HCA students and staff are currently learning, teaching and creating from home. In line with government guidance, College campuses have been closed to Further Education (FE) and Degree students during lockdown with the exception of a small number of FE students within categories designated vulnerable by the Department of Education.
We are working on plans to get students back safely as soon as we are able to within regulatory guidelines, including summer access, if at all possible, for degree students completing their final awards. We have changed assessment dates to ensure all our degree students courses are supported in the most appropriate way to achieve. As has been nationally determined, Further Education students will receive their awards based on various national assessment criteria around work preceding the lockdown.
Meanwhile HCA staff are working hard to support students to continue learning online, giving tutorials by video call, conducting seminars, arranging talks, assessing work.
Student wellbeing is a central concern. Our wellbeing staff have been actively checking in on students and we encourage any student who needs extra support to use the wellbeing self-referral button on StudentNet. Students in college-leased halls have been contacted by the college and are not being charged for the summer term rent.
We are greatly looking forward to welcoming new students alongside our returning students at the start of the academic year in the autumn. Our focus will be on providing face to face and campus teaching although we will offer a blended mix if, for example, public health concerns continue to limit certain larger group activities. Obviously the course of the pandemic may impact in other ways and we will keep current and prospective students informed of any significant changes in expectations. Whilst small goup campus learning in workshops and studios is a key feature of the HCA experience, we recognise that our current students have welcomed some of the new online learning sessions introduced during lockdown and expect to add these to the range of learning experiences offered to students well beyond lockdown.
We are immensely proud of students’ creativity and resilience, you can see examples of their work on our social media accounts, visit a temporary exhibition by our second year Fine Artist degree students or shop from our Graphic and Media Design second years. Please check out their work and show support for a cohort of students who are really showing what it means to live by our college values: collaborative (even when they can’t meet in person), inquisitive, brave, inventive and individual – creative thinkers and makers whom our world needs.
Message from HCA Principal Abigail Appleton
We hope that during this uncertain time we can find strength in local community, find strategies to safely support one another and commit to maintaining a sense of wellbeing through creative means.
Please follow all guidance to keep yourselves and others safe. You are not facing this alone, Hereford College of Arts is here for you, and as a creative community we will support each other through this challenging time for all.
FE Students - Return to campus
We are looking forward to welcoming more FE students (pre-degree) back to the Folly Lane Campus from Monday June 15th, in line with regulatory guidance. Student numbers are being tightly controlled each day to allow us to maintain physical distancing and students should only attend on days that have been agreed with their tutors. The college has put in place many new measures to enable us to operate safely. Here you can find the college risk assessment for this extended opening, and new staff and student behaviour protocols.
HE Students - Start of term
What will the start of term look like for University level students?
We are all very much looking forward to the full resumption of the campus-based learning that is so very special in HCA. As we cannot be sure of the course of the pandemic, we are preparing for different scenarios which we have outlined here.
Frequently asked Questions (FAQs)
What is HCA’s response to Covid-19?
HCA is dedicated and committed to the wellbeing of our students, ensuring their wellbeing is our top priority. The building and workshops have been closed to limit the spread of infection, extra precautionary cleaning regimes have been put in place and future events, gatherings and visits have been postponed.
We are doing everything we can to ensure that our students will complete their degrees, diplomas and GCSEs to the highest possible standard, and we are putting systems in place to keep the creative community of HCA as active and in contact as possible.
Is HCA closed?
Support for students and staff is still available via student and staffnet. However, the building and workshops are currently closed to students and staff. A limited number of professional services will have access to the building to maintain the critical operations and ensure vital support is available to our students.
What are the plans for next term?
As Government advice is under daily review, it is difficult to predict our plans for next term. Ensure you have access to your college emails and studentnet to receive regular updates.
Is the undergraduate degree show being cancelled?
No, it is not being cancelled, however it is being postponed and adapted according to the latest regulations provided by the Government. It may not be held in the same format to previous years. With the final shows being a celebration and declaration of all your hard work over your time in education, we are dedicated to making sure all of our students still get to enjoy this opportunity. This also applies for the Festival of Arts and end of year course shows.
Is the graduation ceremony being cancelled?
The graduation ceremony will still be going ahead later on in the year of 2020. This is to reduce the risk to graduates and their family and friends.
Will my end of year assessment be affected?
We are making every effort to ensure that our students will be able to complete their degrees, diplomas and GCSEs to the same high standard they would have normally. We are also ensuring that all continuing students are able to complete their end of year assessments. We will keep you up to date with any changes to deadlines, assessments and requirements.
What about my unfinished work?
If you have any work in progress still at the college, not to worry, the building is locked and secure and the work will be released to you as soon as it is safe to do so.
What is the Governments advice about staying home?
If you live with others, the person who has symptoms should stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms started. All other household members should stay at home for 14 days even if they don’t have symptoms themselves. The 14-day period starts from the first day the person had symptoms.
If others develop symptoms within the 14 days, they need to stay at home for 7 days from the day their symptoms started. They should do this even if it takes them over the 14-day isolation period.
What information is available to me if I am feeling anxious?
Mental health charity, Mind is offering guidance on how to stay calm during the Corona virus outbreak:
The Governments advice is that students remaining at university in England should now stay where they are and not attempt to travel. If you are living in student halls, or private rented accommodation you should remain there and stay indoors while current restriction are now in force. As the Prime Minster said, staying put and remaining indoors is a crucial step now to slow the rate of transmission of COVID-19, to protect the NHS from being overwhelmed, and save the lives of fellow citizens.
The government published advice on staying home here:
Universities are in the front line in the immediate challenge of the COVID-19 virus. There are many ways that universities will be able to contribute to the fight against the virus, including making their facilities and expertise available.
You may already know people with medical or healthcare knowledge who are involved in the fighting of the COVID-19 and there will be opportunities for more people to do so, The Health Minster this week launched a call for volunteers to support vulnerable people stay safe and well at home.
If you would like to get involved, you can sign up as a NHS volunteer here:
On Tuesday 24 March, the Home Office updated their visa guidance to provide greater certainty for international higher education students and staff in the UK currently unable to return home due to COVID-19. This covers three main issues: extensions, in-country visa switching and distance learning.
No individual who is in the UK legally, but whose visa is due to expire, or has already expired, and who cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to COVID-19, will be regarded as an overstayer, or suffer any detriment in the future.
Anyone whose leave expired after 24 January and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation will have their visas extended to 31 May 2020. Individuals must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team email to advise of their situation.
In-country visa switching
Individuals (students or staff) who cannot leave the UK due to travel restrictions or self-isolation and wish to stay in the UK long-term would ordinarily need to apply for a visa from their home country. Where individuals would normally be required to return to their country of residence to apply for a visa in a different category, they’ll now be able to apply from the UK to switch.
Tier 4 students are not normally permitted to undertake distance learning courses. However, due to the current exceptional circumstances, the Home Office will not consider it a breach of sponsor duties to offer distance learning to the existing Tier 4 students in the UK or who have chosen to return overseas but wish to continue their current studies. Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship in these circumstances.
New international students who have been issued a Tier 4 visa but have been unable to travel to the UK are permitted to undertake distance learning and sponsorship does not need to be withdrawn.
New international students who have not yet applied for a visa but wish to commence a course by distance learning do not need to travel to the UK to do so and therefore do not require sponsorship under Tier 4.
Further information from the Home Office
Full details covering the above visa issues can be found at the following link:
The Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Helpline remains open: 0800 678 1767 (open Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm – calls are free of charge if made form within the UK). The Home Office asks that customers check gov.uk first as that us the central source if the information, but if individuals remain concerned about their immigration status they can contact CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.