To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with the Office for Students regarding the level of likelihood of enforcement action under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017 against universities in respect of potential non-compliance with the general ongoing conditions of registration due to the covid-19 pandemic.
1 February 2021
My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, and I have regular discussions with the Office for Students (OfS) on a range of issues, including their regulatory approach and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on students and universities. The government has made it clear to the OfS that our priority is to support the wellbeing of students and staff throughout higher education and to enable students to complete their courses and secure excellent outcomes. I wrote to the OfS on 13 January 2021 to support their intention to reiterate to providers their obligation to have regard to relevant guidance about consumer protection law. The government has been very clear to the OfS that higher education providers are expected to maintain quality and academic standards, and the quantity of tuition should not drop. Universities and colleges have risen to the challenges of the COVID-19 outbreak, producing interactive, high quality and innovative remote learning.