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Higher Education

Question for Department for Education

UIN 22031, tabled on 24 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance his Department plans to provide to higher education institutions on the respective provision of online and face-to-face teaching for the 2021-22 academic year.

Answered on

29 June 2021

The roadmap is delayed not derailed. By the autumn term, we have every expectation that we will have already been able to move forward with Step 4, meaning that there will be no further restrictions on the provision of in person teaching and learning.

During the COVID-19 outbreak, many providers have developed their digital offering, and as autonomous institutions some might choose to retain elements of this approach. However, they will not have to do this because of COVID-19 restrictions, and our expectation is very clear: universities should maintain the quality and quantity of tuition and ensure it is accessible.

We expect providers to have contingency plans to deal with any identified positive cases of COVID-19 or outbreaks. Higher education (HE) providers should communicate clearly to their students what they can expect from planned teaching and learning under different circumstances and scenarios, so that they are able to make informed choices.

The Office for Students, as regulator for English HE providers, has made it clear that HE providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and academic standards, which set out requirements to ensure that courses are high-quality, that students are supported and achieve good outcomes and that standards are protected.

We intend to update HE guidance in due course to support the return of students for the new academic year.

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