Important Information and Frequently Asked Questions

As you can imagine, we are receiving many questions from parents/carers. Please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website for any queries. We have done our best to compile some of the most important information and frequent enquiries from parents/carers, as we may be unable to respond to your questions individually at this time. This will be updated regularly.

Don’t forget to record ALL Home-Test results in TWO ways:

1. NHS:

2. Bodmin College: PARENT/STUDENT Covid19 Home Self-Test Result Reporting

To inform us of a positive test result, contact us on 01208 72114

Out of Hours Covid Line: 07826 637936 / 07780 051728

For parents/carers of all students - Updated 01/04/2021

When will Year 11 and Year 13 students be leaving school? (Added 1/4/2021)

We are expecting further information to be released to schools before the end of April, which will need to be considered before finalising leavers’ dates for Year 11 and 13. We appreciate that this is short notice but details of this will follow after Easter.

Should my child access online learning resources if they are absent from school? (Updated 1/4/2021)

All lessons are available on Satchel One (SMHWK). If a student is absent from school for any reason, including self-isolating, shielding or personal/family reasons and if they are well enough to access online learning, they should complete the classwork tasks for each lesson which are accessible on Satchel One. Lessons will appear as per their normal timetable. This provision is in place to support students and avoid anyone missing out on learning.

Will parents receive free-school meals vouchers for the Easter holidays? (Added 19/2/2021)

Yes. We have received details about assistance for students eligible for free school meals over the Easter holidays. Parents will receive a voucher by email, using the address we hold on file, to the value of £30.00 per student for the Easter holiday period.

I’m worried about ‘catch-up.’ How will you be providing support for my child? (Updated 19/3/2021)

As students return to the classroom, subject staff will be adapting the curriculum to revisit and consolidate key concepts taught during remote learning. Teachers will be looking carefully at students’ engagement and their classwork to identify those students who would benefit from additional support, which may result in some mall group interventions, pastoral and academic tutor support, 1-to-1 tutoring, mastery support in English and Maths, and literacy or phonic sessions.

Will transport be affected? (Updated 5/3/2021)

Students will be able to follow their normal transport arrangements, although we would advise avoiding car-sharing and public transport if possible. Where this is not possible, government advice should be followed:Safer travel guidance for passengers

Students should avoid mixing with students outside of their year group bubble whilst travelling to school, unless from the same household. Students will be expected to wear face masks when using school buses, taxis and public transport. If travelling by bus, students should wait and be seated with students from the same year group or household. This will be in year group order with youngest at the front and oldest at the back.

Further guidance from Cornwall Council regarding school transport can also be found here:

How will my child’s grades be calculated in the absence of exams? (Added 5/3/2021)

In January, the government confirmed that students taking GCSE, AS and A Level qualifications this year would not be sitting exams this summer, and instead would be awarded grades based on assessments by their teachers. Teachers will use a range of evidence to calculate the grades that students are working at, as appropriate to individual subjects. This evidence can include: responses to exam board assessment materials such as past papers, mock exams or practice questions; coursework (non-exam assessment tasks); practical or performance based assessments; and class work. Exam boards will be providing further materials and guidance over the course of the year to support this process.

Additionally, there is a helpful summary provided here by the government:

Will events such as leavers’ proms/celebration assemblies, drama/musical performances etc. be able to go ahead in the summer? (Added 5/3/2021)

At this stage, we are unable to provide any confirmation regarding events which would usually take place in the Summer Term. We will continue to review calendared events in light of the continuing Covid-19 situation and carry out full risk-assessments of all activities due to take place. We will provide further information about forthcoming events as soon as we are in a position to do so.

Will students in all year groups be returning on the 8th March? (Added 1/3/2021)

We will be implementing a staggered return to college in order to ensure a safe and effective programme of lateral flow testing for students and to incorporate a ‘welcome back’ programme, comprising of a range of pastoral and academic activities to ease students back into school life. Further details outlining which year groups will be in school each day have been sent to parents. Remote learning will be in place for students on the days when they are not expected in school.

What will the ‘welcome back’ programme look like? (Added 1/3/2021)

When students return to college, they will go straight to their tutor bases to start the day with an extended tutor period, welcoming students back to school. Not only will this give students a much needed opportunity to catch up with their friends in a safe and controlled way, but tutors will also lead a series of activities reflecting positively on what students achieved during remote learning and setting goals for the rest of the academic year. Our aim is to reassure students that they will be supported with their learning, both pastorally and academically, and to ease the transition back to face-to-face learning.

What will remote learning look like from 8th March? (Added 1/3/2021)

Remote learning for students who are not in school as part of phased return will consist of lesson resources uploaded on to Satchel:One for each lesson each day. There will no longer be live lessons or tutorials through MS Teams.

How will students be kept separate in their tutor group mini-bubbles? (Added 1/3/2021)

Each tutor group has a dedicated seating plan. As students arrive they will go to their allocated seats. This will reduce the number of contacts they have and ensure they are spaced out as much as possible prior to testing. Students will also wear face-coverings and classrooms will be well-ventilated as they were in the Autumn term. All the additional protection measures that students are used to will continue to be in place; hand-sanitising, staggered areas/timings, extra cleaning, etc.

In addition, students will have separate tutor group break-times until their class has been tested and negative results returned.

I’m worried about ‘catch-up.’ How will you be providing support for my child? (Added 1/3/2021)

As students return to the classroom, subject staff will be adapting the curriculum to revisit and consolidate key concepts taught during remote learning. Teachers will be looking carefully at students’ engagement and their classwork to identify those students who would benefit from additional support, which may result in some targeted one-to-one sessions or small group interventions based around literacy, numeracy, specific subjects or SEMH (Social/Emotional/Mental Health). These may take place face to face in school or virtually.

Will students be returning to school in uniform? (Added 1/3/2021)

Following consultation with parents, we will be asking for students to return to school wearing normal school uniform, with the exception of Year 11. We appreciate that the events of the last few months may have had an adverse financial impact on some families, and also that purchasing uniform items poses challenges currently, with non-essential retailers closed and delays to online deliveries.

Where you are experiencing difficulties in sourcing uniform, similar alternatives of the same colour may be worn accompanied with a parent note. Alternatives should be as close to normal uniform as possible and may include, suitable black jeans/leggings/other black trousers. Footwear should also be as close to school shoes/trainers as possible. Trainers will be allowed if there are no other alternatives.

If you are struggling to purchase uniform, please contact and we will do our best to support you. We will be relaxing the sanctions and providing more support for families where uniform is a problem. For PE kit, please ensure your child has appropriate clothing to change into for physical activity, preferably in keeping with college colours.

Can my child wear a coat or additional jumper in lessons? (Updated 1/3/2021)

As a result of increased ventilation in classrooms, with doors and windows being kept open, we are continuing to allow students to wear a coat or an additional jumper on top of their school jumper in lessons. It is also acceptable for students to wear an additional layer underneath their school shirt, such as a plain white t-shirt.

Will students be expected to wear facemasks in school? (Updated 1/3/2021)

Following the release of updated government guidance for schools, it is now required that students in secondary schools wear facemasks in classrooms as well as in corridors, serveries and communal areas. This is a temporary additional safety measure in environments where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Students will not be expected to wear face coverings when outdoors, or during activities involving physical exercise.

A face-covering can include a face-mask, scarf or buff. Students who meet the exemption criteria should carry an exemption card or lanyard which can be obtained from their Head of Year. Reusable face coverings can be purchased from the college shop for £1.10.

Please see additional government guidance here: safe wearing of face-coverings

I’m worried about my child wearing a facemask in the classroom. (Added 1/3/2021)

Updated government guidance suggests that the wearing of facemasks in classrooms is a temporary safety measure as one of a number of controls to reduce the risk of transmission as students return to school. VKW students have been wearing facemasks in classrooms since January and have adapted brilliantly. Teachers have a number of strategies to support students in getting used to the change. We will also be reminding all students of safe and hygienic practices regarding putting on and removing facemasks.

Where a student has a valid exemption, they will be issued with an exemption card by the Head of Year. If you are worried about your child wearing a facemask in lessons, please contact your child’s Head of Year to discuss this.

Should my child attend school if they are identified as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV)? (Updated 3/1/2021)

Updated government guidance has outlined the following regarding young people who are classed as CEV:

We know from growing evidence that many children identified at the start of the pandemic as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) are not at increased risk of serious outcomes from coronavirus (COVID-19) and children are gradually being removed from the shielding patient list (SPL) as appropriate, following review with a clinician.

The advice for pupils who have been confirmed as clinically extremely vulnerable is to shield and stay at home as much as possible until further notice. They are advised not to attend school while shielding advice applies nationally.

All 16 to 18 year olds with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality will be offered a vaccine in priority group 6 of the vaccination programme. At present, these children should continue to shield, and self-isolate if they have symptoms or are identified as a close contact of a positive case, even if they have been vaccinated.

Should my child attend school if they are clinically vulnerable (CV) or living with someone who is CEV/CV? (Updated 1/3/2021)

We would like to reassure you that we have all the recommended protection measures in place to reduce the risks of transmission in school. However, we also recognise that these are challenging times and you may have specific family circumstances that you wish to discuss. If you have any concerns, please contact your child’s Head of Year.

If you consider your circumstances to be exceptional, you may put in an application for a Covid IEP (individual education plan). Applications will be considered by the pastoral team in conjunction with the Cornwall Education Welfare Service. This application constitutes a formal request from parents/carers for a temporary education arrangement, which would be reviewed at Easter. If agreed, this arrangement would enable a full educational timetable but with a proportion to be completed at home.

The application form can be found here: Covid IEP

More information can be found here:

Will afterschool clubs still be running? (Updated 1/3/2021)

We are currently reviewing our extra-curricular clubs and activities list to assess which clubs may be able to resume safely from the week beginning 22nd March. Further details will be published to students and parents in the coming weeks. We hope to be able to resume a more comprehensive clubs offer in the Summer Term.

My child qualifies for Free-School Meals. How will that work during the staggered return? (Added 1/3/2021)

FSM students will receive vouchers to cover the 3 remote learning days. For the 2 days that they are in school, food will be provided by the canteen in the usual way.

Parents of students eligible for FSM will shortly be receiving a letter outlining this in more detail.

How will social distancing work? (Updated 1/3/2021)

Students will continue to be expected to maintain social distancing wherever this is possible. As we have a large open site and a small number of transition points in our three-lesson day, we are already in a strong position as far as enabling distancing between year group bubbles. Within year group bubbles, and during lessons, it will not always be possible for students to maintain a 2m distance, however a range of other measures will be in place to reduce the risk of transmission in these situations. This includes:

  • Seating plans facing forwards
  • Sanitiser units, tissues, bins, cleaning spray and paper towels in all classrooms
  • Face coverings in classrooms/ corridors/communal spaces
  • No sharing of books and equipment
  • Open doors and windows to ensure ventilation
  • Additional cleaning of shared surfaces during the day

Where can I seek further support for myself and my family during this time? (Updated 5/2/2021)

There are a number of organisations, both locally and nationally, who may be able to offer support in a range of situations. This is not an exhaustive list, but you may find some of these contact details useful.

The Department for Education coronavirus helpline is available to answer questions about COVID-19 relating to education and children’s social care. Staff, parents and young people can contact this helpline as follows:

Phone: 0800 046 8687

Opening hours: 8am to 6pm – Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm – Saturday and Sunday

For students, there is also the college student support email which is being monitored by pastoral staff daily:

What if my child develops symptoms when the school is closed? (Added 11/12/2020)

Full details of what to do if your child or family member develops symptoms is outlined in the guidance in the COVID section on our website under General Parent Information and Advice From PHE. Outside of school hours, parents should call 07826 637936.

If your child develops symptoms at the end of term, we only need to be notified if symptoms occur within 48 hours of their last day in school. After this period, you should follow contact tracing instructions from NHS Test and Trace.

What should I do if my child receives a positive Covid test result or is a close contact of someone who has? (Added 20/11/2020)

We have put together some guidance for parents/carers based on Public Health England and Bodmin College protocols, designed to help parents in taking the correct course of action in a variety of Covid related situations. This information can be accessed here on the Bodmin College website and includes:

1. What to do if your child or a member of your household develops symptoms of COVID19

2. What to do if your child receives a positive test result

3. What to do if your child is identified as a close contact or a household member tests positive

Should my child access online learning resources if they are absent from school? (Updated 20/11/2020)

All lessons are available on Satchel One (SMHWK). If a student is absent from school for any reason, including self-isolating, shielding or personal/family reasons and if they are well enough to access online learning, they should complete the classwork tasks for each lesson which are accessible on Satchel One. Lessons will appear as per their normal timetable. This provision is in place to support students and avoid anyone missing out on learning.

Should I keep my child off school if they are feeling unwell? (Added 18/9/2020)

You must keep your child at home if they have:

1. A new continuous cough

2. A fever (high temperature over 38C using a thermometer)

3. A complete loss or change of smell or taste

Speak to 119 or go to the website and arrange for a test to be done. Your child and your household must self-isolate until you have the results of this test.

If your child is unwell with other illnesses and you would normally have kept your child off school, keep your child at home. Children with mild colds, runny noses, sore throats (without temperature) can still attend school.

Please also refer to the flowchart provided for parents which can be found on the college website.

Can my child wear their PE kit to school if they have PE in the morning? (Added 7/9/2020)

If your child is timetabled to have PE LZ1, we are happy for your child to arrive at school in PE kit but they must ensure that they have their school uniform with them, ready to change into after the lesson. Similarly, if a child has PE LZ3, students will not be expected to change back into uniform to travel home.

Does my child’s school uniform need to be washed daily? (Added 7/9/2020)

In accordance with government guidance, there is no expectation that school uniforms are washed any differently or any more regularly than usual. For hygiene reasons, we would however, encourage clean facemasks to be worn each day.

How do students pay for their food at the canteen? (Added 7/9/2020)

Students can give their name, or use their PIN number at the till in the canteen to pay for food, rather than using the biometric thumbprint system at this time. They are able to use their PIN to top-up their accounts using cash at the top-up machines located in each canteen. Students will sanitise their hands before and after buying food from the canteen.

Will students be able to attend normal lessons? (Updated 28/8/2020)

Yes. Because we are able to stagger movement around school, students will be able to enjoy their normal lessons, in their normal classrooms with their normal teachers. This includes PE, as well as subjects taught at our Vocational Centre at Woods Browning. Use of shared resources will be minimal and subject to strict hygiene measures. Teachers may use demonstration as an alternative to students undertaking practical work in order to reduce use of equipment. It is essential that students have their own stationery as per the updated equipment list in student planners.

Where can I access all of the key documents and information for parents/carers? (Updated 27/08/2020)

There is a dedicated page on the college website where all the key information and updates for parents/carers can be found in one place. This can be accessed by following the link on the college homepage or here: Here you will find advice and guidance to support every aspect of learning and wellbeing during this time. Additionally, these FAQs are being updated regularly and provide a summary of essential information as it becomes available.

Please use the ‘Contact us’ form on the website for any enquiries.

Where can I find advice about supporting my child with their mental health? (Updated 16/4/2020)

We know that these are challenging and stressful times and it is important to take care of your family’s mental health and wellbeing. There are lots of things you can do and a good place to start is which offers advice to parents of children from 0-19 on a range of issues, such as anxiety, behaviour and finances. The government have also released guidance for supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing:

Information related to testing - Updated 01/04/2021

Do students have to continue self-testing during the Easter holidays? (Added 26/3/2021)

Next week we will be distributing more self-testing kits for students to use over the Easter holidays. We would ask that your child continues to test every 3-5 days and record results as normal over the break. If you receive a positive test during the holidays you will not need to contact us but you will need to book a PCR test and engage with NHS Track & Trace. Further details about Easter Holiday testing will follow next week.

What if my child missed the final round of testing and hasn’t been given a home-testing kit? (Added 19/3/2021)

Any students who have engaged in testing but missed the final testing round in school, and therefore have not yet been given a home testing kit, will be provided with the test kits and instructions to take home early next week. Kits will be labelled and distributed via their tutors.

What if my child is SEND and can’t test themselves? (Added 12/3/2021)

We will retain a small testing centre in college to support children who require additional assistance and are unable to self-test at home.

Why are the government recommending testing people without symptoms of COVID-19? (Added 12/3/2021)

Up to one in three people who have coronavirus (COVID-19) do not display any symptoms.

Is Covid-19 Home Self-Testing compulsory? (Added 12/3/2021)

Testing is voluntary, and no child will be prevented from going into the education setting if they do not take part. The success of this public health measure depends on as many people participating as possible.

Can children and young people swab themselves? (Added 12/3/2021)

Secondary pupils aged 11 should have the test administered by an adult (except in school when supervised by a qualified test-assistant), and pupils and students aged 12-17 should be supervised by an adult but can swab themselves.

How often do staff and students need to test? (Added 12/3/2021)

Staff and students will test at home on a regular basis (twice per week, 3 to 4 days apart) usually before they come into the education setting.

How effective are these tests? (Added 12/3/2021)

LFD tests have been widely and successfully used to detect asymptomatic COVID-19 cases. The speed and convenience of the tests supports the detection of the virus in asymptomatic individuals, who would not otherwise have got tested. LFD tests are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The tests are highly specific, with low chances of false positives.

They are also very sensitive and able to identify the majority of the most infectious yet asymptomatic individuals. It is important to remember that these tests are an additional layer of health protection measure in addition to hand washing, face covering and social distancing. They are however, not as accurate as a PCR test, therefore any positive LFD test completed at home should be followed up by booking a confirmatory PCR test through the NHS.

Where do I get my test kits? (Added 12/3/2021)

Students will be given a home-test kit when they receive their 3rd round of in-school testing. Further kits will be distributed as required. This is why it is important that you report your results to us as well as the NHS. For students with special educational needs or exceptional circumstances that prevent them from completing the Round 3 testing, you should use the ‘Contact us’ section of the website where you will be referred to the SENDCo or your child’s Head of Year.

What if I have a damaged kit or experience a problem during testing? (Added 12/3/2021)

Please report all incidents of damaged kits or problems to us using the ‘Contact us’ section of the website. If the problem is a medical one, please contact NHS111 or 999 if an emergency.

Why do I need to report my result to both the NHS and Bodmin College? (Added 12/3/2021)

This is in accordance with government which requires schools to keep a log of results, whilst the NHS keep their results separately. This is very important even if the result was negative or void. It will also help us to ensure that we can manage stock and distribution of replacement kits accordingly. All results are kept confidential and in accordance with GDPR Data Protection.

What if my child receives a positive test? (Added 12/3/2021)

If you receive a positive result, you must not attend college but should inform our attendance office, book a PCR test and follow NHS 111 advice on self-isolation.

Why do I have to take a PCR as well if I test positive? (Added 12/3/2021)

PCR tests are administered and read by fully qualified and trained healthcare professionals rather than by the person being tested. These act as a more accurate confirmation of whether you are infected or not.

Does my child have to have the in-school lateral flow test? (Added 1/3/2021)

In accordance with government guidance, all students will be offered the opportunity for on-site lateral flow testing from 8th March. Students will be offered three tests, which will be 3-5 days apart. This is highly recommended as part of measures to ensure as safe a return to school as possible for students, staff, and families. However, whilst we would strongly encourage all students to be tested, it is not compulsory and parental consent is required. We will be sending regular reminders to encourage as many people as possible to take up the offer. Students will receive information about the test in their live MS Teams tutor sessions this week and should not be worried about it, as students who have been tested in school during VKW provision have undertaken the process extremely well.

What happens if my child tests positive in school? (Added 1/3/2021)

If your child’s lateral flow test returns a positive result, they will be isolated in school straight away. You will be contacted and asked to collect them as soon as possible, to self-isolate for 10 days. Close contacts will also be traced, isolated and sent home to self-isolate for 10 days, in accordance with PHE and government guidance.

What is a close contact? (Added 1/3/2021)

Cases are considered infectious 48 hours prior to symptoms starting so a close contact is anyone who has been:

  • within 1m for any length of time in the 48 hours prior to symptoms
  • within 2m for 15 minutes or more in the 48 hours prior to symptoms

If your child is identified as a close contact to someone who has received a confirmed positive PCR or LFD test for COVID19 they must stay at home and self-isolate for 10 days and should access their learning remotely through Satchel One.

Further information about contacts can also be found on the government website.

I am concerned about sending my child back if not all students are being tested. (Added 1/3/2021)

Lateral flow testing is highly recommended by the government and we will be actively encouraging all parents to provide consent for students to participate in this process. Regular reminders will be sent to those who have not completed the consent form. However, testing is not compulsory and there are a number of other measures in place to reduce the risk of transmission, including the enhanced requirement for students to wear facemasks in classrooms now as well as communal areas and corridors. Additionally, the following safety measures are also in place:

  • Seating plans facing forwards
  • Sanitiser units, tissues, bins, cleaning spray and paper towels in all classrooms
  • No sharing of books and equipment
  • Open doors and windows to ensure ventilation
  • Additional cleaning of shared surfaces during the day
  • Staggered timings to avoid mixing of year group bubbles

What if I don’t want my child tested? (added 1/3/2021)

We would strongly encourage everyone to consider participating and would like to reassure students that it is nothing to worry about. VKW students have been participating since January and have produced a video to reassure their peers. Tutors will have access to this video if your child is worried.

If you have any concerns that you would like to discuss with us before making a decision please use the ‘Contact us’ section of the website and someone will be in touch.

However, if you are adamant that you do not want your child tested and do not want to be reminded, please complete the consent form ticking the ‘NO’ option.

Does my child need to attend if they are not having a test? (Added 1/3/2021)

Guidance published by the government regarding attendance outlines the following:

“Pupils not undergoing testing should attend school in line with your phased return arrangements.”

In addition to testing, the first days back at school will also provide students with a reassuring ‘welcome back’ programme to ease a positive transition back to school. If you are concerned about your child returning to school, please contact your child’s Head of Year to discuss this.

I am concerned about my child returning to their tutor group mini-bubble. Is there a way my child can just come in for the test and go again? (Added 1/3/2021)

Yes - if you have specific family circumstances or are worried about your child returning to College and the implications of them joining their tutor group, we also are offering a ‘drop in & go’ test service. Students opting into the ‘drop in & go’ testing will be allocated an arrival time where they will be shown through to the testing centre to complete their test. Once they have completed their test, they will then leave the college site and return home to await their test result. They will be able to access their lesson resources remotely via Satchel:One as normal. Providing their result is negative, they can then return for a full day on their next allocated college date. To apply for a ‘drop in & go’ allocated testing slot, booking details for this will be sent to parents later this week. We regret that due to the large scale logistics of whole school testing, we are unable to offer alternatives to the allocated time slot.

Can my child self-test at home? (Added 1/3/2021)

Government guidance recommends that all students experience their first 3 tests in school with trained staff supervising them. This is to a) reassure them on their first experience and b) help ensure that they are doing the tests correctly. This will make them more reliable. VKW students and staff have found the process to be really helpful. If you or your child is worried about the testing, we would recommend;

1. going through the testing introduction that tutors will lead,

2. considering the ‘drop-in & go’ option outlined above.

3. If you are still worried, please use the ‘Contact us’ section and someone be in touch.

Once all three in-school tests have been carried out, students will be issued with home testing kits.

Can family members of students access home-testing kits? (Added 1/3/2021)

The DFE has announced that rapid lateral flow tests will be made available for free to families and bubbles of school pupils and staff. From 1st March, you can get a twice-weekly test kit:

  • Through your employer if they are offering testing to employees
  • At a local authority test site
  • By collecting a home test kit from a local PCR test site during specific collection times
  • By ordering a home test kit online through a new ordering service
Government updates and guidance - Updated 01/03/2021

The government has also put together some information which you may find helpful: