The latest briefing note from the Office for Students looks at how universities, colleges and their partners are responding to the challenges of delivering outreach activities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The Office for Students (OfS) has today published a briefing note looking at the practical ways in which universities, colleges and other organisations are continuing to support disadvantaged students through outreach programmes during the pandemic.
Through higher education outreach, universities and colleges work with schools, local authorities and third sector organisations to encourage people who might not have traditionally considered higher education to do so by raising awareness and expectations, challenging barriers and providing opportunities. However, coronavirus restrictions including school and university closures mean that many of these activities are not currently possible, requiring other ways to engage potential students.
As the briefing note shows, outreach has an important role to play in mitigating the immediate and longer-term impacts of the pandemic, especially for the most disadvantaged students. The case studies featured in the note show how universities, colleges and their partners have taken a range of innovative approaches to continue to engage with those most likely to benefit from higher education outreach, including:
- creating new digital platforms and appointing student ambassadors to support learners online
- developing additional online resources and individualised support for applicants from disadvantaged backgrounds
- sending creative supplies and activity booklets to students who are less able to access online learning
- offering one-to-one tutoring and providing internet access for Gypsy, Roma and Traveller families
- providing tailored webinars, videos and guides to support specific groups that may be particularly vulnerable during the pandemic, including mature, disabled and black, Asian and minority ethnic students.
Today’s briefing note is the ninth in a series designed to share the steps universities and colleges have taken to support students during the pandemic. The series does not constitute regulatory advice but focuses on sharing ideas and responses to challenges faced by universities and colleges during the pandemic.Read the briefing note