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Update in relation to the new academic year

2020-21 academic year

We want to provide you with reassurance about how we intend to open the campus for students for the new academic year in September and explain how we will deliver an excellent teaching and learning experience. It is our intention to provide you with a safe, secure and operational campus when term starts on Monday 14 September 2020.

These are unprecedented times and there remains much uncertainty in what the future holds so whilst none of us know how the global health emergency will evolve over the summer, we can assure you we have a robust teaching, learning and assessment strategy in place to provide you with all the support you need to achieve your learning goals.

In creating a plan which is designed to ensure that we can reopen campus safely, we will put specific measures in place to ensure that we can provide as much face-to-face teaching as possible in the autumn, facilitate your engagement with other staff and students at UCO and enjoy a great learning experience.

Teaching and Learning

From September, we will welcome new and returning students for a mixture of face-to-face campus-based and online teaching, with provision adjusted to be in line with the latest government advice. The skills of our lecturers and support services staff remain the core of our practice and key to helping all our students to achieve so where large physical lectures cannot take place, we will aim to deliver high quality sessions that will be available online as well as running small group activities to supplement your learning. Your safety, wellbeing and success are our absolute priorities.

We are committed to:

  1. Ensuring that all students are able to participate in regular small group teaching, individual tutorials and personal tutor meetings;
  2. Implementing a revised approach to timetables to limit the number of people on campus at any given time, taking particular care over corridors and other public areas;
  3. Reducing the capacity of all our teaching spaces to ensure that we can deliver small group teaching and that you and your tutors can observe effective social distancing;
  4. Undertaking a review of all of our partnerships to ensure that students are able to attend and engage with placements where they form part of your programme;
  5. A review of all of our online learning and teaching methods designed to ensure that materials are always available online;
  6. Implementing changes within the library and Academic Skills Hub to ensure that you have safe access to the materials and study spaces you need;
  7. Increasing our levels of portable IT equipment (laptop loans etc) to enable you to work remotely where you wish to do so.

Support Services

While we provide all the assistance you need to get the most from online learning, we want to make sure you have all the support you need to help you study. You will be provided with a dedicated personal tutor and you will have access to a range of specialist support services including the Academic Development team, Careers and Employability, Disability and Wellbeing and the HE Student Services team. We know how important it is to support you on your journey at UCO so all our support services will be ready to look after your individual needs where possible.

Campus Operations

To ensure we can deliver an operational campus next term, we are working to implement the following measures over the summer:

  1. Undertaking a full deep-clean of all UCO facilities prior to reopening and increasing the regular daily cleaning and disinfecting services;
  2. Providing additional hand sanitiser facilities across campus;
  3. Ensuring that our buildings and facilities have appropriate social-distancing measures in place, including floor spacers, signage and one way systems where appropriate;
  4. Encouraging cashless payment and providing additional safety screens and queue management controls;
  5. A commitment to implement any good practice identified by Public Health England in relation to the use of Personal Protective Equipment;

Next Steps During the summer our HE Student Services team will be in touch regarding enrolment sessions, providing timetables and signposting you to other support services within UCO as required.

In the meantime, please remember to apply for your student loan if applicable; if your family circumstances have changed since you submitted your application as a result of COVID-19 (or for any other reason), you may be entitled to extra support. Please contact the Student Loans Company  for more information.

We will be in regular contact with you over the coming weeks. If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us by emailing your tutor, or you can contact our Admissions Team on 0161 344 8800 or email

We look forward to welcoming you to campus in the autumn at the start of your exciting UCO journey.

With all good wishes

Helen Mathers

Vice Principal HE and Higher Skills