COVID-19 Resources (Coronavirus)

These resources have been prepared by Association of Colleges to support you and your college during these unprecedented times. 

We are working continuously to share the latest news and updates and produce templates, tools, guidance and examples of best practice. These can all be found here, in one place, so colleges can concentrate on what they do best... protecting and supporting their staff, students and communities.

Our resource hub is updated regularly to reflect new guidance alongside our Coronavirus Update: AoC Alert mailouts. Please use the left hand menu to find each relevant subsection or, to access specific resources for college staff, follow the links below: 

For additional queries please contact AoC via covid19@aoc.co.uk.

If you have a confirmed case within your college, contact your local health protection team here. They will assist in next steps, including helping to organise a deep clean of the college (for confirmed cases only).


Latest News
 

Commons Education Committee report on grading and assessment calls for 16-19 catch up premium (13/07)

On Saturday the Education Select Committee published their report on cancelled exams and calculated grades in light of COVID-19. The report quoted David Hughes as describing the decision not to include post-16 students in the support package as “indefensible”. The report noted AoC’s estimate that £200 million would be needed for a “pupil premium-type upgrade to funding for those students who need it most”, including catch-up support for disadvantaged students.” The committee then made a recommendation that “Post-16 learners, whether they are resitting key English and Maths GCSEs, or preparing to sit final exams before entering higher education or the workplace, deserve proper catchup support”, adding that this could be achieved by doubling the disadvantage element in the funding formula. The government will have to make a formal response to the report and it is still possible we will make progress on this issue. Meanwhile, DfE is due to publish more details on the £1 billion school catch-up fund this week.

The plan for young people and adults aged 16 to 24 (08/07)

There are several big measures as part of a plan for those in the 16 to 24-year-old age group. The Treasury has estimated these as costing a total of £3 billion but spending will depend on take-up:

  • The Kickstart scheme which will involve the government paying the wages (at minimum wage levels) of 16 to 24-year-olds who are on Universal Credit Not many under 21 are eligible and Treasury say the scheme will be targeted on those “deemed” (by their Jobcentre) to be at high risk of long-term unemployment. Employers will be able to register in August 2020 for money to be paid in autumn 2020 and beyond. Funding will be conditional on firms showing the job is new. The employer will also be expected to provide training (but there are no details yet on this). The Treasury budget assumption is £2.1 billion based on 300,000 people being supported at an average cost of £6,500 but the Chancellor said there will be no cap on the number of places.

  • Employers will be paid £1,000 per trainee taken on as part of a plan to treble the number of traineeships from 10,000 to 30,000 as an estimated cost of £100 million. Funding for traineeship places is split between 16-18 and adult education budgets.

  • There is a new plan (not previously announced) to spend £101 million to support 18 and 19-year-olds in further education to take “high value” courses at Level 2 or 3 in a number of sectors. AoC has been arguing for action to help this age group for months but this plan has nothing for living costs and does not extend above Level 3.

  • Employers will be paid £2,000 for each new apprentice aged under 25 and £1,500 for those aged over 25. This scheme builds on the existing employer payment for 16-18 year old apprentices, so comes to £3,000 for them. We understand that this might be from August to the end of January next year.

The Treasury are also allocating £1 billion to the Department for Work and Pensions to double the number of work coaches, to double the Work and Health programme budget (from £100 million to £200 million) and to increase the “intensive support” offered to jobseekers.

The total estimated cost of these new measures in the 2020-1 financial year is £3.7 million (more than half of which goes on the Kickstart scheme). Treasury estimate that more than twice that could be spent on a new £1,000 Job Retention Bonus but that depends on how many of the 9.4 million currently on furlough are re-employed for 3 months in the winter.  The Chancellor has also earmarked more than £10 billion in 2020-1 towards four eye-catching announcements (a 5% VAT rate in hospitality, a stamp duty cut, a green homes grant and an “eat out to help out” scheme). The total estimated bill of the 8 July measures is “up to £30 billion”, taking the combined cost of all the Covid-related fiscal measures (extra spending plus tax cuts) to £270 billion. No wonder Rishi Sunak scores well in the opinion polls. The Office of Budget Responsibility didn’t update its economic forecast today but will be publishing its annual fiscal sustainability report next week.

Even though the measures for 16 to 24-year-olds are small in the grand scheme of things, there are some significant extra sums coming into our system in the next eight months. The government intention is to:

  1. Create a package which builds on existing arrangements to speed implementation

  2. Provide a range of offers so that nobody falls through the cracks

  3. Layer the incentives so that those in most need get the most.

The government is acting in several of the areas suggested in AoC's Rebuild plan but not all of them. There was very little in the statement on adult education or training for those over the age of 25 and there is still no action to assist colleges to support 16 year olds to catch up on lost learning.

It’s important to note that this wasn't a budget or mini-budget. The Chancellor said there will be an Autumn budget and spending review in the autumn, which will be the point where 2021-2 budgets are confirmed. For further analysis on today’s measures click here and David Hughes’ media response is here

£111m announced for traineeships (06/07)

The government announced an £111m package for traineeships overnight, giving firms in England £1,000 for each new traineeship place they offer. This pledge remains in direct alignment with our asks regarding an expanded and more flexible traineeship branded programme to provide a re or pre-employment offer. The announcement will make up part of the Chancellor’s post-coronavirus economic plan on Wednesday.

The press note last night also included reference to “expanding traineeships will be part of a wider package to support young people and to ensure they have the skills and training to go on to high quality, secure and fulfilling employment”. The nod to further announcements is encouraging ahead of Wednesday, Chief Executive David Hughes was on Radio 4’s Today Programme setting out what else is needed to support the wider skills agenda and colleges in the budget. You can listen back here at 6:42. 

Department for Education September reopening guidance (03/07)

The Department for Education published guidance yesterday to support colleges to fully reopen in the autumn. DfE has also made some marginal updates to its July guidance but has maintained the general prohibition on a return for adult learners for now. We circulated a detailed note in yesterday’s daily coronavirus briefing but it is particularly worth noting:

  • the requirement to update risk assessments and controls.

  • the points on specific curriculum areas (eg hairdressing, music).

  • the advice that dedicated public transport can operate on different rules.

  • the explanation of how health protection agencies will get involved if there are virus outbreak.

Honours nominations for Covid19 - now open (03/07)

Honours’ nominations are now being sought for the New Year 2021 with the onus being on honouring outstanding individuals during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The Honours Select Committee has provided extensive guidance on the completion of citation forms. There is a tight deadline of 10 July. You can find out more here.

Prime Minister’s Dudley College speech (01/07)

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, made a speech on Tuesday at Dudley College in which he sought comparisons with Franklin D Roosevelt but whose main purpose was to announce government plans to bring forward £5 billion in capital spending to 2020-1, including the £200 million for colleges (just FE colleges) and the £540 million for schools (including, in this case, sixth form colleges). The speech 'titled a New Deal for Britain' is here.

Government announces £200m college capital funding (29/06)

The Department for Education has announced an extra £760 million in capital funding “this year” for repairs and upgrades in schools and colleges, of which £560 million is for schools and £200 million for colleges. Government officials made the announcement on Sunday (with a 10:30pm embargo) and the DfE statement is here, including the promise, also, of a £1 billion programme to rebuild 50 schools.

Further guidance on Student Number Controls

Following the recent announcements, DfE has published additional guidance on student number controls. The guidance answers some of the frequently asked questions and concerns that AoC has been raising on behalf of colleges. It is positive that apprenticeships are excluded from the number controls although our concerns on franchised arrangements have not been addressed.

The Department for Education’s catch-up and national tutoring service plan

DfE has announced a £1 billion Covid “catch-up” package to directly tackle the impact of lost teaching time. The announcement consisted of £650 million to be shared across state primary and secondary schools over the 2020/21 academic year, expected to be spent on small group tuition for whoever needs it, as well as a national tutoring programme, worth £350 million, to increase access to high-quality tuition for the most disadvantaged young people over the 2020/21 academic year. You can read the full DfE release here.

DfE sent out an embargoed press release to the media on Thursday evening that included 16 to 18 year olds in college within these plans but replaced this two hours later with a statement excluding both colleges and early years. We are in conversations with Ministers and DfE to understand why, and will continue to push for college specific funding. We’ll update you as we have more information.

AoC’s Skills Recovery plan

AoC has launched a skills recovery plan which sets out a number of measures focused on maintaining high quality education and training for young people and adults, on preparing people for jobs as soon as they become available and on supporting adults who lose their jobs to train or retrain. We published a detailed report setting out the argument for this action, along with materials to help communicate the case. We have had cross-party support from MPs and mayors for the plan, plus endorsement from a number of trade associations and local enterprise partnerships. The report and associated information is here.

SEND update

The document Supporting Children and Young People with SEND as schools and colleges prepare for wider reopening has been reissued with a few small changes. Colleges are expected to maintain, monitor and update risk assessments; to plan the phased safe return of those with EHC plans and work with Local Authority and Health to access additional services (including support for students who did not previously need it).