Remote learning arrangements during COVID-19 restriction by NextStep Training Ltd
This guidance is to inform all of our learners and apprentices, along with their parents/ carers/ employers what to expect from NextStep Training Ltd in periods of national or local Covid-19 restrictions and enforced lockdowns.
1. Arrangements for timetabling and delivery of remote teaching and learning
During periods of remote learning, NextStep Training Ltd expects our teaching colleagues to deliver as many planned timetabled hours as possible to our 16 to 19, adult learners and apprentices.
We expect that existing planned timetable hours will largely be maintained wherever possible. There may be some instances where planned delivery is not possible, and we will therefore allow staff to plan with a degree of local flexibility with approval from centre management. Schemes of learning and assessment will be adjusted to accommodate the nature of delivery; for example, some practical elements may need to be deferred until our staff are able to return to face-to-face delivery. This position will continue to be monitored and will be reviewed in the event of extended remote learning.
As far as possible, lessons will be delivered via live online teaching in lieu of face-to-face delivery and this will be periodically sampled and monitored through an approved revision to our teaching and learning policy to ensure the quality and experience of this delivery is appropriate and that learners are safe and well.
All courses have access to Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and Zoom or Google Meet as a minimum and staff are now using a wide range of NextStep Training Ltd-approved platforms to support remote and online learning.
Live lessons are typically being delivered via Zoom sessions and all teaching colleagues have
access to guidance associated with good practice whilst delivering online live streaming and remote learning. This is circulated by email and is held on an internal portal for teaching and learning.
We are providing regular training and masterclass sessions to continue to support teaching colleagues in the delivery of remote learning.
2. Contact with learners and support
All staff are kept up-to-date with the latest government guidance and durations of lockdown through central communication channels like group chat/emails. It is expected that colleagues will continue to record learner engagement and on-site attendance (for those attending as vulnerable or children of critical workers) using our standard timesheets/learner record system. Teachers, assessors, learning support and pastoral staff will maintain regular contact with all learners, including those who do not engage with remote learning. Centre IQA and managers and programme leaders will maintain regular contact with learners to ensure they are aware of changes to delivery arrangements.
Personal tutors & assessors will remain in regular contact with all learners and will be the first point of contact for any queries or support requests from learners. Any learner requiring any academic or pastoral support will be offered it remotely. Personal Tutors will be responsible for referring learners to appropriate support services.
3. Arrangements for assessments and examinations
NextStep Training Ltd will closely follow any instructions and guidance provided by the Department for Education (DfE) and Ofqual in relation to exams and assessments.
Any cancellations are communicated to learners scheduled to sit exams and via their tutors and social media channels. It is NextStep Training Ltd’s intention to ensure that no learner is disadvantaged as a result of cancelled examinations or assessments and we made the decision to cancel when assurances had been provided by Ofqual that alternative arrangements would be put in place.
End Point Assessments for Apprenticeships will continue either remotely, or in-person where there is a pressing need to secure a license to practice. Any such assessment will be subject to detailed risk assessments and NextStep Training Ltd will not place apprentices or staff at risk.
NextStep Training Ltd will communicate any updates directly to learners and parents and will publish it on the NextStep Training Ltd and centre websites once it has been received.
Expectations of learners during Periods of Remote Learning
All learners are expected to continue their learning from home wherever possible, in line with their existing timetables and information provided to them by their teachers. Where it is not possible, NextStep Training Ltd will endeavour to assist through the provision of equipment, or by providing a safe alternative arrangement to remote learning. Some learners will continue to attend in person in line with government expectations, and all centres are open to these groups of learners by agreement and arrangement.
Learners should not visit centre unless they have been explicitly instructed to do so.
The majority of work placements are deferred. There may be isolated exceptions, for example where an adult learner is volunteering in critical services and this has some links to a course. In these isolated cases, a full COVID risk assessment will be undertaken and any relevant consent and authorisations will be sought.
If learners currently attend work as an apprentice, they should continue to attend unless they are told otherwise by their employer. Their Skills Trainers and lecturers will continue to support them and whilst our staff will follow government advice to work from home where we can, some staff can visit the workplace subject to secure COVID risk assessments, consent and authorisation from the employer and centre leadership team. Day or block release training will continue online, as will the majority of progress reviews.
All learners should continue regular contact with their Personal Tutors and direct any questions to them.
Learners with Special Educational Needs or Disabilities (SEND)
At all NextStep Training Ltd centres, vulnerable learners are formally identified early prior to their engagement and are supported through specific education and learning plans.
Learners with specific needs are supported via educational health care plans (EHCP) and centre arrangements for learning support. These plans have been reviewed to ensure continuity of support during lockdown and arrangements are personalised to individual needs. Many learners will continue to attend centre in-person if that I deemed the most appropriate to their circumstances and learning requirements.
Access to Specialist Equipment and Facilities
During temporary periods of remote learning, access to centre facilities is unavailable for most learners. This is continually monitored and during longer periods of remote learning, access may be arranged where it is necessary for assessment and where this is in line with government guidance.
In some cases, specific software may be provided via the deployment of additional licences or virtual networks.
This will differ by course and by centre depending on the demands of the course.
Support for Learners Without Suitable Access to Learn Remotely
Leadership team members have been asked to carefully document the number of learners who genuinely do not have access to a) appropriate hardware/kit, b) access to the internet and/or c) an appropriate space to learn and we will action within our means to do so.
During a move to remote delivery, arrangements to support these learners are highly personalised.
Where possible, we will provide suitable equipment. Some learners may be able to continue attending centre in a safe environment to access remote learning on site. The position at each centre is reviewed weekly by the centre leadership team.