Notices and news
1. Our priorities during the pandemic are:
- the safety of our apprentices, staff and the wider community
- ensuring that we continue to deliver the highest quality apprenticeship learning experience as possible.
We moved to remote delivery in March 2020 and have continued to develop this learning format. Our apprenticeship programmes were originally designed with blended learning as an underpinning pedagogy. Existing rich digital content and guided learning has meant that the need to move to remote delivery does not cause major disruption to our learners’ experience and progression.
Apprentices’ feedback on this delivery format, which has been collected via module evaluations and student and staff liaison committee meetings, has been positive. Feedback from the employers of our apprentices has overwhelmingly expressed a preference for the continuation of remote delivery until the point when our traditional, face-to-face delivery can start to be re-introduced.
The majority of our face-to-face apprenticeship delivery occurs at our Greenlands campus in Henley-on-Thames (with a minority using external hotel facilities). Whilst Greenlands normally provides a wonderful and stimulating learning environment, the current government guidelines to move all teaching online and previous social distancing rules that significantly reduced the capacity of teaching facilities at Greenlands means that it is not possible to deliver face-to-face workshops nor provide ancillary services on this campus. Our hotel-based delivery has had to be suspended due to the associated restrictions.
3. As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic arrangements our remote education offer for apprentices, including those that have to self-isolate, is currently as follows:
- We continue to provide the same apprenticeship programmes remotely as we would be providing under face-to-face delivery arrangements. Unless affected by a break in learning agreed with the employer, the timescale for completion of the apprenticeship remains as normal.
- What would otherwise be face-to-face taught sessions have, for all programmes, been replaced with interactive, on-line learning. Such learning is facilitated by the same academic teaching staff that would have delivered face-to-face sessions. All interactive sessions are recorded and can be viewed at a later time for those apprentices that may not be able to participate in the live, interactive session.
- There is no change in timetabling: interactive, on-line learning sessions occur at the same time as when the face-to-face session would have occurred and as originally published. Attendance in sessions and reviews will continue to be recorded, monitored and reported on. Where the engagement of an apprentice is of concern then this will be raised with their employer.
- Interactive, on-line learning sessions benefit from additional staff presence to facilitate learning and the use of inter-active technologies.
- The Business School’s virtual learning environment, ‘Canvas’, is used to support programme delivery, providing access to all learning materials including:
- Interactive learning materials and eBooks (eBooks have been introduced where they have been deemed a more effective and safer arrangement than textbooks)
- Recordings of interactive sessions
- Apprentice-tutor interaction
Canvas remains the portal through which assessed work is submitted and, together with email, the system for communication with apprentices.
- For all apprentices that commenced their programme since September 2020, Canvas also provides apprentices with our new ePortfolio system.
- We recognise that our apprenticeship programmes and apprentices’ working arrangements are involving more time being spent on-line and, potentially, apprentices are working and living in more isolated arrangements. In response we have enhanced certain of our approaches to safeguarding. This includes:
- Reiterating the availability of, and access arrangements for, Henley’s apprenticeship safeguarding lead during inductions, reviews and through the Canvas VLE
- Raising awareness of, and access arrangements for, Student Welfare services
- “Welfare follow-up checks” following non-attendance at workshops
- Where there are genuine and additional extenuating circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic including:
- exceptional workloads for critical workers (including those in health and social care; the justice system; food production, distribution and delivery; IT and data infrastructure; postal services; financial services);
then the Business School and University have provided additional time for an apprentice to submit work and assessments.
- Unless taking an agreed break in learning, the Business School’s expectation of apprentices is that they continue to work towards Gateway and End Point Assessment on the original timetable. To that end, our team of Apprenticeship Tutors continue to provide support and advice to all apprenticeship students in:
- Each apprentice’s development and application of skills in the workplace
- The development of the portfolio of evidence, including evidencing skills and behaviours
Such advice and support are provided remotely through live interaction with each apprentice; the timetabling of reviews continues as before. Apprentices are encouraged and able to have additional remote contact with their apprenticeship tutors in addition to timetabled reviews.
- Where an apprentice is not able to access the devices and connections (whether their own, or those of their employer) required to fully participate in their apprenticeship programme the Business School will lend the equipment required to that apprentice. Such equipment will be delivered to the apprentice’s home or workplace address.
- The arrangements for assessing apprentices that experience learning difficulties and/or have learning disabilities and for making the necessary adjustments for such apprentices continues as before with:
- The University’s Disability Advisory Service continuing to liaise with apprentices and to provide assessments and recommendations (including any additional adaptations required given the greater use of remote delivery)
- The Business School acting on assessments and recommendations
- We will continue working closely with, and gain feedback from, apprentices and their employers to guide them through their apprenticeship programme during the pandemic.