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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) – support and guidance

Small, specialist and new providers' response to COVID-19

Date: August 7 - 2020

How have small, specialist and newer providers of higher education adapted to the challenges of COVID-19?

The latest paper from QAA offers a series of case studies from providers including Berkshire College of Agriculture, Bishop Burton College, the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance, and Sotheby's Institute of Art.

The teaching and learning approaches in smaller and specialist institutions are often some of the key reasons why students choose to study there. Small group teaching, access to industry-standard equipment and practical learning are often typical of these providers. However, these types of learning have also been acutely affected by the pandemic, meaning that such providers may be disproportionately affected by the physical distancing measures currently in place.

Small, specialist and new providers may also have fewer resources to draw on in comparison to larger and longer established universities and colleges.

In spite of the particular challenge posed by the virus, the providers we have profiled have all put in place innovative and considered policies and practices in response, both in the immediate days and weeks following lockdown, and in readiness for the next academic year. They have also responded to the unique public health challenges at their institutions. For example, land-based colleges with working farms attached are liaising with local public health authorities to enable fast responses to potential outbreaks on campus and at work.

Adapting to COVID-19: Smaller, Specialist and Newer Providers of Higher Education is available now. You can also see the rest of our COVID-19 support and guidance on our dedicated webpage.