Covid-19 Update, 13th January 2021

13th January 21

Student In Engineering Class

On Monday 4th January 2021, the UK Government announced a new national lockdown taking effect immediately.

 As part of the lockdown, the government announced the physical closure of all schools and colleges until after the February half term. In line with government guidelines our colleges are now delivering learning online.

Q. How long will lessons be online?

A. The UK Government announced on Monday 4th January 2021 the physical closure of all UK Schools, with lessons moving online until the end of the February half term.

Q. What happens after February half term?

A. Our colleges plan to return to face-to-face lessons as soon as the Government allows. At present, face-to-face lessons are scheduled to resume after the February half term. We cannot guarantee that we will be able to continue to offer online learning once we return to face-to-face learning.

Q. What is online learning like?

A. All three of our colleges have been delivering high quality online learning since last year. Our class of 2020 graduates, who all completed their studies online, achieved some of our best academic results and progressed to many top-ranked universities, including Oxbridge and top 10 ranked universities.

Online students experience the same lessons, delivered by the same teachers, as they would if they were studying face-to-face. Unlike many schools and colleges, all of our online lessons are delivered live. Class sizes average 10 students, so students have ample opportunity to ask questions and interact with fellow students in class.

In addition to their live lessons, students are able to access recordings of previous lessons at their leisure. We continue to offer a full programme of academic support and extra-curricular learning including personal tuition, university application support, specialist course preparation, after school lectures, and academic challenges.

Find out more about our online learning here.

Q. Can colleges support students online for the remainder of the academic year?

A. Our intention is to return to face-to-face lessons as soon as feasibly possible. Running a dual programme of face-to-face and online learning is extremely resource intensive, and therefore we cannot guarantee that we will be able to run every programme online and in person for the remainder of the year.

Q. Can students still travel to the UK during the UK lockdown/whilst the UK Government says learning must be online?

A. Students can travel to the UK to take their places our college boarding houses and accommodation providing travel guidelines allow.

Students will learn online whilst required to by the UK Government and will transfer to face-to-face lessons when allowed. Students arriving in the UK will be expected to comply with relevant quarantine and testing requirements put in place by the UK Government and our colleges.

Q. What will happen to students who are unable to travel to the UK?

A. New or returning students who are unable to travel to the UK will be able to begin or continue their studies with us online until restrictions are lifted. Boarding fees will not apply for the period in which travel restrictions are in place.

Q. What does ‘unable to travel’ to the UK mean?

A. If the UK Government places restrictions on travel into the UK from the students’ home country, then we would consider students from this country as being unable to travel whilst these restrictions remain in place.

If the government in the student’s home country restricts travel to the UK, we would also consider students from this country as being unable to travel whilst these restrictions remain in place.

Where local government advice advises against travel but does not restrict it, we will consider the strength of this advice and make a judgement as to whether it meets the criteria. We will consider other circumstances and make decisions on a case-by-case basis. Absence of a direct flight or parental concern is considered a personal choice, and will not meet the ‘unable to travel’ criteria.

We will provide more detailed guidance in due course.

Q. What will happen if a student chooses to remain at home after travel restrictions have been lifted and/or they are considered ‘able to travel’ by our colleges?

A. Students studying at Abbey DLD enrol for a full year of study and book accommodation for the duration of the academic year. Whilst travel restrictions are in place, Abbey DLD has agreed to cover the cost of boarding for those unable to travel to the UK. Once these restrictions are lifted, students will be asked to return and will be liable for the cost of their accommodation.

Students opting to remain at home and learn online once travel restrictions are lifted, do so out of personal choice. Boarding fees will be payable according with our Terms & Conditions.

Q. What steps are being taken in the colleges to combat Covid?

We recognise that some parents and students may still have reservations about travelling, that’s why we are taking the following safety measures at all of our colleges. 

• Thermal cameras and hand held thermometers
• Social distancing measures throughout the college
• Hand sanitizers are available throughout the college
• Mandatory face masks/coverings when moving around the college
• Protective personal equipment available
• 2-week quarantine on arrival for those arriving from non air-bridge country
• Testing on arrival for all students
• Regular Lateral Flow Testing (and PCR) of all boarding students and our staff will take place to keep our college communities safe.

Q. Will students in college have opportunities to interact with each other?

A. Students living in college accommodation will be able to interact with other students in Covid secure ‘bubbles’ based around their accommodation. Regular Lateral Flow Testing (and PCR) of all boarding students and our staff will take place to keep our college communities safe.

All students will have the opportunities to use campus facilities and to take part in indoor and outdoor activities within their bubbles organised by our boarding teams. Students will not be confined to their rooms during the lockdown period.

Q. What activities will be available to students in boarding?

A. Each of our colleges will be providing a varied programme of activities for students during the lockdown period. This will include extra-curricular clubs, sports, fitness and academic activities.

Q. Can Y11/Y13 students return home now that summer exams have been cancelled?

A. Students can return home if they wish, but we advise against it.

Whilst exams have been cancelled, students will need to receive grades at the end of the year. We are currently waiting for confirmation from exam boards and the Government, but expect formal college assessments to form part of the grading system. These assessments may be required to be conducted face-to-face, so students continuing engagement in lessons will be fundamental to their outcome as grades will ultimately be determined by the college.

We know that face-to-face learning is most effective, and we expect to return to this as soon as feasibly possible. For this reason, we would recommend that students remain with us for the remainder of their academic year, enabling them to take advantage of face-to-face lessons as soon as they resume.

It is also important to note that IGCSE examinations are still going ahead.

Q. Will colleges be providing student performance reports?

A. Our colleges will continue to provide formal progress reports for every student. These will be sent every half term.

We would also encourage parents to contact the relevant college for informal progress updates.

Q. Will there be discounts for online learning?

A. As mentioned in previous communications, we will not be offering an online tuition discount.

Q. Will students returning home be liable for boarding fees?

A. Yes, boarding rooms have been secured for students for the whole of the academic year. Returning home is a matter of personal choice and boarding fees will be payable according with our Terms & Conditions.

Students who choose to leave college boarding but who remain in the UK will also be liable for payment of boarding fees for the remainder of the academic year.

Q. Will the temporary suspension of UK travel corridors stop students travelling to the UK?

No, but students will need to take a pre-departure test and fill in a Passenger Locator Form before travelling to the UK, and they will need to self-isolate for 10 days upon arrival in the UK.

Students will be able to complete the isolation period in college boarding whilst learning online. Contact our colleges for more information and guidance.

Last Updated 19.01.2021.