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News Archive

College Closure due to Coronavirus

Dear parents/carers, learners, employers and partners,

UPDATE AS AT TUESDAY 24TH MARCH 2020

In light of the Prime Minister's announcement on Monday 23rd March, the college has  taken the decision to move all support areas to work remotely from 4.00pm today. Each area will continue to work and support learners, applicants, parents/carers, employers and partners in exactly the same way that they have done to date.

At the moment our crèche will remain open as per the requirement to provide childcare services to key support workers. In her statement on 23rd Kirsty Williams, Minister for Education, was clear that whilst:

 ‘Children should be at home wherever possible, critical workers will still need to have safe care arrangements for their children.  Our schools and childcare settings are providing a vital service to support critical workers and our most vulnerable children. Those involved in the current arrangements looking after children should continue. Many thanks to our amazing teaching and childcare professionals for their commitment in this time of national need. This situation will continue for the immediate term but we will be reviewing with healthcare professionals, local authorities and our teaching unions.’

We will of course keep you updated on any further information, advice and developments on this over the course of the next few days.

In the meantime, the safety and wellbeing of all of our staff is our key priority and we are working with our crèche manager to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our creche staff and the children who are attending during this time.  

 

Contacting our support areas

If any of you have any queries or wish to contact any areas of support over the next few weeks, please use the following email addresses. They are all being monitored continually and staff will endeavor to come back to you as soon as they possibly can

Admissions, marketing and enquiries – if you have any queries regarding admissions or marketing, please contact: enquiries@merthyr.ac.uk. We will be continuing to process applications and enquiries as normal so please do get in touch with any concerns you may have.  

Student Records – Any query that existing learners or staff may have on attendance or exams can be accessed via: SRHelpdesk@MERTHYR.AC.UK;

IT – If you need IT support, please contact: itservicedesk@merthyr.ac.uk

Finance – For any queries regarding free school meals, EMA or ALG, bursaries or payment of invoices, please contact:  financeteam@merthyr.ac.uk.

HR – if you require any HR advice and guidance or wish to inform us that you are sick, please use the HR@MERTHYR.AC.UK.

Learner Support and Wellbeing -  please refer to the contact card below

Thank you for bearing with us during this difficult time. Please stay safe, follow the Government recommendations and look after yourselves

 

UPDATE AS AT FRIDAY 20TH MARCH 2020

Thank you very much for all your patience, assistance and support with all of the uncertainty over the last few weeks.

Due to the current and continually evolving challenges and risks associated with Coronavirus COVID-19 and in-line with the announcement made by the Education Minister this afternoon, we have taken the decision to cease face-to-face teaching for all learners from the end of this week (Friday 20 March 2020 at 4pm).

From Monday 23 March 2020, teaching and learning will move, wherever possible to be delivered digitally until further notice.

 

As we prepare to move towards this new phase of working, our priorities very much focus upon:

 

Keep learning going

We have put clear plans and actions in place to ensure that we are able to deliver and support teaching and learning remotely and ensure that learners keep learning. Learners are able to access the required learning platforms and resources through the college’s Website, Moodle and Student Portal systems. To assist learners requiring learning resources, our Learning Zone has increased the amount of materials/books/resources that learners are able to take out on loan. They will also waive all fines until we are back open again. Library resources are also available on-line via FINDIT and Blackboard (for HE learners).

 

 

Keep providing learners with the appropriate care, support and guidance

 

We have a large number of learners who are currently receiving support to help them with their studies and this support will continue on a remote basis utilising Facebook, Skype and other electronic platforms. Learners receiving EMA, ALG etc. will continue to do so. We will also continue to make regular bursary payments. All learners who currently receive support will be provided with a first contact card with the contact details of all key support workers on. We will also be offering three months’ supply of period products to learners to collect before they leave on Friday.

 

We will continue to review advice from Public Health Wales and Welsh Government and will publish all updates on our Website and official social media channels and via direct email to our staff and learners.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) – Advice and information

 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – further advice and information…

Following the diagnosis of the first cases of Coronavirus in Wales, an update of information is provided below for all learners and staff to follow.

The Welsh Government and Public Health Wales are monitoring the situation.

The College will be following this information and advice so that we will be able to respond if and when required. 

 

Advice for travellers if you have been to the following areas since the 19 February:

If you have returned from the following areas since 19 February:

  • Iran
  • Specific lockdown areas in Northern Italy as designated by the Government of Italy
  • Special care zones in South Korea as designated by the Government of the Republic of South Korea

 

You should immediately:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu,
  • phone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or phone 111 if available in your area (Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay).

 

 Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus.

If you develop a fever, or a cough or shortness of breath, phone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or phone 111.  Continue to follow the same advice and do not leave your home until you been given advice by a clinician.

 

If you have returned from Wuhan or Hubei province in the last 14 days, you should:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu,
  • phone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or phone 111 if available in your area (Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay).

Please follow this advice even if you do not have symptoms of the virus.

If you have returned from the following areas since 19 February:

  • Northern Italy (defined by a line above, and not including, Pisa, Florence and Rimini),
  • Vietnam
  • Cambodia
  • Laos
  • Myanmar

And develop symptoms (fever or cough or shortness of breath), however mild, you should:

  • stay indoors and avoid contact with other people as you would with the flu,
  • phone NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 or phone 111 if available in your area (Hywel Dda, Powys, Aneurin Bevan and Swansea Bay).

Only follow this advice if you have symptoms.

Planned trips and visits:

Based on current information from Public Health Wales and the Foreign Office, it is anticipated that all trips will continue to go ahead with the exception of the Erasmus trip to Italy in May which will be rescheduled.

If and when, the situation in other countries changes then the College will review the status of the trips and keep staff informed.

Please consult the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for foreign travel advice (trips and visits):

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

 

Personal trips abroad:

If you have travelled abroad, please consult the link below* for advice, as information on the affected countries is updated regularly.

 

If you have a planned trip during the Easter holidays or in the Whitsun break, you must inform your line manager of your holiday destination.

 

Prevention:

As for preventing the spread of the virus, the advice is the same as for the prevention of flu, mainly – hand washing.

Posters will be displayed in toilets and on the electronic notice boards around the College. (see attached)

 

Further advice:

The Welsh Government has published the following guidance for schools and other educational settings in providing advice about the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19.

Guidance to educational settings about COVID-19

 

Public Health Wales – general information on Covid-19 and advice:

* https://phw.nhs.wales/topics/latest-information-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19/

 

Government UK – latest information and advice:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Welsh Government – latest information and advice:

https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19

 

If you have any further concerns or queries please do not hesitate to contact the College Health and Safety Officer, Nicola Wilstead.  (01685 726124)

 

 

 

 

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Oxford offer for college Humanities learner

College Merthyr Tydfil student Annabelle Dennis is celebrating after securing an offer to study at Oxford University.  Annabelle, who is studying English Literature, Sociology, History and Government and Politics at the college, received the offer to study English Literature and Language at Mansfield College on Tuesday 14th January.

Speaking about her offer, Annabelle, who beat off competition from hundreds of applicants, commented, “I’m absolutely over the moon. There are only nine places available to study on this course and to be offered one of these places is a real achievement. The interview process was not as scary as I thought it was going to be but it was still really challenging. I had two interviews, the first of which, incorporated a range of questions around my personal statement and the written work that I had submitted. I felt that this element went well but I was really nervous about how I had performed in the second interview, which was based on analysing and giving feedback on a poem.  It was nerve wracking waiting to hear if they were going to offer me a place.”

 

Annabelle, who previously studied at Aberdare Community School, has excelled during her time at the college. Not only has she obtained 4 grade A’s at AS level, but over the last year she has successfully gained a place on the Seren Programme and also featured in a range of BBC documentaries giving her views on current affairs and Brexit.  

Chris Ford, Head of Advanced Programmes at the college, commented “This is a fantastic achievement for Annabelle and one which is thoroughly deserved. She is such a hardworking and motivated student. We are all so proud of her. We constantly strive to provide the best learning environment and support to enhance our students’ abilities and give them the confidence and skills they need to achieve their aspirations. This includes an innovative programme for more able and talented students, linked to the 'Seren' Hub for progression to Oxford, Cambridge and Russell Group universities. Annabelle’s success showcases that this programme and the support that we are offering as a college is working effectively and helping our students to achieve their maximum potential. Annabelle is predicted to achieve 4A*s in her summer examinations and I have no doubt that she will achieve these. I wish her the very very best for her future. She is a credit to herself, her family and the college.”

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College Merthyr Tydfil shortlisted for prestigious Times Further Education College of the Year Award

The College Merthyr Tydfil is celebrating after being shortlisted for the Times Education Further Education College of the Year Award 2020.

The annual awards, which are open to all UK further education colleges, seek to recognise and reward the achievements of the very best further education providers in the UK.

The college has been shortlisted for the category of FE College of the Year in recognition of its outstanding achievements, continually improving learner outcomes, high quality curriculum and overall positive contribution to education and training for learners in Merthyr Tydfil.

Commenting on the news, Principal Lisa Thomas statedWe are delighted to have been shortlisted for the FE College of the Year Award. This is an outstanding achievement and highlights the college’s ongoing commitment to being recognised as a centre of excellence that makes a real difference to the lives of learners, raising aspirations and developing the prosperity and aspirations of the communities we service.  Being shortlisted for this prestigious award is a real honour for the college, recently described by First Minister Rt Hon Mark Drakeford as one of the “great success stories of devolution" – a fittingly accurate description of a college that, over the last five years, has truly achieved excellence.”

Following successful transition to tertiary, the college has built up a reputation for delivering high quality teaching and learning, excellent outcomes and a broad and balanced curriculum, all of which has been achieved against a backdrop of high social deprivation.

The college is now one of the top performing FE Colleges in Wales. We have achieved this by working in partnership with schools, the local authority and employers to raise aspirations, increase opportunities for learners and support positive progression to higher education, apprenticeships and employment.

As a consequence of this we have made a significant contribution to our local economy and community, successfully leading and supporting a range of joint college/local authority/university/employer programmes and initiatives, including the Welsh Valleys Engineering Partnership scheme, a HE/FE Collaborative project and a new Aspire Shared Apprenticeship Programme. These projects have had a positive and sustained impact on learner experience and outcomes, whilst also helping us to develop excellent working relationships with our local schools, employers and community, helping us to achieve our mission to ‘Transform lives by working together’ and making us a worthy contender for the ‘FE College of the Year’ Award.

 

The college, which is up against seven other institutions for the award, will find out if it has won at the TES Awards dinner to be held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane on the evening of Friday 20th March.

 

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Community Music Wales find a new home in Merthyr’s Red House.

Community Music Wales are delighted to announce that from January 2020 the organisation will be moving their operational base and head office to the historic Redhouse building in Merthyr Tydfil.

Community Music Wales (CMW) are a National arts charity with nearly 30 years’ experience in making a positive impact to communities across the creative landscape of Wales. CMW provides a range of outreach opportunities for participatory activities, training and mentoring, using music as a universal way to engage with people. CMW’s work keeps the community at its core and encourages the widening of access to the arts and culture believing that it is essential in creating a cohesive society.

In addition to its head office being based within the Redhouse, CMW will also develop creative partnerships with the Merthyr Wellbeing Trust and Merthyr College to deliver a range of activities for the local community, in the fantastic workshop areas and performance spaces. The organisation chose the Redhouse as their new home as they recognise that it has the potential to become a beacon of creativity and enterprise in the region, helping to discover and support the wealth of local talent in the area.

 

The Director of the organisation, Hannah Jenkins, who was born and bred in Merthyr said:

 

We at Community Music Wales are looking forward to moving our South Wales base to the Redhouse and in turn working in partnership with Merthyr Wellbeing Trust & Merthyr College. We have a long history of delivering exciting work to communities in the Merthyr area, working with groups such as the 3G’ Development Trust and Barnardo’s. Therefore, we are incredibly proud to be developing new project ideas and building new partnerships that will support the many cultural endeavors that are currently active in the area.’ 

 

The Interim CEO of Wellbeing@Merthyr (Merthyr Leisure Trust) said:

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome Community Music Wales to the Redhouse and very much look forward to working with Community Music Wales to expand the opportunities for the Community to take part in a range of arts and cultural activities. The potential of the partnership working between Community  Music Wales Wellbeing@Merthyr and with Merthyr College is very exciting and we have been meeting regularly to discuss ideas and possible projects. This is a real boost for Arts and Culture in Merthyr and we are so very pleased that Community Music Wales chose the Redhouse as their new home"

Lisa Thomas, Principal, The College Merthyr Tydfil, commented

“Redhouse is currently home to the college’s Creative Industries provision and we are delighted by the prospect of working in partnership with Community Music Wales and Wellbeing@Merthyr to further enhance this provision. Community Music Wales are coming to Merthyr at a very opportune time.  Not only is there a major drive locally through ‘Creative Merthyr’ but the Creative Industries sector has also been identified as a South-East Wales regional employment and skills priority area for 2020.  Working together with Wellbeing@Merthyr and Community Music Wales will help us develop a range of additional activities, employability and enrichment opportunities for learners studying in this area, enhancing their industry relevant skills and experience and enabling them to progress successfully on to a future career in the Creative Industries sector.”  

 

As a community based organisation with a National remit, CMW will continue to deliver Wales wide and continue to operate from an additional office base in Caernarfon. However, Community Music Wales welcomes the opportunity to start a new chapter in the historic Redhouse and becoming part of the dynamic and culturally rich local community.  This opportunity allows CMW to offer a wider range of activities and partnerships as well as support for amateur and professional musicians via the creation of this central hub in the heart of the South Wales Valleys. 

 

Visit: www.communitymusicwales.co.uk

Twitter: twitter.com/CMW_CGC

 

 

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