Friday, 26 February 2021

A message from Richard Lochhead, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

As Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, I know the huge impact that Covid is having on your lives and your studies. I want to thank you for your patience as we work through the safest way for all of us to get back to normality. Many of you are anxious about when you can go back to your college or university campus, and I know it is especially worrying for those of you with placements or practical and creative elements to your coursework.

This week we set out plans to gradually reduce restrictions. For the moment, the vast majority of learning must continue to be online. However colleges and universities can restart some in-person teaching and learning, with numbers kept as low as possible. This will be a cautious approach with priority for students on work placements in critical sectors, for example health and social care and early learning and childcare, or university and college students whose learning is time-sensitive to their course or assessment which cannot be delivered remotely. This phased return will be managed in compliance with all of the public health measures to keep you safe.

For anyone who needs help, please talk to your institution about the support that is available, whether financial help for anyone in hardship, support with wellbeing or mental health, support in relation to completing your course, or regarding any concerns you may have around being academically disadvantaged as a result of the pandemic.

We continue to work with your institutions to plan the phased return of students. I wish to assure any of you who may be concerned about the implications for your education that we are urgently working in partnership with colleges, universities, and staff and student representatives to investigate all practical solutions available to help and support as many of you as possible complete your courses.

In the event that courses can’t be completed by the time originally planned, then we will do everything possible to support you to gain your qualification or degree. Please keep up to date with current advice by visiting

Yours sincerely,

Richard Lochhead

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