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:


Why are you not offering more Live sessions? (Added 8/1/2021)

The remote learning provision currently in place for the first two weeks of term was designed only as a short term measure pending students’ staggered return to school as per government guidance before Christmas.  With the change to a full national lockdown announced on Monday, we are reviewing and looking to improve our remote learning provision and are grateful for any feedback that you can give us about your child’s experiences of the live MS Teams tutorials by completing the following survey: MSLive Tutorials Parent Feedback. We are mindful that for many families, live sessions are not accessible. This may be due to lack of space or several family members sharing a device. We are working hard to support these families and will continue to keep you updated of changes and improvements to our remote learning provision.

What happens if my child has issues with their SMHW, MS Teams or RM Portico log-in? (Updated 8/1/2021)

If a student has an issue accessing any of the platforms we are using to deliver remote learning, please contact staff as follows:

TopicInformationWho to Contact
MS TeamsUse to access live tutor sessionsMr Hughes

Satchel One (formerly Show My Homework)Use to access lesson resources and to upload workMr Crossley

RM PorticoUse to access resources saved by the student on their own school workspace (link from website)IT Technicians

Once logged in, the Satchel One website also provides a helpdesk and online chat support for parents and students:

What if my child has limited access to technology and/or is struggling to work on a mobile phone? (Updated 8/1/2021)

We are aware that not all students have access to the technology and equipment which they may need to easily access the remote learning resources being set. In this situation, we would recommend contacting the child’s Head of Year who will investigate the best way to support your child in accessing their learning. Please also be aware that an X-box or Playstation can be used to access a web browser, which may allow some access to remote learning resources. We are also currently investigating potential support with access to increased data limits, 4G routers and laptop/tablet devices.

Why am I having difficulty with hearing the audio on powerpoints? (Added 8/1/2021)

If you are not able to hear the audio on the powerpoint within the Satchel One browser, download the powerpoint onto your device and listen to it directly through the downloaded document, instead of through Satchel One. This should help.

What is Satchel One? (Updated 8/01/2021)

Satchel One is an online learning platform which allows students to access learning resources and tasks remotely. Students who wish to access Satchel One on a smartphone or tablet will need to download the Satchel One app which will allow access to the online learning resources.

What does my child need to do to upload their work onto Satchel One? (Updated 8/1/2021)

Students can complete tasks directly on Satchel One using the word processing tool or upload work from their saved documents, Dropbox or Google Drive. The following guide also includes instructions about how work can be uploaded through the mobile app.

If a resource is in PDF format, it might be the case that you do not have the software to enable editing of the document, in which case, please encourage your child to complete the work in a Word document or to take a photograph of a handwritten response, which can then be uploaded as outlined above.

How can I ensure my child is safe online? (Updated 30/4/2020)

The government have released an update for parents with advice on keeping their children safe online.

There is a lot of support available to keep your child safe online. Below are some useful links to help parents and carers:

  • Thinkyouknow (advice from the National Crime Agency to stay safe online)
  • Internet matters (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Parent info (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • LGfL (support for parents and carers to keep their children safe online)
  • Net-aware (support for parents and carers from the NSPCC)

Additionally, there is some guidance here for parents about ensuring that children are safe using video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Houseparty etc. for social networking.

Will Covid tests be available to students in school? (Added 8/1/2021)

We will be rolling out Covid testing to VKW students and staff who are on college site. Please familiarise yourself with the details sent to parents about testing and complete the consent form here: Lateral Flow Parental Consent Form.

There are also some government FAQs for parents which was published before Christmas which may contain some useful information.

Is it too late to book a VKW place? (Added 8/1/2021)

If you are a keyworker or your child is classed as vulnerable, please contact reception to enquire about a place for your child. Please be aware that there has been a significant increase in demand for places and we are currently running at full capacity to staff VKW provision alongside providing remote learning.

Is my child ‘vulnerable’ if they do not have access to technology at home? (Added 8/1/2021)

You may be aware through reports in the press that the criteria for vulnerable children is changing to include those who do not have access to technology at home. We have only been provided with a small number of laptops from the government, and we are doing our best currently to investigate other possibilities, including engaging with local organisations and charities, for gaining access to devices for students. The demand for VKW places has risen dramatically and we are already struggling to meet staffing needs for this provision, alongside the demands of remote learning, Covid testing, and maintaining safety precautions to reduce the risk of spreading a new and more infectious variant of the virus. At this time, we would ask you to contact your child’s Head of Year if access to technology poses a problem and we will do our best to provide support.

Will students be expected/allowed to wear facemasks in school? (Updated 8/1/2021)

As a result of increased risk of transmission due to the new variant of Covid-19, we are now asking all students to wear face coverings in classrooms, as well as in corridors and communal spaces, such as canteens. Unless a student has a relevant exemption, this will be the expectation for the time being. Whilst this is not a decision we have taken lightly, after much thought, we now feel is the best course of action to keep students, staff and all our families as safe as possible.

A face-covering can include a face-mask, scarf or buff. Students who meet the exemption criteria should carry an exemption card or lanyard which can be obtained from their Head of Year. Reusable face coverings can be purchased from the college shop for £1.10.

Please see additional government guidance here: safe wearing of face-coverings

Will transport be affected? (Updated 8/1/2021)

In most cases, students will be able to follow their normal transport arrangements, although we would advise avoiding car-sharing and public transport if possible. Where this is not possible, government advice should be followed: Safer travel guidance for passengers. Please be aware that buses/taxis which are not required, due to no students needing to use them, will be cancelled.

Students should avoid mixing with students outside of their year group bubble whilst travelling to school, unless from the same household. Students will be expected to wear face masks when using school buses, taxis and public transport. If travelling by bus, students should wait and be seated with students from the same year group or household. This will be in year group order with youngest at the front and oldest at the back.

We are also launching a ‘Ride and Stride’ scheme to encourage students to be dropped off away from the school site and to walk to school which is not only healthier and better for the environment but also encourages social distancing.

Further guidance from Cornwall Council regarding school transport can also be found here:

How will social distancing work? (Updated 8/1/2021)

Students will continue to be expected to maintain social distancing wherever this is possible. Students will be roomed in year group or key stage bubbles as appropriate. Within classrooms, students will be seated with a spare desk between each student. A range of other measures will be in place to reduce the risk of transmission in these situations. This includes:

  • Limited group sizes
  • Sanitiser units, tissues, bins, cleaning spray and paper towels in all classrooms
  • Face coverings in classrooms, corridors and indoor communal spaces
  • No sharing of books and equipment
  • Same PC/table/equipment each day (use name stickers/named boxes)
  • Open doors and windows to increase ventilation
  • Additional cleaning of shared surfaces during the day

How do students pay for their food at the canteen? (Added 7/9/2020)

Students can give their name, or use their PIN number at the till in the canteen to pay for food, rather than using the biometric thumbprint system at this time. They are able to use their PIN to top-up their accounts using cash at the top-up machines located in each canteen. Students will sanitise their hands before and after buying food from the canteen.

Where can I access all of the key documents and information for parents/carers? (Updated 8/1/2021)

There is a dedicated page on the college website where all the key information and updates for parents/carers can be found in one place. This can be accessed by following the link on the college homepage or here:  Here you will find advice and guidance to support every aspect of learning and wellbeing during this time. Additionally, these FAQs are being updated regularly and provide a summary of essential information as it becomes available.

Please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website for any enquiries.

Can I still book for free school meals? (Added 8/1/2021)

If you missed the deadline for booking FSM food boxes, please complete the form here: FSM Parent Ordering Request. ​Please also contact reception to ensure that we are aware that you have submitted this request.

We are also awaiting further details from the DfE regarding FSM provision- we will be in touch with qualifying families once details are confirmed.

Where can I find a list of contacts related to any issues? (Added 8/1/2021)

Please see the table below for a breakdown of who to contact for specific concerns. For all other enquiries, please use the ‘Contact us’ form.

TopicInformationWho to Contact
FSM/VKWFor queries related to free school meals or VKW placesReception
Pastoral or safeguarding concernsStudents and or parents/carers can use this email address to seek support for studentsStudent Support

MS TeamsFor issues accessing or using MS Teams for live tutor sessionsMr Hughes

Satchel One (formerly Show My Homework)For issues accessing or using Satchel One for remote learningMr Crossley

RM PorticoFor issues accessing documents saved by the student on their own school workspaceIT Technicians

 Where can I seek further support for myself and my family during this time? (Updated 8/1/2021)

There are a number of organisations, both locally and nationally, who may be able to offer support in a range of situations. This is not an exhaustive list, but you may find some of these contact details useful.

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours:

8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday
10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

For students, there is also the college student support email which is being monitored by pastoral staff daily:

Where can I find advice about supporting my child with their mental health? (Updated 16/4/2020)

We know that these are challenging and stressful times and it is important to take care of your family’s mental health and wellbeing. There are lots of things you can do and a good place to start is which offers advice to parents of children from 0-19 on a range of issues, such as anxiety, behaviour and finances. The government have also released guidance for supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing: