Universities: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 3rd April 2020.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Labour, Barnsley Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to support universities during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

Holding answer received on 24 March 2020

The higher education (HE) sector is facing challenges during these unprecedented times. The government’s priority is the safety and wellbeing of students and staff. On Friday 20 March, I wrote to HE providers to thank them for the huge amount of work they have done to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and to outline the steps that the department is taking to support them. On Thursday 26 March, I wrote a second letter to HE providers, giving further government advice on key issues.

We are ensuring that information-flows between the department and providers are as strong as possible. We are actively supporting the Universities UK-led Sector Coordination Group and providing guidance on GOV.UK relating to all educational settings. Working with the Office for Students (OfS), as the regulator in England, we will supplement this general guidance with more HE-specific information and have suspended a number of regulatory reporting requirements for the duration of the crisis, so providers can focus on doing their best for students.

We will do all we can to support our HE system. The department is working closely with the Home Office, the Student Loans Company, UCAS and Ofqual, as well as equivalent bodies in the devolved administrations, on measures designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the HE sector. We are also working closely with the OfS to ensure that we understand the potential financial implications of COVID-19 on the sector and to keep abreast of developments.

The latest guidance for schools and other educational settings can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-for-schools-and-other-educational-settings.

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