Student Services support, advice and guidance for students

We understand that this a challenging time for you all. We want to support you and keeping you safe remains our top priority and we are committed to staying connected with you.

Please take the time to read our tips, advice and guidance below on how you can stay safe and where you can get support during this time.

Working online from home

It’s important that you create a safe online environment for yourself by:

  • Only using your college email address for communications.
  • Keeping your logins private and do not share them with anyone.
  • Being careful what you type in online chats with the college, your messages are visible to staff, so don’t put anything in you don’t want us to see!
  • If video conferencing, think about what is in the background, do not have anything on display that could disclose personal details.
  • Ensure you have anti-virus software installed on your device.

Student IT support line

The IT helpline for students will allow you to call through and speak to an IT technician, if you are having problems logging into college systems such as ALO or Moodle.

You can call them Monday to Friday on 01865 550415 between 8:30am – 4:30pm.

When you phone:

Have your student ID ready, you will be required to verify your identity using the details given to us when you enrolled.

Make note of the area you are attempting to access and the error message you are receiving.

Activate Learning IT Services have also put together some helpful information about your IT account and how to use some of the tools you have available such as the Office 365 Password Reset Tool and how to register for the tool.

You will find these on ALO. From the dashboard, visit IT Information – Get Connected.

Feeling anxious, low or struggling to cope?

This is an unsettling time for everyone, we need to take care of our mental health as well as our physical health.

You are probably finding lockdown boring, demotivating, or frustrating. This is normal, but if you notice some of these feelings in yourself or a friend please reach out for help, you are not alone:

  • Excessive paranoia, worry, or anxiety.
  • Long-lasting sadness or irritability.
  • Extreme changes in moods.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping pattern.

Here are some top tips to support mental health whilst working from home:

  • Try and have a separate place to study in your home, if not possible, clear college things away at the end of the day so it is clear working time has ended.
  • Take regular breaks and exercise.
  • Spend times doing things you enjoy (cooking, reading, watching TV).
  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and drink plenty of water.
  • Keep windows open to let in the fresh air and sunlight.

Please get in touch if you or someone you know is struggling, we are here to help. You can call us on 01865 551401 or email

Some students may be at an increased risk of harm, abuse or exploitation

For most of us, our life has temporarily shrunk to just our homes and our screens. For some this can lead to you taking risks, being asked to do things you don’t want to do or feeling unsafe.

We have a lot of support to help you manage and overcome difficulties and challenges, so if you are feeling worried about yourself or someone else, please be brave and get in touch. We will listen, not judge, and provide you with support, advice and guidance.

During normal college hours, you can contact us via telephone on 01865 550401 or email at

If you need urgent assistance outside of these times, please contact 101 or 999.


Our counsellors continue to work with new and existing clients. Counselling can benefit you in several ways, and if you are struggling now, please do give them a call. Counselling is free and confidential:

  • A chance to talk openly about feelings, life and anything that is troubling them.
  • An opportunity to speak to someone who will not judge or criticise.
  • It can be a great relief to share worries and fears with someone.
  • It can help you see things more clearly.

If you would like counselling support or want to find out more about how it may help you, please contact the counsellor for your campus:

Banbury and Bicester College

Rachel Teare – Call 07769 930254 or email

City of Oxford College

Jan Jones – Call 07968 485437 or email

Bracknell and Wokingham College

Rebecca Senel – Call 01344 766227 or email

Reading College

Gillian Brooks – Call 07779 089686 or email

Guildford College, Farnham College and Merrist Wood College

Renuka Ahluwalia – Call 07973 551114 or email

Events and Enrichment

The Student Engagement Team are having virtual Student Rep and Students’ Union meetings regularly to receive feedback from students.  If you don’t know who your rep is or want to be a rep for your course, then please contact the Student Engagement Advisor for your area:

  • Oxfordshire:
  • Berkshire:
  • Surrey:

As a result of feedback from students, we are providing advice, information and learning skills via the Events and Enrichment team weekly announcements through ALO.

Coming up:

  • Students’ Union elections – Voting closes today with the results announced on Monday 8 February.
  • Sexual Health and Guidance Week, 8 -12 February
  • Ramadan, 12 April – 12 May

Learning Support

The Learning support team are available to support you in any way they can. The team are available via and will respond to any questions or concerns that you may have.

Financial Support

We are continuing to provide financial support for students enrolled in 2020/21 and we have written to students in receipt of bursaries to confirm the arrangements as follows:

Students in receipt of the Bursary for Vulnerable groups will continue to receive these payments biweekly by BACS payment into their bank account.

Students who are in receipt of Meal Credits (free school meals) now have their payment made by BACS transfer to their account, rather than loaded to their college ID card, so they can buy food locally or on-site dependent on the need.

Students who have had their travel passes already paid for the year, will not be required to make refunds for the weeks they are not coming to college. However, where the travel has not been paid for the weeks of remote learning, we will put a temporary halt on the payments and will pay on a two-weekly basis in arrears for any travel relating to college attendance.

We are continuing to make childcare payments to students in receipt of a childcare bursary.

Please contact us on  if you have any questions or concerns.

Careers Advice and Guidance

Next Steps Plans

The Careers team are working remotely to support you in planning your next steps.  We are delivering group sessions to explain your options and are available for booked one-to-one guidance interviews to explore these further.

Ensure you attend the progression options session and start to consider what you would like to do when you complete your course.

Careers and Apprenticeship Fair 2021

We have prepared our annual Careers and Apprenticeship Fair 2021 where you can learn more about careers, specific jobs and apprenticeships directly from employers. This virtual event can be accessed via the ALO Dashboard from Monday 8 February – Friday 12 February.

You can also learn more about National Apprenticeship Week 2021 and our apprenticeship offering with Activate Apprenticeships.

Career Plan

You should already be aware that we will be asking you to complete your Career Plan on Promonitor during February, to confirm your next step plans.

You may want to continue studying at Activate Learning, may be planning to leave for a University place, employment or an Apprenticeship, or you may not have decided yet.  Whatever your choice, recording your Career Plan will ensure that we are able to put in place the support required to ensure you have a successful transition.

Get in touch at


Please take care and do not hesitate to get in touch if you need any support, advice or guidance.

Activate Learning