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As a new student at NSCG, you or your parents/guardians probably have a million and one questions about the current college environment. That's why we've pulled together a list of FAQs to help answer any queries you may have...

How is NSCG mitigating the risks of spreading COVID-19?

Student safety and welfare is our priority. We are following up-to-date Government advice, reviewing and updating our risk assessments on a regular basis and communicating with all stakeholders including students, parents and carers of any changes. One of our most important measures is to ensure that students and staff are aware of social distancing and supported to maintain distancing through their actions whilst in the College building. Some of these measures are included in this document, but are not exclusive to.

You can read our full COVID-19 Autumn 2020 risk assessment on our policies page here.

What prevention measures has the College put into place?

  • Minimising contact with individuals who are unwell by ensuring that those who are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, or who have someone in their household who is, do not attend college.
  • Promoting frequent and effective hand hygiene.
  • Ensuring good respiratory hygiene by promoting the ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’ approach.
  • Introducing enhanced cleaning measures, which includes cleaning frequently touched surfaces using standard products such as detergents and bleach.
  • Minimising contact between individuals and maintaining social distancing wherever possible.
  • Introducing floor markings that denote movement directions and distancing throughout the building. All corridors and stairwells will have a central line marked in the middle of the floor, with supporting directional arrows and a ‘keep left’ strategy adopted. This is in addition to the existing 2m markers which are already in place.
  • Creation of a duty staff rota that will support areas, encouraging distancing in communal areas and circulation spaces.
  • Wearing of face covering by students and staff in shared spaces in the College buildings, including the corridors, social spaces and toilets.

You can read our full COVID-19 Autumn 2020 risk assessment on our policies page here.

What will happen if there is a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) at NSCG?

In the event of a confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19) at NSCG, we will notify Public Health England and work closely with them to strictly and promptly follow the advice and recommendations they provide.

How will the College be kept clean?

During lockdown we increased the number of cleaners on-site and had key areas regularly cleaned throughout the day. We will increase this further from September. Handwashing is essential in reducing risk. All classrooms have hand sanitiser points and students and staff will hand sanitise their hands on entry and exit to every classroom. Students can bring their own sanitiser with them if they choose to.

How is the college implementing good hand hygiene?

Good hand hygiene is critical to ensure we minimise the risk within our college community. There will be hand sanitiser points available throughout the College building and in every classroom as well as sanitising wipes. Students will be encouraged to wash their hands and use the hand sanitiser provided in classrooms as well as when they enter and exit any of the College’s buildings.

Will students have to wear a face covering in college?

  • The Government recently amended its guidelines relating to the wearing of face coverings in schools and colleges. Due to a local outbreak of COVID-19 infections in the North Staffordshire area, the College has taken advice from Public Health and, as a precautionary measure, has decided to introduce mandatory face covering in corridors, social spaces and toilets for all staff and students at both our Newcastle College and Stafford College campuses (unless they are exempt for medical reasons). Currently, there is no expectation that students need to wear a face covering in the classroom/learning environment, although some curriculum activities do require personal protective equipment (PPE) and your son/daughter will be informed where and when this is the case.
  • To support with the compliance of this measure, the College have a supply of disposable masks available for anyone who has not brought their own mask with them, but obviously we prefer students to take their own responsibility and bring a suitable face covering to college with them. Any students or staff that are exempt from the requirement to wear face coverings will be provided with a pass to wear from the College that authorises their exemption.

Will staff at the college wear face coverings?

All student-facing staff have been provided with a face visor and have access to face coverings which MUST be worn in corridors, social spaces and toilets, but it is not essential that these are worn in the classroom/learning environment. Other personal protective equipment (PPE) is available as and when required. Excluding teach staff, for all other staff in student-facing roles (for example, security staff, catering staff or support staff dealing directly with students) the wearing of face visors is mandatory at all times if a 2m distance is difficult to maintain.

How are you keeping students apart at the College?

  • At NSCG, in order to minimise the risk of transmission of COVID-19, we have divided our curriculum areas into a series of bubble zones. All lessons are taught in curriculum specialist classrooms/learning environments and we have specific bubble zones for each course area. Each bubble zone has been allocated a colour and students will have a corresponding coloured lanyard.
  • Students will go to their bubble zone at the start of the day and will remain in their designated classrooms/learning environments for all of their sessions. Start and end times will be staggered to prevent bubble zones mixing. Students will have designated social spaces for break times and lunchtimes as well as a space for independent study if students have a ‘free study’ break in their timetable. Again, break times and lunchtimes will staggered to prevent bubble zones mixing.

What will students do during their ‘free study’/breaks?

  • To support social distancing, the College wish to limit the number of students in corridors and communal areas. Break times have been limited, however students are being encouraged to stay a little longer in the classroom used for the previous lesson (if applicable), make their way to their next class (if applicable), or use their allocated social space if they are free.
  • The classroom doors will be open from 8.30am and students may go in and sit down before the lesson starts. Students may also want to use their break times to use the washrooms and get some fresh air. Students can also use the designated social space for their bubble to eat/drink and chat with their friends whilst maintaining social distancing. Students are also permitted to leave the college building during lunchtimes/timetable gaps, but this is not compulsory.
  • Individual learning zones or breakout areas will be supervised and available to students during their short lunchtime period and if they have a ‘free study’ break, so that they can complete independent study. These will be allocated to individual bubbles with appropriate hygiene measures in place. Once students have completed their classes for the day, they are encouraged to promptly leave the College campus.

View study spaces for Newcastle here.

View study spaces for Stafford here.

How will classroom delivery work?

  • Classrooms are now arranged with desks in rows (forwards facing) as per Government guidance. Staff will remain a safe distance from students in the classroom/learning environments (2m where possible/minimum of 1m+), which is clearly marked out using tape. Students will not be able to move freely around the classroom and must remain in their seats.
  • In rooms where the classroom furniture is fixed, such as some science labs, engineering workshops and specialist art & design and music rooms, perspex screens have been fitted in accordance with Government guidance.
  • All students will sanitise their hands on entry and exit to the classroom/learning environment and will wipe down their desk and chair with sanitising wipes before exiting.
  • Resources needed for the bubble zone will be stored separately and where this is not possible, they will be cleaned and sanitised or stored for 48 hours before they are re-used.
  • Students using IT equipment as part of their curriculum will be asked to wear the gloves provided upon entry to the classroom and these should be disposed of using the facilities provided upon exit. This is in addition to the cleaning regimes in place.
  • We recommend that students arrive at the College no more than 30-minutes early for their first class of the day. Once students have completed their classes for the day, they are encouraged to promptly leave the College campus.

Can students access IT facilities in college?

  • We strongly encourage students to bring in their own laptops/tablets for use in college as there will be very limited access to college computers outside of classroom sessions.
  • If students are using college IT facilities in class time they will need to wear disposable gloves that will be provided for them upon entry to the session.

What changes are there to transport?

Where possible, students should avoid travelling to college by public transport. If this is not possible, as per Government guidance, students must wear a face covering throughout their journey. The face covering should be removed as soon as they leave the mode of public transport and a fresh face covering should be worn within shared spaces in the College buildings, including the corridors, social spaces and toilets.

Will students attend college full-time?

  • Students will receive all the guided learning hours relating to their Study Programme and as far as feasibly possible, we have structured as much time for face-to-face teaching delivery. All students will be prepared for home learning regardless of their current delivery model during their induction period.
  • A student charter will be provided that will explain the expectations around home learning and we continue to explore ways of how best to deliver home learning to ensure that students’ education is not disrupted any more than is necessary.
  • We recommend that students arrive at the College no more than 30-minutes early for their first class of the day. Once students have completed their classes for the day, they are encouraged to promptly leave the College campus.

What do I do if my son/daughter feels unwell on a college day?

  • If your son/daughter is exhibiting COVID-19 related symptoms, you MUST NOT send them to college and should inform us via the student absence line. You must also follow the Public Health England guidance and arrange to have your son/daughter tested. We have a link on our website to help you.
  • If your child has a general illness, you should still inform us via the College absence line. If you feel that your son/daughter may be anxious rather than ill, please contact us so that we can put in additional support for your child.

What happens if a student becomes ill at college?

  • If a student becomes ill during the College day, they will be assessed for symptoms of COVID-19 by a first aider. If COVID-19 is suspected, your child will be asked to wait in a segregated room until they can be collected from college. The room will be sterilised after use. Any student or member of staff with suspected COVID-19 will be required to take a COVID-19 test and must not come into college. Please ensure you follow the normal absence procedures and contact the absence line.
  • Students will be expected to isolate for the required number of days if they are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace system, or if you are aware that they have been in direct contact with someone with a confirmed case of COVID-19.
  • We will be working with the NHS Test and Trace system and swift action will be taken if required. The health of our students and staff is of paramount importance to us. Please be assured we will do everything we can to minimise risks in the College environment.

Is attendance compulsory in September?

  • It is vital that young people return to college and attend regularly to ensure their educational progress continues and their general well-being is maintained.
  • Please note that taking holidays should be scheduled outside of term time and keep in mind the period of self-isolation which currently applies to some destinations.

What if a student is self-isolating?

If your son/daughter cannot attend for reasons of self-isolating due to COVID-19, then please contact us to establish what educational support we can provide remotely for this period.

Will students be able to participate in practical activities as part of their course?

  • Practical activities can be undertaken where appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and other mitigations have been put into place alongside a risk assessment to address any hazards associated with the normal operation of the activity.
  • All practical sport based subjects will follow the latest sector or national governing body guidance in relation to practical activity.

Will the College’s Academy of Sport be running?

Our intention is for students to be able to safely take part in enrichment sport at college. We are currently reviewing our offer to ensure the safety of all students and staff. Details will be communicated to students.

Will students undertake science experiments as part of their course (if relevant)?

In the first instance it is likely that students will have to observe the teacher conducting experiments rather than doing them themselves. However, our Science team/course teams are investigating ways which will hopefully make it possible for students to conduct practical work as soon as it is safe to do so.

What measures have been put into place for students studying a Hair and Beauty course?

  • Individual workstations have been created with appropriate cleaning routines undertaken between client/student use.
  • Perspex screens are in place to separate workstations. Appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including visors and masks MUST be worn by all Hair and Beauty staff and students undertaking practical activities. Any customers receiving treatment will be required to wear a face mask. Client contact details will be retained for Test and Trace.

What measures have been put into place for students studying an Engineering/Construction course?

  • Specialist engineering and construction workshops can be used with equipment sanitised between use using the appropriate sanitiser provided.
  • Students will be advised of the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) for each curriculum/workshop activity.
  • Students are encouraged where possible to bring their own equipment and tools (to be stored in lockers). A limited number of personal equipment packs are available to be allocated to those students deemed to be in greatest need.
  • Engineering students will not be permitted to cross bubbles between the Skills and Technology Centre and the main site workshops in the main building.

What measures have been put into place for students studying Art, Design and Media courses?

  • 700 licenses for Adobe Creative Suite applications including Photoshop and Indesign have been purchased to enable students to work on digital artwork at home.
  • Cloud storage (one drive, 1 TB) is available to all students as part of the Office 365 suite.
  • Students will be advised of the appropriate PPE for each curriculum/workshop activity.
  • A limited amount of course specific materials will be available to support learning inside college, although we have encouraged all students to be prepared and bring in materials as outlined by course leaders.

What measures have been put into place for students studying on a Performing Arts course?

  • Specialist performing arts facilities can be used and equipment will be sanitised between use using the appropriate sanitiser provided.
  • Where possible students should wear gloves providing it is safe to do so.
  • Students are encouraged to bring their own equipment (musical instruments, etc.). A limited number of personal equipment packs are available to be allocated to those students deemed to be in greatest need.
  • Singing should not take place indoors (unless visors are worn and 2m social distancing is maintained). Music technology students will not be permitted to cross bubbles between the Performing Arts Centre and main site studios.

What will the College do to help students get back into good study habits?

  • All students have had a lengthy period outside of the normal educational routine and are therefore likely to have gaps in their knowledge. We will help and support students to quickly get back into good study habits and welcome your support towards this end.
  • We will expect students to attend all face to face and remote sessions, be punctual at all times and to adhere to college expectations and policies.
  • Teachers will work together with students to quickly establish any gaps in knowledge and implement catch up work as appropriate.

What should I do if I want to speak to a member of staff?

If you wish to speak to a member of staff please contact us via the details provided in this pack. You are advised to contact your son/daughter’s Personal Tutor in the first instance. We are reducing the number of visitors on site and anyone wanting to come into college will have to make an appointment in advance.

What food/drink/snacks will be available on-site for students?

  • Food will only be available at lunchtime. Catering facilities will be provided for each of the bubbles, either via a pop-up shop facility or an allocated time slot in one of the food outlets, with appropriate hygiene measures in support of the activity.
  • It is strongly advised that students bring their own lunch with them.
  • In order to facilitate such large numbers in a limited time frame, there will be a reduced food offer.
  • As normal, students are allowed off-site at lunchtimes.
  • Please note the College Shop and coffee facilities will not be open in the initial few weeks of term. Water machines will still be in operation across the college building but students should bring their own water bottles (no cups will be available).
  • The tables, chairs and other touchpoints in the Food Hall will be cleaned down between the time slots allocated to different bubbles.

View food timetable for Newcastle here.

View food timetable for Stafford here.

Can cash be used to purchase food in college?

  • No cash is to be used to purchase food from any of the bubble food outlets. Students and staff can use our online WisePay system and will have access to a pay station to allow them to top-up money on their cards to purchase food, bus passes etc. Students can also pay for items using a debit card.
  • Vending machines on the College site will still take cash/coins and the touch points will be sanitised throughout the day.

Will parents evenings/extra-curricular activities/trip & visits still take place?

  • Decisions will be made on the format of presentation evenings and parents’ consultation evenings in the Autumn term along with our plans for extra-curricular activities depending on Government guidance. Currently we are delaying any trips, but will contact parents/carers if this changes.
  • We will continue to provide access to enrichment opportunities as far as we can with some activities taking place online. Details will be shared with all students.

Can students still access the Learning Resources Centre (LRC)?

The Learning Resources Centre (LRC) will remain closed for the first few weeks of term however a wide range of online resources, including e-books, are available to students and specific subject resources are accessible from I-Site.

Will students still have access to pastoral support and Student Services?

  • We have an outstanding pastoral support team in college. Our designated curriculum Personal Tutors are available throughout the day as well as our Learning Support Team and Student Services Team, who can offer support to all students who are feeling worried and would benefit from talking to someone from our support team.
  • All of our students will see their Personal Tutor on a regular basis, but some students may prefer to talk to one of their subject teachers or someone from our specialist Student Services team.
  • Designated rooms have been allocated for student support. The Student Services Team have arranged drop in sessions within curriculum bubbles. The sessions will be advertised on Student Notice Boards, via Personal Tutors, Weekly Tutorial Newsletters, and Curriculum Teams. If you would like to arrange an appointment for your son or daughter, please contact the Student Services Team by:-

Newcastle College students: Call 01782 254272 or email help.newcastle@nscg.ac.uk

Stafford College students: Call 01785 275472 or email help.stafford@nscg.ac.uk

Will the College day be the same as before?

  • In order to limit the risk of curriculum bubbles mixing, we have staggered entry and exit times which will affect the start and end of the day. In addition to this change, break times are also staggered. This will enable all pupils to access fresh air and aid well-being. All curriculum bubbles have been assigned a ‘zone’ on our campus where they should stay throughout the day. Please note your son/daughter’s timetable can be viewed on the parent portal.

Will students use the main entrance at college?

  • Students will be informed on their first day of college about which entrance points they should use and which rooms, toilets, staircase and social spaces they are to stay in based on their curriculum bubble.
  • The student induction process will contain specific information on staying safe in college and the messages will be reinforced regularly during the early days and weeks.
  • The college have placed 2 metre social distancing markers outside the main entrance and right through the building. Perspex screens have been installed in a number of areas. All people entering the buildings are required to use the hand sanitiser provided. Entry/exit only stickers are in place at security barriers to maintain distancing and to maintain a smooth flow of traffic. Bins will be provided in Reception for the safe disposal of any single use masks which your child may have worn on route to College which need to be discarded on entering the building.

Will students still be able to get a bus pass?

  • Arrangements for issuing bus passes will operate in curriculum bubbles. Bursary students will receive a bus pass and financial support as normal which can be purchased at assigned days and times based on curriculum bubbles. This schedule will be communicated to students during induction week.
  • If students have not previously applied for bursary then they can do so at any time by visiting the College’s website and clicking on the Support section and then select Financial Support. If you would like more advice on how to apply then please contact our dedicated Student Finance Team by:-

Newcastle College students: Call 01782 254188 or email studentfinanceteam@nscg.ac.uk

Stafford College students: Call 01785 275494 or email studentfinanceteam@nscg.ac.uk

Should students bring any of their own resources?

  • Students should bring their own pens, pencils, laptop and other relevant equipment related to their course (i.e. calculator for maths, personal art equipment or headphones). Details regarding access to any specialist equipment will be discussed with students during their induction week at college.
  • When using college equipment students will be asked to wear gloves for some activities providing is it safe to do so.
  • A limited number of personal equipment packs are available in some areas, such as Art, and will be allocated to those students deemed most at need.
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