Who is eligible to attend college during lockdown?

Students who have difficulty engaging with remote education – for example, because they lack a device – on the DfE's list
8th January 2021, 1:18pm
Kate Parker

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Who is eligible to attend college during lockdown?

https://www.tes.com/magazine/news/secondary/who-eligible-attend-college-during-lockdown
Vulnerable Students: Who Is Eligible For Face-to-face Teaching In Colleges During The Coronavirus Lockdown?

The Department for Education has confirmed the groups of students who are eligible for face-to-face support during the national coronavirus lockdown. 

In its guidance to the further education sector today, the DfE confirmed that as well as vulnerable students and children of key workers, those without a suitable device or internet connection also qualify for in-person teaching.

The guidance says: "During this period of restriction to on-site delivery, it will be important to preserve provision on-site for all students who need it."

The definition of vulnerable students includes those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example, due to a lack of devices, connectivity or a quiet space to study).

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"In circumstances where a student who is eligible to attend on-site has to self-isolate and does not have access to a suitable device or internet connection (and you are unable to remedy this), you should, where possible, deliver remote education by other means. This could include providing hard copy resources and communications via telephone."


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Earlier this week, prime minister Boris Johnson announced a national lockdown, saying that all schools and colleges were to move all teaching online, and remain open for vulnerable students only. 

During the first national lockdown in March, students who suffered from digital poverty were not classed as vulnerable students. 

However, the digital divide in the further education system was highlighted by many, and this week the University and College Union (UCU) called on the government to ensure that learners in FE had access to the devices and connectivity they will need for remote education. 

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier this week, education secretary Gavin Williamson told MPs that measures would be put in place so disadvantaged school students could continue to learn off-site, including providing laptops and internet data. He did not specify how FE students would be supported.

Mr Williamson told Parliament that the government was setting up a partnership with mobile networks to increase data allowances on mobile devices to support disadvantaged students. 

However, the Department for Education told Tes that college students were currently not eligible for the scheme - but it would be extended out to 16- to 18-year-olds in the spring term.

It added that colleges could use their 16-19 bursary funding to support students with devices and connectivity - and that colleges and other FE institutions will be invited to order laptops and tables to provide further support. 

Full list of students defined as "vulnerable" by the DfE: 

  • Those who are assessed as being in need under section 17 of the Children Act 1989, including young people who have a child in need plan, a child protection plan or who are a looked-after child.
  • Those who have an education, health and care plan.
  • Those who have been assessed as otherwise vulnerable by educational providers or local authorities (including children's social care services) This includes: young people on the edge of receiving support from children's social care services; adopted children; those at risk of becoming "not in education, employment or training" (NEET); those living in temporary accommodation; those who are young carers; those who may have difficulty engaging with remote education at home (for example, due to a lack of devices or a quiet space to study); and others at the provider and local authority's discretion, including students who need to attend to receive support or manage risks to their mental health

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