Parent & Carers Update
For parents and carers of students at Strode's, Windsor and Langley College
October 2020
Key Communications
Parent / carer updates will be sent throughout the year to keep you up to date on activities at each of the Colleges. These will be sent via email to the primary and secondary parent / carer contacts provided by students.

If the College doesn’t have your current contact information, please ask your student to go to Student Services to update them with us. Requests to update any details in student records must be requested by the student themselves due to data protection and GDPR regulations.

For queries relating to communication, please contact Naomi Bailey, Head of Learner Services and Libraries on 01784 228605 or email naomi.bailey@windsor-forest.ac.uk.
Keeping Students COVID safe
We know that the first few weeks of term have been challenging, with different ways of studying and engaging with College. We hope however that students have now settled into the new timetable routine and are enjoying their time with us.
 
The timetables for all three colleges are currently being reviewed again for the second half of this term, to ensure that it still follows DFE guidelines and maximises opportunities for teaching and learning to take place. We will update parents / carers before the half term break on any further adjustments.
 
There is information within this update about how students can access support across the year, including the role of the Personal Tutor and Student Services.
 
The students have adapted exceptionally well to the changes that have been put into place to keep them safe. We wanted to reiterate these safety measures:
  • Classrooms have been rearranged to minimise direct contact and adhere to DFE safety guidance.
  • Hygiene stations have been placed at entrances and regular points throughout each of the colleges.
  • One way systems and signage are in place wherever possible throughout our buildings.
  • Students are required to wear face coverings when moving around the covered parts of the College including corridors and public areas such as the Learning Centre, toilets, offices and on site cafés.
  • Students will be permitted to wear face coverings in lessons if they feel more comfortable doing so.
  • We have adjusted the timetables to allow for later start times and earlier finishes for most classes.
  • On our Sixth Form campuses at Strode’s and Windsor College, we have limited the number of students on site at any one time.
  • On our Further Education campus at Langley College, we have designated students to different zones according to their course programme and limited their interaction with other groups.

We hope that parents / carers will also support the College in protecting the local community by reminding students to avoid accessing the High Street areas during the College day where possible, of the requirements to limit group sizes in public places, to wear face coverings and to follow social distancing guidelines when out and about.
 
Further information can also be found in the COVID Safety Information Guide that was distributed at the start of term. If you would like a copy of this, please contact Naomi Bailey, naomi.bailey@windsor-forest.ac.uk.

Digital safety
One area we would particularly welcome your support with, is to ensure that students are keeping safe on line. We know that some young people have felt more isolated during lockdown and this is when some may be tempted into making contacts and links with people whom they don’t know and who could do them harm, Advice for parents and carers about this can be found here.
Laptop leasing scheme
We want to provide the best learning experience for our student so that they can successfully complete their studies with us and prepare for their next steps. We believe that this means providing students with access to technology, but we know that the cost of purchasing a device can sometimes be difficult for families.

We have partnered with Freedom Technology to launch a programme that allows students to lease a device at an affordable cost which they will own at the end of their contract.

For more information, for details of how to sign up and frequently asked questions, please click here.

The portal is now live to place orders, but will close on the 10 November 2020.

Please be aware that laptops are globally in high demand at the moment so early sign up is recommended.

For queries, please contact device.leasing@windsor-forest.ac.uk.
Parent Portal
The Parent Portal will shortly be launched to parents and carers. The Parent Portal called ProPortal, gives parents / carers online access to progress reports, see overall attendance data and allows the reporting of student absences.
 
The primary parent / carer contact given to us will receive login information for the Parent Portal via email between now and the October half term break.

Parents of continuing students can continue to use their existing Parent Portal account login, and will be notified when the records and reports are available.
 
Due to the ongoing changes in timetabling and courses, it is not be possible to view information relating to attendance or reports until the formal ‘launch’ date in October.
 
For queries relating to the Parent Portal, please email: parent.portal@windsor-forest.ac.uk  
A guide to staff absence
In the event of a member of staff being absent from College and unable to teach their normal classes, appropriate work will be set to ensure that students’ learning continues. It is not always possible to provide cover for classes and students may be required to work independently and unsupervised.
 
If a member of staff has a planned absence, students will be informed in advance; work will be set and arrangements for registration will be explained. Students are permitted to work at home should this lesson be their only lesson of the day but must ensure that they have registered in the appropriate way by contacting the Head of Department.
 
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to inform students in advance of staff absences but we will always endeavour to make contact before the start of the College day and students should check their College email each morning.
 
As with planned absences, work will be set and students will be able to remain in their teaching classrooms at Strode’s and Windsor or their zones at Langley to work independently around their lessons. If a member of staff has a longer term absence, we will provide appropriate cover and ensure that another teacher is in place to teach the class as soon as possible.
 
If you have any concerns about a staff absence, the Head of Department will have a copy of the work to be completed and can be contacted by email.
 
If a member of staff is isolating and able to continue working, the College will do its best to facilitate this and ensure that teaching and learning is delivered via a virtual classroom where appropriate. Students will be emailed with details should this situation occur. 
The role of the Personal Tutor
All students following a full time study programme are allocated an individual personal tutor. As well as helping to keep your student on track with their studies, their personal tutor will play a central role in supporting their college experience. They are the first point of contact for any problems relating to your student’s course or concerns inside and outside of the College.
 
Please make sure you know who the personal tutor of your student is by asking your son/daughter.
 
Their role is to provide support and guidance and help students access other services if necessary. If you need more information, please contact the campus tutoring lead as below:

Strode's College
Annette Jenkins - Associate Director of Tutoring - aljenkins@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Windsor College
Bernie Welsh - Head of Tutoring - bernie.welsh@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Langley College
Frances McSorley - Head of Tutoring - frances.mcsorley@windsor-forest.ac.uk 
Student guides
Each year Student Services produce a student guide to help introduce students to the College and understand how to access key services and support.

All students have been given access to this guide via ProPortal as part of their induction. Copies of the guides are also available for parents / carers to access via the website by clicking here
Reporting absences
Students are expected to attend all of their classes and should authorise any planned or unexpected absences by informing the College as soon as possible. Please help us to ensure excellent attendance by checking your son’s / daughter’s timetable and study habits.
 
As a College we support and celebrate 100% attendance and have events throughout the year to thank students who have demonstrated this level of effort.
 
How to report unplanned absences
 
Absences can be reported by both students and parents in the following ways:
 
1.   Using the Report an absence form.
  • This can be found in ProPortal in the External Links section on the top right of the page.
  • Alternatively, you can find the link under the Quick Links section of our website footer or by clicking here.

2.  Calling 01784 228610 and using our voicemail facility to leave us a message. Please ensure that you include the student ID and leave a clear message or we will not be able to process the request.

Depending on the nature of the request, students may be required to provide more information to confirm the nature of their absence (e.g. a hospital letter or appointment card).
 
If students are feeling unwell during the day, they should be signing out either via an attendance officer (Strode’s and Windsor) or the Curriculum team (Langley) before leaving the site.
 
Students whose attendance and punctuality is causing concern will be set clear and appropriate targets for improvement and will be supported to achieve these targets. Students who are persistently late or absent will be subject to the College’s Student Management Procedures. Ultimately students who do not improve their attendance and / or punctuality may be asked to leave the College.
 
Poor attendance may also affect some or all of payments due to students who are eligible for our bursary schemes.
 
The following types of absence will not be authorised during term time due the negative impact that it has on student’s learning and chances for success:
  • Holidays
  • Routine doctor, dentist, hygienist, or optician appointments
  • Driving lessons

If you would like to speak to a member of the team, please email your campus specific email address:
 
Strode's College - attendance.strodes@windsor-forest.ac.uk
Windsor College - attendance.windsor@windsor-forest.ac.uk
Langley College - attendance.langley@windsor-forest.ac.uk
Guidance for reporting COVID-19 / Coronavirus related absences
Students should be isolating under the following circumstances, from the date that symptoms first occur:
  • You have coronavirus symptoms (10 days isolation)
  • Someone in the household has coronavirus symptoms or has received a positive test (14 days isolation)
 
It is important that students follow NHS guidelines around isolation. This can be done by calling 111 or by using the NHS service here https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
 
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature).
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual).
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.
 
If students have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus:
  • They must stay at home and not have visitors until they or family members get a test result.
  • Student should not attend college until they or family members have received their test results or agreed a return with the college attendance team.
 
What to do next:
  • Students will be marked absent for the required quarantine period.
  • Once students have spoken to 111 and have confirmed symptoms, they must get a test to check if you have coronavirus as soon as possible. For details of how to get a test, click here
  • If someone in the household has symptoms and students are waiting for a test results, students must let us know the outcome of this.
  • The College will contact students before they are due to return back to college to confirm that they are symptom free.
  • If students are not unwell and able to complete work from home, it is important that they stay up to date with their studies. Students should contact subject lecturers about the work they should be completing.

Please note – Travel during the holidays
The College strongly recommends that students do not travel abroad at the moment due to the risk around post travel quarantine. This is not advisable for student success. Missed classes resulting from travel quarantines will be recorded as unauthorised absence.
Student Service - How we support students
Student Services includes financial support, careers and employability, safeguarding and wellbeing, the learning centres, attendance monitoring and more. The Student Services teams are available on each college site to support students in all areas of their learning, helping to remove barriers that may affect achievement and offer all round guidance to support individuals to achieve their potential.
 
The team are able to support students and parents / carers in a number of areas including:
  • General support, guidance and signposting to services
  • Financial support and bursaries
  • Careers, employability advice and UCAS support
  • Safeguarding and welfare
  • Study spaces and academic resources
  • Student events and learner feedback
  • Attendance monitoring
  • Study skills support
  • Sexual health services
  • Travel discounts
  • Transport advice
  • Student record administration

If at any point parents / carers or students have queries, they can contact Student Services directly on email to student.services@windsor-forest.ac.uk or call us on 01784 228606. 
Financial support for students
The Windsor Forest Colleges Group offers financial support to any students with a household income below £30,000, those who are looked after or care leavers, and those who have Special Education Need and Disabilities. Financial Support can assist with such things as travel costs, travel passes, essential material costs and free meals depending on eligibility.
 
Learners can apply at any point in the academic year, however it is best to do this as early as possible to ensure that you receive the maximum help. When completing applications, you must provide the require evidence as stated in the application, failure to do so will delay assessment.
 
If students are struggling to access IT, please ask them to speak to the team who can advise them of the available options for support.
 
To make an application, please click here.
 
If you have any issues when applying, please contact the Financial Support team on 01753 793368 or email us at financial.support@windsor-forest.ac.uk or ask students to visit us in Student Services.
Careers, UCAS and progression appointments
The Careers and Employability Team are available to support all students with questions about study progression, employment, apprenticeships, work experience, university applications, financing higher education and more.
 
Appointments are available in person or by video call by emailing careers@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Students can also contact us by phone on 01753 793337.
Cashless payment system
The College’s Cashless Payment System is provided by iPay Solutions and offers an integrated, specialist software package for colleges. This system allows students and parents to add credit to the student ID badge for cashless catering and pay for other key items without the need for cash or cheque.
 
Students can access this system using their college ID number and college password. Parents / Carers have been sent a link ID that they can use to register via the ‘Register for a parent account’ link on the homepage.

If you experience difficulties with logging on to or with using the cashless portal, you can contact us by email to cashless@windsor-forest.ac.uk or speak to Student Services.
Travel Discounts
16-17 Saver
National Rail operates a 16-17 Saver card which is available to everyone aged 16 and 17 years old. This card offers a discount of 50% off most rail fares every day of the year with no time restrictions and no minimum fare. The 16-17 Saver is valid for one year or until your 18th birthday, whichever comes first. To purchase this card, just visit www.16-17saver.co.uk.

South Western Railways
The College Group is pleased to offer a number of discounted fare tickets in conjunction with South Western Railways, offering up to 20% on standard fares. These offers are only available via the College and are available through the Cashless Payment System.
 
Once processed, tickets typically take up to 10 working days to be received by the College. Please make payment online and we will automatically request your ticket. We will contact students on their college email when their tickets are ready to collect. Students must bring a copy of their order confirmation from the Cashless Payment System to receive an accompanying season ticket ID. 
 
First Berkshire Reduced Fare Travel Card (Bus)
We offer reduced fare cards in association with First Bus Berkshire to enable our students to save on any First Bus Berkshire routes.
There are two pass options:
  • A reduced fare travel card allowing for travel during term time at child rates, for just £30 per term (totalling £90 per year).
  • A termly season ticket for £195.00 which is valid for travel 7 days a week and during half terms.
Students should purchase these travel passes via the Cashless Payment System.

Students eligible for the bursary may be able to receive the reduced travel card free of charge.
 
Surrey Fare Card
Students living and travelling within one of the administrative boroughs / districts of Surrey can also purchase an annual Surrey Fare Card for child rates on the bus and / or reduced rail travel.
 
Students eligible for the Financial Support may be able to receive this card free of charge.

For queries please contact the Financial Support team on 01753 793368 or email financial.support@windsor-forest.ac.uk.
Key contact details
Main Reception
Call for all sites - 01753 793000
Email Strode's - Reception.strodes@windsor-forest.ac.uk
Email Windsor - Reception.windsor@windsor-forest.ac.uk
Email Langley - Reception.langley@windsor-forest.ac.uk

General Enquiries – Student Services
Call - 01784 228606, Email - Student.services@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Financial Support
Call - 01753 793368, Email - Financial.support@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Exams
Call - 01753 793314, Email - exams@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Careers & Employability
Call - 01753 793337, Email - careers@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Safeguarding Enquiries
Call - 01753 443850, Email - safeguarding@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Learning Support
Call - 01753 793212, Email - Learning.support@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Cashless Payments
Call - 01784 228606, Email - cashless@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Parent Portal
Call - 01784 228606, Email - Parent.portal@windsor-forest.ac.uk

Confirming enrolment for local authorities
Call - 01753 793221, Email - Student.letter@windsor-forest.ac.uk
Term Dates
Term dates can be found on our website here.
 
The final day of teaching this half term is Friday 23 October, with the second half of term beginning on 2 November 2020 for all campuses.