Backstage Academy Current Status
Last updated: Wednesday 25th March 2020 - 17:00
In response to the proposals set out by the Government in the forthcoming Coronavirus Bill, the Backstage Academy Senior Leadership Team has agreed the following measures:
1. The campus will be closed to students until Monday 20th April
All onsite access to students and visitors is currently restricted until Monday 20th April. Only essential staff who are required to maintain the site will be able to access our facilities.
We have made arrangements for staff to switch to working from home and we have also taken the difficult decision to cancel all public events.
Backstage Academy is following advice from Public Health England and the UK Government in order to protect our community and help with public efforts to stop the virus. If these or other restrictions are extended and/or it is not possible for students to return to study onsite then we will notify students via the Backstage Academy App and Backstage Academy email address.
2. Moving delivery online
Whilst access to our campus is restricted, Backstage Academy remains open for learning. We are committed to fulfilling our obligations to students, which is why we are currently doing everything we can to ensure that the students are able to complete their studies with minimal disruption.
The Backstage Academy team is currently transitioning a considerable amount of our activities online as far as is practical and possible.
The staff team are working hard to develop alternative delivery plans and we would like to ask for your patience and understanding in giving the team the time they need to complete this complicated process. We will of course share any changes with students via email and the Backstage Academy App as soon as they have been agreed and confirmed with both The University of Bolton and our external examiners. We are also looking at alternative approaches to our recruitment and outreach work.
In the interim, students and staff can access a range of resources remotely including the University of Bolton’s electronic library resources, existing research material and lessons on Moodle as well as free online training courses provided by some of our industry partners.
3. Supporting students
Online Counselling/Wellbeing Meetings
This is a truly unprecedented situation and we are aware of how this might be making students feel very uncertain. Backstage Academy would like to reassure that our student wellbeing team is here to offer you support through this challenging time.
Going forwards, our Student Wellbeing Officer, Chris Madden, is now offering counselling sessions/wellbeing meetings via the Zoom app (for video calls) and phone. Chris has worked this way with many clients and it is a valuable approach for support.
Details of how to book a meeting has been sent out in the Head of Institution’s update on 24/03/2020. If you can’t find the link or are experiencing issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that in order to ensure that there are sufficient slots for students, these meetings will be 25 minutes long. When booking a meeting with Chris, please let him know if you would like to use Zoom or phone.
Looking after your mental health is important during this unprecedented period. Visit mentalhealth.org for the latest advice and resources.
Online Disability and Pastoral Support
Our Student Services and Disability Support Officer, Emily Lynch, is offering tailored sessions via the Zoom app (for video calls) or the Backstage Academy App (for ‘live-chat’ instant messaging sessions).
To book a meeting, please use the link that was included in the Head of Institution’s update on 24/03/2020 and specify whether you would like to chat via Zoom or the Backstage App. These sessions will be 30 minutes in length. If you can’t find the link or are experiencing issues, please contact email@example.com.
4. Student Loan Payments
The Student Loans Company has released this guidance for current students at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/slc-coronavirus-covid-19-update.
The Student Loans Company can confirm that “students will receive their scheduled or next instalment of their maintenance loan at the planned start of their summer term, regardless of whether their university or provider has made alternative arrangements for teaching”. If you want to check when your payments are due, you can log on the Student Finance England portal (if appropriate) for confirmation of dates etc. at https://logon.slc.co.uk/cas/login.
5. Students in Financial Difficulties
Students who have experienced an unexpected change to their financial circumstances due to the current crisis should consider applying to our hardship fund.
We recognise the additional pressure that some students may be under and have therefore decided to extend the application window for the Hardship Fund until the end of the academic year. Details of the hardship fund on the Moodle student hub page, in the “Student Bursaries and Hardship Fund” section. If you can’t find this or are experiencing issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Keeping in touch with Backstage Academy
We have requested that all students provide us with details of where they are residing over the Easter Holidays, in case we need to send you anything through the post. A link to the online form has been distributed to students in the Head of Institution’s update on 24/03/2020. If you can’t find the link or are experiencing issues, please contact email@example.com.
7. Reporting Illness
If you become unwell and are unable to attend or engage with scheduled sessions, please continue to use firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us.