Coronavirus

Updates for students, staff and visitors content

Updates for students, staff and visitors

Courses will now be delivered online and taught remotely by our lecturing teams.

Students and the public will no longer be able to access college buildings, Thurso campus including ERI, Rural Studies Centre, Tern House and Ballachraggan in Alness, Burghfield House and Ross House in Dornoch.

All of our support services including support, funding, library, IT and admissions are still contactable by email. Please see our contact us section for more information.

Students must continue to monitor their North Highland College UHI email account for all communications and updates. Resources are available to help anyone who is not familiar with some of the online technologies.

 University-wide information can be found at www.uhi.ac.uk/coronavirus

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Contact us! Our teams are working remotely from home and are contactable by email. content

Contact us! Our teams are working remotely from home and are contactable by email.

Funding and Learner Support information for students content

Funding and Learner Support information for students

Funding and Learner Support information for students

We understand that a lot of our students will be concerned about their funding while the campus buildings are closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our funding team have provided a short update for all students currently in receipt of bursaries, EMAs, FE & HE Discretionary Hardship Funds and FE and HE Childcare.

FUNDING

Payment of Student Support Fund
As of 18 March 2020, until classes and placements resume you will be granted authorised absence with an expectation you engage in online learning where it is being provided for you by staff. Payment of your Student Support Fund award(s) of funds will be paid as follows:

EMA

Paid in full in the normal way on the scheduled date (please remember there are no payments for holiday weeks and this has not changed).

FE Bursary

Maintenance allowance for living costs will be paid in full in the normal way on the scheduled date. 

Travel Allowance
All travel allowance payments for students will stop from 23rd March 2020.

FE & HE Discretionary Hardship Funds
Paid in full in the normal way on the scheduled date.

FE & HE Childcare
Please submit childcare expense claim forms for term weeks only to Student Support Team email account nhcstudentsupport@uhi.ac.uk (please remember there are no payments for holiday weeks and this has not changed). Mobile phone photographs of the whole front page claim forms will be acceptable.

If you are having financial difficulties please contact nhcstudentsupport@uhi.ac.uk

 

LEARNER SUPPORT

The learner support teams usually based in Thurso, Alness, Dornoch and Nigg are all working from home. We are contacting students who we were working with before the college closed to make arrangements with them to continue their support.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about funding or learner support, or if you are concerned about safeguarding issues, we are contactable on

  • nhcstudentsupport@uhi.ac.uk
  • Anna Swanson 07818 288 075
  • Jackie Manderson 07955 705 259
  • or private message our Facebook page (NHC Student Support)

Please regularly check your student email, college website or social media for updates.

The measures introduced in Scotland to reduce the spread of Covid 19 is based around the need for us all to socially distance ourselves or in some cases to self-isolate.  You can find more information here if you are unsure what this means: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

During these exceptional times, charities and support agencies are still out there and can take your calls or answer your emails if you contact them.  Listed below are some links to the support pages of organisations who work with:

  • care experienced young people
  • carers
  • individuals who are estranged from their parents

Care Experienced

Who Cares? Scotland

https://www.whocaresscotland.org/coronavirus-support/

Carers

CarersUK

https://www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/health/looking-after-your-health/coronavirus-covid-19

Estranged from Family

Stand Alone

https://www.standalone.org.uk/contact/

Stand Alone has also recorded a new podcast for people estranged from family. The two parts of the Podcast aim to offer support and guidance in managing mental wellbeing, safety, and dealing with the impact that COVID-19 is having in these unprecedented times: https://standalonecharity.podbean.com/e/coronavirus1/

Sexual Abuse or Gender-Based Violence

Should you need to speak to someone regarding sexual abuse or gender-based violence, the following organisations are available:

RASASH Support Services

Rape and Sexual Abuse Service Highland (RASASH) provides free, confidential, person-centered emotional and practical support, information and advocacy for survivors of sexual violence and abuse aged 13+, their non-abusing partners, family and friends.

If you need someone to talk to you can use the contact details below:

Support Line: 03330 066909 /  support@rasash.org.uk

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 9.30am to 1.00pm

Tuesday/Thursday 1.00pm to 4.30pm

website: http://www.rasash.org.uk/support/how-to-contact-us

Out with these hours contact: 

Rape Crisis Scotland Helpline: 08088 010302

Open daily, 6pm – midnight

website: https://www.rapecrisisscotland.org.uk/help-helpline

 

SCOTTISH WOMEN’S AID

If you feel scared of your partner or if you are worried about someone you know, you can get in touch with Scotland’s 24 hour Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriage Helpline on 0800 027 1234 or visit: sdafmh.org.uk

 

Information for applicants content

Information for applicants

Information for applicants

We are closely monitoring the ongoing advice and impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) to ensure we can support our current and prospective applicants for September 2020 and beyond.

If you are considering applying or already have an application with us, please be assured that our admissions staff will continue to work hard to process your application and keep in touch with you on progress. Please bear with us however as this may take a bit longer than usual.

Currently all face-to-face interviews have been suspended for applicants, however, we will be in touch with anyone affected to explain the alternative measures being put in place where this is necessary.

Exams have now been cancelled in Scotland and the rest of the UK, as well as many other countries across the world. We are aware of how unsettling this situation is for all those affected. We are monitoring the processes put in place by the different exam bodies to allow grading and certification to go ahead in the absence of the final exams and will work with this information when it becomes available.

If you have a conditional or receive a conditional offer from us in the coming months relating to exam results, we have been informed that your final grades will come through to us as normal to allow final decisions to be made. There is a small possibility that the final results for some qualifications may change or take longer to process, and if this is the case, we will notify any applicants this affects.

Please rest assured that if you have not achieved the result you hoped for due to the exams being cancelled, we will consider all evidence provided to ensure that you have an opportunity to access education at the appropriate level that gives you the best chance to succeed.  We will keep you informed of any impacts on your application. You can help us by making sure you respond as quickly as possible to offers made and any requests for additional information.

The university is committed to supporting applicants to achieve their ambition and potential and will continue to consider applicants individually, looking beyond grades to do this. We will consider all evidence provided to ensure that applicants have an opportunity to access education at the appropriate level that gives them the best chance to succeed. We are in a unique position because of our network of academic partners to be able to offer our applicants a range of access options to suit their circumstances.

We have had to cancel all scheduled open days and applicant days however we welcome applications for September 2020. Staff are available to answer queries, please use the contact provided in your application acknowledgment or offer letter.

 

Frequently asked questions content

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Update: 29th April 2020: What’s Happening with my Course? 

National 5 and Highers 

You will no longer sit an exam and do not need to submit any further coursework. 

We now have guidance on how to submit a detailed estimate to allocate your grade based on existing work submitted prior to lockdown. This guidance includes the advice for tutors of how to calculate the grade appropriately to take into account of the current circumstances. 

Tutors will also be attending a virtual training session to assist them with calculating the grades using the adapted process. 

The post-results service (previously known as appeals) will be open as normal this year after results are issued on 4th August. 

National 2, National 3, National 4, Skills for Work at SCQF Level 4, Skills for Work at SCQF Level 5, National Progression Awards (NPA), National Certificate (NC), NQ standalone units (not part of a group awards) 

We are continuing to assess students where this is possible.  Sometimes students may carry out existing assessments and sometimes students may be given adapted assessments (for example, you might now be given an open book assessment to do in place of a closed book assessment which had been planned). 

Where it is not possible to continue to assess students, our tutors are working to evaluate if they can use the existing evidence students have produced to provide a result for their course. 

There may be a small number of courses where this isn’t possible and our tutors will be considering other options in these circumstances. 

Students should note that they will not be disadvantaged because of these circumstances, tutors will be working to ensure students gain a fair and accurate outcome. 

It is important to continue to keep in touch with your tutors and PATs as they will be able to give you specific details about your course. 

Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma 

We are continuing to assess students where this is possible (including for Graded Unit).  Sometimes students may carry out existing assessments and sometimes students may be given adapted assessments (for example, you might now be given an open book assessment to do in place of a closed book assessment which had been planned). 

Where it is not possible to continue to assess students, our tutors are working to evaluate if they can use the existing evidence students have produced to provide a result for their course. 

There may be a small number of courses where this isn’t possible and our tutors will be considering other options in these circumstances. 

Students should note that they will not be disadvantaged because of these circumstances and tutors will be working to ensure students gain a fair and accurate outcome. 

It is important to continue to keep in touch with your tutors and PATs as they will be able to give you specific details about your course. 

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) and Foundation Apprenticeships (FA) 

SQA Accreditation regulate all SVQs and the SVQ element of Foundation Apprenticeships offered by awarding bodies in Scotland.  SQA Accreditation have now provided guidance to the awarding bodies (SQA, EAL etc.).  These awarding bodies will now be providing us with further guidance about how we progress SVQ’s on a course by course basis. 

It is important for all students studying SVQ qualifications, either as a full time student or in a work based setting, to keep in touch with their main NHC contact (assessor, PAT or other member of staff) as they will be able to give you specific details about your course and how it will progress.

If you are a work based student and have been furloughed by your employer, please ensure you discuss your situation with your assessor.

Degree 

All Degree students should now be aware of alternative arrangements for their modules. Please see the UHI Website for more information and discuss any concerns with your PAT or Module Leader/Tutor. 

What about exams, will these go ahead?  

On Thursday 19th March 2020, SQA announced that the Nat 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exam diet has been cancelled. You can view this statement here. SQA has developed a new certification model and details about how we will be implementing this which you can see within these FAQs.

We are also working with other awarding bodies, for example, City and Guilds, to agree on how we will progress these exams.  Please ensure that you check emails from your PAT and lecturers for guidance on the steps you need to take.  

Formal examinations held in colleges or other invigilated venues will not take place in May. Programme teams are planning alternative methods of assessment, which may involve some kind of coursework or an online ‘open book’ exam. You will be informed directly of any changes by your programme or module leader as soon as possible.  

I've heard that Higher coursework is no longer needed, is that true?  

On Tuesday 24th March 2020, SQA announced that schools and colleges are no longer required to submit externally marked coursework to SQA for Higher, Advanced Higher, and some Nat 5 courses. You can view this statement here. SQA has now provided us with further guidance and details about how we will be implementing this are available within these FAQs.

I don't have a laptop or PC at home, how will I keep up with work? 

Firstly, if you are able to safely borrow a laptop/PC from anyone you are in contact with please do.   

If you have absolutely no access to a laptop or PC please consider what learning you are able to undertake through the use of a smartphone, this may be limited but please consider downloading the Brightspace and MyDay apps if you have not already done so. 

Please contact your PAT to discuss outstanding work, workload, and deadlines. The situation will be different for each unit/module, however, it may be possible for you to agree on a different format of completing the assessment with your tutor, for example, handwritten planning and drafts of essays. 

I don't have an internet connection at home, how will I keep up with work? 

Please contact your PAT to discuss outstanding work, workload, and deadlines. The situation will be different for each unit/module however, it may be possible for you to agree on a different format of completing the assessment with your tutor, for example, handwritten planning and drafts of essays. 

I have to share a laptop with my family and can't access classes at scheduled times, what should I do?

Please contact your PAT to discuss your timetable. Please discuss individual classes with your tutor, where virtual teaching is taking place via Brightspace and other online platforms it may be possible to access recordings or to interact with the materials in a different way. 

I've been asked to use Webex, Skype or Brightspace to complete work, how will I access this?   

This page has been updated to provide students and staff with resources helping them access Webex, Skype for Busines, and Brightspace. Please see the top of the page and if you need more assistance, please contact the Unidesk for more advice and help.  

My WiFi is poor, what if it drops out, how will I complete work?  

If you are finding that you are having difficulties with your Wifi, we would recommend you check your broadband speed. Please ensure you are saving your work regularly and if you are concerned about meeting deadlines and assessments due to a poor network or broadband speed, please speak to your PAT for more guidance.  

I want to be able to speak to staff one to one, how can I do this?                   

As all of our teaching has moved to fully online, you can contact lecturers direct through email, Webex or Skype for Business. Our student support team are also available to support students with both funding and curriculum support issues. Please be assured, North Highland College UHI is dedicated to supporting you through your studies at this difficult time but as we make adjustments to how we work, there may be a delay in response times in some instances.  

If North Highland College UHI is closed how will I finish my course? 

Although our campus buildings are closed for staff, students and visitors, we are still very much open but remotely as our services are now provided online. Our curriculum teams are working with the University of the Highlands and Islands, SQA and other awarding bodies to consider how courses will be completed. This will be different for every course. Please ensure that you check emails from your PAT and lecturers for guidance on the steps you need to take.