21 April 2020 - ucisa bulletin 21 April: Moratorium extended, further Tier 4 Guidance and an Assessement webinar
Moratorium on unconditional offer making extended until 4 May
The Universities Minister and the OfS made a statement on 23 March that all universities and colleges are being asked to pause all unconditional offer-making and changes to existing offers. The Universities Minister announced an extension to this pause on 17 April, asking universities and colleges to continue to pause most forms of unconditional offer-making until 4 May. This is the second extension to the pause, following the earlier announcement on 3 April.
The moratorium applies in the following cases and to students applying for undergraduate study in the next academic year:
- any activity to adjust existing offers, including to make them unconditional for applicants who have not yet received their A-levels, BTECs or similar qualification results
- any unconditional offer-making for UK, EU and international applicants who have not yet received their A-levels, BTECs or similar qualification results.
- any unconditional offer-making for UK, EU and international applicants where offers made are based on criteria or assessment methods other than level-3 qualifications, such as interview or audition performance; submission of evidence of work; performance in an internal entrance examination or test.
The extended moratorium does not apply to unconditional offers for applicants who have already achieved their A-levels, BTECs or similar qualifications.
Further guidance for Tier 4 sponsors and students (and short-term students)
The Home Office has released further guidance advising Tier 4 sponsors and short-term students in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the main developments is confirmation that Tier 4 sponsors with a good track record of compliance will be able to self-assess students as having a B1 level of English, where progression on to the main course of study is dependent upon the student passing the pre-sessional course.
The updated guidance also:
Lifts restrictions for students on Tier 4 visas who are now able to volunteer or work for the NHS without a cap on hours.
- Confirms that Tier 4 students do not currently need to register with the police in line with government guidance on social distancing
- States that students will need to register with the police or update their information once social distancing measures are lifted.
- Advises that students who are unable to complete their course as a result of Covid-19 will be able to apply to extend their Tier 4 visa in the UK
- Confirms that students withdrawing from their studies as a result of Covid-19 will not be included in a sponsor’s data in future Basic Compliance Assessments. Sponsors must still notify UKVI of the reason for withdrawal and keep their own records of any cases.
- Restates the closure of ATAS applications at this time and encourages students to contact CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk if they are in urgent need.
Assessment in a time of crisis - Community Drop-in session from Jisc, Friday 24 April 11am -12 noon
This informal discussion is chaired by James Clay, Head of Higher Education and Student Experience, Jisc. We are living through unprecedented times and Higher and Further Education are having to transform how they manage teaching, learning and assessment, a need to move to remote delivery and assessment using a range of digital technologies, tools, services and resources. In this drop in session, the community can share their experiences, their challenges and ideas on how to transform assessment during a time of crisis.
Suggested discussion points:
- What are the challenges and pain points are universities and colleges are facing in this time of crisis with regard to assessment?
- What are you doing to transform and translate your assessment processes to online at scale and pace?
- What solutions are working for you? What is working well, what could you do differently or better?
- How will you maintain student engagement through the next few weeks and through the assessment process, as they continue to socially isolate and study remotely?
- How are you ensuring student wellbeing during a time of crisis remotely and have you considered the impact of online assessment on wellbeing as an extra pressure and source of stress?
If anyone would like to join the session they will first need to join the community site. More information about the community and how to join here.