Dear Students, Parents/Carers,

We understand how unsettling the past weeks have been for you, in the rapid changes that the COVID-19 virus has had on our lives.

Our aim in this is to be fair to all students this summer and to make sure no one is disadvantaged in their progress to sixth form, college, university, apprenticeships, training or work because of these unprecedented circumstances.

Dv8 has been committed to delivering our curriculum online since lockdown began, sticking to the timetable for lessons and delivering both new content whilst also allowing time for our students to develop and improve previously assessed work. 

We would like to thank the staff and students who have responded so quickly and positively to the many changes brought upon us in such a short space of time. Much good work has been going on through Google Classroom and through student submitted to complete vocational qualifications. 

We will continue to deliver as per our timetable until the end of term and have planned curriculum to support learners to achieve qualifications as planned, continue to develop creative skills and prepare for their next stage in learning or career. 

Vocational qualifications.

We have ensured that learners have been able to stay on track with work as closely to our pre-existing assessment plan as possible. We are working to exam board guidelines and at this time we expect to have an External Quality Assurance process to sign off work for this year.

However, we are still awaiting Ofqual instructions for how we deal with assessment that has not been able to be undertaken because of the lockdown. Dv8 will endeavour to keep you updated on this matter. 

Please be rest assured that going forwards all of our decisions will be in the best interests of our learners. 

Existing Ofqual guidance can be found here: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/awarding-vocational-and-technical-qualifications-this-summer

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ofqual-consultation-on-awarding-vocational-and-technical-qualifications-in-summer-2020

Whilst some learners have struggled to maintain full attendance in this period, please rest assured we remain committed to engaging with all students and ensuring that their learning continues during this lockdown period. 

We have been contacting all learners on a regular basis to ensure that they can be supported to engage, either through additional pastoral or learning support or through bursary support and equipment to allow for online access. 

If you are unsure what your young person has been working on, or where they are with their studies, please do contact the relevant Vocational Curriculum Area Lead listed below. 

Dv8 Bexhill:

Rich Cross (Music, Art/Fashion, MMD) richard.cross@dv8sussex.com

Paul Oliver (Games) paul.oliver@dv8sussex.com

Kieran Faulkner-Mahon (Media) kieran.faulkner-mahon@dv8sussex.com

Dv8 Brighton

Aaron Seigel (Music, Events) aaron.seigel@dv8sussex.com

Paul Oliver (Games) paul.oliver@dv8sussex.com

Kieran Faulkner-Mahon (Media, FCL) kieran.faulkner-mahon@dv8sussex.com

English and maths qualifications.

At Dv8 we offer two different routes: Functional Skills English and Math and GCSE English and Math. Following recent updates from Ofqual and our awarding bodies, please see below our plan going forward for this academic year. 

GCSE

GCSE exams planned for May and June 2020 will not take place. Dv8 will submit a grade for each learner that is based on the work completed before 20th March 2020. This is in line with the instructions given by Ofqual during the Easter break. 

How will grades be calculated? 

Dv8 has been asked to send exam boards two pieces of information for each subject, based on what we know about students work and achievements: 

  • a grade we believe students are most likely to get if teaching, learning and exams had happened as planned 
  • an order the performance of each student by grade, within each subject 

We are currently working on the process that will enable our teaching teams to standardise their judgements. This will consider a range of things like students’ classwork and homework and any mock exams taken before 3rd April; and general progress during studies with us. 

This information will be shared with exam boards at the end of May 2020 which will allow them, with Ofqual, to standardise the grades of all across schools and colleges, to make sure that, as far as possible, results are fair and that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged because their schools or colleges are more generous or harsh than others when (GCSE students in England) making those judgements. 

This means the final grade students get could be different from the one we send to the exam board. 

Important note: Ofqual and the Exam boards have specifically instructed all schools and colleges to not disclose this information to students/parents/carers. 

The Data Protection Act also provides an exemption from Freedom of Information requests on this information until after the exam results have been published. 

Please note that teachers and staff at Dv8 are not allowed to share the grades they will be sending to the exam boards or where they have placed you in the order of students. Please do not request this information as to do so would be in breach of our obligations and against national regulations. 

Functional Skills 

No further exams (online or written) will be sat this academic year. As with GCSE’s Dv8 will be required to submit grades (Pass or Fail) for all students who are on this pathway, a process provisionally booked for mid-June. Like GCSE’s tutors will decide this mark by looking at evidence (such as sample assessments, Mock papers) to ensure there is a fair judgement. As with GCSE’s our grades are subject to change as these are to be standardised across England, to make sure that, as far as possible, results are fair and that students are not advantaged or disadvantaged. 

This means, that this term, more than ever, is crucial for students on this pathway to engage in teaching and learning. If you have English or Math Functional Skills on your timetable, please ensure you attend all lessons and complete all work that is set by your tutor. 

If, for whatever reason, you feel like you need to contact your English and Maths tutor, don’t hesitate to email them. Please see email addresses below:

English GCSE Brighton- laura.mullen@dv8sussex.com

English FS Brighton- iain.fuller@dv8sussex.com

Maths FS Brighton- geraldine.hutt@dv8sussex.com

Maths GCSE Brighton- phil.lambert@dv8sussex.com

English GCSE and FS Bexhill- phil.jones@dv8sussex.com

Maths GCSE and FS Bexhill- robert.boucnik@dv8sussex.com

Careers Guidance

Our Student Services Manager, Nicola Lombardo (Nicola.lombardo@dv8sussex.com) is currently holding remote on-line 1-1 Careers Advice and Guidance sessions by video conference with all students who have not previously had one earlier in the academic year. If you would like further information advice and guidance on options for next academic year, either at Dv8, another college or in employment please contact Nicola as soon as possible to discuss this and arrange a 1-1 appointment if needed. Alternatively Nicola is happy to provide support in other ways for example by telephone, email or on-line Instant Chat if learners are not comfortable with on-line video conferencing.

Applying for Dv8 next year

If you would like to apply for a course at Dv8 next year, but have not done so yet, please apply now at www.dv8sussex.com/apply. Courses are filling up fast so please apply as soon as possible to ensure that we can give you the best possible chance of getting your place. If students are planning to go elsewhere to continue studying or into work we also need to know this so please let us know. Any learners with Education Health Care Plans (EHCP) must ensure they have told us about future plans (if not DV8) so we can update their EHC accordingly. Please email nicola.lombardo@dv8sussex.com with details of students intended destination fro next year. 

Bursary Support

Please get in touch if you need any further support through the Discretionary Bursary fund at Dv8. This fund is designed to support individual students to overcome barriers to learning and is available for use now. 

This fund can help provide tablets or computers for students to use to access online learning or provide access to software to enable work to be completed at home. 

To access this fund please contact your Curriculum Area Lead to put in a request and we will aim to support as best as possible.

Pastoral Support

We understand that this has been a difficult time for many and we have continued to support many students remotely. Students can access our student services support line on 07511 347095 if they would like to talk to either Nicola (Nicola.lombardo@dv8sussex.com), our Student Services Manager  or call 07732716447 to speak to Rachael (rachael.kamara@dv8sussex.com), our Student Services Co-ordinator in Bexhill. 

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to contact us on the following numbers: Bexhill 07759 254056, Brighton 07384321153.

We will continue to keep you updated as this ongoing situation develops, and we are following government, local authority and exam board instructions and guidance as we receive it. 

We wish you and your families well during these difficult times.

The Dv8 Team

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