Coronavirus Information

During the governments update on the evening of 18 March, there was a clear instruction that educational organisations should remain open to support our most vulnerable students and the children of key workers.
Our students success and welfare are at the heart of everything we do, therefore we continue to provide support and education for all other students remotely.

 For current students

University Centre Somerset is now moving online. Staff will be working remotely and will continue to deliver your course online so that your studies can continue wherever possible. We are working with our External Examiners and university partners / Pearson to agree any necessary changes to assessment as a result of this change in the way we normally deliver teaching and learning. We will work to ensure that you have the best opportunity to meet the learning outcomes of your course using a variety of methods, including distance and online learning. We will confirm these details with you in due course. Please be assured that we will continue to support your learning.

You are now able to apply for Extenuating Circumstances (EC), by completing a Microsoft Office 365 Form online on the link below. Please log in using your college email address replacing ‘btc’ with ‘bridgwater’ (e.g. bloggsj@bridgwater.ac.uk). This form will work best when accessed via a Google Chrome Browser, as it doesn't function well in Internet Explorer.

You can also copy this link into your browser search box: https://bit.ly/3db3avt

If you cannot access this form for any reason, you can continue to use the usual EC forms on the HE Info Hub on Blackboard, and submit via email to he@btc.ac.uk. If you are a UWE student, you should submit requests directly to the university in line with their normal process.

You do not need to provide evidence for circumstances related to the Coronavirus. Instead please include a statement explaining your circumstances and how it is affecting you.

For any further queries please email the HE Team he@btc.ac.uk.

Support

  • Contact the IT Team for support with resolving IT issues by emailing itshelpdesk@btc.ac.uk
  • For Safeguarding matters, the staysafe@btc.ac.uk email will be monitored at all times in office hours, including during the Easter period.
  • The Wellbeing team are available to support you. Their contact details are  Bridgwaterwellbeing@btc.ac.ukTauntonwellbeing@btc.ac.ukCanningtonwellbeing@btc.ac.uk
  • Contact the HE Team at HE@btc.ac.uk if you have any other questions or concerns.
  • Learning Resources Co-ordinators are working from home and will be happy to offer students individual support on any aspects of study skills including referencing. Request support by email. 
Bridgwater

Chris Goodwin – goodwinc@btc.ac.uk

Jane Crocker – crockerj@btc.ac.uk

Cannington                                                                                                                                              

Laetitia Delaleuf – Delaleufl@btc.ac.uk

Taunton

Jolanta Peters – petersj@btc.ac.uk

Adele Roberts – robertsa@btc.ac.uk

General enquiries 

lrcenquiries@btc.ac.uk or tautonlrc@btc.ac.uk

I am an existing student in 2019-20 and I think that I will be disadvantaged because of the coronavirus pandemic.  What can I do about this?

Each Awarding Organisation/University is responsible for how it manages its academic regulations and University Centre Somerset works with them to implement these.  Different universities have developed different approaches for mitigating the impact of the pandemic, whilst maintaining the quality and standard of their awards.  We are working closely with them to apply the newly developed policies for each group of students.

 When you receive your results, the relevant policy will have been considered and applied, where appropriate.  If you still feel that you have been disadvantaged, you will be given an opportunity (within time limits) to appeal your final outcome.  When your results are sent out, you will be given details of the grounds on which it is possible to appeal and how to do so. Please check this appeals guidance relevant to your awarding university. 


For those who have been offered conditional offers and are hoping to start their course with us in 2020/21

We look forward to welcoming you to your new year of study in 2020-21 at University Centre Somerset. We plan to start delivery of teaching for the 2020-21 academic year in September, in line with previously published dates.

Key principles underpinning the planning are:

University Centre Somerset (UCS), together with the rest of Bridgwater & Taunton College, will be following the guidance published by Public Health England as well as education sector national bodies. Our aim is to think flexibly, monitor the situation continually and work towards an element of on-campus delivery as soon as we can safely achieve this during the academic year. As our groups tend to be relatively small, this will be more easily achieved than for those universities with very large groups of students. It will be a carefully staged approach, in compliance with Health and Safety risk assessments. We will be running a blended learning approach with teaching learning and assessment planned for online delivery in the first instance. Priority for on-campus delivery will go to those programmes whose learning outcomes require the use of specific on-campus resources.

How will my course be delivered in 2020-21?

Enrolment and central induction will be carried out remotely, online, and students will not be expected to attend campus for these activities apart from in exceptional circumstances where there is no other way to confirm identification or previous qualifications. Arrangements for individual programme induction and teaching is being planned and will be confirmed by programme teams.

UCS will be offering a blended learning approach based on two key principles:
(a) For modules that are theoretical in nature, and for elements of practical modules that are theoretical, delivery will be online until such a point is reached that it can move on-campus. This will be achieved via online lectures, tutorials, group learning and individual support. UCS has an excellent track record of high-quality online delivery. This method of delivery will enable discussion and interaction with lecturers and other students whilst maintaining everyone’s safety. It typically includes live sessions as well as access to information and resources for use at a time of your choice.
(b) Where practical activities are required, workshops and other specialist facilities will be available on-campus. Student groups, on-campus will be limited to ensure social distancing and other Public Health England guidelines are followed. Workshop spaces will be re-configured to ensure practical activities can be achieved in a safe environment.

What wellbeing and support will be available to me?

It is important that students feel able to cope with the methods of delivery outlined above and to be provided in more detail by each programme team. It is important that students are fit and well enough to undertake courses on this basis in line with the UCS and university partners’ fitness to study policies.

UCS will continue to provide effective student support through the support service teams. This includes Learning Resource Centres (library services), IT support, Advice and Guidance, Additional Learning Support for those with specific learning difficulties, Wellbeing, Safeguarding and Counselling. This support will be available remotely/online in the first instance, which provides ease of access.

What can I expect about the content of my course?

UCS is working closely with its partner Universities to ensure that all programme learning outcomes can be met to the appropriate quality and standards.
We hope that over the academic year we will increasingly be able to move to more on-campus delivery. However this will be dependent on the advice issued by Public Health England and will be affected by any requirements for further lockdown. We are therefore adopting a flexible approach to delivery, focused mostly on remote online delivery, able to react to changing guidance from Public Health England and any moves into or out of lockdown (and therefore more online or less online), whilst not compromising on quality and standards. Whether on campus or remotely, you will be provided with the learning and support to succeed in your studies.

UCS courses will continue to follow the usual learning outcomes for the programmes. Programme teams are working with university partners to find solutions in the small number of cases where this proves difficult when using an online method of delivery. Programmes that require access to specialist resources and equipment in order to meet the learning outcomes will take priority when planning for on-campus access, to enable students on these courses to meet their learning outcomes.

UCS will continue to work with industry sector contacts to enable work based learning activities to continue wherever this is possible. This will be in line with Public Health England guidance at any given point in time and through discussion and negotiation with individual employers.

What will the length of my course be?

UCS courses are expected to run for the usual length of time within the academic year. We are planning on this basis.

What will the cost of my course be?

Costs will remain as previously published. These can be checked on UCAS or the UCS website.

Due to the need to work online because of the COVID-19 pandemic you will need to have access to a suitable computer or laptop, as well as an appropriate place to be able to concentrate, engage in remote learning and time to dedicate to your studies and complete your assessments.

Those who are eligible, are encouraged to apply for a Bursary which may help with the purchase of IT equipment. This will be on a first come, first served basis with priority for certain groups of students as set out in the UCS Access and Participation Plan for the academic year which is available on the UCS website www.somerset.ac.uk

How will my course be assessed?

Assessment arrangements are being agreed with awarding universities and External Examiners. We are planning for assessment to be possible via coursework or online, designed, as usual, to meet the learning outcomes for the programme. It is unlikely that formal exams will take place due to social distancing requirements, unless these are relaxed later in the year. However your lecturers will be able to confirm the situation for your course, as assessment methods vary from one course to another.

What Award / Qualification will I receive?

You will work towards the qualification/award for which you enrol.

If future Public Health England advice means that UCS is able to resume more face to face delivery on campus, where will my course be delivered?

The prospectus and website will show you the normal campus for the delivery of your programme. For delivery that does not take place online, it will take place on this campus.

What options do I have?

However, the following options also exist:

How did University Centre Somerset help students to succeed during the pandemic in 2019-20?

Teaching moved immediately online when the lockdown started and continued throughout the academic year in order to ensure that students had the opportunity to meet their programmes learning outcomes whilst being compliant with government guidance and the lockdown. Good practice in online delivery was shared between curriculum teams.

University Centre Somerset has supported students throughout the pandemic through the Extenuating Circumstances process, giving extensions and problem solving other issues on an individual basis. In addition to the support provided by teaching teams, the support teams have also been working with students individually to help them to succeed, this has included the IT Support Team, Learning Resource Services and the Wellbeing and Counselling Teams.

I am concerned about the cancellation of exams.

With the cancellation of examinations for the majority of students, we are aware you may have concerns regarding meeting your conditions to attend one of our courses in September. We are currently working with UCAS and Awarding Bodies regarding how your current qualifications will be assessed and results released. Please be assured that all of us are committed to making this process as fair as possible.

We will provide any further updates on this website as we receive them, however if you have any specific concerns please contact Fiona Henman, Progressions and HE Admissions Manager on henmanf@btc.ac.uk.

Further information

University Centre Somerset is part of Bridgwater & Taunton College. For more and updated information on the College's situation please visit:
https://www.btc.ac.uk/students/essential-information/coronavirus-information/

What do I do if I wish to complain?

In order to resolve any issues as quickly as possible, please raise your concerns at the earliest opportunity, to the member of staff it concerns, by talking or writing to them or if you prefer, with their line manager.  It is hoped that this will enable the issue to be addressed quickly and without the need for a formal process.  If you do wish to complain formally then it will depend on which University partner you are enrolled with as to the process you then follow.  Please see the table below for further information.

 Normally, to make a formal complaint you will complain to the College in the first instance by emailing complaints@btc.ac.uk.  If you remain dissatisfied and all steps of the College’s process have been exhausted, you would then complain to the University/awarding body.  Ultimately if you are still dissatisfied you may be able to complain to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education.

University Partner/ Awarding Body
Overview of the complaints process
Plymouth University

The College may resolve the complaint informally.  If this is not possible and the complaint becomes formal you must complete the university’s ‘Formal Complaint Form’ (contained in their policy) and email it to the University at complaints@plymouth.ac.uk.  The University will work with the College for Stage 2 of their policy to enable the investigation of and response to the complaint.

The university’s complaints policy and guidance is available from their website: https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/student-life/your-studies/essential-information/complaints-appeals

Oxford Brookes University

The College’s HE Complaints process is used in the first instance.  Once the College’s policy is exhausted you can then complain to the University via their ‘Collaborative Provision’ process.  You will normally need to do this within 10 days of the date of the College’s final response.  Please ensure you make yourself familiar with what the University will consider and what they will not consider before taking a complaint to them. 

http://www.brookes.ac.uk/regulations/ (see Section C for full policy)

https://www.brookes.ac.uk/students/your-studies/student-disputes/student-complaints/  (Guidance for students) 

The Open University (OU)

The College’s HE Complaints process is used in the first instance.   If this has been exhausted, and the complaint is directly related to the academic standards of the OU validated programme on which you are studying, then you can complain to the Open University by submitting a formal complaint as soon as possible and within three months of the outcome of the College’s processes.  If the complaint is not related to academic standards the OU may pass your complaint back to the College or you may go straight to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIAHE).

University of the West of England (UWE)

The College’s own process is used in the first instance.  Once the College’s policy is exhausted you can then move to Stage Three of UWE’s Complaints Procedure.

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/about/contactus/complaints.aspx (General overview)

http://www1.uwe.ac.uk/about/contactus/complaints/submittingacomplaint/stagethreecomplaints.aspx (Stage 3 of their Complaints Policy)

Pearson (Edexcel)

The College’s own process is used in the first instance.  Once the College’s policy is exhausted then you can refer your complaint to Pearson.  The College must send any documents, regarding unresolved complaints, to Pearson within 28 days of Stage 2 concluding.

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/support/contact-us/feedback-and-complaints.html