COVID-19 FAQs for International Students
Updated: 24 March 2020
We recognise that the current global Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak is causing considerable concern for our students and their families in the UK and around the world. We can confirm that there have been no confirmed cases of Coronavirus within our Colleges. Our FAQs aim to provide information around a range of areas of concern; please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’d like to discuss any aspect of the current situation, and our Colleges more generally.
When did MPW Colleges transition to online learning?
MPW London, taking into account UK government advice regarding the accelerated spread of coronavirus in London, transitioned to a full range of online learning and student support via our Virtual Learning Environment and MS Teams on Thursday 19th March. MPW Cambridge transitioned to online learning on Friday 20th March, and MPW Birmingham transitioned on Monday 23rd March. Our students are not expected in college unless by special prior arrangement.
When will lessons take place online? Do students have to attend?
The timing of our students’ lessons is unchanged, and students are expected to log in and be present. Internal assessments will continue to be included in our courses. Students would only be marked as absent if they were not to log in. It’s very important that students continue to monitor their MPW emails, where notices with regards to any schedule changes will be posted. We are aware of challenges around time zone differences, and we are looking to provide some recording of lessons - details will be confirmed nearer the time.
Is online learning working successfully?
We are very encouraged with the feedback from students and staff with regards to our online learning solutions. Direct feedback from two of our London students/parents is below:
“Thoroughly enjoyed the lesson, it was detailed had the same format as our normal lessons and allowed for group discussion as well. I also enjoyed the fact that we could use the message tool and were able to collectively produce a revision document at the end. I wouldn’t make any improvements about the lesson”.
“Super impressed how MPW has risen to the Corona crisis and set up excellent online class teaching for their students. Today is the first day and classes went ahead just as if they were in school. The unique set up of MPW of usually only having about 6-8 students per class make this of course a little easier than if one has a class of 17/35 but that’s why we chose MPW to start with”.
Will studying online affect students’ record of attendance?
No – students can be reassured that this won’t be the case. It is important that students remain in contact with college staff to ensure they have a current address and contact details, whether in the UK or their home country, and that they continue to engage on a daily basis with the online study programme to make sure they stay on track. Once students are online, attendance will be recorded and checked by the college.
Will it affect students’ Tier 4 visa?
Please be reassured that as we have authorised our students’ absence from face to face tuition, we do not need to report absences related to coronavirus to UKVI. UKVI have also confirmed that sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship in these exceptional circumstances, even if a student will be unable to physically attend college for more than 60 days. Police registration procedures have also been suspended. Please note that when a student’s visa expires, s/he will have to apply for a new visa to re-enter the UK.
Will pastoral care arrangements continue as before?
Yes – 1-1 meetings with Personal Tutors/Directors of Studies will continue online, and our Personal Tutors/Directors of Studies remain available as usual to help students with any queries or problems they face, and can be contacted by email, phone or MS teams. We will continue to offer the fullest range of support services to ensure that students receive the best possible pathway to their future.
How will students be externally assessed during this period?
GCSEs and A levels
The UK government has announced that GCSEs and A levels will not take place as scheduled. We are communicating with students and families as more information around grade calculations is understood. It is of key importance that students attend their lessons via Microsoft Teams and keep in contact with their Personal Tutors regarding university applications. Predicted grades will be based on a range of academic considerations including:
- Mock results
- Overall attendance (both so far and online or otherwise during the summer term)
- Class tests
- Exam practice results
- Continuous Assessment
- Tutor predictions
Other External Exams
- The University of London has let our International Foundation Programme students know that examinations will be rescheduled for the May 2020, and will be taken online. Full information will be available by 25th March
- At present, NCUK have stated that all students on the International Foundation Year will be helped to take exams in their home countries and our staff are working with students on this basis; if this approach changes, we will let our students know as a priority
- Arrangements for our University Foundation Programme students are being developed and will be explained to our students nearer to their examination period in May.
How are Universities considering students for entry in 2020, in the absence of A levels?
Further guidance regarding University admissions in 2020 is awaited from the UK Government, and we will work with our students to guide them within these new arrangements when they are confirmed.
Have there been any confirmed cases of coronavirus at the Kensington Student Services (KSS) Residences?
We can confirm that there have been no confirmed cases of Coronavirus within our Colleges.
Are the KSS Residences still open?
The residences remain open, and KSS will continue to accommodate all students living with them.
What special arrangements have been made at KSS Residences?
In line with Public Health England (PHE) and UK Government Guidance, we have encouraged our students to practice social distancing within their residences and we have reduced face to face contacts at our Residences where practical.
Can students stay at KSS if they are feeling unwell and need to self-isolate?
We have procedures in place if a student feels unwell and self isolates to ensure that we support their wellbeing and provision of food, whilst minimising the risks to the wider population.
How will students gain access to food when they are in self-isolation?
We will support students by adding them to our meal plans or arranging food orders and deliveries to ensure that they are looked after.
What measures are in place if a student living in a KSS residence catches the virus?
In all cases, KSS will work with PHE and, where relevant, third party accommodation providers to ensure all recommended processes are followed regarding the isolation of the affected student, deep cleaning of all areas, and pastoral support for the student involved.
Are students covered, having paid the Immigration Health Surcharge (HIS), if they need to go to medical treatment for coronavirus?
Yes. Students are able to access all NHS facilities in the UK for the period of their tier 4 visa, having paid the Immigration Health Surcharge.
Do students still need to inform their College if they are not in KSS Residences and show symptoms of coronavirus or are confirmed to have coronavirus?
Our students should inform us via their Director of Study/Personal Tutor as these scenarios may impact on attendance and overall wellbeing.
Are students still able to apply to MPW for September 2020 entry?
Yes – our international and college teams are working to help students and families looking to join the MPW Colleges in September, and are offering our usual personalised admissions experience.
How are students being interviewed?
Online interviews are continuing to take place frequently with MPW staff, and please contact us to arrange an interview for our courses.
Are students able to visit the MPW Colleges?
Unfortunately, we are unable to welcome visitors to our Colleges at this time – we are developing additional video footage of our Colleges, and webinars around key areas of interest, and will let enquirers, applicants and their agents know when these opportunities to find out more are live.
If I require an IELTS test result, and the test centres in my country are closed, will you accept alternative tests for entry?
We are expecting further information from UKVI regarding ongoing IELTS test unavailability, and will update once this information is received. MPW has in-house English tests which may be used instead of IELTS if required.
If I pay a deposit now, can I receive my money back later in 2020?
We wish to reassure all parents that we will adopt a fair and reasonable approach to the developing situation at all times. Our initial framework is below:
- For new students, deposits received will be returned in full if notice of withdrawal is received by 12th July
- On 1st July we will write to parents of all our new students outlining our plans for the 2020/21 academic year
- If we are able to confirm that our Colleges will operate normally from the start of the autumn term, parents will be liable for fees for the term unless notice is provided by 12th July
- If we are unable on 1st July to confirm the nature of our operations for the 2020/21 autumn term, further information will be provided as to when we expect to provide clarity and, if possible, what the fee structure would be for online provision. Families will then have 2 weeks after our notification to give notice if they wish, and have their deposits returned