Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Announcement: In line with the Government’s recovery plan we have now entered phase 2 of recovery. Please click here to read our recovery plan. This will continue to be updated regularly as lockdown eases.

FW Solutions Ltd response to the COVID-19 Coronavirus outbreak.

Following Government guidelines, FW Solutions Ltd is now operating a COVID-secure workplace.

On this page dedicated to FW Solutions’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic you will find up to date information and resources related to apprenticeships, Advanced Learner Loan programmes of study and employment as an apprentice.

Learner Information

The apprenticeships coronavirus guidance has been updated to reflect:

We are following all guidance from the Institute of Apprenticeships to ensure apprentices can complete their End Point Assessment.

All learners and apprentices will continue to be taught and assessed remotely unless they have returned to work and their workplace is COVID-secure in line with government FE guidance.

SEND support with COVID-19

The SEND strategy outlines FW Solutions’ strategy for supporting young learners (aged 16-25) and adults with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) within our Further Education and Apprenticeship provision.

On the 19th April 2020, the Department of Education published new details regarding SEND and risk assessments. We will be working to government guidance and updating practice where needed. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-send-risk-assessment-guidance

We are continuing to support our learners with SEND and will undertake a risk assessment where needed to establish the individual needs of each learner that may already have an Education Health and Care plan (EHC). We will continue to take steps to include the local authority and parents or carers during the risk assessment and assess their needs accordingly.

Here at FW Solutions we are continuing to support our learners with needs such as Dyslexia, Dyscalculia or Dysgraphia and ensuring they are able to learn remotely and they can access their resources online and to maintain their learning in whatever format is most appropriate to them and their additional needs. We will continue checking their computer literacy and offering support or resources that may be useful, step by step guides, arranging video calls on a suitable format i.e. Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp etc to discuss the work they have completed if writing or typing their work is challenging at this time. We are also encouraging family members to support and read with learners where possible.

If you would like any further information or support regarding Special Educational Needs or Disabilities, please contact FW Solutions’ SENCo Kimberley Grantham.

k.grantham@fwsolutions.net

07752828572

Information on Functional Skills support and testing

At FW Solutions, we are working closely with Ofqual and our awarding organisations Pearson and NCFE to make sure learners are supported with functional skills maths, English and ICT during this uncertain time. We understand these are difficult times and there are many challenges ahead and we are doing all we can to keep updated and put measures in place in accordance to the health and safety guidelines to help you progress and achieve your functional skills.

Supporting the wellbeing and mental health of our learners and employees

The effects of the Coronavirus pandemic are far-reaching. The social distancing rules, disruption to family routine, financial insecurity, and health fears have put a huge strain on most people’s ability to cope in stressful situations. Whatever your situation, it is important to look at what you can do to limit the toll on your mental health and wellbeing.

FW Solutions are committed to support the wellbeing of our learners and staff so that they can continue to achieve their work and learning objectives during this difficult and uncertain time. We are committed to supporting you to return to a new normal and easing back into work.

Tutors continue one to one support and guidance and learners are also encouraged to visit the websites on our IAG (Information, Advice and Guidance) page where they can access resources to help to them look after their mental health and wellbeing. We have introduced a range of initiatives to support the mental health and wellbeing of our staff and learners and these can be found in our Wellbeing During COVID-19 strategy.

Safeguarding during COVID-19

FW Solutions is committed to maintaining the highest possible standards to meet its social, moral and legal responsibilities to safeguard the welfare of every child/young person, vulnerable adult  or learner regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or religion  and to ensure they feel safe, secure and are listened to.

Key Information

We provide our learners with opportunities throughout their apprenticeship or learning programme to develop the skills they need to stay safe, healthy and recognise and respond to abuse and harmful behaviours. During this uncertain time, we have a blended approach of online learning coupled with workplace visits where learners have safely returned to work. When learning remotely via online platforms, including Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp your e-safety is paramount. All our learners are receiving wellfare calls to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

It is important for our learners and staff to ensure they are safe online.  Spending time online comes with risks and we encourage our learners to recognise cyber bullying, grooming, radicalisation and trolling and how to increase their online security and reduce these risks to their safety. We are committed to ensuring overuse of social media and over exposure to the news around COVID-19 does not impact on mental health and wellbeing. Please click here for the government guidance on staying safe online.

FW Solutions’ employees recognise that safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility irrespective of their role. Whatever your current situation other people should not:

If you wish to share information with FW Solutions’ staff members, please note:
if the staff member feels that what you tell them puts you or any other young person at risk of harm; they will have to pass it on to the designated person who may have to take it further to support you or others and keep everyone safe. This is in accordance with our safeguarding referral procedure. They will only tell those who need to know.

FW Solutions continues to follow our Safeguarding policy and procedures (which can be found here) and the DfE guidance on safeguarding learners during COVID-19:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers/coronavirus-covid-19-safeguarding-in-schools-colleges-and-other-providers

For a summary of the NSPCC guidance, advice and support for children, parents/carers and professionals please click here

We are committed to ensuring learners know who to contact if they are worried or have any concerns about their safety and wellbeing.

Any concerns relating to the welfare of a learner should be directed to our Designated Safeguarding Lead, Nicola Balmforth – n.balmforth@fwsolutions.net

Information for apprentice employers

Don’t wash your hands of your apprentices!

UPDATE 8 July: The government announced their Plan for Jobs

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a “brand new bonus” for employers to hire apprentices over the next six months.

From August to January, any firm that hires a new young apprentice aged 16 to 24 will receive £2,000, while those that hire new apprentices aged 25 and over will be paid £1,500.

MAY 2020 UPDATE : The Government updated their advice on 11th May on reopening your workplace and how to work Safely during Coronavirus https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19

We ask that all employers of apprentices ensure they have followed the HSE guidelines before requesting apprentices to return to work https://www.hse.gov.uk/simple-health-safety/risk/index.htm and displaying  the ‘Staying COVID-19 Secure’ poster once risk assessments have been completed.

Your apprentices will continue learning via online study platforms where it is not yet safe for a face to face visit. Contact us if you wish to discuss your apprentices safe return to learning.  All learners and apprentices can continue with their apprenticeship or programme of study via our flexible learning delivery methods and e-portfolio. The government have released advice on furloughed apprentices and returning to work.

If an apprentice is sick due to COVID-19 and/or is unable to do any learning for four consecutive weeks or longer, we can arrange for them to have a break in learning.

All learning that apprentices take part in will be logged in their Off the Job Training log and will count towards their total time at the end of the apprenticeship. We will continue to review progress every 8 weeks and involve you, the employer, in the feedback and progress meeting remotely.

Note that FW Solutions are enrolling new apprentices via remote enrolment and apprentices can begin their training immediately via online learning.

Please contact Rebecca Warden – r.warden@fwsolutions.net if you wish to enrol an apprentice.

Early years

The Government have advised that Early Years settings and childminders should open to children from 1st June 2020 and schools from September 2020. Please follow the up to date guidance for schools and childcare settings.

This section will be relevant to early years providers that are employers, and that usually have a mix of public income (largely this will be funding for the free early education entitlements, also known as ‘DSG funding’) and private income (largely this will be the fees that parents pay for childcare beyond the free entitlements).

Childminders are less likely to be employers, and therefore are less likely to be eligible for support via the CJRS. Childminders may find the Self Employment Income Support Scheme more relevant.

On 17 March 2020, the Chancellor confirmed that the government will continue to pay local authorities for free early years entitlement places for 2, 3 and 4 year olds to support providers at this time. On 18 March 2020, the government also announced a business rates holiday for many nurseries in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year. Read the guidance 

Please click here for update guidance on financial support for education, early years and childrens’ social care during COVID-19.

Information on the arrangements for apprentices who are ready for End Point Assessment during the lockdown period continue to be updated by the Institute for Apprenticeships and FW Solutions will act in accordance with these guideline for apprentices in this situation https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/response-to-covid-19/