Student & Apprentice Handbook

Useful information for new and existing students.

Health Questionnaire

So that we have the most up-to-date information about your son, daughter or dependant's health, please complete this form.

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Welcome to the Highbury College Parents and Carers Hub.

We are delighted that your son, daughter or dependant has chosen to study at Highbury. We have created this parents and carers hub especially for you. Here you can find the communications we have sent, along with a range of useful links.

For information about free meals, financial support, welfare, work experience, careers and learning support, please visit the 'Student Life' section of the website, located in the main menu above.

  Absence Reporting

If your child/dependent is ill and/or cannot attend, you or your child/dependent must contact the College before the start of their first lesson EACH day they are absent. If you leave a voice message please speak clearly and leave your full name, student ID number, date of birth and reason for absence. If emailing, please leave your full name, date of birth, student ID number and the reason for your absence.

  Useful Dates

Term Dates

Click here to see the 2020/21 Term Dates  

Parents/Carers Evenings

7th December 2020:
Parents and carers of students and apprentices under the age of 18 will have the opportunity to speak to staff from both the academic area and, if applicable, the Maths & English department. You will be contacted to arrange either and face-to-face meeting or for Covid-19 security, a telephone conversation. Telephone conversations are preferable as they offer greater flexibility and calls can be arranged any time during the week beginning the 7th December. For more information or to rearrange your call, please email

26th April 2021:
Details of this event will be communicated nearer the time.


Letter to parents and carers - 21/10/20

Dear parent/carer,

We hope that you are keeping well and staying safe.

It has been an exciting and slightly unusual first few weeks to the autumn term and we have been delighted to be able to welcome both new and returning students into the College.

Alongside settling students into college life, our focus has been on student and staff safety, health and wellbeing. We have put many measures in place to reduce the risk and spread of Covid-19. These include social distancing, regular sanitising, temperature checks, the wearing of face masks, one-way systems and more.

We are closely monitoring the Covid-19 infection rate both locally and nationally and are looking at ways to reduce the risk further if the rate increases. This includes reducing the number of students on campus per day and increasing online teaching via Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams allows students to login and join the class from a home computer or mobile. All students have access to Microsoft Teams using their student account for free. If your son/daughter/dependent does not have access to a computer at home, please ask them to contact their tutor who can arrange for a laptop to be loaned by the college.

We will continue to deliver face-to-face teaching for as long as it is safe to do so and will only increase online teaching on courses where it will not affect the student’s progress.

If online learning is increased this will be blended with face-to-face teaching and we will inform students and parents/guardians of any timetable changes before the changes are made.

We are also encouraging our students, staff, their families and friends to download the NHS Covid-19 app, which is available to download for free. The app is the fastest way to see if you are at risk from Covid-19 and the faster you know, the quicker you can alert and protect others.

More information can be found on the NHS Covid-19 app support website:

With very best wishes,

Sarah Warren
Director of Learning for Young People

Letter to parents and carers - 11/11/20

Dear parent/carer,

We hope that you are keeping well and staying safe.

As we come to the end of the first week of the four-week national lockdown we would like to update you on how the College has adapted to the restrictions. We are currently continuing with full timetables, this will be a blend of both face-to-face and remote learning for some courses. We will continue to deliver face-to-face teaching wherever possible, however, if the need arises we may need to increase remote learning and this could be at short notice, for example where a member of staff is required isolate.

Microsoft Teams allows students to login and join the class from a home computer or mobile. All students have access to Microsoft Teams using their student account for free. If your son/daughter/dependent does not have access to a computer at home, please ask them to contact their tutor who can arrange for a laptop to be loaned by the college.

As the infection rates continue to increase, we continue to maintain a very high standard of awareness throughout the college regarding social distancing, regular sanitising, the wearing of face masks, one-way systems and more. Students and staff are asked to wear face coverings in any corridor, communal area and in classrooms where social distancing is not possible. The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus droplets in certain circumstances, helping to protect others. We understand however that some students may be exempt from wearing a mask, therefore I ask that if you have not done so already please could you complete and return the student health questionnaire which will help us identify those students who may need additional support.

You can access the student health questionnaire here:

We ask for your support in ensuring that your son/daughter/dependant understands the importance of following the measures that have been put in place to protect themselves and others.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Very best wishes,

Sarah Warren
Director of Learning for Young People

Letter to parents and carers - 24/11/20

Dear Parent/Carer,

On behalf of Portsmouth and Highbury Colleges, we would like to share with you some exciting developments for the future of Portsmouth and the surrounding area.

The governing boards of Portsmouth College and Highbury College have agreed to continue merger discussions following work carried out by a collaborative steering group as part of a Structure and Prospects Appraisal led by the FE Commissioner. The group included members of Portsmouth City Council, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, the Education and Skills Funding Agency and the FE Commissioner’s team. Following a unanimous decision by the steering group, the FE Commissioner is recommending to the Minister of State for Apprenticeships and Skills the merger of the two Colleges.

Subject to ministerial approval, plans will move to the next stage of consultation with stakeholders including current staff, students/apprentices, parents, local employers, universities and secondary schools.

Both colleges would also like to reassure current students and parents/carers that there will be no changes in the day-to-day operations of the Colleges and these developments will not affect student/apprentice studies.

In the new year, we will asking you to share your thoughts about a potential merger but in the meantime, we thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Penny Wycherley
Interim Principal & CEO
Highbury College Portsmouth

Letter to parents and carers - 06/01/21

Dear parent/carer,

Following the government's lockdown announcement on Monday evening, we have been working hard to adapt teaching and learning to support our students in the safest way possible.

For the majority of students and apprentices, lessons will continue online as per their pre-Christmas timetable. Tutors or course administrators will communicate any timetable changes as soon as they can.

If your son/daughter/dependent does not have access to a computer at home, they can visit one of the College’s Open Access IT areas during the following times:

Highbury Campus
Study Centre & Deck: open Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm from Wednesday 6th January
Library: open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm from midday on Thursday 7th January

Northarbour Centre
Study Centre: open Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm from Thursday 7th January

Yours sincerely,

Penny Wycherley
Interim Principal & CEO
Highbury College Portsmouth

Letter to parents and carers - 05/03/21

Dear Parent/Carer,

We hope that you are keeping well and staying safe.

It has been a busy and slightly unusual first few weeks of the spring term and we have been delighted to welcome back some of our students after the Christmas break.

We welcome the recent announcement from the government that we can move out of the current lockdown from Monday 8th March. The College has been putting in place plans for this to happen whilst at the same time further strengthening our measures to ensure the safety of our students and staff. Our plan is that all students will attend College for a proportion of their lessons each week. We are staging the return with those students whose courses include practical, hands-on learning that cannot be done online or offsite being brought back into lessons first. A tutor or course administrator will soon be in contact with you to provide details on return-to-college dates and times for students.

We are committed to keeping the College safe for students to learn and therefore will continue, and in some areas extend, our current safety measures, including social distancing, mask wearing and good hygiene.

We are also introducing Covid-19 testing for students returning to college. This will initially happen in our Test Centres, which have been successfully running on all our sites since early January. Please note that because students will have to queue outside College buildings while waiting for their test, it is likely that warm clothing will be needed. To keep everyone safe and avoid the use of communal water fountains, students are also advised to bring their own drinking water.

Once students have experienced and are confident with the testing process some will be asked to test at home. They will be provided with kits and instructions (including a video link at ) on how to self-administer the tests. We hope that you will support your child/dependant to carry out this process and report the results to the NHS. If a test result is positive, they should not come into College and should follow government advice about self-isolating.

As a parent/carer with children/dependants at college, you and other adults in your household can also now access regular, rapid coronavirus (Covid-19) testing, even if you do not have symptoms.

Tests are fast, easy and completely free. There are different ways for a household, or support bubble to collect their test to take at home, twice weekly:
•    through your employer, if they offer testing to employees
•    by collecting a home test kit from a local test site – anyone aged 18 or over can collect two packs of 7 tests.
•    by ordering a home test kit online.

If you have any queries about the tests, please call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines). Lines are open every day from 7am to 11pm.

For further information about Covid-19 and return to College, please visit

We very much look forward to welcoming our students back to College and hope they have a successful spring and summer term.

With very best wishes,

Helen Brennan

Director Student Services

Letter to parents and carers - 11/03/21

Dear Parent/Carer

We hope that you are well and continue to be safe.

We are writing today to give you an update on Covid-19 home testing.

As you may know, up to one in three people who have Covid-19 can spread the virus without knowing because they have no symptoms (asymptomatic). We want to help reduce the spread of the virus by identifying those who are asymptomatic and so protect our students and staff.

We are already providing a successful testing process and have trained 54 staff and students as testers. They have been doing an amazing job with more than 3,500 tests in our three testing centres at Cosham, Northarbour and the Arundel Centre. We are very pleased to be making our contribution to limiting the spread of Covid-19.

The next step is offering self-testing kits for staff and students to do at home to support the Government’s announcement and protect our community. Once we have checked students can self-test, we will give them the tests to do at home.

Self-testing - Times

We would like students to take regular tests at home before their college day with no more than a 3-5-day gap between each test. For example:

A student starting their college week on:

- a Monday would test on Monday and Thursday

- a Tuesday would test on Tuesday and Friday

- a Wednesday would only need to test that day.

If you would like the three-day gap to include weekends, please just count three days between tests – we will provide enough test kits to do this.

Test kits are free of charge. Students will receive a pack of 7 tests in their kit box with a leaflet about how to take the test and report the results. Replacements can be collected from the College Testing Centres.

If your student does not have sufficient time in the morning to take the test, please could they do it the evening before. For some people the test process may be challenging and for those who are uncertain our testing centres will still be open to support them.

Taking the test

The test kits we will give students include a leaflet with instructions on how to do the test. There is also a useful video to show them how to take the test - please click here. We would like staff and students to practise doing the test in a test centre before we give your student the test kit.

If the result of the test was unclear (void), the student should do another test.

There is no need to keep used test equipment after the test result has been reported. You can put it in your normal bin (household waste).

This testing does not replace testing where someone has symptoms. If your child/dependent has symptoms, they should self- isolate immediately, book a PCR test and follow national guidelines.

What to do after the test?

If your child/dependent tests positive, you, your household and any support bubble you are part of should self-isolate immediately for 10 days in line with NHS Test and Trace guidance. Please note, your student should not come into College but should still ring our absence line.

Positive, negative and void results should all be reported to NHS Test and Trace

A confirmatory PCR test should be arranged if your child/dependent has tested at home (confirmatory PCR tests are not needed if the test was conducted at the test centre at College). If they or anyone in the household gets symptoms of the virus, they should follow national guidelines on self-isolation and testing.

A negative result does not guarantee that your student is virus free. They should continue to follow social distancing, and other measures to reduce transmission, such as wearing a face mask and regularly washing their hands.

Why take part?

These tests are to protect everyone, particularly those who may be vulnerable, from this virus. Taking part in testing is voluntary and all students will be able to attend College whether they take part in testing or not.

We would like all our students to take part. Testing at home will allow your child/dependent and other students to attend college in as safe a way as possible. For information about how personal data that relates to Covid-19 tests will be collected, processed and shared should your child/dependent choose take part please, please visit /student-life/coronavirus-information/covid-19-self-testing-privacy-statement/

Please contact David Cottrell, our COVID Coordinator, if you have any questions or concerns about home testing.

Thank you for your support.

With very best wishes,

Helen Brennan

Director Student Services

Important letter about maths & English - 23/03/21

Dear Parent

I am writing to you regarding the importance of your son / daughter attending their maths and English lessons.

Grades for GCSE are currently being assessed by teaching teams, so it is imperative that all students attend their GCSE lessons so they can be given an accurate grade or improve on their current grade. There is still time for their grades to be improved upon if lessons are all attended.

Functional Skills exams are going ahead, and we need to prepare our students to complete these, so again, it is imperative for excellent attendance to all sessions. These exams will be taking place until the end of July 2021.

Continued non-attendance to maths and English could affect the young persons’ progression on to other courses at Highbury College, as their attendance percentage will be included in their reference from their current programme.

To help support them to achieve, their Maths and English qualifications we are running additional workshops for all students who are working towards GCSE or Functional Skills maths & English.

The Easter ‘Strengthen Your ME Grade Workshops’ will be available in both Maths & English on the days and times shown below during the Easter break:

Tuesday 13 April 2021 between 10.00 – 4.00

Wednesday 14 April 2021 between 10.00 – 4.00

Thursday 15 April 2021 between 10.00 – 4.00

The sessions will be held at the Cosham Campus.

If your son / daughter would like to take this opportunity to attend the above sessions, then please email with the following information:
•    Their name & contact details
•    What session(s) they will be attending
•    Stipulate if they want Maths or English or both.

On receipt of their email, we will send you confirmation of their place on the workshop.

We look forward to seeing them in the workshops and in their timetabled maths & English lessons.

Our students are not alone, we are very keen to help them get the best results possible for their maths & English, as well as the Easter ME workshops, we also have progression tutors at the college who can help them succeed.

Staff are also waiting to help them with their maths & English in the College Study Centres.

There is a College Virtual Parents evening being held on 26 April 21 where you can discuss your young persons’ progress in more detail.

If you feel your son / daughter are struggling please do speak to their maths & English teacher who will do everything possible to help them. Please encourage tour son/daughter to take up every opportunity to improve their maths & English grades and please ensure they attend all available lessons.

I would like to wish them every success with their maths & English achievement.

Yours sincerely

Teresa Cole
Director of Foundations & Adult Learning Services

Letter to parents and carers - 29/03/21

Dear Parent/Carer,

Highbury and Portsmouth College proposed merger

On Friday 26th March we released a public consultation document on the proposed merger between and Highbury College and Portsmouth College. The consultation period runs from Friday 26th March through to Wednesday 28th April 2021.

Through the consultation, we are seeking your views on:
•    which benefits of the proposed merger (found in the consultation document) are most important to you and any further opportunities or activities you would like to see incorporated
•    your comments on the proposed name change to City of Portsmouth College.

Outcomes of the consultation will be published on Friday 18th June 2021. We have created a dedicated page on our website - - where you will find the following information:
•    the public consultation document
•    feedback form in relation to the proposed merger
•    our good news story in relation to the proposed merger
•    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for stakeholders and students.

There are many benefits of the two colleges merging in order to create “One College” for the city. The proposed merger date is Friday 30th July 2021. As a parent/carer of a prospective student, we wanted to reassure you that the courses your child has applied for will be running at Highbury College from September 2021. Enrolment for these courses will also be at Highbury College. I would recommend that you take time to read the student FAQs for more detail.

This is an exciting time for post-16 education in the city, and you would be joining a college that will provide you with even more opportunities and support.

If you have any questions or queries in relation to the proposed merger, then please contact our dedicated email address and we will respond to you directly.

Yours faithfully,

Penny Wycherley

Interim Principal & CEO

Highbury College Portsmouth

Letter to parents and carers - 31/03/21

Dear Parent/Carer

We hope you continue to be well and are looking forward to the Easter break.

It has been great to have many of our students back in the College during recent weeks.

We are writing to you now to update you about Covid-19 testing arrangements for the holiday period and the plans for students returning from Monday 19th April.

Firstly, please remember that it is vital that students keep testing at home throughout the Easter holidays and into the summer term. They should test twice a week and report the results online whether they be positive, negative, or void at

Your son/daughter/dependant should also make sure they test before returning to the College for the summer term. This should happen either the night before or the morning of the first day back. If the test result is positive, they should not come back to the College and must follow government guidance to self-isolate.

If at any time they test positive they must also request a PCR test by either phoning 119 or via the NHS website at

Extra self-testing kits are available in the testing centres at each of the College sites.

When your son/daughter/dependant returns after Easter, please ask them to bring drinking water with them to college. This will keep everyone safe by avoiding the use of communal water fountains.

Our College catering arrangements have also changed, and while we are waiting to open new refectories, students based at Highbury Campus, Cosham and Highbury Northarbour Centre can buy food from catering vans parked outside the College buildings. Students eligible for free meals will also be able to obtain their meals from the vans. Space is also available for students to eat packed lunches.

Finally, it is important that when students return to the College, they remember to bring and wear their ID badges. The badges help us to keep students safe by ensuring that only the right people access the College sites.

With very best wishes,

Helen Brennan

Director Student Services

Letter to parents and carers - 17/05/21

Dear Parent/Carer,

We are writing to update you on our arrangements following last week’s announcements from the Government about the relaxation of restrictions implemented to reduce the rates of Covid transmission.

•   We encourage students to come into college in line with their timetable so they can benefit from planned face-to-face teaching.
•   We continue to encourage students and staff to wear masks in all communal areas to protect themselves and others.
•   Students will be encouraged to wear masks when they are involved in activities where social distancing can’t be practised, e.g. our hairdressing & beauty therapy salons or some sports sessions.
•   We will also ask students to wear masks in any session where a vulnerable member of staff or a fellow student needs protection from possible transmission.
•   We continue to run open access IT centres at all sites to enable students who may not have the space or access to use online learning resources at home.
•   We continue to encourage frequent and thorough handwashing, and we continue to provide hand sanitising points across all our campuses.
•   We will continue to monitor the local transmission rate and take further action if the rate rises.

We also ask that students please continue the lateral flow tests every 3 days, reporting the outcomes and taking the recommended action if you or your student has a positive test. This helps us all to ensure that this virus does not again force us into another lockdown.

We ask any students with any symptoms which might be Covid not to come into college. Please let us know immediately so we can take appropriate action to prevent further transmission.

We hope you find this summary helpful. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to Helen Brennan, Director of Student Services, or contact us on

We are very pleased to be gradually returning to normal working and to face-to-face working with our students to support them to achieve their courses and their life goals.

With very best wishes,

Penny Wycherley

Interim Principal and CEO of Highbury College

Student Newsletters

View the communications sent to students via the Highbury Life Newsletter below:

September 2020  

October 2020  

November 2020  

December 2020  

January 2021  

February 2021  

March 2021  

  Useful Links





Safeguarding & Wellbeing

If you are concerned about the mental or physical health of a student you can find some useful links and the contact details of our Safeguarding team here.







Office 365
& Teams

Students have access to the Microsoft Office 365 suite including email, Word and Teams. You can download and install applications on up to five devices.



IT Helpdesk




IT Helpdesk

If you have an issue or would like to request IT support then click the link below to raise a ticket with the team or email








Canvas is Highbury College’s online learning system. Here students can download useful resources, submit your work and access lesson slides.







Keeping Safe Online 

The government recognises many parents feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. This guidance outlines resources to help keep children safe online.