Coronavirus (COVID-19) updates

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates, Advice and Guidance

Latest statement from the College

6 January 2021:

As a result of the latest Government announcement about the national lockdown in England, and that education settings should close, the College is now closed to the vast majority of students, and students should be now working remotely. The College will remain open for vulnerable students and the children of critical workers.

The College Management Team are keen to ensure that these announcements do not have a negative impact on our students and that they are supported during this period. In order to support our students, and comply with the new guidance, we have put some plans in place and you can read in detail about this below.

January exams

We recognise that students have worked hard to prepare for scheduled exams in January and that many students want them to go ahead as planned. The Government have indicated that these exams can go ahead, and therefore we will support any student who wishes to sit their exams in January.

Please be assured that all exams will take place in a safe and secure environment. However, we also recognise that many students do not feel that it is right time, during a national lockdown, to travel to College to sit an exam and therefore students may choose to defer this assessment. At the present time we are waiting for further guidance from the Department for Education regarding the assessment process for students who do not sit their January exams and for those who would have sat an exam in May/June. We will provide further information as soon as this is available.

Please contact your tutor if you have any queries.

All students who do wish to sit their exams in January are strongly encouraged to undertake a lateral flow test a maximum of 24 hours before their exam, and obtain a negative result before attending College. If the result is positive you must not attend campus and should inform your tutor of your result. If you are positive, you should also arrange to obtain a confirmatory PCR test and follow the national guidance (which will require you to self-isolate for 10 days) if your PCR result is positive.

You must not attend College to sit your exam if you have Coronavirus symptoms or have tested positive in the 10 days prior to your exam. The symptoms are:

  • a high temperature – this means feeling hot to touch on the chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – this means you have noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Remote learning

During the full national lockdown commencing on 5 January 2021:

As the College is now closed to the vast majority of students, taught sessions will be delivered remotely. Please note:

  • The College timetable will continue as normal in most subject areas. If any changes are made to timetables, teaching staff will communicate this to students.
  • Sessions will begin with live video delivery, this may also be used at various points throughout the session.
  • A variety of delivery methods will be used, including presentations, quizzes, assessment tasks and group work.
  • Teaching staff (and any assigned support workers) will be available to support students throughout the duration of sessions.
  • Students should be engaged in activities for the duration of the session and must be able to evidence this.

Subjects with practical requirements which can only be fulfilled onsite may be asked to attend some of their weekly sessions in smaller, COVID-19 secure groups at such a time as restrictions allow it. This will require some evidence of preparation work completed at home to minimise the onsite hours as much as possible.

Where possible, students must have the resources required to engage in sessions at home. If they do not have access to technology (computer, tablet, Wi-Fi, etc) please call the College at 0151 353 4444 and ask for The POD Student Services, or email the College at

Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) students

SEND students will still receive support in lessons, if this is their normal method of working. All one to one support sessions will continue online via Teams in accordance with regular schedules.

14-16 College students

Students who attend the 14-16 College are now learning remotely, unless they are children of critical workers or are classed as a vulnerable student. Students from the 14-16 cohort who fall into one of these groupings, and so require onsite learning, should have been contacted by the College to arrange for onsite attendance. If you have not been contacted but believe you should, please call the 14-16 College on 0151 353 4567.

University Centre

Students studying at our University Centre should, for now, follow their normal timetable whilst learning remotely. Students should have been contacted by their tutors with any additional information that they need about this. You can read the latest statement from the Dean of Higher Education and Access here.

Useful links

If you have any questions or concerns about any of the information above, please contact us.

Attending College

The information below was last updated: 5 January 2021.

Yes. It is compulsory that you wear a face covering in all areas of the College; expect when you are in a classroom, workshop or other designated teaching space. This includes Reception areas and building entrances, as well as canteens/cafes when you are not sat at a table.

Wearing a mask is one of the important measures that the College has put in place to keep everyone as safe as possible and failure to do so, without an acceptable reason, would be in breach of the Student Behaviour Policy and may lead to disciplinary action.

Please remember a face covering must also be worn if you are travelling to College using public transport. If you are not travelling by public transport, please ensure you bring with you a face covering. If you have any concerns about wearing or obtaining a face covering, please speak to a member of Learner Support or The POD Student Services.

There are exemptions that apply to learners who are unable to wear a facemask whilst either in college or travelling on college transport. These exemptions include:

  • Underlying chronic breathing conditions (demonstrate medical exemption)
  • Physical or mental illness, disability or impairment
  • Accompanying someone who relies on lip reading where they need to communicate

There will be exceptions to the guidelines and each learner will be treated fairly and on an individual basis. If you have an exemption card from Student Services, please ensure that you have it with you at all times.

During the national lockdown, commencing on 5 January 2020, all students will learn remotely and so will not be required to attend onsite (unless an exception applies – in which case you will be contacted separately regarding this). Once the lockdown has ended, attendance will vary depending on your course. We do expect that, on average, learners will attend onsite for at least one day per week but you may be asked to attend more or less than this depending on which course you are on.

If you are categorised as 'clinically extremely vulnerable' or have received a shielding letter from the NHS, please contact Student Services on 0151 353 4444 urgently, so that we can advise about your attendance during this national lockdown.

Yes. We take your health and safety and the wellbeing of all our learners and staff very seriously. Our plans involve detail planning to ensure social distancing can be maintained and that all appropriate health and safety measures are in place in line with the national guidance. We have introduced aspects such as one way systems to minimise the chances of contact with others and enhanced cleaning systems. There may be times when you are completing work at home whilst the other half of your group attend onsite. We will also arrange for you to join your class remotely at times through Microsoft Teams.

We have placed a number of images and videos on our website of how we have set up the College and we will continue to do this over the next few months.

During the closure of education settings, you will follow your normal College timetable, but you will be attending classes remotely. Once the lockdown has ended this may vary depending on your course, however we would anticipate that your average week may look like this:

  • Specific times when you will attend theory and practical lessons onsite as part of your group of 10. Some of these classes may also have the other half of your group joining you remotely through Microsoft Teams (we are calling this the “split classroom”);
  • Specific times when you will be expected to attend Microsoft Teams sessions at home that may mean, for example, you join a class remotely that is taking place in the College or that you are completing work on Microsoft Teams whilst your tutor is available online to support you;
  • Specific times when you will attend a tutorial session, both onsite or remotely, to meet with your Progress Coach or other member of staff;
  • You will have work to complete at home and you will then email this to your tutors every week;
  • If you are studying maths and English then there will also be specific times when you will attend these, both onsite and remotely;

Firstly, please don’t worry. As part of your induction to the College in September you should have received clear and simple training onsite that will support you to learn online. During the first lockdown, we found that all learners quickly grasped what they needed to do to engage with their teachers online and we are confident that this will be the case for you, too. Please be assured that your staff will support you throughout your course and this includes ensuring that you gain the skills to access what you need to online.

Please do not worry. If additional resources are required, and delivery possible, arrangements will be made as soon as possible. Please be aware that it may take some time to organise IT equipment, but we will aim to get you access to what you need as quickly as we are able to. Please email with any concerns, or call the College on 0151 353 4444 and ask for The POD Student Services.

The College will continue to be guided by government requirements and advice from Public Health England (PHE). You can be sure that when we are able to open to more learners and you are able to attend onsite more regularly, we will ensure that you can do so. We do anticipate, however, that most courses will continue with an element of online learning in the future. We have learned so much over the last few months about what makes for great online learning and we are keen that you continue to be able to experience this in some form.

Yes, but we would ask that, if possible, you plan ahead and make an appointment. Whilst we will be making many of our Student Support services available online, we recognise the importance of maintaining a face-to-face service and all learners will continue to be able to access all of the support we offer in person at the College.

All physical library rooms are currently closed. The library has 24/7 access to over 3,000 e-books and e-journals. Find out more here.

Library staff are still available to answer any queries that you might have:

Being concerned about the current situation is natural. If you need support/advice with your mental health/wellbeing, you can access external services via our Mental Health Support Portal. Access the Portal here

Social Distancing Measures

Below you can watch videos that show you the social distancing and safety measures we have in place around our campuses.

NHS Advice

Find out how to protect yourself or check if you need medical help via the NHS website: