A message from our Dean to our applicants and new students

23 July 2020

Brian-Rock-DET-DeanThank you for your interest in studying with us in the 2020-21 academic year.  We look forward to welcoming you to study with us in the year of our Centenary, 2020. 

Despite the uncertain times that we have all been facing for the past few months, we have sustained a very high level of interest in our courses for the forthcoming academic year.  We have received high numbers of applications and are optimistic about the enduring appeal and relevance of our courses and training. Much thought and consideration has been given to the shape and form of academic year 2020-21, including engaging with our teaching and professional service teams and our applicants and students. 

With all things considered, we are pleased to announce that we will be starting the academic year as scheduled in September 2020.  Building on the success and achievement of delivering all our educational activity online for the entire summer term of the current academic year (19/20), we will continue with all our provision being delivered in this way for in the first instance the first two terms of academic year 2020-21. As the situation evolves, we may be able to move back to more face-to-face teaching in the course of the year.  We will communicate regularly with you ahead of and during your studies, to ensure you are kept informed of our plans. Specific course teams are looking at where it will be possible to convene face to face small group meetings and you will be advised of arrangements in due course. We will of course consider the situation of our individual students and teaching colleagues to ensure no one is placed under undue risk. 

In making this decision, we have considered the steps that the UK government has taken to emerge from the lockdown in conjunction with NHS and Public Health Guidance.  We have also considered developments in the higher education sector.  We have weighed up several factors including the possibility that the UK could encounter a second wave of infection and the possibility that specific geographical areas if not the entire country could be placed in lockdown again.  We have also reviewed our capacity to welcome students to our main site at the Tavistock Centre, taking account of the current 2m social distancing guidance.  As an NHS organisation, we also have given due consideration to increasing our face to face clinical provision, which many students rely on for placements.

We have demonstrated that we can manage digital delivery at scale with considerable professionalism and skill, drawing on the experience of delivering blended programmes for many years and from the online delivery of all our teaching for term 3 this year.  High levels of student satisfaction (75%+) compared to many other higher education organisations makes us a confident of being able to achieve more in the forthcoming period. 

We have launched several projects and initiatives to build on this to make the experience as positive and supportive as possible for students who may never have met face-to-face previously.  And we will continue to listen and seek ongoing feedback about delivery of teaching throughout the upcoming period.  In this last period we have provided even more support for the wellbeing of our students and we will continue to review and develop our provision as required. 

There will be some changes to the shape and structure of your course/programme.  This might include shorter sessions or additional learning activity.  Specifically, we are taking steps to make the teaching load more manageable and sustainable for students and teachers, and are applying our experience from this last period to evolve our online pedagogy and teaching approaches. We will continue to listen and seek ongoing feedback about delivery of teaching throughout the upcoming period.  Further details on specific course plans and welcome activities will be communicated separately to you in due course. 

Come what may, we are ready, and look forward to supporting you to progress through your course and onto any next stage of learning.  

Best wishes,

Brian Rock

Director of Education & Training / Dean of Postgraduate Studies.

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