Note, throughout this document, the Online Astronomy Society Academy is referred to as OASA
Last updated: 27/03/2018
Ammendments, updates to exam centre policy and OASA role as a provider
Agreement between the Online Astronomy Society Academy (OASA) and Student
Role of Online Astronomy Society Academy,
We are education providers only. Our role is to provide the material and guidance to enable the student to sit either their exams or academy quizzes. We hold no formal relationship with any third party (including publishers, exam centres, or Edexcel themselves) as such cannot be held responsbily for any consequences resulting from change of policy or management (or both).
Mandatory notice – Students (or parents) are required to login to the forum at least monthly to check for updates and ask questions. This is the key way the OASA offers tutor support now. The main reason for this is that email can get lost or stuck in spam folders. This way we can ensure ALL students receive same standard of assistance. The forum is also becoming a valuable source of information.
Forum and safeguarding – For those concerned about joining, student IDs can be issued (rather than use of names). Parents can also login on behalf of students. Any issues, let us know imediately (the OASA Team has to add you to the forum, its not possible to do this individually now).
1. We as an academy will provide and be responsible for
A. Support of the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment)
B. Providing of a suitably knowledgeable / qualified tutor
C. Provision of the VLE
D. Course manager to support as required enquires from course tutor only
E. OASA will also provide an exclusive forum for the students to discuss their work and ask questions
F. Provision of materials including
1. Electronic copy of the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) Astronomy Textbook
3. Study Planner
4. Other material as required and supplied
5. Hardcopy of textbook posted (if paid for)
2. OASA will also be responsible for the enrollment of students but the tutor will be the main point of contact for the student. Main role of course tutor will be
a) Main point of contact for their students
b) Main provider of tuition for their students
c) Delivery is their liability we (OASA) are only responsible for the VLE
(if a tutor does fail to deliver the course to one or more of their students they are liable for full refund to the student and expected to pursue the tutor for recovery of compensation. OASA will do its best to contact the tutor to resolve any problems) however the tutor is liable for full compensation in event of failure to deliver the course end to end (end being final examination and award of qualification)
In the even this takes place OASA will do its utmost to provide another tutor and make alternative arrangements for the student).
d) Failure of the tutor to provide the necessary quality of training is the responsibility of the tutor and their liability
e) Employment of further tutors in the tutors region is the responsibility of tutor and line manager but may be chargeable if OASA are asked to carry this out.
f) Responsible for issuing course certificates of completion
g) Tutor is responsible for the marking of all projects and mock exams
h) It is the tutor/ course managers discretion as to whether final entry for the examination Is deemed appropriate based on the students demonstrated strengths (decided by the submission of the first project (where if deemed the student is NOT suitable for the exam their exam fee’s will not be refunded but may be deducted from the courses preceding year.
3. The student is required to
a. Follow the agreed study planner as outlined by the tutor
b. download and use the study material as prescribed
c. Use the recommended course resources
d. Expected to login to the forum as frequently as possible to check for updates. But this we mean, no less than once a month.
e. Manage their study and pastoral activities accordingly to cope with demands of GCSE Astronomy course
f. To ensure they are capable of completing the course based on information provided as refunds cannot be made otherwise
g. To seek peer or academic advice as appropriate on topics they don’t understand
h. OASA is NOT responsible for loss of any textbook, in the event that supplied material is lost it is the students responsibility to replace it.
i. OASA is NOT responsible for student failure and/ or not achieving the desired GCSE grade
j. Meet the tutor at the agreed date and time to complete their projects
k. To complete the final written exam.
l. Seek assistance and advice from their tutor as EARLY as possible in the event of any problems.
J. The OASA is also NOT responsible for failure of information not being cascaded down. The student is expected to login regularly to the forum to check for updates and post questions. Check spam folders for academy email.
The OASA Certificate in Astronomy maybe awarded in the event that the student chooses not to complete the GCSE Astronomy coursework and exam (but completed the course). Usually the student should complete at least one project and pass a mock exam they take at their leisure.
4. Exam Centres and Fee’s
There OASA no longer includes cost of exam fee’s in their course fee’s. This is because we no longer deal with the one centre.
Also, though we do have a relationship with exam centres and can assist with arranging the final exam, it is up to the candidate to ensure they can sit the exam with their chosen examination centre. OASA will provide tuition and materials but is not responsible and accepts no liability for exam centres Candidates are welcome to nominate their own exam centre. All fees for centre and exam fees are payable by the candidate, unless otherwise previously arranged. All admin involved with exam entry is the responsibility of the student, not the academy (tutor).
5. Use of material
It is reminded that the ‘GCSE Astronomy: A guide for pupils and teachers’ text book is copyrighted material, as such is solely for the use of the students and their tutor . As such students are reminded that downloading of the material is not permitted, however the publication can be read online and pages printed.
In the event of problems with the VLE , please advise the OASA Support team, managed by Alastair Leith who will promptly investigate and implement back up procedures.
Students enrollments with the academy will be terminated on the agreed date.
The contacts for this project are
VLE Support and Project Manager and Coordinator
Alastair Leith, email: OASAcademy@gmail.com
Course Manager and Consultant
Dr Nigel Marshall (contact details to be provided).
Students may cancel their GCSE Astronomy course either having a) paid a deposit b) paid the full amount however NO monies will be refunded. Once a student has paid and enrolled on the GCSE Astronomy course no monies may be refunded.
7. Deferral/ Retakes
If a student is unable to take their exam in the prescribed year unless for reasons of
- Ill health (copy of medical certificate may be requested)
- Family bereavement (relative, not student).
It is no longer possible to defer the exam fee. This is mainly due to the confusion and extra admin it costs us.
By ill health it is meant, any physical health problem resulting in hospitalization or similar preventing the student from taking the exam. Problems with anxiety are no longer accepted as reasons to defer. We always ask parents to ensure that their children are not unduly over burdened when signing up for the course.
The student may cancel permanently or defer their exam however full fee’s will be forfeit and full fee’s payable at next enrollment.
Please note that every effort will be made to accommodate students specific needs including religious provision, disability, or otherwise. Students are encouraged to seek advice and support from their course tutor before things make further study with us impractical.
8. Cancellation of course by OASA
We foresee little reason why we would need to cancel a GCSE Astronomy course. However in the event of a tutor becoming unavailable to continue teaching for whatever reason it is down to the tutor (not the OASA) to arrange alternative tuition. Although we make provision for cover of holidays, sickness, and similar with our tutors we cannot be help responsible for a tutor pulling out. In the event of untimely cancellation by the tutor the OASA undertakes to recover the costs from the tutor with a view to compensating the student. Only full costs of course are subject to refund. A deferral can be arranged at discretion of OASA.
9. Course Access
Online Astronomy Society Academy provides the VLE 24/7 for access to its tutors and students. It is not hosted by themselves but a third party. Our support agreement with them is by email only. As such we may only be able to resolve any third party issues as quickly as they are able to respond. Further to this if any update results in the fact that the main VLE fails we will do our best to provide access to another (near as identical environment) with login details as soon as possible (this would be seen by us as an urgent matter and dealt with at earliest opportunity.
10, Exam Centres
The OASA itself has limited contact with exam centres. We have an intitial conversation confirming they will accept our students and under which terms. However as time goes on exam officers may change as indeed might the agreement. Worse case scenario, we cannot use that centre.
Available exam centres are mentioned to the student at the time of enrollment, however the OASA accepts no liability in the event of
a) A centre cancelling its arrangement with OASA. Sadly, in recent years we’ve had problems with exam centre change of management which has almost lead to them refusing our students. As such we no longer incorporate exam centre fee’s. Although we may advise a student that there is centre which might be suitable, we accept no responsibility for any issues.
b) Of a clash with another exam. While we will endeavour to assist in anyway we can, we can accept no liability in the event of a clash, the exam date for GCSE Astronomy is provided to us by Pearsons Edexcel is the date we are provided we are not aware of other exam dates.
c) It is for the student to handle the admin with their own exam centre. However you will need the form from the tutor signed certifying to advise you have carried out your own observations.
OASA Certificate of Astronomy
Will be provided in electronically in the event that the student forefills all that is required to earn a GCSE in Astronomy without taking the final exam. in the event the student completes all required work and passes their GCSE exam they will earn a GCSE in Astronomy and no OASA Certificate of Astronomy will be earn’t
Finally in agreeing to accept the terms and conditions the student (and where applicable the parent/ guardian) has been made aware of all pre requisites and requirements of the course. They will be aware of who their tutor will be and where and if any travel would be required for the completed of supervised projects and the final exam.
As an academy we take the views of our students very seriously indeed. If you feel for any reason you feel the need to complain about either the course, tutor, or otherwise then in the first instance please speak to your tutor. In the event where you do not feel you can speak to the tutor them please speak to the course manager whose email can be obtained either directly from him or OASA itself. If the complained is seen as being serious enough it will be escalated to the Academy director, Alastair Steele-Leith where an investigation will be carried out as required.
We take the safety of all adults and children very seriously indeed. Although the course environment is a very safe and secure platform where it is impossible for unauthorised personnel to gain access we cannot take responsibility for any student giving their access to another party. We can however offer swift response in event of any problems or concerns. We can also assure parents/ students/ guardians that no part of the VLE appears on any search engine searches and all email are treated in strictest confidence. We do however request that where appropriate students should be accompanied by an adult to any supervised practicle writeup and the final examination. It goes without saying that supervision may be required by the parent / guardian in the event that a student is required to visit a dark site to collect data.
14 day cooling off period
The student has 14 days from the point of enrolment to decide to change their mind on enrolling on the GCSE Astronomy (or any course). However, the OASA reserves the right to retain expenses already incurred for
- cost of course adviser
- cost of course materials
- admin fee for the initial setup
Please note, after this period, NO refund is possible even if the second year of the GCSE Astronomy is already paid for in lieu at time of paying for the first year. We cannot accept mitigating circumstances.