Coronavirus Update: AoC Alert (07.04.20)

Published: 07 Apr 2020

Prime Minister in intensive care and Number 10 briefing highlights

Boris Johnson was admitted to intensive care last night and is currently reported as stable. Dominic Raab is deputising on certain issues in his absence and Cabinet process still applies. 

In relation to COVID-19, Chief Scientific Officer Chris Witty states that “it’s possible we are starting to see the beginning of change, in terms of the curve flattening”.

Updated guidance for furloughed apprentices

The Department for Education has updated its guidance on apprentices today. Notable additions include:

  • Continuing training and end point assessment for furloughed apprentices

  • Pausing new funding audits 

  • Updated Q&As (3, 8, 11, 15-18, 20, 22-24, 37-38)

The full guidance is available here.

Five priorities for AoC and the college sector

David Hughes’ blog for Tes today outlines the short, medium and long term priorities for AoC and the sector to deal with the impact of Covid-19 now and in the future.

College spending rules

We have collected evidence on the two hot finance topics governing college decisions (the job retention scheme/furloughing and government procurement guidance) and have passed this to officials but we are still genuinely uncertain whether Treasury/HMRC will place some sort of restriction on college use of JRS and also whether DfE will try to hold colleges to the procurement guidance.  It is clear to us - and hopefully to all the decision-makers in DfE - that restrictions on the ability of colleges to reduce their costs will simply result in more requests for financial support in the coming months.

Additional DfE funding for schools

DfE has promised some modest additional funding for schools to assist with exceptional costs incurred between March and July 2020. A maximum of £75,000 is available for the largest school; the money is only for extra premises, cleaning or free meal costs associated with longer opening hours and the funding is not available for schools anticipating a revenue surplus in 2020-1.

At AoC, we are gathering together outstanding questions/issues on ESFA funding rules for a discussion in the week commencing 20 April 2020. Please contact julian.gravatt@aoc.co.uk or david.corke@aoc.co.uk if you have suggestions.

Mental Health and Wellbeing resources updated on AoC resources hub

Supporting everybody through the COVID-19 outbreak is undoubtedly going to add to the growing challenge of student and staff mental health in colleges in recent years. At what is already a stressful time of year for many, the emergency measures now in place will be affecting everyone in different ways. 

You don’t have to be self-isolating in order for coronavirus concerns to have an impact on your mental health. Students and staff might find they are feeling worried about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on themselves and loved ones. These feelings are normal and it’s important we acknowledge them.

Our Mental Health and Wellbeing webpage has been significantly updated with guidance from a number of organisations.

AoC Leadership Webinar to be held on Thursday 9 April due to Easter Friday

You can register for the weekly sector update from David Hughes, Kirsti Lord and David Corke here, and catch up on previous webinar updates on our resources hub links.

GCSE and A Level Assessment Webinar

If you missed today’s joint webinar between AoC’s Eddie Playfair, Catherine Sezen and AQA and Pearson you can watch it back here. The webinar covers the Ofqual announcement on the massive changes to 2020 general qualifications and assessments and the issues for colleges.