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Coronavirus updates and guidance

Ensuring the safety and welfare of our staff and students is our priority. The latest on how we are supporting staff, students and visitors.

Last updated: 12 April

COVID-19 control measures

With a sharp increase in COVID cases due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, the following measures will be in place from the start of the new term:

  • Teaching will continue face to face in line with student timetables. Students should only attend timetabled sessions from 4 January 2022.
  • The wearing of face coverings in communal areas remains in place in line with guidelines from local public health officials – this is being reviewed regularly. Wearing face coverings for staff and students in classrooms is now a personal choice
  • Students and staff should sanitise hands on arrival at College and regularly throughout the day. Sanitiser dispensers will be placed in communal areas throughout the College.
  • Always use fresh tissues when coughing/sneezing and dispose into a bin immediately.
  • There will be a maximum limit of 2 people in lifts.
  • Staff and students are expected to continue home testing using the free Lateral Flow Tests available in foyers and common rooms at least twice a week and report positive tests to NHS Test and Trace after taking a PCR test.
  • Incidents of positive COVID tests should be reported to the college at

  • Existing college measures such as ventilated rooms and regular anti-viral spraying of interiors remain in place.
  • Meetings are preferred online rather than face to face. Visitors to the college are expected to self-test before attending planned meetings and may be asked to produce evidence of a negative lateral flow test.

Keeping safe

We are committed to keeping our staff, students and visitors safe. We are encouraging staff and students to undertake lateral flow tests in line with government guidance. These can either be ordered online or collected from the reception areas at East Ham or Stratford.

You should not attend college if you have any COVID-19 symptoms (high temperature, persistent cough and loss of taste and smell). You should self-isolate at home immediately and order a free PCR test to check if you have coronavirus. If you test positive for COVID-19, you must self-isolate for 10 days regardless of your vaccination status.

  • If you are double vaccinated and have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive, you do not need to self-isolate but should have a PCR test and then must self-isolate if positive.
  • If you are unvaccinated, you must self-isolate for 10 days if you come into close contact with a person who has tested positive.
  • You must self-isolate for 10 days if you have been in contact with a person with the Omicron variant, whether or not you are vaccinated.
  • You will be identified by NHS Test and Trace and instructed to self-isolate if you come into close contact with someone who is Omicron infected.
  • If you have financial issues caused by self-isolation, you may be entitled to a £500 Test and Trace support payment from your local council (see Self-Isolation Support Payment for Newham residents).

Learn more about when to self-isolate and what to do.

Exams & assessment

The college continues to operate in line with up-to-date guidance from Ofqual (the exams regulator) and the Department for Education. Learn more about the latest plans in place for exams, grading and assessments of GCSEs, vocational (e.g. BTECs) and technical qualifications (e.g. T Levels).

There is specialist guidance for Access to HE learners and a full set of documents and information from QAA on their website.

Teaching, learning and assessment will, by and large, continue face-to-face to enable learners to gain the most from their time in college. However, under exceptional circumstances, a very small number of classes may switch to online or blended learning if Covid infections are high.

GCSE exams are planned to go ahead with English and maths exam dates as follows:


  • Paper 1: Wednesday 18 May (morning, 1h 45m)
  • Paper 2: Friday 10 June (morning, 1h 45m)


  • Paper 1 Foundation Tier (non-calculator): Friday 20 May (morning, 1h 30m)
  • Paper 1 Higher Tier (non-calculator): Friday 20 May (morning, 1h 30m)
  • Paper 2 Foundation Tier (calculator): Tuesday 7 June (morning, 1h 30m)
  • Paper 2 Higher Tier (calculator): Tuesday 7 June (morning, 1h 30m)
  • Paper 3 Foundation Tier (calculator): Monday 13 June (morning, 1h 30m)
  • Paper 3 Higher Tier (calculator): Monday 13 June (morning, 1h 30m)

You must attend all these sittings to gain an exam result in August. To help you prepare for your assessments, Pearson has set up a support page for students, parents and carers.

Ofqual has published its guidance on arrangements for formal GCSE exams in summer 2022 along with external BTEC assessments.

Formal exams and sittings have been distanced over a longer period to enable all candidates to take at least one formal paper even if they have had a bout of Covid, enabling them to take exams in line with Government guidelines. Candidates may not gain certification if they miss one or more formal examinations/assessments (see planned dates above).

Any candidate who is staying at home and avoiding contact with others (in line with UKHSA guidance on COVID (5-7 days of self-isolation) at the time of the examination, is considered to be absent from the examination. This includes candidates who are displaying the symptoms described in the UKHSA guidance as advising them to stay at home (e.g. a high temperature for those aged 18 and under) as well as those with a positive COVID-19 test result. Where a candidate still wishes to attend an examination, despite having symptoms or a positive COVID-19 test, the centre should encourage the candidate to follow the UKHSA’s guidance.

Any candidate who misses an exam due to COVID in line with the UKHSA guidance, must provide evidence of self-certification of medical absence. The College will expect parents/carers/guardians and candidates to complete the relevant sections of the JCQ form (in line with Ofqual regulations) and submit it to Further guidance is available here.