Universities: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 6th May 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that university courses which supply (1) health workers, (2) teachers, and (3) other core public sector workers, are (a) protected, and (b) expanded, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo of Baroness Berridge Baroness Berridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade) (Minister for Women), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education

The department recognises these public services are vitally important in such a challenging time and appreciate that this is an uncertain time for all prospective students, and we want to ensure that they are not negatively impacted by disruption to the sector.

For those students receiving A-Levels this summer, results awarded will be formal results, with the same status as results awarded in any other year, and therefore students should continue to receive conditional offers from providers for all courses.

Students accepted on to teaching courses are already eligible for additional bursaries designed to support increased supply and from September this year we are introducing new grants of £5,000 for nurses, midwives and other health professionals to support increased recruitment into these professions. We are also looking at further work with Office for Students to increase capacity in the sector.

The government also contributes to the costs of higher education by providing teaching grant (T-Grant) funding to eligible higher education providers that have opted to be subject to tuition fee caps. This includes high-cost subject funding, which supplements the costs of teaching where tuition fees are insufficient to meet the entire costs of provision, such as for medicine, engineering and some nursing courses. Additional funding is being made available for the expansion of medical school places.

We are committed to supporting our world-class higher education institutions, so will continue working closely with the sector to manage the impact of coronavirus and secure the stability and sustainability of the sector at this difficult time.

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