We have settled well into the first term of the 2021/22 academic year and we’re grateful to all students who took advantage of the onsite testing process we had in place for the first two weeks of term. All students and staff are asked to continue to use the home test kits available at all campus sites.
This year we are all expecting a much more normal College experience than last year. Changes to the Government rules on COVID mean that we are able to operate full classes throughout the week with no social distancing measures or the wearing of face coverings indoors.
Students will still be asked to wash or sanitise their hands on entry, give people as much space as they can and, if they are able, wear a mask where there are large groups of people gathered.
We know a lot more, now, about how COVID spreads and what we can do to stop it. As an airborne virus we now know that ventilation is important in limiting infection. Over the summer we have assessed the airflow through all our rooms and will be monitoring it throughout the year to ensure we are doing the best we can to keep students and our staff safe.
On 15 August the Government announced that all young people aged 16 to 17 in England are to be offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to give them the vital protection provided by the vaccine before returning to school.
Data from Public Health England (PHE) shows COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective against hospitalisation from the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, the dominant strain in the UK.
The vaccines have already saved around 84,600 lives and prevented 23.4 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations in England up to 6 August, according to the latest data from Public Health England and Cambridge University.
If you are able to have the vaccine but have not yet done so please do. You can find more information on the NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group website.
When students start at College we will ask them to take two supervised tests in the first two weeks of term, for school leavers this will be similar to tests they may have done at school in March.
The government has confirmed its plans for regular testing for those without coronavirus symptoms.
Up to one third of people who have coronavirus have no symptoms. Through testing and other protective measures we are taking we will help to reduce the spread in school and college settings unknowingly by people who have no symptoms. The college is strongly encouraging students to take part in our testing scheme.
The guidance we have received from the Department for Education is that in almost all cases students over the age of 16 can give their own consent to a test.
We are collecting and monitoring their consent through our Student Track software.
Testing is entirely voluntary and free.
Plan for testing
Our staff self-test at home, before coming into work, twice a week.
Students should also continue to self-test in the run up to the start of term.
We will be testing all students on their return to College. Students will be asked to take a supervised test twice in the first two weeks of term.
Students will then be given home test kits and asked to test at home twice a week until the end of September. The Department of Health have produced a short film to explain how to do this. The Government says it will tell us shortly if they want staff and students to continue to self-test after the end of September.
They will be expected to report the results of their home tests to NHS Test and Trace as soon as the test is completed either online or by telephone as per the instructions in the home test kit.
This is a legal requirement if a test kit is taken home.
It is important that tests assigned directly to you are not used by anyone else.
Tests are free of charge.
Questions about testing
Students taking the test at College will be supervised by trained staff and volunteers using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test. The lateral flow tests are quick and easy to undertake, using a swab of the nose and throat. Results usually take around half an hour from testing. A student taking a test will also receive a text/email notification of a positive or negative result from the online NHS system.
LFD tests have been widely and successfully used to detect COVID-19 in people without symptom. No test is perfect, but the speed and convenience of LFD tests supports detection of the virus in people without symptoms who would not otherwise be tested. They are clinically approved and are crucial in the fight against the virus.
As the tests are more sensitive with higher viral loads, there is a risk of returning a negative result when viral loads are low (for example, in the early stages of infection). This is why Public Health England recommends two LFD tests 3 to 5 days apart (or 3 to 4 days for home testing), to enhance detection by picking up any cases which were not detected during the first test and to catch any new infections.
If a student tests positive using an LFD, it is likely that they are infectious at that moment, whereas people testing positive on a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) or lab-processed test could be in the less infectious early or late stages of disease. This means that by using the lateral flow test we can identify people with a high viral load who are the most likely to spread the virus further.
A negative LFD result should not be read as a means to relax other virus prevention measures intended to reduce transmission – LFD is an additional tool that contributes to reducing risk
If you test positive on a lateral flow device, you will be informed immediately by Nottingham College and NHS Test and Trace and you will need to self-isolate in line with the current guidance. You will need to get a PCR test to confirm your result.
You can order a PCR test kit to be sent to their home or book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site. You should continue to self-isolate until you have received your PCR test result and then follow the advice you are given when you get that result.
If you test positive for Coronavirus you need to tell us as soon as you can. You can complete the positive test alert form.
The people who you live with are not required to self-isolate if any of the following apply:
- They’re fully vaccinated.
- They’re below the age of 18 years 6 months
- They’ve taken part in or are currently part of an approved COVID-19 vaccine trial
- They’re not able to get vaccinated for medical reasons
NHS Test and Trace will contact them to let them know they have been identified as a contact and check whether they are legally required to self-isolate. If they are not legally required to self-isolate, they will be provided with advice on testing and given guidance on preventing the spread of COVID-19.
While a small number of students may need to repeat the test if the first test was invalid or void for some reason, pupils who test negative will be able to stay in College and resume their activities as normal. Students will be informed of negative test results via text/email. Where participants are under 16, parents or legal guardians will also be informed.
What if staff or students have been in close contact with someone at Nottingham College who tests positive?
The staff member or student will be notified that they are a close contact by NHS Test and Trace and should self-isolate in line with the current guidance. See the "What if I test positive?" information above.
This testing programme at Nottingham College is for people with no symptoms. If a student develops symptoms at any time (including a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; or a loss or change to their sense of smell or taste) they must immediately self-isolate, and book a PCR test by calling 119 or visiting the GOV.UK website.
We will support our staff and pupils throughout, but please contact us if you have any questions. You can contact the office by calling 0115 9 100 100.
From Monday 17 May, face coverings are no longer recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas. Face coverings are also no longer recommended for staff in classrooms.
However, we are asking staff students and visitors to use “common sense” and wear face coverings, If they are able, in crowded spaces.
The Government recognises that Colleges can include vocational and workplace training environments. FE providers can recommend the use of face coverings by students and staff in particular circumstances. For example, where teaching settings are more reflective of a workplace environment such as, a training kitchen.
Commercial training environments, such as hairdressing, barbering and beauty salons, sports and fitness facilities or restaurants, must comply with relevant sector guidance in working safely during COVID-19 and any current restrictions.
The Government’s plans for the awarding of grades this year have been updated since it announced that schools and colleges would re-open on the 8th March.
GCSEs, AS and A Levels will not be graded through final end of year exams this summer, due to the ongoing impact the Covid pandemic has had on exam preparation this year.
Instead grades will be determined by teachers. You can read more about Teacher Assessed Grades here.
Ofqual have produced a Student Guide to Awarding in Summer 2021 which you can download here.
Results days have now been confirmed as:
- A Levels and AS Levels: Tuesday 10th August
- GCSEs: Thursday 12th August
You can read guidance for students, parents and guardians for GCSEs and AS/A Levels in England issued by the Joint Council for Qualifications here
Students requiring IT equipment will need to talk to their tutor. If we can provide you with equipment we will arrange for this to get to you.
We recognise that for some families, the ongoing Covid pandemic has been especially difficult. Financial support is available for students in families with an household income of less than £25,000 a year.
You could be entitled to a travel pass, support to buy any equipment you need to do your course, or we might be able to loan you a laptop or help with internet access by issuing you with a 4G router. Whilst you are in college to attend classes you could also get a meal in the college refectory.
If you are 19yrs and over of age and are living with a parent(s) and you have a part time job, we take only your earnings into account.
For our adult learners we can help with childcare too. If you are working you still may qualify. The income threshold is £25,000 but if you have children we allow you £1000 per child.
It is not too late to apply for this additional financial support - we can backdate payments.
Submit an application online via your learner portal, upload the required evidence and we will be in touch soon about your entitlement.
If you need help just call us on 9100 100 and one of our advisors can talk you through your application.
The College is notified about cases affecting our staff or student population. If a staff member or student begins to feel unwell or receives a positive test, that staff member is immediately isolated and arrangements made to return them safely home.
From 16 August 2021 students under the age of 18 will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are contacted by NHS Test and Trace as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.
Instead students will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace, informed they have been in close contact with a positive case and given age appropriate testing advice, which is likely to mean taking a PCR test.
Students do not have to self-isolate unless they test positive.
For the latest advice about what to do if you feel symptoms or someone close to you becomes ill, please visit the Covid information on the Government’s website
Remote Learning at Nottingham College 2021
You can find information on remote learning in the event of a student testing positive or the College being advised to restrict access to campuses following the link below.
The summer 2021 exam series could not take place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many students as possible will now receive qualifications based on Teacher Assessed Grades, which are based on the content they have been taught.