Starting and Enrolling in College

Can I still apply for courses?

Yes, colleges are very much open for business and accepting applications, so if you are deciding on the best course for you, please visit the college websites for further information. 

Will colleges be open in August 2020?

Colleges will be open and are scenario planning for the new academic year. Given the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, colleges are examining a blended approach of digital and on-site learning and will be guided by the latest Scottish Government and Public Health Scotland advice on the anticipated phased approach to ease lockdown restrictions. Colleges are currently delivering courses through online learning and will continue to do so until it is safe to return to campuses.

Can I still progress onto another course in college?

For the majority of courses, progression will be happening in the normal way but please speak to your college to discuss the details for your course.

National Qualifications Exams

Will we get to sit exams for this academic year (2019-20) after lockdown?

No, the 2020 exam diet for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses has been cancelled by the Scottish Government. 

When will the results be available?

Learners expecting their results for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will receive their results on Tuesday, 4 August 2020. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) strongly encourages learners to sign-up to MySQA, its online and text service, as a direct way to receive results.

What about additional support students who have to provide evidence that they need support for exams – will this be taken into consideration?

Colleges will make the necessary adjustments for those students.

Appeals

How will the appeals process work for this year?

After Tuesday, 4 August 2020, a free appeals service will be available to colleges, to allow them to request a review of the grade awarded for a learner or a group of learners in National 5, Higher or Advanced Higher courses.

Higher National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas, Professional Development Awards, National Certificates, National Progression Awards, Skills for Work courses and National Qualification freestanding units

How will grades be awarded?

SQA has developed – with input from the college sector – an alternative certification model for this year based on estimated grades. Colleges have been provided with detailed guidance on how to determine grades. 

The adapted assessment process for this year is based on fairness to students and upholding the system’s integrity. Quality assurance of qualifications is centred on flexibility in assessment and professional evaluation based on course team decisions and other relevant evidence, such as learners’ progress and previous achievements. 

How is an accurate grade going to be determined?

A flexible approach to ongoing assessment has been agreed. Wherever possible, you should continue to engage remotely in learning, teaching and assessment until the scheduled end of block or semester, or to the point where your course team considers that enough evidence is in place to enable a final assessment judgement to be made.

Where some evidence of the course already exists but further progress is not possible, your lecturer will review all the available assessment evidence to evaluate whether you have met the course aims. Using this evidence, and their knowledge of your engagement and progress, your lecturer will determine your result based on your performance to date. 

Colleges’ Internal Quality Assurance panels – which comprise of quality specialists, senior staff and experienced internal and external verifiers, separate from the course teaching team – will provide a consistent approach to evaluation to uphold those key principles of fairness and integrity as well as ensure that the procedures being put in place are robust. 

SQA also reserve the right to carry out external verification, although the scale is likely to be less extensive than in previous years.

Further information on qualifications can be found on SQA's website.

What is the guidance on Higher National graded units?

Where it has not been possible to complete the Graded Unit (for example, you have no access to necessary resources or equipment due to the lockdown), college staff will use Graded Unit work completed to date – plus a range of other assessment evidence – to predict and award a grade where it is possible to do so. This will depend on the quality and amount of evidence available.

Do we still have to do assessments?

Many college courses are continuing to use online learning and are providing assessment opportunities. Please speak to your lecturer in the first instance who can advise of arrangements for your course.

I don’t have access to resources/equipment to be able to participate in online learning. What do I do?

Colleges are doing everything they can to enable students can fully access online learning. Please speak to your lecturer or guidance staff in your college in the first instance. Colleges Scotland has asked the Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council to consider providing free broadband for students and staff to assist this significant digital expansion and to accelerate the broadband capacities and speeds across the country. 

What’s happening with practical courses?

Many college courses are continuing using innovative and creative online learning. Please speak to your lecturer in the first instance who can advise of arrangements for your course.

What about additional support students who have to provide evidence that they need support for exams – will this be taken into consideration?

Colleges will make the necessary adjustments for those students.

When will the results be available?

Learners whose colleges have provided results to SQA for Awards, National Certificates, National Progression Awards, Skills for Work courses, and National Qualification freestanding units will receive their results on Tuesday, 4 August 2020. 

Learners taking Higher National Certificates, Diplomas and Professional Development Awards will receive their results in the normal way, once their college has submitted their results to SQA.

Foundation and Modern Apprenticeships

What’s happening with Foundation Apprenticeships?

Learners should speak to their school or college in the first instance who can advise on arrangements. For further information visit the Skills Development Scotland website.

What’s happening with Modern Apprenticeships?

Your college and employer will advise of any changes to your apprenticeship. For further information visit the Skills Development Scotland website.

SWAP Students

What guidance is there for SWAP students?

SWAP Access programmes continue to be delivered by colleges and SWAP offices continue to be open to support all SWAP students. Academic completion and the student profile will take into account the change in circumstances, as well as acknowledging the challenging personal circumstances of SWAP students, many of whom are key workers and have caring responsibilities. Students are asked to engage fully with their programme college lecturers in order to maintain their development and progress, and for up-to-date information.  Further information can also be viewed on the Scottish Wider Access Programme website.

SWAP Directors can be contacted by any student to discuss their issues or concerns:

  • SWAPEast: Lesley Dunbar:
  • SWAPWest: Kenny Anderson:  

Mental Health

What mental health support is available?

Colleges are continuing to provide mental health support for students and a number of colleges have signed up to the Big White Wall. Please contact your college to discuss any issues or concerns. 

For urgent immediate support, please contact The Samaritans which is open 24-hours a day on Tel: 116 123 or visit https://www.samaritans.org/.

A list of organisations that offer mental health support can be found on the SAMH website at https://www.samh.org.uk/find-help  

Student Support Funding

Will my bursary payments be affected?

No, scheduled payments will continue automatically as students continue with their learning journey. Please contact your college to discuss any issues or concerns. 

Is hardship funding available?

Extra cash is available to students now struggling because of COVID-19. The Scottish Government has put a £5 million package of emergency financial support in place to help students facing hardship as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This includes an additional £2.2 million for Scotland’s Higher Education Discretionary Fund specifically to address COVID-19-related hardships, which is available to colleges and universities.

Students can apply directly to their college for emergency funding. 

Further information about the financial support available for students can be found at https://www.studentinformation.gov.scot/coronavirus  

Useful Links

Big White Wall: https://www.bigwhitewall.com/

Colleges: https://collegesscotland.ac.uk/collegesinscotland 

National Union of Students: https://www.nusconnect.org.uk/nus-scotland/

SAMH: https://www.samh.org.uk/find-help

Scottish Funding Council: http://www.sfc.ac.uk/COVID-19/COVID-19.aspx

Scottish Qualifications Authority: www.sqa.org.uk/2020qualifications 

Skills Development Scotland: https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/

Student Information Scotland: https://www.studentinformation.gov.scot/coronavirus

The Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/