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University of Portsmouth: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 183269, tabled on 19 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of university students in Portsmouth returning to face-to-face teaching following the end of the current academic term.

Answered on

26 April 2021

We have always been committed to getting students back onto campus as soon as the public health situation allows. At every stage, we have prioritised students’ education and helping students to meet their learning outcomes, which is why students on creative and practical courses or practice-based courses have been able to return to in-person teaching since March.

We understand that, in some universities, teaching may have concluded by 17 May. However, the wider experience outside the classroom is also important and we know that students are keen to get back to campus and universities are keen to have them back. We want to enable this as soon as the public health situation allows, even if some universities have concluded teaching.

A return in line with step 3 of the roadmap allows time for students to receive some teaching, engage with cocurricular activities, take part in face-to-face careers support and in activities to build employability skills. As students return to campus, there will also be more opportunities for universities to provide mental health support for them.

For many students, teaching does not end in May. For example, postgraduate students, both taught and research, will continue their studies throughout the summer, as will some students on some healthcare courses or who start at different times throughout the year. It is also open to universities, as autonomous institutions, to put on teaching outside of their normal term dates, if they consider this appropriate to fulfil their duties to their students.