Arrangements for student admissions and education in 2020-21, sent 9 June 2020

Arrangements for student admissions and education in 2020-21, sent 9 June 2020

Dear colleagues,

As promised last week, I write to update you on arrangements for student admissions and educational provision for 2020-21.

Inevitably, there will be some adjustments to campus life in the interests of safety in the next academic year, but our goal is to provide the best possible student experience from September.

Our aim is for students to study here in Leeds whenever possible, but we recognise that the course of  the pandemic is unpredictable and that some students might not be able to get here for the start of the programme and that there might be further lockdowns or further restraints after teaching gets under way. We need therefore to be prepared to deliver online throughout 2020-21 and we continue to offer support to for staff with online teaching responsibilities.

Student education

We are expecting that, in the first instance, teaching in 2020-21 will be delivered through a hybrid of online and on-campus teaching, with a bias towards face-to-face teaching wherever possible (defaulting to online delivery if there is a period of further ‘lockdown’, locally or nationally).

The key points of our approach are:

  • The undergraduate year will follow the normal pattern, commencing on 28 September.
  • Intake for most postgraduate taught students (PGTs) will be in January, but with some programmes starting in September and with some opportunities for a dual offer (i.e. both September and January starts offered). In practice, this is likely to mean that most home PGTs will start in September, and that most international PGTs might start in January. 
  • Students will be able to begin remotely if they are unable to get to Leeds for the beginning of their course.
  • For some programmes starting in January, teaching will continue into the end of the calendar year, but in most cases it will run until the end of July, with students completing dissertations over the summer to graduate as normal in December.
  • At least while social distancing requirements remain in place, all large group learning and teaching activities will be delivered online, with smaller classes and personal tutorials being provided face-to-face where that is possible in a way which is consistent with our social distancing protocols.
  • Our plan is that essential laboratory and practical sessions will take place – in some cases later in the session, and in many cases with smaller class sizes (and hence with sessions being repeated).


  • A set of principles to guide the delivery of student education are available to Pro-Deans for Student Education and Directors of Student Education, and support, training and guidance are available to staff

Safety and the student experience

Measures that we are adopting to ensure the safety of the campus were set out in last week’s e-mail, but additional measures that are specific to students include the following (which will be augmented as necessary over the next four months):

  • Students due to start in September will be allocated an arrival time, such that they will arrive in Leeds on a staggered basis over the course of the month (with international students being allocated arrival times that allow them to fulfil any quarantine requirements). Detailed arrival instructions will be sent to students in July. 
  • Social distancing protocols will of course apply in student residences as well as on the campus.
  • Except for international students (who need to be present in person to comply with immigration rules), registration will take place online.
  • There will be an institutional-level welcome, induction and orientation programme for all students, supplemented by programme/school level induction delivered in person or online, the aim being to ensure that students can settle into their new environment and develop social networks as quickly as possible.
  • Students will be given on (or immediately before) arrival guidance on coronavirus safety.
  • To the extent that it is necessary, given the emphasis on online delivery (see above), adjustments to the timetable will be made to reduce the volume of students needing to move around campus at any one time.
  • We are working with LUU to develop a programme of activities and events (some online but where possible in person) to maintain the communal and social character of the University.

An email will be sent to current students on Wednesday 10 June to explain the arrangements for the start of term and this email to current students can be previewed online by staff. The video referenced in the email will be available on University’s coronavirus website once the email to students is issued.


I appreciate that the measures outlined above represent considerable changes to the way we provide student education, opportunity and support.

However, we are not coming at this from a standing start, given that we have so substantially and successfully evolved our method of delivery and mode of working since March, thanks to a huge effort across the entire university community.

This gives me great confidence that we can provide the best possible education and experience for our students in the next academic year.

Thank you for your continued commitment and perseverance.

With best wishes,

Best wishes, 


Professor Tom Ward, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Education 

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