WILL MY EXAMS BE CANCELLED?
The decision to cancel GCSE and A level examinations in Northern Ireland was communicated on 19 March. It remains unclear how vocational qualifications with examination components will be managed. Further details will be communicated when we receive answers to these key questions.
I AM DUE TO SIT GCSEs AND/OR A LEVELs IN SUMMER 2020 ARE THEY CANCELLED?
Education Secretary for NI, Peter Weir has announced that physical examinations will not be going ahead for summer 2020. SRC Examinations team are liaising with CCEA on a daily basis to keep up to date with new options and decisions for the way forward.
Calculated grades will be issued for those completing their A Level, A/S level and GCSE qualifications based on a combination of information provided by the college and using statistical information. A/S level grades will count as a stand-alone qualification but they will not contribute to final A level grades in 2021. Grades will be awarded for GCSEs due to complete in 2020.
MESSAGE TO BTEC LEARNERS
The following message was published by Pearson on 26 June for all students undertaking BTEC qualifications.
26 June 2020
We understand that this has been an unsettling time for you, with the news of college closures and the cancellation of this summer’s exams/external assessments. We wanted to write to you to reassure you about how your BTEC results will be calculated this year.
How will your BTEC grades be calculated?
We have asked teachers/tutors at your college to provide us with:
- actual grades for internal BTEC units that you completed
- ‘Centre Assessment Grades’ for internal BTEC units that you were not able to complete, based on available evidence and what your tutors felt you most likely would have achieved under normal circumstances
- a rank order of all learners on your BTEC course, based on what your teachers/tutors felt you would most likely achieve at qualification level, under normal circumstances.
Your teachers/tutors will base their decisions on a range of evidence, including any relevant assignments you have completed, any prior exam or mock results, and your performance during the course. The information they submit to us will be checked beforehand by other teachers/tutors in your school/college and signed off by the Head of College.
We will check and review that information alongside other evidence we have, including historical performance at your school/college and the results for these assessments in prior years to make sure it is comparable. As a result of this review, which we refer to as a ‘statistical standardisation’, we may need to adjust grades up/down. This will determine your final unit and/or qualification grade(s), which might not be the same as the one(s) your teacher/tutor provided.
For those of you due to have sat an exam/external assessment between 20 March and 31 July 2020, we will also use this information to help us calculate the grade(s) for that. We will also consider any of your previous results for sitting these exam/external assessment(s) and any potential resit improvement together with information about the different relationships between the different components.
For those of you due to complete the BTEC course this summer, we will then add the points for these different unit grades to calculate your overall qualification grade.
We have created this infographic (PDF) to help explain the process.
Please note that the process is slightly different for those of you studying our BTEC qualifications related to childcare (Levels 1-3), fitness services (Level 3), hospitality services (Levels 2-3) and dental technology (Level 3). These qualifications may involve adapted and/or delayed assessment, as detailed in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), because they involve a licence to practise or competency-based element.
When will you find out your results?
You will find out your final results on results day, which is the same day as A Level and GCSE results days this year:
- 13 August 2020 – Level 3 BTEC Nationals and Level 3 Technicals
- 20 August 2020 – Level 1/2 BTEC Firsts/Tech Awards and Level 2 BTEC Technicals.
Appeals and next assessment opportunity
If you think a mistake has been made with your result(s), you can appeal the result(s) by asking your school or college to put forward the appeal on your behalf. Although it will not be possible to appeal on the basis of disagreement with the teacher/tutor’s professional judgement for the grades and/or rank order information submitted to us.
If you are unhappy with your result(s) and/or appeal outcome, you will be able to sit/resit the exam/external assessment in the next available window (e.g. autumn 2020 or January/summer 2021, depending on the BTEC qualification).
Those of you continuing your BTEC course in 2020/21 will also be able to submit/resubmit assignments for units where you have received a calculated result.
Ofqual, the qualifications regulator, has confirmed that these results will carry the same weight as in other years and should be treated the same by employers, colleges and universities.
For those of you studying a BTEC Level 3 National, they will carry the same number of UCAS points as in previous years. UCAS has created some helpful resources for those of you who have applied, or who are considering applying to higher education. We are regularly updating UCAS and universities about the process for issuing BTEC results this summer, so they can support you appropriately.
Further support and information
We have created this set of questions and answers (FAQs) for you and we’ve also put together a set of resources for you, supporting mindfulness, learning remotely/at home, and your wellbeing. You can also follow us on Twitter @BTECStudents for regular updates. In addition, Ofqual has created this guide for parents/carers and learners. (PDF)
If you have any further questions, please contact us via your college.
We wish you all the best with your studies, results and progression plans.
Senior Vice President, BTEC and Apprenticeships
HOW WILL MY VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATION BE ASSESSED BEFORE THE END OF THE ACADEMIC YEAR?
Message from Chief Executive, Brian Doran 19 May 2020
I hope you are keeping safe in these difficult and challenging times. I fully understand that following lockdown you may be feeling anxious and unclear on proposed arrangements of awarding qualification outcomes this Summer. It is in this context that I wish to provide you with a further update on the position here in Northern Ireland.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds made a statement to the Executive on 23 April 2020 on how vocational and technical qualifications and essential skills will be awarded to learners in Northern Ireland. CCEA is responsible for the regulation of vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland and Minister Dodds confirmed that decisions taken by CCEA would be aligned to that taken by Ofqual, the regulator for qualifications in England. Consequently we expect that decisions taken by awarding organisations on awarding grades for vocational qualifications will be the same as those taken in England.
It is important to know that Ofqual carried out a consultation between 28 April - 8 May on its proposed approach to awarding grades. Ofqual is expected to announce the outcome of this consultation process on 22 May following which awarding organisations will instruct the College on how to submit centre assessed grades and other relevant evidence that will contribute to the qualification award. As soon as this is received we will provide further updates on the FAQ page of our website.
I will now attempt to summarise the position across the different types of qualification offered by the College.
GCSE and A-Levels
Unlike vocational qualifications the position on GCSE and A Levels is clear. Calculated grades will be issued for those completing their A Level, A/S level and GCSE qualifications based on a combination of information provided by the college and using statistical information. A/S level grades will count as a stand-alone qualification but they will not contribute to final A level grades in 2021. Grades will be awarded for GCSEs due to completed in 2020. The College is currently in the process of submitting requested information to the awarding body following which this will be subject to awarding body analysis. We understand that GCSE and AS/A Level results will then be published in August as planned.
Similarly awarding organisations have now issued guidance to the College on the process to be followed to award centre assessed grades for students enrolled on essential skills qualifications. We believe that these results will also be issued to students in August.
Vocational and technical qualifications
Students undertaking a wide range of vocational and technical qualifications used for progression to further or higher education will be treated in the same way as GCSEs, AS and A Levels using calculated results. This group of qualifications includes many BTEC Nationals, Cambridge Technicals and UAL Diplomas. Calculated results will be based in part on centre assessed grading and unit grading completed to date in combination with a range of other evidence and use of statistical methods.
The vocational qualification landscape is complex with many more types of qualification used and this has inevitably contributed to the delay in decision making by the regulators. Until the Ofqual consultation outcomes are known and awarding bodies issue their guidance to centres it remains unclear as to which qualifications calculated results will apply to. We expect this to include BTEC Level 2/3 qualifications and other similar qualifications used on full time further education courses. However, the position on HNC/D qualifications remains unclear and we must wait until Pearson issues this guidance before we can determine how student awards will be made.
It is also our understanding that students on the first year of a two year full time course e.g. Extended Diploma will receive unit grades based on a combination of units assessed to date and calculate results thus ensuring that they do not have to complete these units in the new year.
I emphasise again that the College must wait until individual awarding organisations issue their guidance and instruction before we can confirm if calculated results will apply to your course. These decisions are quite simply outside the control of the College and I can assure you we are doing everything possible to expedite the process.
It is also important to state that while the College will share relevant information with the awarding organisation including unit grading to date and centre assessed grades we will not be permitted to share this information with students as it is the awarding organisation that will ultimately determine each student’s grade.
Skills and Competence Based Qualifications
Specific qualifications based on skills and competence assessment and license to practice are likely to adopt a different approach where it may require the use tailored assessment methods or in some cases include delaying completion of the qualification until the College reopens. Once again this position will only become clearer when awarding organisations issue their guidelines on how qualification grading is to be determined.
I fully understand and appreciate that the continuing lack of clarity for a larger number of qualifications is causing increased stress and anxiety. The further education colleges are in regular contact with awarding organisations and it is hoped that guidance will be issued by next week for a large number of qualifications.
I would ask you to continue to stay in contact with your course team and personal tutor and follow their advice.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT HOW MY QUALIFICATION WILL BE ASSESSED THIS SUMMER?
The exams regulator has published an on line tool that will show what is happening in the coming weeks and months for qualifications that were scheduled to be taken in summer 2020.
You can access the on line tool using this link
Click on the Computer Icon labelled ‘Summer 2020 qualification explainer tool’
The tool covers qualifications regulated by Ofqual, Qualifications Wales and CCEA Regulation (in England, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively).
You can select your qualification and find out the arrangements being put in place to assess the qualification, or to issue a calculated result.
How do I find my qualification?
Please search for your qualification in the qualifications box. You can do this by using a keyword (e.g. 'English' or 'First Aid'). The search will return all qualifications having that keyword in the qualification title. Please scroll up or down and select your qualification from the list.
You can also narrow down the list of qualifications by first selecting the awarding organisation offering your qualification and/or qualification level.
Please note that you can enter or remove text in all the three fields (qualification, awarding organisation and qualification level).
We have included all qualifications in this tool, not only those which are in scope. This is because some learners may be taking some qualifications which are in scope and some which are out of scope.
What if I am unable to find my qualification?
Please check that you have correctly spelled the keyword that you are using.
If you are able to select the name of the awarding organisation and/or qualification level before searching for your qualification, it should narrow down the list of qualifications to select.
If these steps do not help and you are unable to find your qualification please contact your school, college or training provider.
What is the source of this information?
Ofqual collected information on how qualifications will be assessed due to COVID-19 restrictions in England from relevant awarding organisations.
Data related to qualifications taken only in Wales or Northern Ireland were provided to Ofqual by Qualification Wales and CCEA Regulation respectively.
This tool says my results will be calculated but I have been told that I will have to sit an adapted assessment. Which is correct?
This tool shows the main way in which results will be arrived at for the vast majority of learners taking your qualification. There will be some circumstances where not all learners, or not all schools, colleges or training providers, are able to follow this approach - perhaps because there is not enough evidence on which to base a calculated result, or because an adapted assessment is not available everywhere the assessment is taken.
I have a question about my qualification. Whom do I contact?
Please contact your personal tutor or course co-ordinator in the first instance with any queries about your qualification.
I HOPE TO GO TO UNIVERSITY NEXT YEAR WILL MY RESULTS BE ISSUED ON THE SAME DAY AS PLANNED?
It is expected that results will be issued in the same way, however this is subject to change. SRC will publish results dates on all social media platforms and the college website.
HOW CAN I GET IN TOUCH WITH A MEMBER OF THE EXAMINATIONS TEAM?
Course Related Information
WHY HAS THE COLLEGE TAKEN THE DECISION TO CEASE FACE TO FACE DELIVERY?
The college has taken this decision in light of the most recent advice from Government and the need to minimise the level of interaction between students and staff and students.
We hope to be able to support the majority of students through on line delivery but acknowledge that there may be challenges in areas where skills development is a core component of a course.
The college will work with all students to ensure that they are guided through this new form of delivery and will make every effort to ensure that you are not disadvantaged. Of course this will only work if you are prepared to engage constructively with your course tutors.
WILL I GET MY EMA IF THE COLLEGE IS CLOSED?
You will receive your weekly EMA payment for the duration of the academic year.
I AM A TRAINEE ON A TRAINING FOR SUCCESS (TfS) PROGRAMME WILL I RECEIVE MY WEEKLY TRAINING ALLOWANCE?
The Department for the Economy informed the College on 31 March that Educational Maintenance Allowance will continue to be paid up to and including week commencing 13 April 2020 – with further potential extensions. You will not be required to submit weekly timesheets for this period of closure due to COVID 19.
I AM AN APPRENTICE BUT MY EMPLOYER HAS MADE ME REDUNDANT - WHAT SHOULD I DO NOW?
You should speak to your Monitoring and Placement Officer in the first instance to inform them of the situation. You can then make a claim for benefits at the following link:
Once business resumes following this crisis period, you can go back to work and rejoin the programme. During your period of redundancy, SRC will continue to provide online delivery of your course to allow you to keep up with your coursework.
Further information - Department for the Economy has published their online Covid-19 Guidance for Apprentices. https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/articles/covid-19-guidance-apprentices
I AM AN APPRENTICE AND MY EMPLOYER HAS INFORMED ME THAT I AM BEING ‘FURLOUGHED’ – WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
You should speak to your Monitoring and Placement Officer in the first instance to inform them of the situation. www.gov.uk will explain the Coronovirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme is set up to support employers whose operations have been severely affected by COVID-19. This scheme will allow employers to pay you 80% of your usual monthly wage costs up to £2500 per month. Please speak directly with your employer for further guidance.
You will remain on the ApprenticeshipsNI programme and with the agreement of your employer and yourself, you will continue to work towards your qualifications with your Course Tutor via online delivery.
Further information - Department for the Economy has published their online Covid-19 Guidance for Apprentices. https://www.economy-ni.gov.uk/articles/covid-19-guidance-apprentices
I AM AN EMPLOYER BUT HAVE HAD TO FURLOUGH MY APPRENTICE – CAN THEY CONTINUE WITH THEIR TRAINING COURSE?
As a result of the current Covid-19 crisis, apprentices may have been furloughed under the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The scheme guidance permits the continuation of training during furlough, however any continuation of ApprenticeshipsNI directed training during the furlough period must be with the agreement of the contractor, employer and apprentice, taking into consideration HMRC advice:
Further information -
Guidance for Employers:
NI Business Info
Guidance for Employers:
I AM ON THE TRAINING FOR SUCCESS / APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMME. WHO SHOULD I CONTACT IF I WANT FURTHER ADVICE AND SUPPORT?
You should speak to your Monitoring and Placement Officer. Contact details are as follows:
Jacqueline Sinnamon 07736 336144
Noeleen Byrne 07767 167125
Samuel McConville 07933 092812
Deirdre McGuigan 07739 212953
Ellie McKeever 07841 468934
Martina O’Hare 07767 167168
Eleanor Wilson 07739 212951
PortadownCJ Carter 07989 10285
Linda Millar 07712 446524
Janet Shaw 07423 452290
Laura Wilson 07712 446525
If you are a Hairdressing Apprentice you may contact the following Monitoring and Placement Officers:
Lurgan Campus, Clara Havern, 075 0149 3445
Newry Campus, Rachel Derby, 078 4197 0608
Armagh Campus, Rosaleen Quigley, 075 0193 444
I AM WORRIED THAT MY STUDIES WILL SUFFER. WHAT WILL YOU BE DOING TO ENSURE I CAN KEEP UP WITH MY COURSEWORK?
We are absolutely committed to maintaining the delivery of the best possible teaching and learning throughout this period of unprecedented disruption. Lecturers have been asked to support learners as much as possible through online means. Therefore please stay in contact with your course tutors.
WILL MY ATTENDANCE BE MARKED IF I AM STUDYING FROM HOME?
Yes, all students attendance will be recorded by your course tutor as ‘virtual on line learning’ during this period. This is equivalent to a ‘present’ attendance mark.
HOW LONG WILL WE BE STUDYING FROM HOME?
It is not possible to answer this question at present because this will very much depend on the advice issued by Government. It is likely that there will be no more direct face to face delivery on campus this academic year.
I HAVE APPLIED TO A COURSE AT SRC NEXT YEAR, WHAT DO I DO NEXT?
The College admissions team will be in contact with you to advise on the next stage of your application.
I HAVE ENROLLED ON A COURSE THAT IS SCHEDULED TO START NOW, WILL THIS COURSE PROCEED?
No. The college has postponed all new courses that were scheduled to start from the week beginning 16 March 2020. The college will make contact with you to discuss transferring your enrolment to a course starting in September or refund payment. We do hope that you will consider transferring to an alternative class in the new academic year as we value your custom.
I LEFT SOME THINGS IN COLLEGE. CAN I COME IN TO PICK THEM UP?
Contact your personal tutor in the first instance and we will try to arrange for you to call in as soon as possible. It is really important that you contact us in advance.
I WANT TO TALK TO SOMEBODY ABOUT MY COURSE OR A COURSE I'M THINKING ABOUT APPLYING TO, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
I NEED HELP ACCESSING COLLEGE IT SYSTEMS INCLUDING MOODLE AND EMAIL, WHAT CAN I DO?
HOW WILL I ACCESS CAREERS ADVICE DURING THIS PERIOD?
I HAVE ALREADY PAID AN EXAM FEE. WILL IT BE REFUNDED?
We are not in a position to provide a definitive answer as yet. We will keep asking the question and update you as soon as possible.
I PAY TUITION FEES VIA A DIRECT DEBIT PLAN. SHOULD I CANCEL ARRANGEMENTS?
No, your course will continue remotely.
Personal Health and Well-Being
I WANT TO TALK TO SOMEBODY BECASUSE I'M WORRIED ABOUT THE VIRUS, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
ARE ANY STUDENTS OR STAFF CURRENTLY INFECTED OR SELF-ISOLATING?
We are not able to comment on individual cases. Cases will be reported to the Public Health Agency who will investigate contacts with reported cases.
WHAT IS THE COLLEGE DOING TO REDUCE THE RISK?
The College has moved from providing advice on personal hygiene to taking steps to support social distancing of staff and students. The move to on line delivery and removing students from placement are steps introduced to support this approach. This position will be kept under review and students should review the college website for further information on a regular basis.
I’M CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPACT ON MY MENTAL HEALTH, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated. It’s important to remember that it is OK to feel this way and that everyone reacts differently. Remember, this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass.
There are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty. Doing so will help you think clearly, and make sure you are able to look after yourself and those you care about. See below for a list of resources which can help.
Mental Wellbeing – Information and Resources:
Aware NI – Looking After Your Mental Health and Well-Being
Mind – Coronavirus And Your Wellbeing
NHS – 10 Tips To Help If You Are Worried About Coronavirus
NHS – Mental Wellbeing While Staying At Home
The Mental Health Foundation – How to Look After your Mental Health During the Coronavirus Outbreak
Young Minds – Coronavirus Advice and Mental Health Support for Young People
Student Minds – Looking After Your Mental Health
Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families – Supporting Young People During Periods of Disruption
The Office for Students – Mental Health Advice
Mental Distress Helplines:
Freephone Helpline: 0808 808 8000 (available 24/7)
Deaf and hard-of-hearing Textphone users can call Lifeline on: 18001 0808 808 8000 Samaritans
– 116 123 (available 24/7) Childline
– 0800 1111 (see website for helpline availability details)
You can also contact the College’s Counselling service provided through INSPIRE.
Whatever is on your mind, call us FREE, 24/7 On:
0800 389 5362
Email us during office hours at:
WHERE CAN I FIND THE LATEST INFORMATION ABOUT COVID-19 (Coronavirus)?
This is an evolving situation and staff and students are asked to continue to visit and regularly check the following websites for the latest updates and guidance:
WHERE CAN I ACCESS HEALTH ADVICE IN RELATIONN TO COVID-19?
Please follow advice published on the PHA website. Northern Ireland now has full access to the NHS 111 helpline service on coronavirus. Callers should press 1 when they are advised. This service is provided in Northern Ireland solely for coronavirus guidance and not for other conditions.
In the case of medical emergency, call 999.
WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I BE TAKING?
It makes sense to practice good hygiene and follow advice published on the PHA website. Like seasonal flu, the same public health advice applies for COVID-19 (Coronavirus): if you cough or sneeze, use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose, throw it away carefully after use, and wash your hands. Washing your hands regularly will help prevent flu and other viruses spreading.
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started - read the public health guidance setting out what you should do if you experience such symptoms.
Your wellbeing is the College’s first priority. Please do not let any concerns about your work or studies stop you taking this advice.
I HAVE BEEN ADVISED TO SELF-ISOLATE - WHO SHOULD I TELL?
If you have access to your student email account, please email your personal Tutor. Please provide them with your:
• your name
• student id
• and programme of study
Your personal tutor will then be in touch to offer you advice and discuss the impact on your continuing studies. Colleagues will do all they can to support you while you should you become ill.
I HAVE AN UNDERLYING HEALTH CONDITION, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Individuals with weakened immune systems or underlying chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease and are concerned about coronavirus should continue to take their normal precautions and may wish to contact their GP. If you have concerns that you may have the coronavirus, you should telephone NHS 111 immediately.
CAN I ACCESS SOFTWARE THAT I USE IN COLLEGE BUT DONT HAVE AT HOME?
Yes, please go to the IT Services page in Moodle by clicking on the following link: https://moodle.src.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=5797
Scroll to the bottom to the section entitled ‘Software available for students to use at home’. We are currently investigating home access for other software not listed so please keep checking back on Moodle for updates.
I AM WORRIED ABOUT INFORMATION CIRCULATING ON SOCIAL MEDIA, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You should refer only to the latest guidance from the Public Health Agency, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other official authorities. The accuracy of information circulating on social media cannot be verified and we ask all members of the College community to remain calm and follow the official advice only. Please do not contribute to the circulation or sharing of rumour on social media as this is unhelpful and causes unnecessary anxiety.
WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO CONTACT MY LEARNING SUPPORT STAFF?
Learning Support Co-ordinators will be available to provide guidance during this period, their contact details are published on the SRC website: https://www.src.ac.uk/support/learning-support. Staff will only be able to communicate with you via your College email address.
WILL MY LEARNING SUPPORT CONTINUE NOW THAT LEARNING IS TAKING PLACE ON-LINE?
Clearly face to face support will no longer be available but learning support will continue to support you during this period through other means. If arrangements are not already in place to continue with your mentoring support or learning support please contact your Learning Support Co-ordinator.
HOW DO I RETURN THE ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY THAT I HAVE BORROWED e.g. laptop, cpen or echo smart pen?
You will be required to return your equipment as soon as the College re-opens.
If you are attending counselling sessions with Inspire please visit their website for guidance on the continuation of your support: https://www.inspirewellbeing.org/students
Inspire are moving to a telephone/online video-based counselling service where possible. If you are already engaged in counselling provision this will continue based on the telephone/web-based model in conjunction with your counsellor. Inspire will be in contact with you to arrange this.
Should you not wish to engage in telephone/web-based counselling please contact Inspire and they will organise for the suspension of your counselling activity until such time as the advice pertaining to the COVID-19 outbreak allows.
I HAVE APPLIED TO THE COLLEGE FOR A COURSE COMMENCING SEPTEMBER 2020, CAN I STILL MAKE A REFERRAL FOR LEARNING SUPPORT?
Learning Support Co-ordinators will be available to contact any new student to discuss their support needs for September 2020. Please complete the referral form and email it to the Learning Support Co-ordinator on your campus of choice. https://www.src.ac.uk/support/learning-support. Contact details for staff are also available on the SRC website.
If you have applied for a Higher Education course and have a diagnosed learning difficulty or disability you will need to apply to the local Education Authority for the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA). DSA can help with the cost of a non-medical helper (e.g. mentor or note taker), items of specialist equipment, travel and other course-related costs. Please see www.studentfinanceni.co.uk for further details.
Support for Business
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS
I/MY STAFF ARE CURRENTLY ON NA TRAINING COURSE WIH THE COLLEGE. WILL THIS PROCEED AS NORMAL?
I WANT TO SPEAK TO SOMEONE ABOUT SUPPORT FOR MY BUSINESS