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Information for Staff

Communication for staff

Following today's announcement from Kirsty Williams (MS), Minister for Education (Wednesday, 3 June 2020), I am writing to update you on our approach and next steps we are taking at The College Merthyr Tydfil.

As many of you will be aware, the Minister has announced that FE colleges will be able to partially open to small groups of learners in a phased approach from Monday 15th June.

Your health and wellbeing is our top priority and we want to reassure you that, with social distancing requirements expected to continue for some time, we will only be opening when we feel it is safe to do so and when we feel that we are able to bring staff and learners back into college in a safe and managed way. As indicated in the Minister’s statement and accompanying press release –https://gov.wales/check-catch-prepare-summer-and-september-all-schools-wales-enter-next-phase the College will only be opening, in the first instance, for those learners who need to undertake any outstanding practical work or assessments in order for them to complete their qualification this summer, gain their license to practice and progress to the next stage of learning and/or employment. This is likely to include learners in Construction, Engineering, Motor Vehicle, Hair and Beauty, Childcare, Health and Social Care and AAT.

Preparing to bring staff and learners into the college building

The Health and Safety of all of our staff and learners remains our number one priority and this has been central to the extensive planning that has been undertaken to plan for the college re-opening, ensuring that we are able to bring learners and staff back in a safe and managed way, when the time is right and when we are confident that all of the necessary guidance, measures and safety protocols have been put into place. In line with JTU advice and guidance, we are working with the JTUs, relevant Heads of Division to complete the necessary risk assessment and safe working systems needed to support both staff and learners coming in to complete any licence to practice assessments. As part of this process, the college is ensuring that it adheres to the 45 protocols that Joint Trade Unions have agreed with Colegau Cymru to ensure the health and safety of their workforce. These protocols will be published on 10th June.

We have also gathered information from all staff so that we are aware of any factors that may impact upon you being able to return to work and we have also conducted a similar exercise with current and future learners so that we can ensure that we put into place all of the necessary support.

Our Estates team are working hard to implement clearly visible social distancing signage across the college building and we have also calculated the maximum numbers we are able to accommodate in classrooms and staffrooms at any one time so that you can be assured that all social distancing measures will be adhered to whilst you are in the college building. 

Welcoming staff and learners onto campus

The staff and learners that will be required to come in during June will all be informed individually and we will timetable all of the necessary sessions. Please can all staff therefore ensure that you do not attend the college unless you are requested to do so.

All staff and learners coming into the college building will be provided with clear safety guidance and instructions to protect yourself and protect others. We will provide you with a briefing video and presentation for you to view before you attend college so that you can familiarise yourselves with this guidance. You will only be required to attend the college for the duration of the time that you are required to support assessment/practical lessons or on-line exams. You will not be able to stay on campus after this time. Our on site refectory will remain closed so, if you are coming in for longer than a few hours, you may need to bring a packed lunch and drink with you. We will explain all of this in more detail through the video briefing that we will provide to you.

Learner and Staff Support and Wellbeing

A member of the student support team will be present at the college each day whilst staff and learners are in during June, ensuring that support is on hand and available, should it be required. The full range of support services will still be available for access remotely, including any support that you require to help you with your return to college.

Looking forward to September


We anticipate that enrolment, induction and first term of teaching will be a blend of remote/on-line learning combined with small face to face on campus group sessions where possible. We have developed a 2020 enrolment and induction plan, which incorporates a mixture of on-line/remote enrolment combined with face to face and college based advice and guidance, where possible. This plan was presented to College Management Team yesterday and will now be disseminated to all staff for information.

As you will be aware, many of our courses have practical components taught in specialist facilities such as labs, workshops and creative studios. We will endeavour to run as many of these practical elements as possible in small groups and in safe environments. We will also prioritise the delivery of as many face-to-face tutorials as we can safely, ensuring that all learners receive face to face support at least once a week.  This blended learning approach of on-line combined with face to face will ensure that learners continue to receive good experiences and high-quality education, particularly new learners joining us in September who will be unfamiliar with college staff. 

As we move towards preparing for September, we would urge you to work with your Heads of Division to start to:

  • plan a range of on-line, engaging and interactive materials and learning resources to support the delivery of your courses
  • look at your course specifications to identify how any practical work/assessments could be pushed back towards the end of the year, enabling you to deliver more on-line/remote theory lessons during the first term

We will let our prospective learners know the detail of what enrolment, induction and teaching will look like before the end of June, whilst current learners will be provided with more detail before the end of July. 

Keeping staff informed - Virtual Feedback and question sessions

I’m sure you will appreciate that the current situation is continuing to change on a daily basis and we will endeavour to keep you updated on any new guidance and advice as and when it is released.  You will understandably want to know what your working environment may look like in September and your managers will be working with you over the coming weeks and months to put timetabling and support plans in place in line with all of the current health and safety protocols and the Welsh Government Post-16 Resilience Plan.

Starting from Monday 8th June, we will be running a series of virtual feedback and have your say sessions, offering you the chance to speak to the College Executive about our plans for bringing learners and staff back in June and our plans for September. Details of these sessions will be emailed out to all staff by the end of Friday 5th June.

Finally, I know you will all continue to work hard to ensure that our learners receive the highest standards of learning and student experience that they have come to expect at the college. I know I have said this before, but I am truly very proud of how you all navigated and responded to our move to remote teaching and working, and as we begin to plan to move some provision back onto our college campus, I have no doubt that you will approach this task with the same positive attitude. 

Thank you for your continued efforts and hard work

Keep well, stay positive and we will of course continue to keep you updated and work with you to make sure that our plans can be successfully implemented in time for September. 

Lisa

On-line teaching and learning

In order to support our online teaching and learning going forward, we will be providing you with weekly online training sessions.

These online sessions will allow all staff to develop their online teaching skills through the use of the college supported Microsoft 365 platform and will enable the college to continue to provide high quality online teaching.

 

The online training starts with the basics and assumes no prior knowledge.

 

Below you will find two links which will take you to the online training provided by Gareth Morgan during the last half term.

Teams introduction

Transferring from college personal drive to OneDrive

 

Skills Toolkit

Please find the link below to the new online resource developed by the government in association with the Open University;

https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/find-a-course/the-skills-toolkit

 

The resources/courses range from beginner to advanced and will be useful to support skills delivery but also general literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills. The advanced courses may be particularly useful for computing learners.

 

Access to important links and useful information

Just a reminder of some of the useful links and information available to support you and your learners during this time:

Care First

Care first have produced a range of articles and Webinars that you can read and join to support your wellbeing over the next few weeks.

You can access Care First via the link on the staff portal or directly through: https://carefirst-lifestyle.co.uk/. The username is: collegemerthyr and the password: employee.

 

If any of you would like any further support, our College Counsellor, Theresa Cadd, can be contacted on: 07443448732

 

 

The Mental Health Foundation also have a wide range of resources and tips for looking after your mental health whilst working/staying at home.

 

Useful information and resources for your learners: www.childreninWales.org.uk https://stemresources.raeng.org.uk/ For MAT learners: https://thebrilliantclub.org/the-brilliant-club-for-pupils/info-for-pupi

 

Latest Information from Care First

             

/sites/default/files/friday_-_covid-19_-_top_tips_for_manging_a_remote_team.doc

                                                                    

 

As a reminder before the half term holiday, we’re resending the Safeguarding contact information which was last sent to all staff on 30 April. There is also some new Prevent information recently received from South Wales Police.
 
Safeguarding – concerns for the safety of learners:
 
  • All staff have been asked to set up My Concern accounts, please continue to log your safeguarding concerns as you normally would
 
 
  • The designated safeguarding leads (DSLs) are:
 
  • Sara Fowler – Strategic Safeguarding Lead
  • Judith Mulry – Operational Safeguarding Lead
  • Caroline Donaldson – Safeguarding & Wellbeing Administrator & DSL team
  • Lynne Lloyd – Head of Wellbeing & Learner Support Services & DSL team
  • Christian Phillips – I2A Coordinator & DSL team
  • Caryl Rowlands – I2A Wellbeing Support Officer & DSL team
 
If you have a Safeguarding concern out of office hours, emergency safeguarding contacts are as follows:
 
In a situation where there may be threat to life:
·         Ring for an ambulance and/or contact the police on 999
 
In a situation where you have concerns:
·         Ring 101 if you require police assistance in a non-emergency situation
·         If you think one of the college’s young people or an adult at risk (vulnerable adult) is being abused or mistreated or you have concerns about the wellbeing of a young person or vulnerable adult, you should call and speak to someone. Contact details:
 
Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (MTCBC) Children & Adult Services
01685 725000
Open: 8.30am – 5.00pm (Monday to Thursday), 8.30am – 4.30pm (Friday)
Cwm Taf Morgannwg out of hours emergency duty team
(covering Merthyr Tydfil, RCT & Bridgend)
01443 743665
(5.00pm – 8.30am Monday to Thursday, 4.30pm – 8.30am Friday to Monday)
NSPCC website
 
NSPCC Helpline
Young people (under 18)
0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Other Cwm Taf Morgannwg Safeguarding numbers are:
 
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf (Children)- 01443 425006
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf (Adults) - 01443 425003
  • Bridgend (Children) - 01656 642320
  • Bridgend (Adults) - 01656 642477
 
We also have a number of learners from Brecon:
 
  • Powys (Front Door Children’s Services) - 01597 827666

 

lease note: All local authorities will have Children and Adult Services, if the young person lives in a neighbouring county borough, the local authority’s website will give you the office hours and emergency contact numbers.
 
Prevent - as part of our safeguarding duties:
 
South Wales Police and WECTU are informing that Prevent referrals have decreased since the lockdown. Despite this, the risk of radicalisation has increased for a small number of vulnerable people, as the pandemic means young people are spending more time online. This could exacerbate grievances which make people more vulnerable to radicalisation - such as financial problems or social isolation.
 
Radicalisers will always look for opportunities in support of their ideology, and Covid-19 is no exception. The global pandemic will likely create an environment where a small number of vulnerable people are more likely to be drawn towards radicalised activity.
 
Should you identify anyone who may be vulnerable to radicalisation or displaying signs of extremism then please do not hesitate to contact the college’s Safeguarding team, via My Concern or safeguarding@merthyr.ac.uk, who will make the appropriate referrals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qualifications Update for staff as at Monday 27th April 2020

The attached document provides an overview of key advice and guidance on the awarding of qualifications for Summer 2020 and the level of engagement you should be maintaining with your learners. Please note that this advice is changing on a frequent basis and we will endeavour to keep you updated as further advice and guidance is developed and published. Please also note that we are still awaiting information on some qualifications, particularly one year practically based vocational qualifications e.g. Hair and Beauty, Construction.  We will update this guidance to reflect any information on these qualifications as and when any new information is released.  In the meantime, please can all Heads of Division check awarding body websites for regular updates, particularly where there may be practical assessments that have not been completed.

We will also be issuing advice and guidance to all learners and parents (as per the learner advice and guidance column in the attached document) so that they know what to expect over the coming weeks and months

 

 

Qualification / programme

Advice for learners

Advice for staff

Date updated

AS

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of the AS syllabus as well as start dipping into the A2 syllabus. There will be a calculated result for your AS based on a range of evidence such as previous GCSE attainment, course work, mock exams etc.

 

Any work you complete now will not inform your final grade for your AS, but will prepare you for your A2 or further study.

 

You will have the opportunity to sit your AS in Summer 2021 if you wish to.

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development.

 

From late May you can begin introducing some A2 concepts and work.

22.4.20

A2

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of the A2 syllabus as well as starting to focus on study skills and work that will be of help to you for future study. There will be a calculated result for your A2 based on a range of evidence such as previous GCSE / AS attainment, course work, mock exams etc.

Any work you complete now will not inform your final grade for your A2, but will prepare you for future study.

 

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development in anticipation of future study.

 

Some learners might not engage, but we have a duty of care to support them until the end of the academic year. Some learners are very keen to continue developing and engaging with learning.

 

If the A2 content has been covered and revision materials have been provided then you can begin to introduce some more generic study skills work that will contribute to the learner’s preparation for Level 4 learning.

22.4.20

GCSE Maths or English

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of the GCSE syllabus. There will be a calculated result for your GCSE based on a range of evidence such as your previous GCSE result, course work, mock exams etc.

 

Any work you complete now will not inform your final grade for your GCSE, but will prepare you for future study.

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development.

 

22.4.20

Essential Skills

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of the ESW syllabus, as well as setting work to support your result for this qualification. There will be a calculated result for your Essential Skill based on a range of evidence such as  course work, tests etc.

 

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development and to provide evidence to support qualification claim.

 

The controlled task evidence will be particularly useful here even if the work has been completed at home and not under controlled conditions.

 

22.4.20

Access

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of the Access syllabus as well as starting to focus on study skills and work that will be of help to you for future study. There will be a calculated result for your Access Diploma based on a range of evidence such as course work, assignments  etc.

 

Any work you complete now will not inform your final grade for your Access course, but will prepare you for future study.

 

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development in anticipation of future study.

 

Some learners might not engage, but we have a duty of care to support them until the end of the academic year. Some learners are very keen to continue developing and engaging with learning.

22.4.20

Year 1 of general vocational qualifications, e.g.:

 

Pearson (BTEC) Year 1

UAL Year 1

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of your course in preparation for you moving onto Year 2 in September.

 

Each vocational pathway is being reviewed separately by the relevant Awarding Body. We will contact you individually when we have further detail.

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development.

 

All work should be marked, IV’d /moderated as per Awarding Body guidelines.

 

Once all of the content has been covered you can begin to provide some research tasks and preparatory material from Year 2 units.

 

Staff should check awarding body websites for regular updates, particularly where there may be practical assessments that have not been completed eg. Sport, Public Services, Computing, Performing Arts etc

 

25.4.20

Year 2 of general vocational qualifications , e.g.:

 

Pearson (BTEC )Year 2

UAL Year 2

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of your course as well as starting to focus on study skills and work that will be of help to you for future study.

 

Each vocational pathway is being reviewed separately by the relevant Awarding Body. We will contact you individually when we have further detail.

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development in anticipation of future study.

 

Some learners might not engage, but we have a duty of care to support them until the end of the academic year. Some learners are very keen to continue developing and engaging with learning.

 

Staff should check awarding body websites for regular updates, particularly where there may be practical assessments that have not been completed e.g. Sport, Public Services, Computing, Performing Arts etc

 

25.4.20

Welsh Baccalaureate Year 1

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of your course in preparation for you moving onto Year 2 in September.

 

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development.

 

The majority of colleges are starting their learners off on the individual project. We would ask you to do the same to reduce workload next year.

 

22.4.20

Welsh Baccalaureate Year 2

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of the WBQ syllabus as well as starting to focus on study skills and work that will be of help to you for future study. There will be a calculated result for your WBQ based on a range of evidence such as previous challenge results.

 

Any work you complete now will not inform your final grade for your WBQ, but will prepare you for future study.

 

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development in anticipation of future study.

 

Some learners might not engage, but we have a duty of care to support them until the end of the academic year. Some learners are very keen to continue developing and engaging with learning.

22.4.20

1 year practical based qualifications.

 

These include many of the following:

 

IMI (Motor Vehicle)

VCTC (Hair and Beauty)

City and Guilds (Care, Childcare, Construction)

AAT

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of your course in preparation for you either progressing onto further study or into employment.

 

 

We are currently waiting for clarification as to how any outstanding assessments will be conducted.

 

We will contact you individually when we have full details.

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development.

 

Keep your learners engaged and ready to complete outstanding assessments as soon as we are able.

 

Once we have further clarification from your Awarding Body we will contact you with future arrangements however staff should check awarding body websites for regular updates, particularly with regard to practical assessments that have not been completed.

22.4.20

Higher Education courses

 

Year 1 of a 2 year programme.

Year 2 of a 3 year programme.

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of your course in preparation for you moving onto Year 2 or 3 in September.

 

 

Where possible, we are trying to keep learning and assessment as close to normal as possible but there may be minor deadline changes or alternative assessments as needed.  

 

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development as per course guidelines.

 

All work should be marked, IV’d /moderated as per university guidelines.

22.4.20

Higher Education courses.

 

Final year

Please continue to work with your tutors. They will be working with you remotely to cover the remaining content of your course.

 

Where possible, we are trying to keep learning and assessment as close to normal as possible but there may be minor deadline changes or alternative assessments as needed.  

 

Please continue to teach the remaining syllabus for your subject.

Set and mark work – provide feedback and feedforward to support knowledge and skill development as per course guidelines.

 

All work should be marked, IV’d /moderated as per university guidelines.

22.4.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current position in awarding A level grades, vocational and GCSE qualifications, Summer 2020 - Update as at Monday 30th March 2020

As many of you may have seen over the weekend, Qualifications Wales have now published further guidance regarding the grade prediction for learners due to sit their exams and complete their courses this summer. I thought it would be helpful to provide you with an overview of the key highlights and important messages arising from this guidance as detailed below.

Our key aim is to ensure that all of our learners are treated fairly and have every opportunity to continue to complete and submit work over the next few weeks, whilst also being provided with accurate and consistent messages about the awarding of their final grades. With this in mind, if you receive any direct communication from individual awarding bodies, please can you let your Directorate Line-Manager and our Vice-Principal Academic know immediately prior to issuing any guidance directly to your learners. This will ensure that all learners are being given consistent messages in line with the following:

A2 learners (second year A level learners)

A2 outcomes will be based on grade predictions. These grades will be informed using a range of evidence. The date for submission of these predictions has not yet been set. This means that tutors need to continue to work with your learners to set new work, assignments and assessments that will help and enable them to improve their grade profile.

We will let you know as soon as the WJEC announces the deadline for grade predictions and the arrangements for submitting these.

AS learners (first year A level learners)

AS learners will still receive an AS grade, however it will be calculated using a range of evidence, including teacher assessed grades, and will not contribute to A level results in 2021. Again, please can all tutors continuing to work with your learners to set work and assessments as per their AS programme, ensuring that they have every opportunity to achieve the highest predicted grades as possible. 

Next year, AS learners will have two options for their A levels, they can choose to:

    • Either only sit their A2 units with the overall A level grade based on their performance in these A2 units
    • Sit both the AS and A2 units – they will be awarded the best grade from either route

We will work with you and your learners together with their parents/carers to discuss and determine which of the above options will be the best for them.

We are still awaiting further advice and guidance from the WJEC regarding the predicted grade profiles for learners who are completing AS/A2 in one year and we will come back to you as soon as we receive an update on this.

 

 

Vocational learners

 

If you are delivering a vocational qualification without exams, e.g. BTEC Public Services, please continue to work with your learners until all assignments have been completed as would be usual. Again, please work with your learners to ensure that they have every opportunity to submit work and achieve the highest outcomes they can. Please note that your internal verification needs to be as robust as possible, ensuring that you have sufficient evidence to underpin your predicted grade outcomes for each learner.

We are still awaiting further clarification and details around elements like the threshold to top up from a 90 credit to an Extended Dip – and whether that might be softened. We will update you as soon as we receive anything on this. Likewise, we are also waiting further information in relation to how Qualifications Wales is proposing to bring together/ ensure parity between different Award boards setting different predicted grade outcomes criteria e.g. Pearson Art and Design and UAL Art and Design.

 

Vocational qualifications with practical assessments

 

For those vocational qualifications with a compulsory practical assessment, to date, only CACHE have made a statement on how they propose to take forward assessment in placement.

We are still awaiting guidance regarding other qualifications e.g. Engineering, Construction, Hair and Beauty etc. At the moment, options being discussed, include:  

For progressing learners – accrediting what has been achieved and mop up outstanding practical assessment next year

For non-progressing learners – if practical, working with learners individually later in the academic year to assess them.

Both of these options raise could potentially cause some problems for colleges and we have worked together with other colleges in Wales to put in a collective request to Welsh Government for greater clarity.

In the meantime, where tasks are able to be completed at home, please can tutors continue to work with your learners to complete these over the next few weeks e,g, Hair and Beauty, learners are being encouraged to upload videos and pictures and samples of their practical work for tutors to mark. 

 

GCSE re-sit learners

The outcomes for GCSE English or maths learners will be based on grade predictions. Please can tutors continue to work with your learners to set new work, assignments and assessments that will help and enable them to achieve the best grade profile they can.

We will let you know as soon as the WJEC announces the deadline for grade predictions and the arrangements for submitting these.

Other qualifications and skills

We are still waiting confirmation on the approach being taken for Essential Skills and other qualifications and we will update you as soon as we can on this.

 

Moving Forwards

 

The key message arising from the above update is that it is vitally important that tutors continue to set work, encourage your learners to engage with their studies, complete assignments and work hard to achieve the best outcomes they can. There is still time to work with your learners to help them get the best predicted grades they can.

 

However, we also need to be mindful that we are not placing too much pressure on learners, who may be feeling a little bit overwhelmed and anxious with everything that is going on at the moment. This particularly applies to A level learners who may be receiving requests from multiple tutors with the deadlines all at the same time. Please can tutors therefore ensure that learners are not being given too many deadlines all at once and that work is spaced out as evenly as possible to help support learners’ workloads. Where you do have learners who may be struggling to cope or require any additional support at this time, please can you refer them to our dedicated learner support and well-being team who are working remotely to support learners in the best way they can.

 

Our ultimate aim is for all learners to achieve the best they can and I would like to thank you all so much for all of your hard work and efforts to date to continue teaching and supporting your learners remotely. I’m confident that by continuing to work together we can support them to engage in their remote studies as best as they can over the next few weeks and help them gain the best grade they can.

In the meantime, we will continue to keep you updated as and when we receive any news or further information from Qualifications Wales via email, via our social media channels and through our dedicated Website page at:

https://www.merthyr.ac.uk/content/coronavirus-covid-19-update

 

 

 

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