Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK

The vast majority of UK universities are preparing to provide in-person teaching this autumn, a new survey from @UniversitiesUK has revealed. 

97% of universities surveyed* confirmed that they will provide in-person teaching at the start of term this year, with 78 universities (87%), also stating that they will offer in-person social opportunities to students, including outside events and sporting activities, all in line with government and public health guidance. 

Across the UK, the survey found that:

  • 78 (87%) universities are planning to provide in-person sporting, fitness and wellbeing activities for students in autumn 2020 
  • full range of student support will be on offer at UK universities – including mental health support; careers advice; study skills. 87 universities (95%) will deliver this using a mixture of online and in-person services and 5  universities (5%) are planning to deliver these services online 
  • Universities across the UK are consulting with staff and students as they develop their plans
  • 83 (90%) universities have communicated their current plans to prospective and current students; others will be doing so imminently
  • 75 (82%) universities are working with bars and cafes in the local community as they develop their plans 

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

“Universities across the UK are well advanced in their planning to welcome students this autumn and ensure they can benefit from a high-quality, full and exciting university experience. 

“Following the latest health guidelines, universities are continuing to develop detailed plans for the new academic year and will be regularly updating new and returning students over the coming weeks.   

“Although their first term will be different from previous years, most students can expect significant in-person teaching and a wide range of social activities and support services. Universities are committed to providing an engaging academic and social experience for all while ensuring the safety and welfare of the whole university community.” 

EXAMPLES of in-person teaching, learning, support and activities cited in the survey include: 

  • University of Gloucestershire: “There will be face to face small group teaching; students will be able to use our specialist facilities on campus; there will be engagement with personal tutors; we will continue to provide all of our student services, including welfare and wellbeing, helpzones; counselling, libraries and learning support, pastoral care, and employability and careers support.”  
  • University of Sunderland: “Our Welcome Week activities for new students will be a combination of in-person and online. We are also hoping to run sports and other activities.”  
  • De Montfort University: “We will work to government and National Governing Bodies for Sport (NGBs) and UK active on the guidance they provide to ensure all activities are COVID-19 safe. We plan on offering as much sport that is possible and a wide range of physical activity sessions for all abilities.” 

*92 universities responded to this survey. 89 universities are planning to provide in-person teaching during the autumn 2020 term, the others will provide online teaching, survey includes responses from some institutions which already under normal circumstances provide a significant proportion of their teaching and learning online. 

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