Students: Coronavirus

(asked on 23rd November 2020) - View Source

Question to the Department for Education:

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that students receive value for money as their contact hours are reduced in response to the covid-19 outbreak.


Answered by
Michelle Donelan Portrait
Michelle Donelan
Minister of State (Department for Education) (Higher and Further Education)
This question was answered on 1st December 2020

As I set out in a letter to MPs on 9 October and in a letter to Vice-Chancellors on 2 November, the government’s clear and stated expectation is that, whether providers are delivering face-to-face, online or blended provision, they must continue delivering a high quality academic experience that helps all students achieve qualifications that they and employers value. If there are concerns, the Office for Students (OfS) has the powers to act. The OfS has made it clear that higher education (HE) providers must continue to comply with registration conditions relating to quality and 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.

The OfS has published information on quality and standards for providers, providing practical guidance on how best to ensure students continue to receive a high-quality academic experience. This guidance sets out that providers should make all reasonable efforts to provide alternative teaching and support for students that is at least broadly equivalent to the provider’s usual arrangements. The OfS will keep this guidance under review to ensure it remains relevant to the developing circumstances of the COVID-19 outbreak. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education has also published a series of guides to support providers to secure academic standards and to support student achievement during the COVID-19 outbreak.

HE providers must continue to comply with their legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010, ensuring that education and learning is accessible to all students. When making changes to the delivery of their courses, providers need to consider how they support all students, particularly the most vulnerable, to achieve successful academic and professional outcomes.

The OfS is taking very seriously the potential impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on teaching and learning and is regularly engaging with all registered providers. It is actively monitoring those providers which have moved provision predominantly online due to COVID-19 restrictions to ensure: that they maintain the quality of their provision; that it is accessible for all; and that they have been clear in their communications with students about how arrangements for teaching and learning may change throughout the year. The OfS is also following up directly with providers where they receive notifications from students, parents or others raising concerns about the quality of teaching on offer, and requiring providers to report to them when they are not able to deliver a course or award a qualification. If the OfS has concerns, it will investigate further.

The OfS is also monitoring the position across the sector, for instance, through polling of student views. Where appropriate, and in response to issues raised through that monitoring, it will issue further advice to the sector.

Students have rights under consumer law that they may be able to rely on if they are dissatisfied with their provider’s response to COVID-19 outbreak. In the first instance, students should speak to their provider to see if they can resolve their issue. We expect student complaints and appeals processes to be operated flexibly, accessibly, and sympathetically by providers to resolve any concerns. If a student at a provider in England or Wales is not satisfied with their provider’s final response, they should go to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education, which has published guidance on this issue.

This content was generated for your convenience by Parallel Parliament and does not form part of the official record.
Recent Documents related to Students: Coronavirus

1. guidance
12/01/2021 - Department for Education
- View source

Found: Further education guidance for restricting attendance during the national lockdown January

2. Response from Grant Shapps MP - The Government's response to Coronavirus
09/04/2020 - Inquiry: Response from Grant Shapps MP - The Government's response to Coronavirus - Petitions Committee
- View source

Found: levels of bus and train services during the outbreak to ensure that people who rely on those services are

3. Secretary of State’s response to the Committee on COVID-19
29/04/2020 - Inquiry: The impact of COVID-19 on education and children’s services - Education Committee
- View source

Found: Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE MP Secretary of State Sanctuary Buildings Great Smith Street

4. Letter from the Secretary of State, follow-up to 7 April evidence session and refunds for season ticket holders, 04-05-20
07/05/2020 - Inquiry: Coronavirus: implications for transport - Transport Committee
- View source

Found: welcomed the opportunity to discuss the steps we are taking to respond to the ongoing coronavirus crisis

5. Letter to academy trust accounting officers: April 2020
21/04/2020 - Education and Skills Funding Agency
- View source

Found: Education and Skills Funding Agency Sanctuary Buildings Great Smith Street London SW1P

Latest Documents
Recent Speeches related to Students: Coronavirus

1. Oral Answers to Questions
23/11/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: self-isolate and from unfunded covid-19 cleaning costs. More than a quarter of all state schools are using reserve - Speech Link
2: Can the Secretary of State say how many pupils have been sent home from school for covid-related reasons - Speech Link
3: pupils and teachers have told me of students having been sent home three, four, even five times; some have - Speech Link

2. Oral Answers to Questions
06/10/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: about attending hospitals, could those be used as covid-secure environments for cancer analysis and treatment - Speech Link
2: have played a very important role in responding to covid, and we have a contract with them to be able to - Speech Link
3: taken to limit the spread of coronavirus since the outbreak in March. As we approach the winter pressures - Speech Link

3. Oral Answers to Questions
01/03/2021 - Commons Chamber

1: Government have invested £1.7 billion in helping education settings boost pupils’ learning, including additional - Speech Link
2: clarify how he proposes to target support to reach students who have fallen behind most over the past year—those - Speech Link
3: pandemic. Will he ensure that those children are prioritised, as we work to ensure that all children - Speech Link

4. Oral Answers to Questions
12/10/2020 - Commons Chamber

1: levelling up opportunities for all. Our £1 billion covid recovery package includes a £350 million national - Speech Link
2: why our lifetime skills guarantee is so vital to ensure that people right across the country have the opportunities - Speech Link
3: for the profession in Scotland, so will the Secretary of State agree to meet the General Teaching Council - Speech Link

5. Oral Answers to Questions
18/01/2021 - Commons Chamber

1: many EU students will choose to study elsewhere, so how will the Secretary of State ensure that the - Speech Link
2: expand opportunities for students. Yes, there are many, many brilliant higher education student institutes - Speech Link
3: received more money out than it put in. Under the terms of this agreement, the UK is set to receive no more - Speech Link

Latest Speeches
Recent Questions related to Students: Coronavirus
1. Covid-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group
asked by: Lord Watson of Invergowrie
20/10/2020
...To ask Her Majesty's Government how many meetings of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group have taken place in 2020.

2. Covid-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group
asked by: Lord Watson of Invergowrie
20/10/2020
...To ask Her Majesty's Government who are the members of the COVID-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group.

3. Covid-19 Response School Stakeholder Advisory Group
asked by: Lord Watson of Invergowrie
04/11/2020
... whether they will list the members of the Department for Education's COVID-19 Recovery Advisory Group.

4. Covid-19 Education Catch-up Fund
asked by: Lisa Cameron
07/09/2020
... whether schools will be able to use the £650 million catch-up premium for pastoral support for young people.

5. Covid-19 Education Catch-up Fund
asked by: Emma Lewell-Buck
15/07/2020
... when he plans to make available funding from the £1 billion catch-up fund for tutoring school pupils; and what the criteria is for the allocation of those funds.

Latest Questions