From the start of the new academic year in September 2020, Staffordshire University will adopt a blended approach to learning and teaching. We will continue to review our approach based on the latest official guidance to ensure we are acting in the best interests of our students, staff and local communities.

Blended learning means that you can expect a mixture of virtual lectures and face-to-face delivery in smaller groups on campus within a COVID-secure learning environment. Given current guidance, we expect all larger lectures to be delivered online for at least the first semester, because full lecture theatres do not lend themselves to effective social distancing.

Social distancing measures will be in operation across all our campuses to facilitate a safe learning environment during all face-to-face sessions and in-person activities.

Through our blended approach, you will benefit from face-to-face teaching on campus in smaller groups, supported by larger online sessions. All students will have classes delivered on campus through a more intensive study pattern, which may mean not attending the University in person every week. You will receive regular academic mentoring, plus access to support services across the University, either online or face-to-face where necessary.

Timetabling information will be released at the beginning of September 2020. In line with our 2030 strategy, we are confident that our blended approach to learning and teaching will contribute to a more flexible, engaging and innovative student experience for years to come – crisis or no crisis.

We appreciate that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a situation that is subject to rapid change, meaning the measures we put in place today may need to be modified during the coming weeks and months. For example, if the infection rate continues to fall, the Government may take the decision to relax social distancing measures further. Alternatively, if cases begin to rise, authorities may decide to introduce another period of lockdown. At present, it’s difficult to predict with any level of certainty how the situation will develop.

Please rest assured that Staffordshire University will continue to act in accordance with official guidance from the UK Government and other relevant authorities, and we have been planning for a wide range of scenarios to ensure that our approach remains as flexible as possible. Whatever the circumstances, our TEF Gold-rated institution is fully committed to delivering first-class, industry-driven courses to our curious and daring students throughout the 2020/21 academic year and beyond.

We are confident that the comprehensive suite of blended delivery methods that our team has been developing can be tailored to suit any requirement and every eventuality, regardless of the global landscape. When it comes to the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, staff and local communities – and the quality of the education we deliver – we are not willing to compromise.

We will continue to share further details about the measures we are putting in place for the 2020/21 academic year over the coming weeks and months to keep all students and staff informed of any changes.

Given the unprecedented situation in which our students find themselves, we don’t feel that our traditional Welcome Week will be long enough this year. Students will therefore benefit from an enhanced and extended period of Welcome and Development activities from September 2020.

This period will include a range of activities and workshops that will go beyond the core curriculum, plus opportunities for our returning students to cover any essential materials missed during our period of remote learning. There will also be plenty of time to make new friends and enjoy our University’s amazing social scene, meaning that you won’t miss out on any of the usual fun.

Our full programme of Welcome and Development activities is currently being finalised and will be made available to students very soon.

The same range of outstanding student support services will be available to all our students, with even greater flexibility than ever before. These services will include everything from academic support and guidance and international student support to advice on health and wellbeing and money matters – and everything in between.

Our team will be on hand to help with any issues that arise during your time studying here at the University, offering guidance and assistance both remotely and face to face.

If you are told to self-isolate and you would feel more comfortable doing so at your family home, you can travel there by car if it is safe to do so. If you are not able to relocate to a different address, or if you would prefer to self-isolate in your term-time accommodation, our team will be on hand to provide the guidance and support you need.

If you are a student and have been advised by a physician or NHS guidance to self-isolate, please notify us by calling the Staffordshire University Coronavirus Helpline on 01782 298500. All students living in University-managed accommodation will have receive about the self-isolation procedures and provision available for them. Please check your student email account for this guidance.

Detailed self-isolation guidance can be found on the NHS website.