members of the public can also access the facility during the following allocated times.

For general guidance about the Covid-19 rules that will be in place from Monday 9 November, please visit the Welsh Government’s FAQ page.

We are all in this together and are here to help you keep learning.

Take care and stay safe

Mark Jones, Principal

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.  

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?

 
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. 
 

Keeping you safe and well

How will you ensure I will be safe when I return to College?

We are looking forward to welcoming you to Gower College Swansea this September.

Your health and safety is our top priority and we have developed comprehensive measures to keep both you and our staff safe during your studies.

This short video will give you an idea of what to expect when you arrive at College.

We are following the latest guidelines from Welsh Government which you can access here.  

Covid 19 Student Code of Conduct

Guidance on face coverings

Following the recent statement by Welsh Government, the College has decided that all staff, students and visitors will now be required to wear face coverings.

This will apply in all communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain (e.g. hallways, stairways or common rooms). It will also apply when using College or public buses.

Face coverings will not be expected to be worn in the classroom as all full time students will be in individual contact groups (bubbles) and all part time students will be social distancing.

While the College aims to provide a limited supply of reusable coverings, students are encouraged to bring and wear their own coverings next week for induction.

Principal Mark Jones said: Keeping our whole College community safe is the number one top priority for us and we hope you understand why we have put these measures in place.

“Once at College, we ask students to follow the guidance that will be given by their tutor during their first class. We will also expect you to know how to safely and hygienically wear face coverings.

“We also expect the highest standards of our students and staff in terms of tolerance and understanding. We embrace everyone, recognising individual needs and this may mean that some individuals are unable to wear face coverings while at College.

“We thank you for your cooperation and look forward to welcoming you to the College next week.”

What if I am exempt from wearing a face covering?

There are exemptions that apply if you are unable to wear a face covering whilst either in College or travelling on College transport.

These exemptions include:

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

If this applies to you, please let a member of staff know who will then guide you to speak to a Student Health Advisor.

For further information, please contact tom.snelgrove@gcs.ac.uk  

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 284112 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
Hillary Arthur 07500 559123
Bill Jones 07500 559246

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 - 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

How will I get to and from the College?

Gorseinon Campus

We operate a dedicated bus service to and from the Gorseinon Campus which is for travel for by College students only.

These buses will operate in accordance with the Covid-19 guidance issued by Welsh Government.

All students will need a bus pass (purchased from the Gorseinon Campus) to travel on the College buses.

The buses will be operating at normal capacity and all students will need to wear face coverings.

  • You should be at your bus stop in the morning 10 minutes before your bus is due to arrive
  • Look for the sign displayed at the front of the vehicle showing its route
  • When the bus is approaching, be sure to hold your hand out to signal to the driver you want them to stop. This is particularly important when you are not at a main bus stop or other bus users are at the stop
  • You must always show your bus pass to the driver, so please have it ready before boarding the bus. If you do not have your pass then you will be refused travel due to track and trace requirements of the College
  • Where necessary, we may from time to time provide a smaller unmarked vehicle to transport you to College
  • Please ensure you wear a face covering on dedicated College buses and if you are traveling on the local public bus services
  • Please practice social distancing wherever possible, such as when waiting at the bus stop, queuing to board the bus, whilst travelling if possible and after alighting.
  • When boarding the bus, fill from the rear of the vehicle first
  • Dedicated College buses will generally operate to normal capacity, but please comply with any signage on board the vehicle which may include marking some seats out of use on some vehicles. Local public bus services open to the general public will be operating to reduced capacities and will display signage advising where to sit
  • Vehicles will be subject to enhanced cleaning regimes, with touch points disinfected after every journey and a full clean at the end of each day
  • Upon arriving at the College each morning, please remain seated until a member of staff instructs you to leave the vehicle and have your pass ready.

Please note that if you are using the Gorseinon Campus bus pass to travel on First Cymru public bus services, you must follow the guidance of that operator in line with the Welsh Government. In particular, it is currently mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport.

Tycoch, Llwyn y Bryn and Jubilee Court campuses

Students travelling to Tycoch, Llwyn y Bryn and Jubilee Court campuses purchase a bus pass from First Cymru which allows access to the First Cymru public transport bus network. Students must travel in accordance with the Welsh Government guidance relating to travel on public transport. In particular, it is currently mandatory to wear face coverings on public transport.

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.

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.

I am due to start a part time course during the firebreak lockdown, what happens?

All part time courses due to start between 2-9 November will be postponed until w/c 16 November.

We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, we will be in touch with you soon to confirm your new start date.

If you have already started a part time course (prior to the firebreak) you will continue as normal via online learning.

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.

I want to apply for FCF funding, what should I do?

The College’s Financial Contingency Fund (FCF) opened on Wednesday 3 June 2020.

Forms are available from Student Services or you can complete the application form online and follow the instructions to submit.

The device you are using will need Acrobat Reader installed to allow you to complete the form.

To download Acrobat Reader onto a mobile device follow this link

Choose Apple Store if you are using an apple device or choose Google Play if you are using an android device.

To download Acrobat Reader onto a PC or MAC follow this link and go through the instructions.

If you need help filling in your FCF form, please refer to our guidance notes.

To speak to a member of the Student Funding Team, please contact 07500 559123 / 07500 559246 or email studentfunding@gcs.ac.uk.

Will the College provide refunds for bus passes?

Yes, the College will provide a partial refund for the unused element of bus passes.

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.

Thank you for your patience.

Information about exams

Summer 2021 exams and assessments

We are awaiting decisions from Qualifications Wales and Ofqual regarding examinations and assessments due to take place in summer 2021. When these have been finalised we will publish the links to the external exam timetables.

Please be aware that discussions do involve the possibility of examinations and assessments starting slightly later than normal, but no decisions have been made by the regulators. Please keep this in mind if looking to book any summer holidays. We are hoping for these decisions to be published in early November.

Read Qualifications Wales’ statement here

Some qualifications, regulated in Wales, have already had adaptions published such as AS/A Level, GCSE and skills challenge certificate. Your lecturer can help you with any questions about adaptations to the subjects you are taking.

Our vocational awarding bodies will work to guidance from Ofqual and will publish adaptations or arrangements when these have been finalised. We hope to have this by the 23 October. 

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
  • Please wear a face covering until seated at your allocated desk
  • 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.

Information for applicants

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

Applications for full time courses starting in September 2021 will open on Monday 9 November.

You will be able to access our application form on our website.

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?

Due to the firebreak lockdown, our Employment Hub located on the Kingsway is closed until Monday 9 November.

However, you can still access support by phone, video call or email. 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.