Learning Support

What if my son/daughter needs extra help?

The Learning Support team will help ensure that all students, regardless of their learning difficulty and/or disability, can benefit from their College course, to realise their potential and progress to employment or Higher Education. As part of our admissions and enrolment procedures, we ask students about particular support needs and discuss these with them individually.Students are also given the opportunity to improve their literacy and numeracy skills if they have not passed GCSE Maths and/or English Language at grade C or above.  This will be discussed with them at enrolment and students will be offered additional support in either GCSE Maths/English re-sit classes or literacy workshop classes.  After assessment, some students may also benefit from additional Study Lab classes to support them with Dyslexia etc.If, however, you feel your son or daughter has an individual support need that has not been identified, or that (s)he needs some extra help, please ask him/her to contact one of our Student Support Managers, Emma Hart, (room 112) to make an appointment to talk this through and look at the options available.

Child Protection Policy

The College fully recognises its responsibilities for child protection and our policy applies to all staff, governors and volunteers working in the school.  We will follow procedures set out by the Oldham Local Safeguarding Children Board and take account of guidance issued by the DfE.  Our policy is available on request but in summary we will:

  • establish and maintain an environment where students feel secure and are listened to
  • ensure that students know that there are staff in the College whom they can approach if they are worried
  • ensure that students are particularly aware of E-Safety and their responsibilities when using facilities such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Expectations of Students

The College wants all students to have a successful, enjoyable and safe time at College.  To make sure this happens we expect them:

  • to go about College, both inside and outside the building, in a quiet, responsible and safe way;
  • to comply with the College Security Systems to aid the system for student identification in and around the College. In particular, to carry a College ID card and produce it, if asked, whilst on the College premises;
  • to respect and co-operate with each member of the College community regardless of differences in culture, ability, race, gender, age or sexual orientation and not give offence to others by their use of language, actions or behaviour;
  • to contribute to the congenial atmosphere of the College;
  • to take care of College equipment, facilities and buildings and show respect for other people’s property;
  • to pursue a learning programme consisting of at least 18 guided learning hours per week throughout the duration of their studies;
  • to make every effort to attend all timetabled classes, arrive on time and be attentive and co-operative in class unless genuinely too ill to do so;
  • to switch off electronic devices whilst in lessons or study areas;
  • in general, not to eat, drink and visit the toilet during timetabled classes;

to be responsible for their own learning, by ensuring that they:

  • come prepared for all lessons;
  • bring the required equipment and materials to all lessons;
  • complete all work to the best of their ability;
  • meet all deadlines for homework and coursework;
  • keep all work for each subject well organised;
  • catch up on any work missed;
  • ask tutors for help, if needed;
  • to take advantage of the range of opportunities offered in extra-curricular provision;
  • to attend one to one interviews with their Personal Tutor or other members of staff;
  • to consult their Personal Tutor and other appropriate staff on any problem arising from or affecting their work or course, so that appropriate support can be offered;
  • to notify the College immediately of any absence;
  • to inform the College of any changes to their personal details or contact information.

Attendance and Punctuality – How does the College monitor attendance and punctuality?

Attendance at all lessons is compulsory and arriving on time is essential.  Tutors will query absence or late arrival and record the number of minutes late for students arriving after the start of the lesson.  These details are reported to parents on our regular reports home.Absence from examination classes, Tutorials or any other timetabled class, without a fair explanation is, for obvious reasons, taken very seriously and suggests that the student has a problem.Registration takes place at all classes using our computerised registration system.  Tutors can access the attendance records of any student on any subject.  This allows us to monitor and take action quickly when attendance or punctuality problems arise.Students can, at any time, view their own attendance and punctuality record by using ‘SPADD’. Parents will soon be able to do so on our ‘Parents’ Portal’ being developed this year.The College’s policy on attendance, punctuality and exam entry is outlined in the Student Diary.

What if my son/daughter is absent from College because of illness for example?

We require a phone call from a parent/guardian telling us the reasons for the absence and how long the student is expected to be away.   The number to dial is (0161) 287 8002.  This is a 24 hour automated absence recording system where you can leave the details of your son/daughter’s absence.  You will be asked the name of the student, Tutor group, College ID number (T. . . ), reason for absence and expected date of return.If a student knows they will be absent in advance of a lesson (e.g: for a hospital appointment) they should pre-notify the College of an absence on SPADD and should also notify their tutors in advance.Students in receipt of the 16-19 Bursary must follow the College’s absence procedure issued to all Bursary students.  Wherever possible absences should be reported in advance, to Reception in the Duncan Lawton Building or on SPADD, together with appropriate evidence.  Pre-notified absences that have been authorised will not result in the payment being stopped.  Payments will be stopped if the absence authorisation procedure has not been followed.

What if my son/daughter is expected to have a longer term absence?

If medical or personal circumstances arise that are going to affect your son’s/daughter’s ability to College over a prolonged period of time, it is important that you make personal contact about this with their Personal Tutor.If you telephone the main College number (0161 287 8000) and ask for them you will be able to leave a message if the member of staff is not immediately available.

What are authorised absences?

The College policy is only to authorise absence for College-related activities, for example University visits, field trips, work experience, official study leave and examinations.  However the College also recognises that some religious festivals fall outside of our main holiday pattern. If this is the case, students must complete a pro-forma requesting authorised absence prior to the absence taking place and hand this in at the Reception in the Duncan Lawton building in advance.The College takes guidance from the local religious leaders on what is an appropriate period of absence (usually one day) and will advise students accordingly. A maximum of 3 days will be allowed in one year.If a student is going to miss a class because of a College-related activity, absence will be authorised and the register marked accordingly.  However, if the student is attending a University interview or open day, the responsibility rests with the student to inform staff in the Careers area, that they will be absent before they miss classes and an authorisation form must be submitted (available from the Careers Area). No lateness will be authorised.

What if students book driving lessons or medical appointments during lesson times?

All driving lessons should be booked when the students have free time, as should appointments to see, for example, dentists or doctors.If an appointment during lesson times is unavoidable, the student will need to inform his or her Tutors in advance, inform College via the absence line or see the College supervisors in the careers area in College One to sign out.  16-19 Bursary students will need to retain/ request a medical appointment card as evidence to get the absence authorised.

Is it OK to take a holiday during term time?

The College will not authorise absences for holidays taken when students should be in lessons.  Regular attendance at lessons is essential if students are to succeed on their chosen courses.  You also need to be aware that your son/daughter will be taking important external examinations in the summer of both the first and second year of their course.  In some subjects students will also sit external exams in January of the Spring Term.The College year ends on Friday, 4th July, 2013.  During the period following Advanced Level examinations Year 12 students will start their A2 work.  In addition, during this time students will begin the very important process of applying for University places.  It is important that all students attend.

What should students do in free time between classes?

We encourage students to plan how to use their time constructively.  Being a student at the College is a full-time commitment and involves extensive work outside of the classroom.The College has several quiet study areas as well as the Learning Resources Centres.  The Learning Resources Centre in the Duncan Lawton Building (‘The Know’) is open from :

8.30 a.m.   to   6.00 p.m.                Monday & Thursday

8.30 a.m.   to   4.30 p.m.                Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday

Whilst we do not insist students remain on the premises between classes, we are keen that they make the best use of their time and College facilities.   There are also two Student Common Rooms and students may wish to take advantage of the College’s sports facilities.The College Restaurant and snack bar are open for refreshments, snacks and lunches every day, Monday to Friday, from 8.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m.

What happens if a member of staff is absent?

There may be occasions when a member of staff is unable to take a lesson.  This can be for different reasons as outlined as follows:

  • Staff attending courses – occasionally a member of staff may undertake some professional development which affects their attendance at a class.  In this case, work will be set and another member of the team will register the class and ensure all students have the work set, or the class may be cancelled in advance with the teacher having set work prior to their course
  • Staff illness – in the event of unforeseeable absence due to staff illness, the class will be registered and set work by a member of the team as above.  We will endeavour to put cover arrangements in place as quickly as possible but this may take up to a week to arrange, dependent on the circumstances.  In the meantime, students are expected to continue to attend classes, where they will be registered and work will be set.  Students are likely to be asked to complete the work set in a study area or at home if cover is not available, since we do not leave classes working without supervision.  Longer term staff absence will be covered by other staff in the department on a more formal basis or through the use of supply cover as necessary.  We will endeavour at all times to ensure the maintenance of the high standards of teaching expected at the College.
  • Standardisation and Moderation processes – it may, on occasion, be necessary to cancel a lesson in order that staff can work together to ensure their assessment of student work is fair, accurate and consistent.  This standardisation or moderation is crucial for ensuring effective and high quality assessment (as well as being required by the exam boards).  Where this is necessary, students affected will be notified in advance and work will be set
  • Staff accompanying College visits  – in most cases staff absence due to College trips does not impact on classes other than those on the trip but where this is unavoidable, the procedures outlined above are followed (i.e. advance notice and work set).

We hope that as parents you will appreciate the importance of professional development, accurate assessment procedures and educational visits in securing the best possible outcomes for your son/daughter.  We monitor staff absence carefully and will do everything we can to ensure minimal impact on students.