Q: What are the differences between school and college?
A: In some ways school and college are similar. Attendance for classes is compulsory and students are required to meet deadlines for submission of work. Students are expected to behave in a responsible way so that the learning of others is not affected.
However, no one is legally required to attend college and there is no upper age limit. We have mature students at Swindon College and they are welcome, where appropriate, on all courses. It is possible, therefore, that there may be mature students in your son or daughter's class. Adult students are nearly always very committed and work very hard so they set an excellent example to 16 and 17 year olds.
Also, all students are assigned a personal tutor, who will be their main point of contact during each academic year. This role is designed to support students through every aspect of their lives during their time at Swindon College.
Q: What are the college's success rates?
A: Swindon College is now the best performing college in Wiltshire, as illustrated by the Framework for Excellence results, published by the Skills Funding Agency in December 2010. For the latest success rates for your son or daughter's course, please contact their personal tutor. The college's latest Ofsted inspection report is available at www.ofsted.gov.uk.
Q: What food and drink facilities are available?
A: Our food refectory offers a wide selection of cooked meals, snacks and beverages strating with a daily full cooked and continental breakfast from 8.30am. Service runs throughout the day offering a wide variety of nutritionally-balanced meal choices. There are also drinking water facilities throughout the campus as well as vending machines.
Q: What financial support is available for students?
A: The government have recently announced the EMA for FE students has closed to new applicants. However, there will still be student support available for those in most need. For up to date information, click here to view our Student Finance page.
Q: Do I still get child benefit if my child is at college?
A: The parent or carer of any child under 18 can continue to receive child benefit whilst the child remains in full-time education.
Q: What do students need to buy for their courses?
A: Equipment varies by course. Details of any materials, uniform, tools etc required for the course will be given at the interview. Financial assistance may be available with the purchase of kit required, check with Student Finance for more information.
Q: What is available in terms of sport, clubs and other activities?
A: All students can take part in many sporting activities, clubs, trips, volunteering and other events which run across the college; the best place to find out about activities such as these is at the Freshers' Fair for new students on 7 September 2011 from 11am-2pm or in the Student Enrichment Centre. Any student can also put their name forward to join the Student Council or become a Student Rep.
All courses will also have their own individual trips and events, linked to projects and coursework which are designed to be enjoyable and rewarding as well as informative.
Q: Is it ok for my son/daughter to have a part time job?
A: Many of our students work part time whilst at college and enjoy not just the additional income but also the experience and independence part time jobs give. However, evidence confirms that full time students working more than around 10 hours per week during term time will see their college work suffer. As well as classes, students are required to do a considerable amount of private study and the college course needs to take priority over other commitments for them to succeed.
Q: Should I let the college know if my son or daughter is going to be absent?
A: Yes. You can speak to their personal tutor, call us on 0800 731 2250 or alternatively let us know via our online contact form.
Q: Will I be informed if my son or daughter misses classes?
A: Tutors do not have to inform parents or carers about every absence, but many do get in touch if they haven't spoken with the student. If there is any cause for concern, or the student has been absent for several days without notifying us, or they are regularly absent you can expect to be informed.
Q: What do I do if I think my son or daughter is being bullied?
A: Although rare, this should never be ignored. Encourage them to discuss any issues with you or their personal tutor. If they are unwilling and you feel the issue is ongoing, contact their personal tutor to request a meeting to discuss the issue. The Safeguarding Co-ordinator at college is Dave Corcoran, Asscoiate Director for Students, who can be contacted on: 07709 439601 or via our online contact form.
Q: I am concerned about personal difficulties my son or daughter is facing, what should I do?
A: If you think the college can help, you are most welcome to contact their personal tutor or a member of the Student Experience Management Team on Tel: (01793) 498936 or Student Services on Freephone 0800 731 2250 or via our online contact form. If appropriate, we will do our best to put you in touch with relevant agencies outside college who could be of further assistance.