Coronavirus (COVID-19) status updates

Current information as of 07 April 2021: The College will resume teaching after the Easter break with effect from Monday 12th April. All staff and students must continue to undertake Covid testing at home before their return to College.

Please see below for full details on how to order home testing kits.

We ask that you check this website regularly for notifications of any changes that may happen at any time.

If you have any queries regarding your course or timetable, please click here for staff contact details.

07 April 2021

As per the latest government advice, everyone in England including those without symptons may undertake free rapid (lateral flow) COVID testing.  Please find a link below to order test packs which can be delivered to your home.

https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests

As per College policy please undertake at least two tests per week (3-4 days apart).

If you test positive then please do not come to College. You are advised to get an appointment for a PCR test which can be made via this link: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

 

 

Previous correspondence from the Principal below:

16th March 2021

Dear Student, Parent, Guardian, Employer

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for participating in the Covid testing and observance of COVID guidelines as requested at the beginning of March which has meant that we have been able to successfully resume face-to-face teaching since the 8th March.

In order for teaching to continue, The Building Crafts College expects all students and staff to keep following the COVID guidelines:

  • engaging in testing for Covid-19 infection.
  • following social distancing
  • all students and staff to wear face coverings – that cover nose and mouth – whilst at College.

Home Testing Kits
As per our letter of 01 March, rather than going to a test centre, all students and staff will be able to use home testing kits.  These are now available for free, from the government, rather than via the College, and may be ordered online for delivery to your home. So far, delivery has been very quick.

The guidelines state that tests should be undertaken twice weekly.

Negative Test Results
Assuming the test results are negative then you may attend the College as normal.

Positive Test Results
If the test results are positive or you start showing symptoms, you must not come to the College and you are advised to get an appointment for a PCR Covid test. Please ensure you keep us informed if your test results are positive.

If you have any queries, please contact the College – admissions@thebcc.ac.uk

With best wishes

 

 

02 March 2021

Dear Learners

In anticipation of a return to face-to-face teaching on 8th March 2021 the Building Crafts College is issuing this statement of expectation around the control of infection and some other important considerations.

Covid-19.

It is expected that all students and staff will take a rapid Covid-19 test in advance of their return-to-College date, either at a testing centre local to where you live/work or at one of the centres run by our partners the London Borough of Newham.

The centres, which return results in as little as 40 minutes, are designed to allow those who are symptom free but must leave home for education or work to check they are not carrying the virus into the community.

We suggest getting a test as close to your return date as possible but certainly within 3-5 days in advance would be acceptable.

Anyone testing positive must self-isolate for at least 10 days and must not attend the College for any reason.

The Vicarage Lane testing centre is the nearest to the College at present and by agreement is ready to welcome BCC students and staff.

To book a test online go to:

https://www.newham.gov.uk/rapidtesting

At many centres you can simply turn up and be tested but it is simple to book. See the London Borough of Newham website, or the website of your local authority, for opening hours and locations.

You must have a rapid Covid test prior to 8th March or your return date, if later in the term, unless you are recovering from a recent bout of Covid and have been instructed not to test.

It will greatly help public health staff if you have your NHS number with you when you attend.

If your test is negative you can return to College, but it is expected that you will subsequently have a further two tests 3-5 days apart. Most testing centres are open early in the morning or late at night and usually at weekends so we do not expect anyone to miss any teaching time at college to get tested.

After these initial tests you will be issued with home testing kits provided by the Department of Education for twice weekly testing.

You will be required to wear a face mask whilst at the College, please have a mask available when you arrive.

The requirements to test will be reviewed periodically in tandem with government instructions.

It is vital that we keep the BCC community safe until the pandemic risk has passed. You will be given further written guidance on return to the College.

Fees.

Many of you who are fee paying learners will have received an invoice recently requesting payment. You must make that payment before you return to College, please.

You must pay all outstanding invoices before returning to College, there will be no further warnings.

Cafeteria.

Finally, there will be no onsite cafeteria at the BCC’s Kennard Rd campus for the time being. This situation will be reviewed in late April in conjunction with current government guidelines. Please ensure you bring your lunch/drinks/snacks with you as we prefer all students and staff to stay onsite during the day.

With thanks and best wishes

David Dowdles

 

25th February 2021

Dear Students, Apprentices, Employers, Parents/Guardians,

RETURN TO COLLEGE FROM MARCH 8TH – IMPORTANT UPDATE

I am writing to inform you that, as confirmed in the recent Government announcement, the College will resume normal teaching with effect from Monday the 8th March, subject to any future Government statements to the contrary. All learners should therefore plan to be returning to College from that date or shortly thereafter, subject to their individual programmes of study or any specific arrangements around such matters as apprenticeship block release. Members of staff will be asked to contact their students to confirm any particular arrangements in this regard.

Mr Mercer, the Business Manager, will shortly be writing to all members of the BCC community about the arrangements for testing that will be in place in the context of the resumption of face to face teaching.

We look forward to seeing all staff and students returning to College from Monday the 8th March. In the meantime stay safe and well.

Yours sincerely,

David Dowdles

 

1st February 2021

Dear Students, Apprentices, Employers, Parents and Guardians,

Return to College – Important Update

In light of Government announcements made last week, the current lockdown situation will, it seems, continue for some time to come. As a consequence, schools and colleges will remain closed for some more weeks and may not re-open before the 8th March.

With that in mind, and recognizing just how much has already been done by staff to facilitate on-line delivery, we must nevertheless now advance with our thinking and plans in terms of contingency to make up, where possible, lost face-to-face delivery time and lost time at the work bench.

Unfortunately, we do not have the answers to all the challenges that the current situation inevitably throws up. However, the options listed below are, I believe, ones that might afford potential ways of addressing some of the shortfall in contact time and are being considered by the CMT:

  • Adopting ‘shift patterns’ as in the Summer so that there can be more students and staff using the limited workshop facilities in any given day;
  • Extending the College day to afford additional time in the workshops;
  • Adding Saturday teaching to our usual programme of delivery;
  • Delivering during the Spring holiday period;
  • Extending the academic year in to the Summer period;
  • Bringing back in September a number of existing students in order that they can complete qualifications/programmes of study (as last year);
  • Postponing the start date in the new academic year for some groups of students;
  • Securing, if necessary, additional staff to provide further teaching support

Some of the above points most likely will not be new to all of you. They are strategies that may have either been applied in the past (notably last Summer) or may have been mooted in previous correspondence. Indeed, most probably they are part of the raft of strategies now being considered by so many organisations which, like us, must have as their priority those students and apprentices who have imminent assessments and examinations and who are due to complete qualifications in the near future.

Naturally our resources – whether in terms of staff time, facilities, workshop space amongst many others – are finite and we have to be cognisant of how those resources are best used. Equally, we need to be mindful of the need for maximum flexibility in terms of addressing the challenges we currently face, for instance in the case of apprentices who may have different attendance patterns.

Members of the CMT and Board are engaged in on-going discussions around how best we best achieve a catch-up of all or some of the teaching time we have lost due to lockdown. I will be in touch again shortly about how we might advance in this respect but for now, again, my thanks for your support, understanding and considerable efforts during this period.

Keep safe and well.

Yours sincerely,

David Dowdles

 

11th January 2021

Dear Apprentices and Students,

Delivery of College Courses During Lockdown – IMPORTANT UPDATE

As intimated in recent correspondence the first priority in the current climate has to be the safety and well-being of both staff and students.

With the above in mind, and considering some of the wider advice and information available, the College revised its original plans and took the decision not to re-introduce face-to-face delivery in any of its subject areas until late January at the very earliest and most probably later.

Providing you with excellent specialist education is our main objective. We will endeavour, as outlined in my earlier letter, to deliver teaching on-line as far as is possible to certain groups of students, with priority given to students in examination/assessment groups.

The online-learning we are planning to deliver during the coming weeks will be carefully planned by each Department and the respective tutors. Your tutor will be in touch with you regularly with updates, materials and detailed information relating to your programme of study.

Please also be assured that the College will do its utmost to ensure that, if it deems it necessary and appropriate, lost teaching time can be made up as far as it is possible to do so.

Further detailed plans around the phased return to face-to-face teaching, including when respective groups are likely to return and taking account of any updated information available from the Government, will be shared via the website, social media and tutors. Please check the College website and your e-mails regularly for any updates.

For now, however, can I ask you please to note the following important points:

• Students and apprentices will have deadlines for the completion and submission of work set by tutors. Please ensure that you observe those deadlines. This will help tutors enormously with their already complex planning schedules;

• Do ensure that you engage with and respond to your tutors at all times, as agreed. We will be reporting back to employers and parents, as appropriate, and will inform them in instances where students have failed to meet deadlines set by tutors or have failed to respond to calls from tutors, the counsellors or other College staff;

• Please ensure that, in anticipation of any on-line sessions, you have checked and, if necessary, reset your password. This will avoid using up valuable staff and lesson time having to do this;

• Tutors and staff will be in regular contact with employers regarding the progress of individual apprentices. Where relevant, matters around on-site practical experience will be discussed and agreed with employers as well as the allocation of appropriate study time for apprentices who, whilst unable to attend College, are expected to be at their respective place of work on days when they would have been at College;

• For those students about to undertake EPAs, you will be directed to focus on theory tests in order that those tests can be completed at the earliest possible opportunity;

• If you have difficulty accessing computing facilities please do let the College know as it may be possible to provide assistance in this regard;

• College counsellors will be contactable and available, by arrangement, to offer you support and advice. They can be reached as indicated below:

Sarah-Louise.Robson@thebcc.ac.uk
Faye.Ogden@thebcc.ac.uk

• Please do ensure that you adhere to College policy with respect to IT usage. Do also follow the link below for guidance around staying safe on line and general cyber security:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-staying-safe-online

We recognise that this is a uniquely challenging time for everyone. It is regrettable that the situation requires us to keep our buildings closed, but your health and safety and that of the BCC community as a whole have to be our priority. Please help us to facilitate your learning by following the guidance above and by actively engaging with your tutors and College staff.

Thank you for your support and understanding. Stay safe and well.

Yours sincerely,

David Dowdles

 

 

4th January 2021

Dear Colleagues, Students, Apprentices, Employers, Parents and Guardians,

Return to College January 2021- IMPORTANT UPDATE

As intimated in recent correspondence the first priority in the current climate has to be the safety and well-being of both staff and students.

With the above in mind, and considering some of the wider advice and information now available, the College has revised its plans and taken the decision not to re-introduce face-to-face delivery in any of its subject areas until late January at the earliest and possibly later.

We will endeavour, as outlined in my earlier letter, to deliver teaching on-line as far as is possible to certain groups of students, with priority given to students in examination/assessment groups.

Once again, please be assured that the College will do its utmost to ensure that, if it deems it necessary and appropriate, lost teaching time can be made up as far as it is possible to do so.

Further detailed plans around the phased return to face-to-face teaching, including when respective groups are likely to return and taking account of any updated information available from the Government, will be shared via the website, social media and tutors. Our counsellors will also be available to offer support and advice.

We recognise that this is a uniquely challenging time for everyone. It is regrettable that the situation requires us to keep our buildings closed, but the health and safety of the BCC community as a whole have to be our priority.

Thank you for your support and understanding and, again, may I urge you to please check the College website and your e-mails regularly for any updates.

Yours sincerely,

David Dowdles

 

 

2nd January 2021

Dear Students, Apprentices, Employers, Parents and Guardians,

Phased Return to College January 2021

This brief message comes with the hope that you have managed to enjoy a restful Festive Season and with all good wishes for a happy, safe and prosperous 2021.

This is the first of a number of communications that you will be likely to receive in the coming days and I would urge you to check your e-mails and the College website regularly for any updates.

You will understand that, in light of the Government’s announcements late on the afternoon of the 30th December, the situation around our return gives rise to many questions.

At this juncture, and in order that we can afford ourselves sufficient time to plan appropriately, revisit our safety protocols in light of the new arrangements announced by the Government (particularly with regard to the newly proposed expectation of on-site testing) and ultimately share as much information as possible with colleagues, employers, parents, apprentices and students, we anticipate a phased return to College over the coming weeks provisionally as follows:

Monday 4thJanuary and for the entire week

The College will not be open to any students in any subject area. There will be no face-to-face teaching during the week beginning the 4th January.

Tuesday 5thJanuary

Delivery is anticipated to start on-line for a small number of learners where appropriate and possible to do so. Priority will be given to students in examination/assessment groups.

Monday 11thJanuary

Face-to-face teaching may, where appropriate and possible to do so, begin on a phased basis for selected groups only with the remainder of students continuing to learn on-line where possible. Priority will be given to students in examination/assessment groups.

Monday 18thJanuary

All learners should, according to the current Government guidelines, be able to return to College for face-to-face teaching.

Please do be aware, however, that all of the above may be subject to change according not only to Government advice but also to any decision the College itself wishes to take recognising that the first priority must be the safety and well-being of both students and staff.

Further detailed plans around this phased return, including when respective groups are likely to return and taking account of any updated information available from the Government, are being drawn up and will most likely be shared via the website, social media and tutors in the coming days.  Again, can I urge you to check the College website and your e-mails regularly for any updates.

Please be assured that, where the current situation results in any lost teaching time, the College will do its utmost to ensure that, if it deems it necessary and appropriate, this can be made up as far as it is possible to do so.

Staff are due back in College on Monday 4th January or during that week as per their usual individual timetables. However, this will be subject to on-going review. Depending on any modifications to their respective timetables and the College’s wider plans, they should be available to help address any questions from students, employers and parents/guardians.

Other Matters
The College Management Team has been meeting to consider, amongst other matters, how we will manage the Government’s newly announced expectation that we deliver on-site testing of both staff and students and how we will respond in cases of a positive test. Further information around this will be shared in due course.

Whenever we return to College, key to our safety will be the observance of all the protocols around wearing of masks, social distancing, keeping to the one-way system etc. as outlined in earlier correspondence. I would urge everyone to remind themselves of these protocols and of our collective responsibilities in this regard.

We, like all educational institutions, do not have all the answers and the information currently available on the Government’s website seems subject to some degree of interpretation. We will, however, do our best to communicate to the BCC community as much information as possible but always recognising that there are likely to be on-going, and perhaps frequent, last-minute changes that need to be accommodated.

Thank you for your efforts, support and understanding as we try to navigate, as best we can, these very challenging times.

Yours sincerely,

David Dowdles