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Programme Amendment and Withdrawals during the coronavirus outbreak

Overview

Thank you to all colleagues for your incredible efforts to adapt teaching and learning in ways that have meant our current and prospective students are able to, and will continue to be able to engage effectively with their taught programme and receive a high quality learning experience.

To reflect the commitment across the university to continue to provide the highest levels of quality we have developed some interim arrangements that will introduce a measure of agility and flexibility into our taught programme approval processes.

With arrangements confirmed for the start of the new academic year we know that colleagues are keen to consider a range of possibilities and are keen to embed the creative and innovative approaches into planned teaching and learning portfolios for 2020-21, with the likely scenario of some on-campus activity and online delivery. 

In recognition of the above we have revised published timelines as follows:

Activity

Revised Deadline

Comments

New Programme Approvals for Sept 2020

12th June 2020

Faculties should be in receipt of at least competed Sections A-G (old NPP1) of New Programme Approval paperwork by this date.

Programme Amendments for Sept 2020

12th June 2020

Faculties should receive an overview of all the intended programmes changes by this date. Faculties will then define the final dates for Faculty approval of major programme amendments.

Programme Withdrawals for Sept 2020

30th June 2020

Faculties should have received School-approved withdrawal paperwork by this date.

Notification of Withdrawn Programmes to Offer Holders/ Applicants for Sept 2020.

30th June 2020

Applicants and Offer Holders should have been informed of the withdrawal of the programme prior to this date.

Institutional Approach during COVID-19

To support you we are introducing some key changes, which will be subject to review by TLG Executive in October 2020, and should be applied in the context of the key principles beneath:

  • We are suspending the deadline to receive programme amendments (including for withdrawal and suspension) for 2020 entry so that changes you wish to make in provision can still be submitted for approval (and beyond our usual 31 March deadline). Faculties should receive an overview of all the intended programmes changes by the 12 June. Faculties will then define the final dates for Faculty approval of major programme amendments.  Please refer to the interim programme amendment matrix.
  • Withdrawals and suspensions of taught programmes are to be approved by submitting a modified Withdrawal or Suspension Templatethat captures updated compliance and QA requirements necessitated by regulatory and sector bodies.  The Directorate for Legal Affairs will review individual programme closures to support and to advise.
  • Increased flexibility has been permitted by devolving approval jurisdiction for some programme amendments to Schools, with the need only to report to Faculty.  Please consult the interim programme amendment matrix.
  • We have extended the deadline for approving new programmes to the 12 June, by which time your respective Faculty Programme Approval Committee should be in receipt of at least sections A-G (old NNP1) of the New Programme Approval form.
  • We are able to relax the need to obtain express agreement from current students as our student terms and conditions (current 2020-21 version) make provision for programme changes as a result of unforeseen events beyond our control. Update from 10 June 2020: Please see specific section when making programme amendments.
  • Several templates have been developed to introduce a measure of consistency in communicating material changes to students and offer-holders, and to the commitments set out by our Student Protection Plan - Policy on Refunds and Compensation
  • You do not need to update published information for 2021 entry.  TLSD will trigger a process in October to review all amendments, withdrawals and suspensions to determine permanency of changes for 2021 entry onwards.

Key Principles

  • The interim programme amendment matrix is a guide for colleagues and not an exhaustive list, there may be exceptions which TLSD are happy to discuss. 
  • We should be guided by our usual principles that programme amendments be approved with minimum delay and in consultation with students, directly where feasible but also by using broader feedback mechanisms such as unit surveys.
  • The broader key CMA messages still apply, to provide clear, accurate and timely material information to students, and to maintain an open dialogue with them where there are changes to material information. Communicating changes along with any options available applies to current students as well as offer-holders.
  • Where an amendment impacts material information that will significantly affect offer-holders they should be alerted to their right to cancel/switch/defer.
  • By following the guidance and using the templates provided we are still able to deliver on the commitments laid down by our Student Protection Plan - Policy on Refunds and Compensation.
  • You should apply this approach to any UK-based partnership arrangements and transnational educational activities, where applicable.
  • By following the processes as stipulated we will ensure that we satisfy interim reporting requirements published by the Office for Students specifically in relation to ‘when we expect to cease teaching some or all courses to one or more groups of students [with undue delay].’  Please see the programme withdrawal section

We would also recommend that you access the support and guidance available to you from Faculties where specific arrangements are in place to facilitate these measures:

Please refer to the main sections below for further detail and revised templates.

Modified templates

Updated templates for use during the current pandemic:

New communications templates from Recruitment, Admissions and International Development: