Higher Education: New and Returning Students - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:51 pm on 15th April 2021.

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Photo of Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Labour 12:51 pm, 15th April 2021

My Lords, I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Moylan. Students have been short-changed: they are anxious; they are angry; they feel let down; and they cannot understand why they cannot return to university when schools, shops, gyms and hairdressers are open. I do not understand that either. It is having a detrimental effect on their mental health, their well-being and their studies. The appalling delay in the guidance has made the situation worse. How did the Government reach the decision to delay the return of students until 17 May? Have they assessed the current and long-term impact on the mental health and well-being of students? Have they considered the impact on universities, which play such a vital role in the economy of our country and which have made the most enormous efforts to put in place all of the requisite Covid-safe measures in respect of in-person teaching, libraries, accommodation and other facilities? I remind noble Lords of my interest as principal of Somerville College, Oxford.