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. 

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

How to collaborate with your local NHS organisations

Colleges across the country are supporting their local NHS organisations by donating and manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE). We want to support more of you to do this. You can read some excellent examples from North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College and South Devon College here. 

Whilst clarifications for PPE are being sought and further guidance is imminent (see recent letter here), given the urgent situation we know that some NHS organisations are sourcing it locally and would be very happy to be approached on this.

Where you have existing relationships with local NHS Trusts, foundation trusts, primary care networks or integrated care systems (ICSs) we recommend using these. Alternatively the director of finance/head of procurement would be good options, and where these details are not easily available you should contact the CEO or Chair with an offer of support. If anyone requires further support in making contact, we are happy to facilitate conversations with NHS Confederation’s member networks.

Colleges can also support their local NHS organisations by donating hand sanitiser and wipes and by volunteering staff and students. Offering the use of college estates is another priority area, for testing, storage, supplies and accommodation.

Please continue to share your work collaborating with the NHS so we can continue to amplify this with DfE and the media. 

Updated 31 Mar

 

National free school meal vouchers

DfE launched its national free school meal voucher scheme today. The scheme is not currently open to colleges but officials say there may be an option for colleges to opt-in - though possibly on the basis that colleges would use their Free College Meal allocations to buy vouchers.

The scheme for schools is an alternative for institutions who are unable to arrange meals via their existing catering staff or suppliers. So far as we know, most colleges have set up cash transfer arrangements. We alerted DfE to this several weeks ago and spoke to officials yesterday to ask for amendments to the free college meal rules to confirm that this is satisfactory. The officials said they would follow this up but advised colleges to keep appropriate records of payments.

Updated 31 Mar

 

DfE response to safeguarding advice

Over the weekend the Department for Education published a number of guidance documents with reference to student safeguarding and wellbeing. The response given to questions about whether vulnerable students, particularly those with a social worker, had to still go into an educational setting during the closure period has raised concerns among colleges. Many asked whether they had to reopen to support these students to attend day-to-day. We worked with DfE to seek urgent clarification. Today, they have communicated revised guidance and will publish the full clarification in due course. In the meantime, please see below the amendment to the official guidance:

We expect colleges (including those that have closed) to know where their vulnerable learners are and to have a named member of staff to liaise with social workers.  We do not expect colleges that have closed to reopen and given the very small numbers of learners attending at each institution we cannot require colleges to remain open over Easter.

We will continue to work closely with officials to ensure that communications and guidance are clear for colleges. If you have any further queries or concerns about vulnerable students or anything else please email covid19@aoc.co.uk.

Updated 30 Mar

 

Updated timeframe for college collaboration fund

Government will be adjusting the timescales for the governance pilots and the college collaboration fund (CCF) to help colleges focus on their staff and students’ welfare. DfE is exploring flexibilities within CCF to support colleges in developing good practice on maintaining delivery.

Further updates will be provided here as decisions are made (no announcement on exact dates as of yet).

Updated 30 Mar

 

OfS slimmed down regulatory requirements and FAQs

Colleges will be aware of the OfS announcement for slimmed down regulatory requirements during the pandemic. OfS has offered to support and is inviting providers to ask questions relating to regulation via regulation@officeforstudents.org.uk and has a page of FAQs.

We are in regular contact with OfS on behalf of colleges. If you would like to discuss any matters or ask questions, please contact Arti Saraswat.

Updated 30 Mar

 

CITB to provide advance payments to 2nd and 3rd year apprentices

CITB are supporting construction employers by providing advanced payment of apprenticeship attendance grants for second and third year apprentices to help ensure future skills are retained in the construction industry.  

The payments will be made from 6 April for apprentices already subject to CITB grant support for the remainder of the year. The payments are expected to be able to support 7,500 apprentices, and will advance up to £2,500 in attendance grant at a time when retaining apprentices is critical. To read the press release on this please click here.

Updated 30 Mar

 

Up to date apprenticeship questions and answers from IfATE

IfATE is keeping an up to date Q&A page on issues relating to apprentices and apprenticeships during the COVID-19 crisis. You can read the latest decisions and advice here.

Updated 30 Mar

 

Updated guidance on vulnerable children and school closures

Guidance on school and college closures has been updated on 27 March on the following questions:

  • How are vulnerable children defined?
  • Is it compulsory for parents of vulnerable children to accept their place offer?
  • Will critical workers or parents of vulnerable children be penalised if they do not send their child to school?
  • What should schools do if vulnerable children do not attend school?
  • What public health advice should schools follow?

Updated 30 Mar

 

Government agrees measures with telecoms companies to support vulnerable consumers

The UK’s major telecommunications providers have agreed a set of important commitments to support and protect vulnerable consumers, and those who may become vulnerable. They have committed to working with customers who find it difficult to pay their bill as well as looking at measures to help vulnerable people get or stay connected.

Updated 30 Mar

 

Safeguarding, well-being, vulnerable students and closures

Over the weekend DfE published a number of guidance documents with reference to student safeguarding and wellbeing. We are aware that there are some inconsistencies and we are seeking urgent clarification. If you have any queries on anything in the guidance documents, contact covid19@aoc.co.uk.

Please note: these updates seek to clarify and update terminology used in the guidance and do not include substantive policy changes or additional Q&A.

Public Health England (PHE) has also published new advice to support mental health and updated the Every Mind Matters platform to help maintain good mental wellbeing.

Updated 30 Mar