Students: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 20th May 2020.

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Photo of The Bishop of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester Bishop

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to increase the number of students enrolling on courses with a public service focus, in the light of 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

On Monday 4 May, my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, announced a package of measures to stabilise university admissions this autumn and to ensure sustainability in higher education at a time of unprecedented uncertainty.

My hon. Friend, the Minister of State for Universities, wrote to all hon. Members on 4 May with full details of the package, which have also been published on GOV.UK: www.gov.uk/government/news/government-support-package-for-universities-and-students.

Controls on student numbers at provider level will be determined based on provider forecasts and will allow for 5% growth above this. My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Education, will also have the discretion to allocate an additional 10,000 places, with 5,000 of those places ringfenced for students studying nursing or allied health courses.

From September 2020, all new and continuing degree-level nursing students and midwifery students - and many allied health students - will receive additional funding of at least £5,000 per academic year, which they will not need to pay back, to help with living costs.

Students are already a priority target audience for our recruitment campaign for teaching, which supports the department’s targets for entry to post-graduate initial teacher training. The marketing campaign is resuming in May and will run through until August for applications to start training in autumn 2020.

The government will continue to support enrolments on social work education programmes through the provision of bursaries and our fast-track graduate entry programmes.

As both my right hon. Friends, the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer have made clear, the government will do whatever it takes to support people affected by COVID-19.

Our latest guidance on the impact of COVID-19 is set out below:

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

These are rapidly developing circumstances. We will continue to keep the situation under review and to keep Parliament updated accordingly.

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