York College

26th February 2021

Dear Student,

Further to my update at the start of the week, I want to let you know our plans for phasing the return to College from the week of 8th March 2021.

For the majority of students, we will revert to your pre-Christmas timetable for your programme of study.  This means that in the three weeks from 8 March 2021, we will retain an element of blended and/or online learning as part of your course.

Doing this will enable us to safely phase the return to full time face to face teaching, for all students, from the week of 12 April 2021.  In practice full time onsite delivery, will be from 13 April, as the Monday after the Easter Break is a training day.

For vocational courses, where necessary, your tutors will confirm your timetable with you.  For students operating in ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ weeks, the week of 8th Mach 2021, will be a ‘Blue’ week.

You will be offered lateral flow testing (LFT) during the first week of your return.  In line with the Government guidance you will be offered tests onsite during your first week, with further tests provided for you to administer at home.  Whilst we strongly encourage you to participate in using the LFTs, they are not mandatory. 

LFTs are one step we can take to identify members of our community who are potentially carrying the virus, without symptoms – they are asymptomatic.  If you get a negative test result, this means that the test has not detected a viral load.  It does not provide absolute assurance you are virus-free, and you must therefore follow the wider Covid-safety measures on campus and in the community.  If you get a positive test result, you will be given advice on the action you need to take about self-isolating and how you can continue to engage in your studies.

In line with the Government guidance, we will also be asking students to wear face coverings in all circumstances where social distancing is not possible.  Unlike previously, this may now include the classroom environment.  Your tutor will advise you if this applies.  The usual exemptions apply to the wearing of face coverings.

Yesterday (25 February 2021), the exams regulator, Ofqual, released its guidance on how we should confirm qualification outcomes for the summer of 2021.  In large part, these will be based on the assessments made by teaching staff.  There is a summary for GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications and a summary for Vocational and Technical qualifications.

Unlike the arrangements for last year, teaching staff may still set work for assessment to inform their judgements.  Therefore, it is critical that you continue to engage in learning and submit any work set for you by teaching staff.  This will give them the best possible opportunity to make a rounded judgement.  Awarding Bodies are working towards you receiving your results for AS and A levels on 10 August, and GCSEs on 12 August. Results for vocational or technical qualifications linked to moving on to further or higher education should also be issued to students either on or before these dates. 

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to your studies.

Best wishes,

Lee Probert
Chief Executive and Principal


23rd February 2021

Dear Student,

You will no doubt have seen the Prime Minister’s announcement confirming that we may return to in person teaching from 8 March 2021.  In order to safely facilitate this, we need to plan to make available covid-19 (coronavirus testing) for students.  The consequence of this will be that any return will be phased from 8 March 2021.

At this stage, therefore, whilst these logistics are confirmed you should continue to engage with your online learning over the coming weeks.

We will contact you directly to let you know how to access the testing available to you before any return and to let you know when you can return to college for face-to-face teaching.

We are currently awaiting the final outcome of the Government’s consultation on examinations and assessments.  We do know that there will be no formal examinations for GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications and that all other qualifications will probably include some form of change to the plans for assessment.  Once we have this information we will let you know.  In all circumstances, it is important that you continue to undertake the work which is currently set for you so that teaching and assessing staff can make an accurate assessment of your progress, should they be required to do so.

Thank you for the impressive ways in which you have engaged with your learning online so far.  It’s been really great to see the high quality of work that students on all courses, at all levels have generated during this most recent lockdown period.

Best wishes

Lee Probert
Chief Executive and Principal


2th February 2021

Dear Student,

You may by now have seen the Secretary of State for Education make a statement to parliament, which amongst other matters confirmed that there would be no full sitting of examination in summer 2021 for GCSEs, AS and A Level qualifications.

The Secretary of State stated that teacher assessments will feature in the determination of qualification grade outcomes.  As yet, we do not know what process will be followed in order to do this.

We do know that Ofqual (the qualifications regulator) will publish a consultation on the proposals.  We expect that consultation to be published imminently and to run for a two a week period.

Regretfully, until then, we do not have any further information about the process.

What is important in the meantime, is that you continue to engage in the online learning and stay connected to your group and tutors.  Engaging in the work now will mean that staff know about your current ability and progress.  It also means that if you need to submit anything as part of the process set out by Ofqual, then you’ll be in a position to do so.  Qualifications aside, engaging in the learning will be good for whatever you decide to do next.  If you’re progressing to a higher level study, here or elsewhere, staying connected will also mean you haven’t missed out and will be in a strong position to succeed at the next level.

I want to thank you for the positive ways in which you have engaged in the online learning so far and for the continued resilience you show in adapting to changing circumstances.

Best wishes,

Lee Probert
Chief Executive and Principal


7th January 2020

Dear Student,

I want to update you about arrangements for examinations in vocational qualifications, due to take place during the period of national lockdown.

I have taken the decision to cancel sittings of exams during the lockdown period, and this will affect the exam you are scheduled to take.  These will not now take place.

Whilst the Department for Education has said exams can take place, awarding bodies have now signalled that they will work with us to support you to achieve your qualification, without sitting an examination.  Whilst I am confident the arrangements we have in place on campus minimise the spread of covid-19 (coronavirus), we are in a national lockdown period and since we can avoid taking this risk, then we should do so.

I know you have worked hard in preparing for your examination, but that hard work will not be wasted and it will stand you in good stead for further study and progression into work.  At all times, our focus is in balancing your safety alongside making sure you achieve your qualifications.

Once we have further details about what this means for your course, we will share it with you.

In the meantime, continue to engage in your online learning and I, and your course tutors, will keep you updated with information as it becomes available.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to your studies and I wish you well for the remainder of your course.

Best wishes,

Lee Probert
Chief Executive and Principal


5th January 2020

Dear Student,

You will now be aware that the Prime Minister has announced a further period of lockdown, which includes the closure of schools and colleges in England until at least February half term (Monday 22 February 2021).

We will, during this time, provide as much online tuition as is practically possible.  We were already planning to do this in the current week and you should already know what the arrangements are.  Your course team will be contacting you directly to share further information about the rest of the online period.  As far as possible, we will stick to your normal timetable for live lessons.

Contrary to media reporting, the Prime Minister did not say all examinations were cancelled.  What he said was: “We recognise that this will mean it is not possible or fair for all exams to go ahead this summer as normal.  The Education Secretary will work with Ofqual to put in place alternative arrangements”.  We expect the Education Secretary to set out the alternative arrangements in the coming days.  We believe it is critical therefore that you continue to attend all live lessons and engage with all of the learning materials provided for you in the coming weeks.  This will mean that you are in the strongest position possible to meet the requirements of whatever qualification awarding process is put forward. 

Further, the current position of the Department for Education is that examinations in BTEC qualifications, will go ahead as planned – including those scheduled over the next two weeks.  For students in these categories, we will contact you directly about these exams.  Whilst this decision seems inconsistent with the wider Government message to stay at home, as yet, no alternative has been proposed.  I have lobbied our local MPs to support the Association of Colleges letter to the Skills Minister, and you may wish to do the same.

Students who have education, health and care plans (EHCPs), are vulnerable or whose parents are critical (key) workers may attend the site.  If this applies to you, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and let us know you would like to attend and we will let you know what the arrangements are.

We know that many of you may need to collect examples of practical work or portfolios to continue your studies remotely.  If you need to do that, please let us know first so we can agree an appointment with you.  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us know what you need to collect and we will let you know how to do so.

We are putting in place arrangements for testing onsite, which is a further and complementary measure as part of our wider covid-safety arrangements.  These will be made available to students who attend for exams and for those who attend site for to access their learning.  Taking a test will not be compulsory, but since it’s possible to have covid-19 (coronavirus) without any symptoms, we would encourage you take one if offered it, to help us prevent the onward spread of the virus.

I know that this will be a challenging time for you.  Please be assured that all colleagues at York College are working hard to support you as best we can. 

As ever, when there is further information to share with you, we’ll make sure you have it.  In the meantime, your tutors will ensure you know how best we can work together.

Best wishes,

Lee Probert
Chief Executive and Principal

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