Skip to main content

Universities: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 143694, tabled on 26 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussions he has had with universities on the potential merits of adopting a no detriment policy for students this academic year in response to disruption experienced during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

1 February 2021

The government recognises that students have faced many changes over the last year, as higher education (HE) providers have had to adapt teaching, learning and assessment methods in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Last year, these adaptations included some providers putting in place no detriment policies to ensure that students were not unfairly affected by these challenging circumstances.

It is vital that a fair approach to exams and assessment is in place and understood by students. This must enable students to progress and leave with qualifications that reflect their hard work. The government’s clear expectation is that quality and academic standards must be maintained. We expect providers to make all reasonable efforts for student achievement to be reliably assessed and for qualifications to be awarded securely.

The Office for Students (OfS), the regulator in England, has committed to protecting students throughout the present crisis, whilst ensuring that quality and standards are upheld. Guidance for providers, published by the OfS and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, makes clear that all HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and standards. This means ensuring that courses are high quality, students are supported and achieve good outcomes, and standards are protected.