Our campuses are now closed for the vast majority of our students who will continue to receive learning support via online services. (see working from home guidance below).

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.

UCAS

A Message from the ESC Wellbeing Teams

Student Wellbeing

Student Information

Home Working

This is the dedicated webpage for students and parents/carers to find out more information about how East Sussex College Group is supporting them to continue to learn and development their knowledge and skills.

We have developed a number of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that should help but if you have a question not addressed here please use the chatbot (available during normal working hours) at the bottom righthand side of this page or email comms@escg.ac.uk. We will add popular questions regularly to this section.

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.

Our top tips for learning at home

Online learning, distance learning or independent learning is set to become the norm for school, college and uni students across the country.

As the government advises us to close schools and colleges, we thought we’d put together a handy little guide to help you get the most out of your online education.

Learning is still really important and it would be a real shame to let all your hard work and effort go to waste. Plus keeping your brain active is great for your mental health and well-being. Read our top tips over on our news section.

Support Services

Southdown Peer Support Service

Please see the latest information regarding the Southdown Peer Support Service here:
www.southdown.org/how-we-help/mental-health-recovery/peer-support-service-east-sussex-community-network


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:
PeerServiceESussex@southdown.org

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

Alcoholics Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous
Cocaine Anonymous
All fellowships
SMART Recovery

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.

Applying for courses

Can I still apply for a course at the ESCG?
Yes, you can still apply in the usual way. Our Admissions team are working remotely but will be able to process your application. If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the College using the following email address

Eastbourne & Lewes Campus: admissions@sussexdowns.ac.uk
Hastings Campus: admissions@sussexcoast.ac.uk

I have applied for a course - what will happen now?
In view of the measures set out by the government to delay the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and our own commitment to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff, we have taken the decision to cancel face-to-face interviews for all applicants.

We know this is an uncertain time for you so we have decided to move all applications directly to an offer and we will keep in touch with you over the next few months to share information about when and how to enrol.

In the meantime should you have any queries about your application please do not hesitate to contact the college using the following email address:

Eastbourne & Lewes Campus: admissions@sussexdowns.ac.uk
Hastings Campus: admissions@sussexcoast.ac.uk

What do I do if I have a specific query about a course? Can I contact the teacher?
Send your question to our admissions team and will either find out the answer for you or pass on your query to the appropriate teacher to respond to.

Exams and entry requirements

The government has cancelled my exams this year. How can I meet the course entry requirements? and
The government has cancelled my exams this year. How can I progress to the University I have applied to?
The government released a statement on 20/3/20 that provided further information on how A Level and GCSE Grades would be determined given the exams have been cancelled as we fight to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The Government’s priority is now to ensure affected students can move on as planned to the next stage of their lives, including going into employment, starting university, college or sixth form courses, or an apprenticeship in the autumn.

This means ensuring GCSE, A and AS level students are awarded a grade which fairly reflects the work that they have put in. There will also be an option to sit an exam early in the next academic year for students who wish to. Ofqual will develop and set out a process that will provide a calculated grade to each student which reflects their performance as fairly as possible, and will work with the exam boards to ensure this is consistently applied for all students. The exam boards will be asking teachers, who know their students well, to submit their judgement about the grade that they believe the student would have received if exams had gone ahead.

To produce this, teachers will take into account a range of evidence and data including performance on mock exams and non-exam assessment – clear guidance on how to do this fairly and robustly will be provided to schools and colleges. The exam boards will then combine this information with other relevant data, including prior attainment, and use this information to produce a calculated grade for each student, which will be a best assessment of the work they have put in.

Ofqual and exam boards will be discussing with teachers’ representatives before finalising an approach, to ensure that it is as fair as possible. More information will be provided as soon as possible. The aim is to provide these calculated grades to students before the end of July. In terms of a permanent record, the grades will be indistinguishable from those provided in other years.

Interviews

I’ve been invited for an interview - what will happen now?
In view of the measures set out by the government to delay the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and our own commitment to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff, we have taken the decision to cancel face-to face-interviews for all applicants.

This means that your interview will NOT take place on the date previously communicated. Instead, as we know this is an uncertain time for you, we have decided to move all applications directly to an offer and we will keep in touch with you over the next few months to share information about when and how to enrol.

In the meantime should, you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact the College using the following email address:
Eastbourne & Lewes Campus: admissions@sussexdowns.ac.uk
Hastings Campus: admissions@sussexcoast.ac.uk

I have additional learning needs. Who can I contact to discuss this?
We will pick up any additional learning needs as part of the information you provide in your application. Should you have any further questions, you can also contact our additional learning support team at:

David Jarrett – Learning Support Manager – Eastbourne david.jarrett@escg.ac.uk
Michelle Flux – Learning Support Manager – Hastings michelle.flux@escg.ac.uk
Charlie Brand – Learning Support Manager – Lewes charlie.brand@escg.ac.uk

Open Days

We have currently cancelled all open events and will provide more information on other events such as Year 10 tasters scheduled for July in due course.

Courses starting in April

I am interested in a course starting in April - will this be running?
Following advice from the government about social distancing and our own commitment to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all students and staff courses, courses with April starts will no longer be running.

We will continue to monitor developments and provide updates on rescheduling those courses, and any further necessary course postponements, when we can.

Working remotely

How will work be set and how do I receive support?
Teachers or other staff assigned to your cohort will set work for you. You will be contacted directly by them early next week (w/b 23rd March) with more detail on how to access your work and, where applicable, online learning.

When can I have a tutorial?
Your tutor will let you know their availability for tutorial slots.

When will my teacher be able to answer queries and give feedback on my work?
Your teacher will let you know when they will respond to queries and when you can expect feedback on work.

Will English and maths still be part of my timetable?
Yes, you will still be expected to study these subjects as per your previous timetable. English and maths tutors will be available as per your usual timetable to assist with coursework.

Am I allowed to come into College to collect any work that I have left there?
Unfortunately not. Following the government’s instruction to close all school and college buildings, no students are allowed entry until further notice.

What happens if I don’t have access to a PC at home?
Let your teacher know as soon as possible so they can provide additional support and guidance. This may include workbooks posted to your home address.

I have library books that need to be returned - will I receive a fine?
No. We will waive any fines during this period of closure. Please return the books as soon as you can once the buildings reopen.

Can I still access library resources?
Yes. We have lots of resources available to you. Please see the links below for information on how to access these resources.

Accessing support

Will there be any IT support available if I have any issues working remotely?
Support will continue to be available. Use this page for information.

I usually receive learning support during classes. Can I access any additional help when working remotely?
Where possible, your tutor and/or your LSA will be able to support you online. If you need additional support, please let your teacher know.

What do I do if I am worried about my safety or the safety of another student?
You can contact the Safeguarding Team:
• Hastings - 07848 442081
• Lewes - 07823 668772
• Eastbourne - 030 300 39039

Can I still speak to a Careers Adviser?
Careers Advisers will be available for students who want to speak with someone to explore their career or progression options. Careers guidance can be provided by emailing the following staff.

Hastings Careers Adviser – Tracey Harrison - THarrison@sussexcoast.ac.uk
Eastbourne Careers Advisor – Marie Blair - Marie.Blair@sussexdowns.ac.uk
Lewes Careers Advisor – Susie Christie - Susie.Christie@sussexdowns.ac.uk

I’m really worried about coronavirus/covid-19
Young Minds UK have put together an article with some helpful advice and useful resources - youngminds.org.uk

Financial Support

Will I still receive my student bursary payment?
We have decided that all students in receipt of bursary awards for travel and college meals will continue to receive their entitlement at the moment. Please be aware that this situation is under constant review and may change, if it does you will be notified accordingly.
If you have any questions you can contact the bursary team on:
Hastings – FAssistance@sussexcoast.ac.uk
Eastbourne & Lewes Campus: admissions@sussexdowns.ac.uk

Updated 6 April 2020

Free School Meals support

All students eligible for Free School Meals have been contacted and we are now paying the funding we receive from the government to them on a weekly basis, including the Easter holidays, to an identified bank account. If you are not receiving this or have not shared details then please contact

Hastings – FAssistance@sussexcoast.ac.uk
Eastbourne & Lewes Campus: admissions@sussexdowns.ac.uk

Absence

How do I let the College know if I am unwell?
Please refer to the following webpage for how to do this.
www.escg.ac.uk/support/parent-support/reporting-absence

EBSCO online resources

Gale Database 2020

LRC online resources

JSTOR Basic Search

Signing into Google

Accessing Google Classroom

More Useful Student Resources