Backstage Academy Current Status

Last updated: Friday 10th July 2020

 

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 further notice

All onsite access to students and visitors is currently restricted until further notice. 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. Our Open Day on Saturday 13th June has therefore been cancelled. We hope our Open Day on Saturday 15th August will go ahead as planned. 

 

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 has transitioned a considerable amount of our activities online as far as is practical and possible. 

 

The staff team have worked hard to develop alternative delivery plans. 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 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 studentadmin@backstage-academy.co.uk.

 

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 studentadmin@backstage-academy.co.uk.

 

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 studentadmin@backstage-academy.co.uk.

 

7. Reporting Illness

If you become unwell and are unable to attend or engage with scheduled sessions, please continue to use attendance@backstage-academy.co.uk to notify us.

 

Key Links

 


Student FAQs

  • Will the campus reopen if the current social distancing restrictions are relaxed?

    When the restrictions are relaxed, we will first move to transition staff to return to working onsite. Following this we will consider what facilities we can make available to students and communicate this to you. 

    Assessments and teaching will continue to be online for the rest of the academic year in order to ensure consistency and parity of experience for all students.

  • Can I come onto campus to work out of the LRC and access the computer room?

    Once the restrictions have been relaxed, we will look to make these resources available to students as a priority. In the meantime, we will support you to make the most of the online resources that are available.

  • What will happen to teaching & learning now that there is no access to the campus?

    Modules can continue to be delivered remotely using materials on Moodle or other platforms, which can include PowerPoint voice-overs, video-call seminars on Zoom and video recordings. Support tutorials may be conducted via phone or video link.

  • What arrangements will be put in place if a member of academic staff falls ill and cannot deliver classes in person or via working remotely?

    Wherever possible, classes should not be cancelled, and all teaching should continue as normal. If a member of academic staff falls ill and/or needs to self-isolate, the Academic Director will (where possible) arrange for classes to be covered by another member of the programme team. 

    If class cancellations are necessary, it should be possible for another member of the programme team to set work for the affected students from the material in Moodle or other platforms.

  • If I need to self-isolate, who should I inform?

    - Email attendance@backstage-academy.co.uk (students) or contact your line manager and HR (staff) as you would report any illness.

    - The government’s stay at home guidance can be found here

    - The NHS Guidance can be found here

    - Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

    - You do not need to contact NHS111 to tell them that you are staying at home as people with mild symptoms who are self-isolating will not be tested.

    - After 7 days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine. If you have not had any signs of improvement and have not already sought medical advice, you should contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. Cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than 7 days.

    - If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

  • I’ve been told by an NHS health professional to self-isolate. What should I do?

    If you have been told that you should self-isolate as a precaution due to your circumstances, you should follow this advice and you should not visit Backstage Academy or travel elsewhere during the period of self-isolation.

  • Where can I find guidance on international travel?

    Guidance on international travel can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus

  • Should I be doing external work?

    Given the fluid and global nature of the live events sector, the potential for infection to spread is high. We encourage you to assess the risk of any work that you undertake and take necessary control measures such as good hand and food hygiene, or not working on events in regions where the outbreak is considerable.

  • How can I access University of Bolton resources?

    The University of Bolton Library is not closing. Services will now be available online to best serve the interests and safety of students and staff.

    The Library has launched a new chat service which is available Monday-Friday, 10am - 4pm via the Library website and Discover@Bolton

    The FAQs cover issues including overdue books, renewals and getting support with using online Library resources. https://libanswers.bolton.ac.uk/search/?q=covid-19&t=0 

    A range of guides covering all aspects of using the Library online are available at: https://libguides.bolton.ac.uk. While the physical library space will be closed, the Library will continue to provide access to a wide range of resources and support online. These include: 

    Please visit the Library website for more details: www.bolton.ac.uk/library. No student will incur charges as a result of the closure of the Library building. Please follow the Library on social media for further updates and guidance on how to make the most of online Library resources.

  • What other industry led training can I access?

    We have collated a range of online material and Industry led training sessions and put links to them all on our website:

    https://www.backstage-academy.co.uk/online-industry-training

  • What will happen to my assessments now that there is no access to the campus?

    The UK’s Coronavirus situation in itself does not exempt you from completing Semester 2 modules – Assessment Boards will consider evidence from the Programme Team regarding individual student achievement and whether the Learning Outcomes have been covered for the programme before making an Award/ Progression decision. 

    In compliance with our academic regulations, you will have the opportunity to complete the remainder of your Semester 2 work via scheduled and alternative assessments. 

    Module Tutors will advise you of any changes to the format and timing of assessments. Assessment grading will make appropriate allowance for any change in the form of assessment arrangements. 

    Scheduled and alternative assessments will count towards your academic and skills development and will give you the opportunity to enhance your mark profile. However, you will not be disadvantaged if your semester 2 work is lower than your semester 1 average.

  • This situation is impacting on my Mental Health and Wellbeing. What support is available?

    If you feel emotionally impacted by the current situation, please make use of our student Support team. 

    In addition to the Backstage Academy team, you can also access support from the University of Bolton and other organisations, including: 

    1. The Life Lounge: available to all current students: www.bolton.ac.uk/studentservices/lifelounge. The Life Lounge team, including the Counsellors, Cognitive Behavioural Therapists, Mental Health Advisors and Wellbeing Advisor are available remotely and are able to offer ongoing support. Please complete a registration form available from the link above to access these services or speak with a member of the Life Lounge team on 01204 903566. 

    2. The UoB Chaplain, Reverend Gill Smart can be contacted by email chaplain.gill@bolton.ac.uk or by texting 07967 585670. www.bolton.ac.uk/general-enquiries/chaplaincy 

    3. Mind has published some helpful advice on mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic. www.mind.org.uk/information-support/coronavirus-and-your-wellbeing

     4. Big White Wall: www.bigwhitewall.com You will need to use your University of Bolton email address to register, the good news is it is free and accessible 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It provides an anonymous community where members can support each other, with trained professionals available to keep the community safe. There are a range of creative tools to help you express how you are feeling and self-guided courses to do at your own pace. 

    5. Shout: www.giveusashout.org Shout is a free text service, where a trained volunteer will support you by text to work things through. 

    6. Samaritans: www.samaritans.org. Samaritans are available 24 hours a day 365 days a year to talk to you about what you are going through, call 116 123 for free. 

    7. Life Signs - Self injury Support Network: www.lifesigns.org.uk The network aims to provide information and guide in new ways of coping to overcome self-injury when you are ready to do so. 

    8. Papyrus - Prevention of Young Suicide: Help, support and advice for young people under the age of 35 experiencing suicidal thoughts or who feel in crisis. Call: 0800 068 4141 Text: 07786209697 or Email: pat@papyrus-uk.org. Opening hours: 10am – _10pm weekdays 2pm – _10pm weekends and bank holidays 

    9. NHS Recommended Helplines and Websites Whether you're concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines and support groups can offer expert advice. 

    How to access Mental Health Services

    Links to NHS recommended support Websites 

    10. Industry Support Websites 

    Music Support have also teamed up with Thrive, an NHS approved and clinically effective wellbeing app offering 24/7 support for mental health and wellbeing. 

    https://www.musicsupport.org/thrive-app 

    It helps with the early detection, prevention and management of common mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, as well as builds resilience so that users can feel empowered to improve their mental health.

  • Will there be any impact upon my Student Loan and/or Maintenance Loan?

    Backstage Academy will remain open for learning despite the restricted access to campus and we are seeking to deliver our programmes to students so that they can continue their education throughout the academic year without the need for classes to meet on campus. Therefore, there should be no impact upon the Student Loan. 

    As long as you continue to study/engage on your programme there should be no impact on your Maintenance Loan. You will need to inform them, however, if you have ended your accommodation contract and moved back home. 

    If any student is facing particular financial hardship due to the current events, please discuss on a confidential case-by-case basis with Student Services.

  • Can I claim a refund for my fees due to the change to delivery?

    The Department of Education has stated that “Students ordinarily should not expect any fee refund if they are receiving adequate online learning and support”. 

    We have worked with The University of Bolton to develop our online delivery and they have approved all changes to assessments. 

    The full statement from the Department for Education here: https://dfemedia.blog.gov.uk/2020/04/09/university-students-covid19-faq/ The office for students has also prepared this guidance: https://www.officeforstudents.org.uk/for-students/student-guide-to- coronavirus/questions-and-answers/

  • Can I access any funding support from Backstage Academy?

    Backstage Academy has reopened the student Hardship fund until the end of the academic year in order to support any students experiencing financial hardship. The application form can be found on the BA Student Hub module page on Moodle. 

    In addition to this the following websites have guidance which may be relevant to your personal circumstances: 

    How to claim Universal Credit: step by step - https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit 

    Money Saving Expert - Coronavirus Financial Help & Rights - www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2020/03/uk-coronavirus-help-and-your-rights

  • What if I have a question that is not answered here?

    Please email us at enquiries@backstage-academy.co.uk.

Applicant FAQs

Although the risk from Coronavirus for most individuals in the UK is relatively low, the health and safety of our students and staff are our utmost priorities. We are continuously monitoring the situation for further changes and will update you on this page first with developments.    


Please remember that it is very important that we continue to treat all members of the Backstage Academy community with dignity and respect as this situation develops. If one of our peers or colleagues has to self-isolate or contracts the virus, we should be sensitive and discreet about it - as it may already be a distressing time for that person.


Backstage Academy is following advice from Public Health England, the Government, the Office for Students and the World Health Organisation. Contingency plans are in place to support students.


If you have any questions or queries about our response to the Coronavirus, please email enquiries@backstage-academy.co.uk or call 01977 659880