Vice-Chancellor's update - 25 August 2020

Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Karen Cox

As I mentioned in last week’s email, we are cautiously optimistic with regard to our undergraduate numbers and I am truly grateful to all those who continue to work tirelessly in our schools and professional services departments to ensure we achieve the best possible outcome.

This has been a Clearing like no other. The uncertainties surrounding the impact of Covid-19 on students’ decision-making was compounded by last week’s change in government policy in the grading of A-levels and BTECs.

From the outset, we have had to change and adapt and then change and adapt again. Given the current situation, we took the decision to run our Clearing in the virtual world. The aim of this was to mitigate against any local lockdown and coronavirus outbreaks on campus, and to combat the very tricky process of trying to run the operation with social distance measures in place. This took an immense amount of planning and a cast of many, and the smoothness of that operation has been remarkable.

Our Clearing campaign, which we relaunched following the government’s announcement, has performed extremely well across a range of platforms including Facebook, Twitter and even TikTok. Content that shows off the campuses, whether through drone footage or campus tours, has done very well and was accompanied by a message highlighting the amount of space we have for our students.

To date, our Clearing hotline has received over 7,710 calls, which is 18.5% higher than we received last year. Yesterday alone, the teams handled over 400 calls. This week, we are holding a series of socially distanced campus tours, which allow small groups of students and their families to experience the campus for themselves.

We are all too aware that students have had to cope with an ever-changing landscape and a level of uncertainty that would throw the best of us, and I thank you all for the help and compassion you have continued to show them despite the hard work and pressures you all face.

With all good wishes,

Karen

Professor Karen Cox | Vice-Chancellor and President

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