Universities: Coronavirus

Department for Education written question – answered on 2nd July 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what discussion he has had with university officials on preventing staff redundancies.

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

Higher education providers (HEPs) are independent institutions and are responsible for their own decisions on staffing and employment contracts.

The department provided sector-specific guidance on 17 April to help providers understand and access the range of government support on offer to support financial viability and sustainability and safeguard jobs. In developing this guidance, the department worked across government to ensure the various funding streams that support university research were included and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was available in higher education (HE). Officials also consulted trade unions as well as Universities UK (UUK) and the Universities & Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) to understand staff and employer concerns and ensure the guidance addressed these where possible.

The department remains in close communication with partners in the HE sector who are considering educational provision for the academic year 2020/2021. To help HEPs make informed decisions about their provision, the government has issued guidance on reopening campuses and buildings while minimising the risk to students and staff, which is complemented by principles published by UUK that will underpin HEPs’ reopening plans.

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