Exams Information

Ofqual update: 3 April 2020

Ofqual have today (3rd April) provided schools, colleges and providers with further guidance on how grades for A levels and GCSEs will be determined during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

East Sussex College Group are planning to work through the guidance over the early part of next week and will share further information with students and parents/carers as soon as this is complete.

We would kindly request that students, parents and carers please refrain from contacting tutors seeking clarification on this until we contact you with further information on how we will complete the requirements in these guidance documents.

We encourage our students to take a break during the Easter holidays and then we are strongly advising that all students maintain their college timetable and commit to complete the work set by their teachers.

This includes students that are in their second year of studies with exams (A Levels and other L3 programmes) who need to continue their learning to support their continuing education and progression onto Higher Education or into work.

Some students may also ultimately choose to sit exams in the autumn term (dependent on their summer results) and will need to have learnt the course content in preparation for this.

Students enrolled on GCSE maths and English courses should also continue to study these subjects as the knowledge and skills acquired will be beneficial to future study and/or progression.

Information for Heads of Centre, Heads of Department and teachers

Guidance for teachers, students, parents and carers

Letter to students - Summer 2020 grading

Exams Information

UCAS update: 3 April 2020

Today the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, has written to all students with an update on how grades will be calculated and getting your place at university or college.

Her full letter is below, but here are the key points we think you should know:

  • You will still receive a grade with the same status as grades awarded in any other year. Your hard work will be rewarded and fairly recognised.
  • Universities and colleges have been asked to temporarily pause making unconditional offers, or changing conditional offers to unconditional. Conditional offers are still being made as usual.
  • Universities or colleges will treat your application fairly and consistently, and will consider these grades in the same way as any qualifications from previous years.
  • There are plenty of higher education places available. A level results and the usual Clearing period will also go ahead, giving you more opportunities to explore your choices.

You can contact our Customer Experience Centre who are still working, albeit remotely, or join us on Tuesday at 15:30 (UK time) for a Facebook Live session with our CEO, Clare Marchant, and the Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan to answer your questions.

Michelle Donelan, Universities Minister update 3 April 2020

As you know, the summer 2020 exam series will no longer go ahead in order to help fight the spread of COVID-19, but those of you due to sit A level exams (and equivalent) will still receive a grade with the same status as grades awarded in any other previous year. Your hard work will be rewarded and fairly recognised.

Ofqual (the qualifications regulator in England) has recently explained how your grade will be calculated: your school or college will take in to account a range of things like your class and homework; your results in assignments and any mock exams; any non-exam assessment you might have done; and your general progress during your course. You can find more information above.

I know many of you will also be studying a range of other qualifications, alongside or instead of A levels, in order to progress to higher education. We know you need information as soon as possible about assessment of these qualifications so you can plan your next steps. We are working as rapidly as possible, with Ofqual – the regulator - to agree the most appropriate approaches to this and we will provide further information as soon as we can.

Universities have also confirmed that they will be flexible and will do all they can to support students to progress to higher education. This includes recognising the challenging circumstances many of you have been facing with completing your learning and assessment as a result of COVID-19, but also any challenges you may have faced due to personal circumstances.

There are plenty of higher education places available, including on some of the most competitive courses and at most competitive universities, so there is no need to worry or rush into decisions about where to study. Unconditional offers from universities might look attractive during this uncertain time, but it is worth spending time considering all your options and reflecting on which is the right university, college or other higher education provider, and which is the right course for you.

The releasing of A level results and the usual Clearing period will go ahead with the interests of students at heart, and with as little disruption as possible. Ofqual’s guidance published on 3 April makes clear there will be an appeals procedure for grades awarded. They will consult on proposals on how this will work shortly.

As students did last year, you will again from July 6 onwards have the option to self-release from a place you have previously accepted. Instead of having to contact your chosen university or college and wait to be released into Clearing, you can do this yourself, therefore saving time. Nearly 30,000 students used ‘self-release’ last year to change university or course. This process is simple, and UCAS has detailed guidance on the process that you should familiarise yourself with before making the decision to self-release.

We have recently asked higher education providers to temporarily pause making changes to offers already made to prospective students, such as converting conditional offers to unconditional offers or changing entry requirements, to allow time for everyone to understand the changes that are needed to ensure that offers are made in a way that maximises student choice. No applicant will be disadvantaged by this pause. Higher education providers are still making conditional offers as usual and this is unaffected. It also won’t affect students progressing applications. If you already have your qualifications (for example if you are a mature student, you will not be impacted by the pause).

We know these are uncertain times and these issues will be causing some anxiety for many of you. There is a lot of support out there.

What does this mean for your application?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to do anything. Your application will continue through the admissions process the same as it would if you had taken your examinations or assessments as expected. UCAS will still receive your grades from the awarding bodies and pass them on to your chosen unis as we have in previous years.

We will continue to send you updates on your application as further information becomes available.

Stay safe and take care.


24 March 2020 09:45

All students please maintain your learning with us

Whilst we are waiting further information from Ofqual on how grading processes will be managed we are strongly advising that all students maintain their college timetable and commit to complete the work set by their teacher.

This includes students that are in their second year of studies with exams (A Levels and other L3 programmes) who need to continue their learning to ensure that they get the best grades possible as this work will be marked and could assist teaching staff to recommend grades.

The latest Ofqual advice also states ‘There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to’ and Universities may also want to see a sample of such work as part of any revised UCAS process.

We therefore urge all parents/carers and students to maintain their learning with us.

Support Services

Southdown Peer Support Service

Please see the latest information regarding the Southdown Peer Support Service here:

We recognise that during this challenging time connecting with others is an important part of maintaining positive health and well-being.

As well as supporting current clients, the ESCN Peer Service are also accepting new referrals for 1:1 support. This can be ‘light touch’ , supporting you/clients to manage their mental health and well-being during this challenging time, or more long term support for up to 6-8 weeks.

Support will be provided by a Peer Specialist who draws on their own lived experience and recovery journey to mentor and guide others. The Peer Specialist will enable you/your clients to identify strategies/tools to help manage your mental health and promote recovery and well-being. Where needed, they will also signpost to relevant services.

Support will be provided over the phone, however, our team are also exploring new communication platforms and methods to meet the current needs of the community.

To ease the referral process, we have adapted our current referral form (
click here to download).

Please send completed referral forms to:

For further support/ information about this service please contact Michelle Trunchion (Team Manager) on 07772 613945 or by email at michelle.trunchion@southdown.org

Online Mutual Aid meetings

Eastbourne Volunteers

Eastbourne Volunteers have launched a telephone befriending service –if you know anyone who needs support get in touch with Helen Burton at eastbournevolunteers@gmail.com.

East Sussex County Council Newsletter

Information including: looking after your mental wellbeing, let the library help during lockdown, ways to stay active, keeping the kids busy at home, and other useful links. Click here to read the full newsletter.

Update: 23 March 2020 14:00

Our campuses are now closed for the vast majority of our students who will continue to receive learning support via online services.

If you are not specifically contacted about our limited provision for young people with SEND/EHCPs and vulnerable learners then you are advised to stay at home and abide by social distancing measures announced by the government over the weekend.

In line with the Governments request, ESCG is putting on a slimmed down offer at Eastbourne, Lewes and Station Plaza to support vulnerable learners and those with SEND. However, we want to stress that for many students the safest place will be for them to remain at home to limit their risk of infection.

Please contact Penny Mackay penny.mackay@escg.ac.uk for more information.

Update: 20 March 2020 17:30

College provision for specific and targeted groups will open from Tuesday 24 March

East Sussex College Group is committed to providing specialist education and learning programmes for targeted groups, as per recent government advice. These programmes however will only be open to pre-booked students so that we can maintain the health and safety of our students and those young people in our care.

We are working to provide an offer from Tuesday 24 March at Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings campuses with two specific and targeted groups of learners:

1. Students with SEND and/or an EHCP

College staff are liaising with the parents/carers of students with SEND/an EHCPs to assess whether young people would be safer at home or at college.

If you are a parent of a student with SEND/an EHCP and haven’t been contacted yet please contact Penny Mackay via penny.mackay@escg.ac.uk

We will only accept students who have been booked onto these programmes via a call.

2. Vulnerable students, including those entitled to free college meals

As above we are contacting students and, if applicable, parents/carers and offering the option of a daily provision that will include breakfast and lunch.

Again young people need to have pre-booked to attend these sessions so if you feel that you are in this category and haven’t been contacted by the college then contact:
Lewes - Julia Proven Julia.Proven@escg.ac.uk
Eastbourne - Helen Ding Helen.Ding@escg.ac.uk
Hastings - Lydia Leonard LLeonard@sussexcoast.ac.uk

Further information for students, parents and carers can now be found at:

Update: 18 March 2020 19:37

Important COVID-19 Update

The Prime Minister and Education Secretary earlier announced that schools and colleges in England will be closed from Monday 23rd March until further notice to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. The announcement also shared that exams will not take place as planned in May and June and provided initial details around the requirement to remain open for vulnerable learners and children of key workers throughout this time, including the Easter holidays.

As a college management team we will need some time to process the detail and consequences of this significant and, in peacetime, unprecedented development in education. Our decision to pause face-to-face delivery for the rest of this week (see below) and enable our staff to plan online and distance learning will stand and we are committed to providing students, parents and carers with further information on our plans by midday on Friday 20th March via this site, email and text.

We intend to continue with our online and distance learning plans to ensure that as many of our students as possible can complete their qualifications with us and provide opportunities for students who were expecting to take exams in the summer structured learning to continue their studies and prepare them for university or work.

Please bear with us whilst we await formal guidance and support from the Department for Education and we will keep you updated as and when we can.

Kind regards,
Rebecca Conroy,
Acting CEO

Update: 18 March 2020 at 12:00

Important COVID-19 Update

We wanted to update you on the current position of the College group in these most challenging and unusual times. Firstly, we take the safety and wellbeing of students and staff extremely seriously and that will always be our first priority.

We have been closely following guidance given to us by the Department for Education and Public Health England. At this time, the advice remains clear that schools and colleges should not close, however, the government has noted the importance of social distancing.

Following the above advice, the College remains open and has no plans to close unless it is advised to do so by the relevant authorities. However, with an increasing number of staff and students needing to self-isolate, our ability to deliver face-to-face is becoming more challenging and unsustainable.

As of 5pm today (Wednesday 18th March 2020), we will cease all face-to-face teaching.

All our staff are working hard to ensure college life continues and working and learning can take place digitally.

To support teachers so they can prepare these materials we have decided that Thursday 19th and Friday 20th March will be INSET days. All face-to-face lessons will be cancelled and students will be asked to stay at home for these days.

This is not a decision any educational setting takes lightly, however following the recent government advice regarding self-isolation and social distancing it is not practical or safe to continue to operate in our normal way.

We will make a decision on what happens from Monday 23rd March by midday on Friday 20th March to ensure that we take into account government advice. We will inform all staff, students and parents/carers via text, email and this webpage.

The senior team are meeting twice a day to review the situation and will be outlining what online and distance learning will mean for students. Teaching staff will be in touch so please look out for their messages in the next couple of days.

We will continue to post regular updates on our website, students will receive instructions and information on accessing the online and distance learning by the end of the week, and teaching staff will send out more information about college work shortly. We will update this page by 9.30 each morning with any new information.

We are aware that there are many queries from students/parents and carers about exam arrangements, completing programmes and mandatory Work Experience. We will provide further information by way of some FAQs on our website in the next 24 hours.

Thank you for your patience as we implement our plans to maintain our support for student’s education and training in these unprecedented times.

Above all, please look after yourselves and your families and friends.

Kind regards,
Rebecca Conroy,
Acting CEO

Updated: 18 March 2020

New guidance for households with possible COVID-19 infection

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature
  • For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild illness.

Main messages

  • if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See ending isolation section below for more information)
  • if you live with others and you or one of them have symptoms of coronavirus, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill

17 March 2020

Student work placements are suspended from today

East Sussex College is closely monitoring Government advice on the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The situation is evolving quickly and we want to ensure we are protecting our students and our community as much as is possible.

We are therefore taking the difficult decision to suspend all student work placements with immediate effect (from Tuesday 17th March 2020).

We have asked students who are already placed to let employers know as soon as possible that they can no longer attend. If the student is employed (paid) we have asked them to check with the employer if they can continue in their paid work.

Placements which have been requested will not be confirmed for the time being and students should not attend these placements.

We hope that some placements may be rescheduled for the summer term (from 1st June 2020), but we appreciate this situation might mean that some placements may no longer go ahead in this academic year.

We will let you know when we can start organising placements again.

Many thanks for your support

Updated: 16 March 2020

COVID-19: travel guidance for the education sector

Includes guidance on:

  • Students and staff considering travelling overseas for placements or exchanges
  • Students and staff considering travelling overseas during term breaks
  • UK students considering travelling overseas to start or continue full courses
  • UK students and staff already studying or working overseas
  • Students already on Erasmus+ exchanges.


The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are the recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection

Key messages

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 14 days from when your symptoms started. (See Ending Isolation section below for more information)

  • this action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
  • stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
  • sleep alone, if that is possible.
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
  • stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
  • you do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 14 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

What to do if you are a ESCG Staff member with symptoms?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild please contact your campus-based HR advisor for further information and advice, especially if you think you need to self-isolate after reading the information on this site:

Hastings - Clare Critchfield / Sarah-Jane Pocock
Tel: 030 300 38453 / Email: clare.critchfield@escg.ac.uk
Tel: 030 300 38234 / Email: Sarah-Jane.Pocock@escg.ac.uk

Eastbourne - Carolyn Wyatt
Tel: 030 300 39110 / Email: carolyn.wyatt@escg.ac.uk

Lewes - Sam Byrne
Tel: 030 300 39144 / Email: sam.byrne@escg.ac.uk

If you are asked to stay at home for 7 days please also inform your line manager.

What to do if you are an ESCG Student with symptoms?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild please report your absence including the fact that you have COVID-19 symptoms via pro-portal on https://www.escg.ac.uk/support/parent-support/reporting-absence

Why staying at home is very important

It is very important that you stay at home whilst you have coronavirus (COVID-19). This will help to protect your friends, colleagues and the wider community and will help control the spread of the virus.

We realise that staying at home may be difficult or frustrating, but there are things that you can do to help make it easier. These include:

  • Plan ahead and think about what you will need in order to be able to stay at home for the full 14 days.
  • Talk to your employer, friends and family to ask for their help to access the things you will need in order to successfully stay at home.
  • Think about and plan how you can get access to food and other supplies such as medications that you will need during this period.
  • Ask friends or family to drop off anything you need or order supplies online, but make sure these are left outside your home for you to collect.
  • Make sure that you keep in touch with friends and family over the phone or through social media.
  • Think about things you can do during your time at home. People who have successfully completed a period of staying at home have kept themselves busy with activities such as cooking, reading, online learning and watching films.
  • When you are feeling better, remember that physical exercise can be good for your wellbeing. Look for online classes or courses that can help you take light exercise in your home.

Ending self-isolation and household-isolation

If you have been symptomatic, then you may end your self-isolation after 7 days. The 7-day period starts from the day when you first became ill

If living with others, then all household members who remain well may end household-isolation after 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day illness began in the first person to become ill. Fourteen days is the incubation period for coronavirus; people who remain well after 14 days are unlikely to be infectious.

After 7 days, if the first person to become ill feels better and no longer has a high temperature, they can return to their normal routine. If any other family members become unwell during the 14-day household-isolation period, they should follow the same advice - that is, after 7 days of their symptoms starting, if they feel better and no longer have a high temperature, they can also return to their normal routine.

Should a household member develop coronavirus symptoms late in the 14-day household-isolation period (for example, on day 13 or day 14) the isolation period does not need to be extended, but the person with the new symptoms has to stay at home for 7 days. The 14-day household-isolation period will have greatly reduced the overall amount of infection the rest of the household could pass on, and it is not necessary to re-start 14 days of isolation for the whole household. This will have provided a high level of community protection. Further isolation of members of this household will provide very little additional community protection.

At the end of the 14-day period, any family member who has not become unwell can leave household isolation.

If any ill person in the household has not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, they should contact NHS 111 online. If your home has no internet access, you should call NHS 111.

The cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean someone must continue to self-isolate for more than 7 days.

Page updated: 4 April 2020