Corona Virus Covid 19 News Page
Current updates on the impact of Corona Virus on our services and measures in place to help our learners.
Impact on Services we provide - NONE
- We do understand that the current situation is impacting many of our learners in different ways, which is why we have put measures in place to help as well as assessing individual cases when you inform us of them (see 'Measures to help learners' below).
- We do not currently anticipate any impact on the range and quality of services we offer to our learners and applicants such as Applications, Enrolments, Course Starts, Tuition and Exams. All are operating as normal.
- The reason we are confident that core services will not be affected is because all our tutors have always worked from home and continue to do so, and our courses do not involve any face-to-face contact. Our Managers and Administrative Staff are working from home at present but we have all the facilities and technology in place to ensure that all can operate as normal.
Measures to help learners
- For learners currently studying with us, the minimum period for putting your studies 'On Hold' (taking a study break) has been reduced from 2 months to 1 month. You can request this from your tutor. You will need to give the reason why you are taking a break and the date you plan to return (maximum 6 months). If you need to extend the On Hold period you can do this by contacting us BEFORE the date you initially intended to return. During an 'On Hold' period, you will not be charged any further course fee instalments, although any fees owed at the time must be settled before you can begin your break. The only exception to further fees being charged would be if the 2nd part of your Awarding Body Registration Fee became due during the On Hold period.
- Functional Skills.We do not normally offer an On Hold option for our Functional Skills Courses due to their short length. However, we are temporarily allowing an On Hold period of between 1 and 3 months.
- Key Workers. We are fully aware that Key Workers are already experiencing additional pressures due to increased working hours and other factors. We are also aware that school closures are creating additional pressures in some cases. These issues have been taken into account nationally through the QAA changes to the Award of Access Diplomas (see Impact on Qualifications above).
- We will continuously review the assistance we offer as the situation unfolds and will post details of any further measures in place on this page.
- We are committed to your success and achievement so will do all we can to address difficulties arising from this crisis such as: financial hardship, illness, impacts of self-isolation and caring responsibilities. Please contact us if you are experiencing problems and we will look at your individual situation and do our best to help.
Impact on Qualifications
- Access Diplomas
- QAA have now released full details of the changes to grading and assessment and the award of qualifications being made to all Access to Higher Education Diplomas nationally which were due to be completed during the 2019/20 academic year. The rules set out in their statement apply to DistanceLearningCentre.com learners in the same way as all other Access learners.
- Covid 19 Access to HE changes to Certification, Grading and Assessment - this document interprets the QAA rules in terms of exactly how they will affect you and your studies with DistanceLearningCentre.com.
- Please ensure that you read the document above in full which also concerns details about your Assessments and continuing your learning as well as how grades will be predicted. The bullet points below summarise some key areas but are not comprehensive.
- All learners who submitted work for half or more than half of an Access Diploma by the 20th March 2020 will be Certificated using the QAA predicted grades model.
- Please remember that we will be making a realistic judgement of the assessment grades you would have been most likely to get if you had taken the assessment(s) and continued your studies as normal, including your rate of progress on the course prior to 20th March 2020. This could lead to an outcome of 'not achieved' the full Diploma as we can only make judgements on available evidence.
- If you submitted work on or before 20th March 2020 this work will be counted as work completed (not as a Predicted Grade).
- These criteria override any other guides we previously had in place concerning eligibility for June Moderation. These are national QAA rules and therefore we are required to implement them.
- You will still have to have paid for your course in full (by 31st May 2020) before you can be entered for Moderation and Certification.
- If you DO meet the eligibility criteria for the QAA predicted grades model your Moderation Date will show as As Jun20 CV (for Corona Virus) and for any work submitted after 20/3/20 you will just see Formative Assessment Submitted.
- If you DO NOT meet the eligibility criteria for the QAA predicted grades model, but were still aiming for June Moderation, then your Moderation Date will show as As Jun20 AG (for Actual Grades). We advise you to continue with your studies as normal. However, you can use our Extenuating Circumstances Form in cases where your studies are being affected by the current crisis and we will look into your circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
- If you do not feel that the Moderation Date we have put you on is correct, and we have not already investigated your case, please contact your tutor who will advise you how to proceed.
- The 9th April QAA document covers full details about calculating grades for the award of the Access Diploma.
- The 3rd April QAA statement introduces the proposed use of predicted grades for Access to HE students.
- Access Diploma learners holding University offers
- New updates were released on 3rd April by the Universities Minister extending the request for universities and colleges to hold back from making unconditional offers or amending existing offers until 20th April. You should have been emailed by UCAS about this but you can also see it here.
- This information follows the original Government's announcement on 23rd March and the email sent out by UCAS.
- If you did not receive these emails, please check that your email address on UCAS is correct.
- UCAS have extended May’s decision and reply deadlines for UCAS Undergraduate applications by two weeks.
- Access Diploma learners completing after 31st July 2020
- QAA have released information for Access Diploma learners completing after 31st July 2020.
- GCSEs and IGCSEs
- It has been announced that exams will not be going ahead in May and June 2020, so any GCSE exams you have booked will not be occuring when scheduled. All learners who are entered for GCSE / IGCSE exams for this summer (2020) must inform their tutor of this.
- Ofqual has shared further information on how grades will be awarded for GCSE, AS, and A levels this summer.
- Following the Ofqual consultation on GCSE grading and their updated guidance for private candidates and students who have worked with other providers unfortunately the information regarding predicted grades needs to be provided by the centre with which you have entered for your examination – we cannot give the exam boards this information directly as we are not an exam centre. Your exam centre needs to have the same level of confidence in the prediction they make for you as they do for other candidates (students in their school for instance) which is very difficult for them.
- To help them with doing this JCQ have issued guidance for them, it outlines the types of evidence they can use to help them to predict grades for external candidates. Your work from DistanceLearningCentre.com would fall under the category of being produced independently (with the help of a tutor whom the centre has no relationship with) and so would have a low level of confidence. As such it would need to undergo a centre validation process. This is a process between you and the centre to verify the evidence you are providing and may involve remote sessions and additional assessments with them.
- Where you have provided us with contact information for your centres we are contacting them to explain that we will be happy to provide evidence of work you have completed for your GCSE studies to allow them to conduct an initial exploration of this but the remainder of the process is between you and the exam centre so we are asking them if they will be able to complete this centre validation process.
- Ofqual have announced that Functional Skills assessments due to take place between now and the end of the academic year need to be cancelled and given a calculated grade (pass/fail).
- Open Awards are asking that as we can continue to provide examinations (as they are done remotely) we should continue to do so as far as possible. They have updated their FAQ for centres. Any learner who is unable to access an assessment in the normal way and who was due to sit an assessment this summer, will be given a calculated grade, so if you do have any difficulties sitting a planned exam as a result of circumstances arising from the Covid pandemic please let your tutor know.