Parents/carers: Important information and frequently asked questions

As you can imagine, we are receiving a lot of questions from parents/carers at this time. We have done our best to compile some of the most frequent enquiries we have received from parents/carers as follows, as we may be unable to respond to your questions individually at this time. This will be updated daily for as long as we are able.

The government has also put together some information specifically for parents/carers which you may find helpful:

Contents

Questions will be grouped under the following headings:

  • For parents/carers of all students (last updated 23/03/2020)
  • For parents/carers whose children are still attending school (vulnerable children and children of key workers) (last updated 26/03/2020)
  • For parents/carers whose children are accessing home learning (last updated 26/03/2020)

For parents of all students

Can I claim back money paid for trips and activities which are no longer taking place? (Added 23/3/2020)

We are in the process of contacting our insurance company and trip providers to establish the best way to negotiate refunds. As you can imagine, these companies are experiencing a high number of enquiries currently and we will continue to work on your behalf to ensure financial reimbursement where possible. The government has also promised funds for schools to cover costs incurred, however full details of how this will work are still yet to be finalised. Please be aware that our finance office is currently inundated with queries. We appreciate that this is a worrying time financially for many families and thank you for your patience in knowing that trip leaders will contact you with further information as soon as we are able.

How will my child’s GCSE, BTEC or A-level grades be calculated? (Added 23/3/2020)

The government has released some guidance about how qualifications will be awarded following the announcement that all exams have been cancelled for this year. They are continuing to work with exam boards to finalise these arrangements but have assured schools that a fair system will be devised based on a range of evidence which could include prior attainment data, teacher assessment, coursework and mock exams. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-cancellation-of-gcses-as-and-a-levels-in-2020

If my child is in Year 11 or Year 13, do they need to continue completing work? (Added 23/3/2020)

Yes. Until full details of how grades will be awarded have been agreed, we feel it is best for students to continue with their study as usual, particularly where there is a non-exam assessment or coursework element which students are able to work on, or where students intend to continue their study in that subject in the future. This will be reviewed once further guidance has been released by the Department for Education and the exam awarding bodies. Dr Dixon will continue to keep parents/carers informed of developments related to this issue.

Will my child still get a place in the Sixth Form? (Added 23/3/2020)

Yes. Mr Crane (Head of Sixth Form) will be writing to parents/carers and assuring students that there will be an opportunity for all Year 11 students to access a place in the Sixth Form. We will be as flexible and supportive as possible in ensuring students are enrolled on the right courses for them, and students should not worry unnecessarily that their mock results will purely be used to inform this.

How do I know if my child is classified as a ‘vulnerable child’? (Added 21/03/2020)

Students classified as ‘vulnerable’ according to government guidance, include those students with an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan), those who have an allocated social worker, young carers, and those on child protection plans. If we believe that your child meets these criteria, we will already have contacted you about whether they will be continuing to attend school.

For parents whose children who are still attending school (vulnerable children and children of keyworkers)

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Unless parents’ work is critical to the Covid-19 response and there is no other childcare alternative, please ensure that your child is kept at home.

Can my child still attend school during the Easter holidays? (Added 26/3/2020)

Yes. If your child has been attending school due to parents working in key worker roles or due to their status as a vulnerable student, then we will contact you directly to arrange childcare places during the Easter holidays, as required. If your child can be kept at home and alternative arrangements can be made, we continue to urge you to do so.

What measures are being put in place to increase hygiene and encourage social distancing in school? (Added 23/3/2020)

Students continuing to attend school will:

  • Wash hands for 20 seconds at the start and end of each session and whenever necessary
  • Reduce contact with shared surfaces and surfaces will be cleaned between use (alcohol spray available in all rooms)
  • Use the same PC each day where necessary
  • Be reminded not to touch their faces
  • Be encouraged to keep a 2m distance where possible, including in classrooms and when queuing for food etc.
  • Report any student that they believe should not be in school

Furthermore, the thumbprint terminals in the canteen are switched off and students will simply give their name when purchasing food.

In line with government advice, we would strongly encourage all parents, where possible, to keep their children at home to reduce attendance at college to the essential only.

Does my child need to wear their school uniform? (Added 21/03/2020)

From Monday, we will not expect students to attend college in their school uniform. We would still ask however that students are dressed appropriately for school. Additionally, there will be enrichment activities and opportunities taking place where it would be sensible for students to bring PE kit and a set of old clothes/footwear to change into.

Will school buses and taxis still run? (Added 21/03/2020)

Yes. Until further notice, students who use school transport to travel to and from college will still be able to catch buses and taxis as normal.

Will the canteen still be open? (Added 21/03/2020)

Yes. A selection of hot and cold foods will still be available to purchase at break and lunchtime in Bell Canteen. If your child would usually receive a free school meal, this will continue as normal.

Will my child’s timetable be the same? (Added 21/03/2020)

Yes. As closely as possible, students attending college will complete learning for the same subjects which are usually timetabled for them on that day and so students should be prepared with the appropriate equipment/books for their usual subjects. However, the timings and locations of the lessons will differ from their current timetable and additional enrichment activities will also be built into the college day.

For parents whose children are accessing learning at home

Does my child need to complete everything set on SMHW? (Added 26/3/2020)

No. We would encourage students to access and complete as much as they are able, but we understand that this may not always be easy where students are sharing computer equipment at home, or where they would usually receive additional support with their learning. Teachers will continue to ensure that, during term-time, there are tasks set on SMHW in line with your child’s usual school timetable, so it may appear that there is a lot each day for your child to do. However, we know that there are many challenges that families will be experiencing at this time and we do not wish for students or parents to be overwhelmed by this. We know that you are doing your best and we trust that you will make appropriate judgements about how much remote learning is manageable, based on your own personal circumstances. We will do our best to support you where possible. As you can appreciate, this has been unfamiliar territory for everyone so we will continue to review advice and guidance as we move forward after Easter.

Can lesson resources be emailed to students instead of using SMHW? (Updated 26/3/2020)

No. SMHW offers staff and students a single platform for online learning where staff can:

  • upload resources
  • set quizzes/spelling tests
  • attach links to websites, video tutorials etc.
  • assess and provide feedback on student work

In return, students can:

  • download and edit documents
  • upload their work
  • ask questions and make comments which their teacher will see

Many staff teach hundreds of students each week and SMHW organises responses on a class by class basis, making this far more manageable than a busy email inbox, where student responses could be missed. Furthermore, please be aware that a number of teachers will be working from home during this period of time, with their own health considerations and childcare commitments, and that they will do their best to respond to students as regularly as possible.

Only where absolutely necessary, students can use email to contact teachers but this should be avoided if SMHW can be used instead. Where students do use email, they should use their school email account (not a personal account), and it would be helpful if they could include their full name to make it easier for teachers to identify who the email is from. A list of staff email addresses has been emailed out to students.

Can my child still access a free-school meal whilst school is closed? (Updated 24/3/2020)

Yes. Parents will now need to email Aspens directly to arrange for a free-school meal package to be collected. The email address is as follows: bodmin.college@aspens-services.com
In the event that a food voucher scheme becomes available, this information will be shared with parents at that time.

Will my child be set homework in addition to daily lesson tasks? (Added 24/3/2020)

No. Students will not be set separate homework tasks, however we would encourage students to revisit the work they have completed already to respond to teacher’s comments and to make improvements. Work submitted to staff will be marked and feedback provided once every two weeks. We would also recommend that students undertake any wider reading/research that will support their understanding of topics they are studying and/or read for pleasure for at least 15 minutes per day.

Will lessons continue to be set on SMHW during the Easter holidays? (Added 24/3/2020)

No. Remote learning via SMHW will only be set during term-time. However, a suggested list of enrichment activities will be sent to all parents to provide some ideas and suggestions for the holidays.

Can lesson resources be emailed to students instead of using SMHW? (Added 23/3/2020)

No. SMHW offers staff and students a single platform for online learning where staff can:

  • upload resources
  • set quizzes/spelling tests
  • attach links to websites, video tutorials etc.
  • assess and provide feedback on student work

In return, students can:

  • download and edit documents
  • upload their work
  • ask questions and make comments which their teacher will see

Many staff teach hundreds of students each week and SMHW organises responses on a class by class basis, making this far more manageable than a busy email inbox, where student responses could be missed. Furthermore, please be aware that a number of teachers will be working from home during this period of time, with their own health considerations and childcare commitments, and that they will do their best to respond to students as regularly as possible.

Only where absolutely necessary, students can use email to contact teachers but this should be avoided if SMHW can be used instead. Where students do use email, it would be helpful if they could include their full name to make it easier for teachers to identify who the email is from. A list of staff email addresses has been emailed out to students.

What does my child need to do to upload their work onto SMHW? (Added 23/3/2020)

Students have been emailed a link (see below) to a tutorial showing how tasks can be completed directly on SMHW using the word processing tool or uploaded from their saved documents, Dropbox or Google Drive. This also includes instructions about how work can be uploaded through the SMHW mobile app. https://help.teamsatchel.com/en/articles/2912000-submitting-my-work-online

Can my child collect their books and resources from school if they were absent when school was open? (Updated 23/2/2020)

We have received a number of requests via the ‘Contact us’ form on the website asking for books and resources to be collated for collection. We had previously asked parents to use this method to request this, but in light of continued government guidance regarding social distancing, we feel it is no longer appropriate for books/resources to be collected from school. The government have advised essential travel only. In exceptional circumstances only, we may be able to deliver books but this will be a limited service. Most students should be able to continue to access online learning without needing their exercise books or other paper resources.

Can my child still access a free-school meal whilst school is closed? (Added 21/03/2020)

Yes. Parents will be need to contact reception by 11am to request a free school meal. This can then be collected by parents between 2pm and 2.30pm. In the event that a food voucher scheme becomes available, this information will be shared with parents at that time.

What happens if my child has issues with their SMHW or RM Portico log-in? (Added 21/03/2020)

We have a computer support helpdesk available which students can email to contact our IT technicians who will do their best to resolve any problems with SMHW and RM Portico log-access. In this event, students should email:csdsupport@bodmincollege.co.uk There is also guidance on SHMW for all students regarding how to access RMPortico, college email and Microsoft applications such as Word, Powerpoint and Excel.

How will students contact their teachers? (Added 21/03/2020)

Students will be able to ask questions and share their work with their teachers either by uploading it onto SMHW or via email. It would be helpful if students could include their full name in their emails to make it easier for teachers to identify who the work is from. Teachers will then be able to respond with feedback and advice as required. A list of staff email addresses has also been emailed out to students. Please be aware that a number of teachers will also be working from home with their own health considerations and childcare commitments and that they will do their best to respond to students as regularly as possible.

Can my child collect their books and resources from school if they were absent when school was open? (Added 21/03/2020)

If your child has not been able to collect their books and resources before school closure, please inform reception using the ‘Contact us’ form on the college website and we will arrange for resources to be collated and either delivered or collected.