We are in unprecedented times and realise that you will have lots of questions. We don’t have all the answers but below is some information that you may find useful. We will keep this page updated as and when we receive new information.
College COVID-19 FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions & COVID-19 Updates
Covid-19 Advice for Staff and Students
Covid-19 Advice for Staff and Learners
Please do not attend College if you are symptomatic. You must self-isolate for 10 days from when your symptoms start. You must not return to College until your self-isolation period has ended.
Learners/staff and their households (and extended households) are advised to follow this advice by Hywel Dda University Health Board:
If a household member develops symptoms of COVID-19, the entire household should immediately self-isolate, and book a test for the individual with the symptoms. It is unnecessary to test the entire household if they are not symptomatic. The COVID-19 symptoms are:
- a new continuous cough
- a high temperature
- loss of or change to sense of smell or taste
Booking a COVID-19 test:
To reiterate, Hywel Dda recommends testing only for those with a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or loss of or change in the sense of taste or smell. If a COVID-19 test is required, this should be arranged via the UK Booking Portal or by ringing 119. Testing is available within Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion or via a home testing kit delivered to and collected from your home. The COVID-19 test is undertaken via a throat swab or combined throat and nose swab.
Hywel Dda is aware that some people are experiencing difficulty in accessing testing via these routes. If you have a problem, you can contact the Health Board on 0300 303 8322 and they will arrange testing for you.
It is essential that people who have COVID-19 symptoms, or who share a household with someone who has symptoms, must self-isolate, even if your symptoms are mild. To protect others, you must not attend school, college, nursery, other childcare settings, work, or go to or to places like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Anyone with symptoms must self-isolate for 10 days from when their symptoms started. They must not return to school, college or work after 10 days if they are well enough to do so.
Anyone in the household who does not have symptoms must self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in the home started having symptoms.
If you receive a positive test result, you will be contacted by the Test, Trace, Protect Team who will advise you further.
If the test is negative, self-isolation can end for everyone, children may return to school, students can return to College and parents can return to work if they are well enough to do so and as long as nobody else in the household has developed symptoms.
If a person has been in contact with an individual experiencing symptoms, they should carry on as normal until that individual receives their test result. If this is positive, the Test, Trace, Protect Team will contact those people identified as contacts and advise accordingly.
Exam & Assessment Questions
What’s happening with centre reviews and appeals in summer 2021
Update 08 June
Centre review process for WJEC A levels and WBQ learners: Centre Review WJEC A levels and WBQ learners
What’s happening with GCSE and AS/A-level assessment arrangements?
Update 27 May
Qualifications Wales have produced a guide for learners: Summer 2021 qualifications – all you need to know
Here’s a link to the College’s policy which outlines its approach to awarding grades in summer 2021. Pembrokeshire College Approach to Quality Assuring WJEC Centre Determined Grades
Update 16 April
WJEC Student Guide to awarding arrangements for summer 2021:
Update 16 April
Letter to learners from Qualifications Wales:
Update 31 March
Slides from A-level Learner & Parent Briefing on 25 March 2021
Update 4th March
Qualifications Wales have given more information about assessments in summer 2021 in their letter to learners (Welsh) which includes useful pictures to show more detail about the appeals process and the expected timeline for the summer assessment process.
Update 17 February
What is the difference between a Centre Assessed Grade (CAG) used in 19/20 and a Centre Determined Grade (CDG) used in 20/21?
Centre Assessed Grades (CAGs) were allocated in the 19/20 academic year based on evidence of work students had already completed at the point of the March 2020 lockdown. It was a grade prediction on what students were likely to achieve had they had the opportunity to sit the summer examinations as normal.
A Centre Determined Grade (CDG) will be based on the assessment of the standards students are performing throughout the course of study, determined internally by the centre while following WJEC guidelines and internal standardisation procedures.
How will my Centre Determined Grade (CDG) be decided?
A Centre Determined Grade (CDG) will be based on the assessment of the standards students are performing throughout the course of study, determined internally by the centre while following WJEC guidelines and internal standardisation procedures. Your lecturers will use the guidance to determine your overall grade by considering your performance in a few assessments.
Who will award my grade?
Centres will determine the grades and will let WJEC know. WJEC will issue the certificates which will show grades as in other years.
Will my teacher make the final decision about my Centre Determined Grade?
Your lecturers will use the guidance to determine your overall grade by considering your performance in a few assessments. All formal assessments will be given a standard set of criteria against which the work will be marked. Lecturers will standardise marking to ensure it is fair and consistent in line with agreed processes. The final grade is a Centre Determined Grade not a Teacher Determined Grade.
What standardisation process will be applied this year to ensure that a consistent approach is being applied by the centre?
Lecturers will standardise marking to ensure it is fair and consistent in line with agreed processes. The final grade is a Centre Determined Grade not a Teacher Determined Grade.
WJEC will help centres with this process and will provide training.
Will the whole syllabus be delivered and assessed?
Centres will be able to choose the pieces of work that they use to inform their judgement. You will not be assessed on a topic that you have not had the opportunity to learn. Centres will share this information with you and the approach they will be taking to come to their final judgements about the grades you will receive.
What formal assessments will I need to complete?
Your lecturers will use the guidance to determine your overall grade by considering your performance in a few assessments. More detail will follow on assessment plans.
Will the formal assessments be like formal exams that have taken place before?
The formal assessments will not be like a formal exam taken at the same time throughout the country in silence under time constraints. Formal assessment will however be taken within a specific time period and will assess specific and identified learning outcomes identified by the Centre and to which you will be informed of prior to them being taken.
Will my attendance be part of the decision-making process for a CDG?
If you are not attending you are missing important content and explanations, and this will impact your ability to complete any assessment either formal or informal.
Will my extenuating circumstances be taken into consideration in deciding my CDG?
We are awaiting more information on this from WJEC but if you have any extenuating circumstances you must inform your Course tutor/Learner Coach so that they have this on record. If you have specific medical issues, then evidence will need to be supplied.
Will my ALN be taken into consideration in deciding my CDG?
Your ALN will be taken into consideration and all the normal systems will apply as is the case now. If you have not been assessed for ALN it is your responsibility to ask to be assessed by contacting the learning support team. Your tutor may also refer you for assessment if they think you need this.
How will Study Skills Advisors and Learning Support Assistants be used to help me this academic year (GCSEs)?
If you are having any difficulties with your learning, SSAs and LSAs are available to help you. However, they cannot specifically help you to do your homework if this homework is evidence for the CDG. They can provide you with examples and guide you but you must complete the homework yourself. If you are entitled to LSA support this will continue and LSAs will be given specific guidelines as to how they can support you.
What happens if I think my grade is wrong?
Centres will have processes in place to allow students to ask for a review of your grade if you think it if wrong and/or correct any factual errors. WJEC will be required to have a process which will allow for an appeal of a grade on the grounds of a procedural error.
On Tuesday 9 February 2021 Qualifications Wales have given an update on what is expected in relation to the arrangements for centre determined grades in summer 2021. Qualifications Wales have written a letter to learners about the process.
On Wednesday 20 January 2021 the Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, announced that “Learners in Wales studying for Qualifications Wales approved GCSE, AS and A levels this year will receive grades determined by their school or college, based on work they have completed over their course.”
We’ve pulled together the key information:
- Access the statement from Kirsty Williams Written Statement: Update on General Qualifications in 2021 (20 January 2021) | GOV.WALES and BBC news article here
- The WJEC statement can be see here
- The Qualifications Wales response can be found here Qualifications Wales / Qualifications Wales confirms centre determined grades for summer 2021
- More information from Qualifications wales is found here and a letter to learners here
- Qualifications Wales / Frequently Asked Questions
We are sure that you will have many questions around this announcement so please be assured that we are working to obtain the answers and will share them with you as soon as possible.
On Friday 8th January 2021 the First Minister has announced an extended lockdown period and due to this the internal assessments that were due to take place between 22nd February and 23rd April have been cancelled.
- The latest announcement from Qualifications Wales regarding the cancelled internal assessments can be seen here.
- The WJEC response can be seen here
- Further information about the extended lockdown period can be found here
- Qualifications Wales / FAQs
We await more detailed information about revised arrangements and will keep you up to date.
What’s happening with vocational assessment arrangements?
Update 27 May 2021
Qualifications Wales have produced a guide for learners: Summer 2021 qualifications – all you need to know which includes vocational arrangements from page 12.
Here is a letter to learners on level 3 BTEC programmes. Awarding your BTEC Level 3 qualification(s) in 2021 (pearson.com)
Update 14 March 2021
Pearson have outlined their overarching approach for awarding BTEC qualifications this summer. Learners due to finish their qualification in summer 2021 will be in scope for alternative arrangements, which they are referring to as a ‘qualification level teacher assessed grade (QTAG’). Arrangements for learners who are ‘mid-flight’, i.e. due to certificate next summer, will differ. We are currently awaiting further detail from Pearson about how we implement this, and we expect this to come through at the end of March. The message from Pearson is for schools and colleges continue to deliver internal assessment in order to produce evidence of achievement. You can access further information here Teaching and learning support in 2020 | Pearson qualifications
The University of the Arts London (UAL) have outlined their overarching approach for awarding their qualifications this summer. Learners due to finish their qualification in summer 2021 will be in scope for alternative arrangements, namely a teacher assessed grade (TAG). The message from UAL is to continue to produce evidence and final major projects. You can access further information here Results 2021 – update from Ofqual and Department for Education | UAL (arts.ac.uk)
Qualifications Wales have written a letter to learners to give information about vocational assessments in summer 2021. We are awaiting further information from awarding bodies and will continue to keep you updated when we receive more information.
External assessments for BTec will be replaced with alternative arrangements and we will keep you updated. If you are studying a BTEC access learner updates here FE college students and parents | Pearson UK
If you are studying health and social care your faculty team will be in touch about any adaptations to arrangements that affect your programme.
What IT kit will I need for home study?
To be able to study effectively online you will need access to IT resources such as a good laptop and internet access. Below is an outline of the type of laptop you will need (specialist resources such as Macs and software such as CAD and computer programming will be accessed when you are in College). We know that not everyone has access to their own laptop or reliable internet, so please make contact with us as soon as possible if this will be a problem so we can work together on finding a solution.
Once you are enrolled and have an active IT account you will be able to install the Microsoft Office suite for free, on suitable devices.
With social distancing likely to be in place for some time, the ability to be able to access learning resources from home is really important.
What if I need financial support for online access?
If you need financial support for online learning you may be eligible to receive some funding from the Financial Contingency Fund (FCF).
Here are some common issues and possible solutions.
|Slow internet speeds||One of the most obvious causes of slow internet speeds is being too far from the router or access point. This is because the further you are from the router, the more unreliable the connection will be.||To fix this problem, simply move closer to the router. If the router is located in a different room or on a different side of the house, try working from that area and see if that fixes the issue.
Try to position the router higher (for example, up on a shelf), away from other devices that could interfere with its connection, and in a central location in the office without any obstructions. Having objects and materials such as metal, stone, brick, or glass between your computers and the router can interfere with your signal.
|Insufficient Bandwidth||Another common cause of internet connection problem is a lack of bandwidth. Bandwidth is a measure of how much data can be transmitted through your internet “pipeline” per second. This means that if you have a small pipeline and are trying to stream a video in HD (an activity that requires a lot of data), your internet speeds may slow down because your pipeline isn’t big enough to funnel all that data at once. A larger internet pipeline would allow more data to funnel through at one time, resulting in a faster connection.||Having too many devices can bog down your bandwidth, so disconnect any that you aren’t actively using. Malware can also take up your bandwidth (plus put your data at risk), so you’ll want to regularly scan your system for viruses so they can be identified and handled as quickly as possible.
To test your bandwidth locate yourself close to your broadband box using the following website – www.speedtest.net
After repositioning yourself or your router and testing the speed:
|Issue||Suggested Solution||One off Cost||Ongoing Costs|
|You have access to Broadband but the upload speed is below 8Mbps, then this suggests there is more likely to be an issue with the broadband speed rather than poor wireless signal in the house.||Contact your broadband provider who may be able to offer a solution or upgrade.
There is also a government grant scheme which pays for superfast broadband to be installed in houses that have insufficient broadband speed;
|To be confirmed by broadband provider||To be confirmed by broadband provider|
|If you have access to Broadband and the upload speed is above 8Mbps when you run a bandwidth test the you could use a Wi-Fi Extender Booster.||Wi-Fi Extender Booster & Powerline Kit:
This Wi-Fi Extender booster is unlikely to help if your broadband download speed is below 8Mbps.
|No access to Broadband at home but you have a smartphone with Data Access||Purchase additional data and tether your laptop/device to the additional data on your mobile phone.||None||Monthly £10 to £40 dependant on data requirement.|
|No access to Broadband at home and no access to a smartphone||Purchase of a ‘Data Dongle’
Preloaded with mobile data – expires within 90 days
|Approx £50||Approx £25 for 15GB data – expires within 90 days|
** – Links to websites are shown as examples of equipment that can be purchased.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information or to receive an FCF application.
Is the canteen and shop going to be open?
There will be catering on site for all learners on a ‘Grab and Go’ basis.
The Canteen/Refectory: 08:30 – 14:15
Shop (Little Fresh): 08:30 – 16:00
Starbucks: 08:30 – 14:15
Coffee Shop (F1 corridor): 11:00 – 14:30
TIC Pop-up: 11:00 – 14:30
Is the Learning Resource Centre (Library) going to be open?
The Learning Resource Centre will be open and available for learners to use with social distancing measures in place.
Will the support services still be available?
Yes, all support services including the learning coaches, youth worker, counsellor, nurse, guidance and Employment Bureau will be operating and available for learners to access.
Will the Salons, Gym & Restaurant be open to the public?
The Salons, Gym & Restaurant are still currently closed to the public. We are hoping we will be able to open them in the coming months.
Is Bright Start Nursery open?
The nursery will be fully open from 1st September, please contact them directly for more information on 01437 753153
Latest Bus Timetable
08 June 2021
- Added information on Centre Review Process for WJEC A levels and WBQ Learners
27 May 2021
- Added information on GCSE and AS/A Level Assessments and Vocational Assessments
16 April 2021
- Added Qualification Wales letter to learners and Student Guide to awarding body summer arrangements
31 March 2021
- Added slides from A-level Learner & Parent Briefing
16 March 2021
- Update to vocational arrangements
09 March 2021
- Update to GCSE & AS/A level assessments
- Update to vocational arrangements and removed old information
25 February 2021
- Added Online Access funding information
19 February 2021
- Update for week commencing 22 Feb
17 February 2021
- Information for Brickwork Students
- Assessments for GCSEs, AS & A-levels updated
12 February 2021
- Phased return for 22 Feb
11 February 2021
- Update to GCSE, AS and A levels Exams & Assessments
2 February 2021
- Update added
21 January 2021
- Updates to Exam & Assessments
18 January 2021
- A-level January Mock Exam information removed
15 January 2021
- Additional links added to Qualification & Assessment section
11 January 2021
- Link to letter to learners from Qualification Wales
8 January 2021 16:25
- Updated added
8 January 2021
- Exam & Assessment section added
5 January 2021 12:45
- Updates to 5 January
5 January 2021
- Update 5 January
31 December 2020
- College Re-opening Update January 2021
17 December 2020
- College transport w/c 4 January 2021
11 December 2020
- Update added
10 December 2020
- Additional line regarding reporting absence
- Update added
24 November 2020
- Update – Important information for students from Ceredigion and north Pembrokeshire
23 November 2020
- Update 16:00 regarding 24 November
- Update – awaiting clarification
- Important information for students from Ceredigion and north Pembrokeshire
17 November 2020
- Pembrokeshire County Council Update
16 November 2020
- Principal’s Update
- Higher Education Students Update
13 November 2020
- Principal’s Update
20 October 2020
- COVID-19 Update
30 September 2020
- Principal’s Update
- Added COVID-19 Advice for Staff & Learners
- Updated shop & canteen opening times
- Removed various questions which are no longer applicable
11 September 2020
- Enrolment section
- Start Dates section
- various questions which are no longer applicable
29 August 2020
- Added Parent/Guardians/Carers Letter
27 August 2020
- Bus timetable updated
- Added College & COVID-19 Updates section
- Added question regarding
- Learning Contact Centre
- Support services
- Public access areas
- Bright Start Nursery
- COVID-19 external links
25 August 2020
- Update added to What will College be like with Social Distancing and Health & Safety
24 August 2020
- Updated Canteen/Shop information