Skip to content

With a mix of good planning, good communication and good people (including our students who played a big part in the success), last academic year we did some great things to keep everyone safe, implement a new way of learning, and maintain high standards of student support.

Here are just a few highlights:

  • Thorough track and trace system set up for all students, not just those in accommodation
  • COVID-19 Response Team available 7 days a week
  • Low numbers of COVID-19 cases reported in University-owned accommodation
  • Flexible accommodation contracts introduced, as well as reaching out to partnership accommodation and private landlords to ask that they do the same
  • A no detriment policy to ensure that our students received fair grades
  • A blend of face-to-face and online learning, always carefully managed with everyone's safety in mind
  • Fun virtual alternatives to social activities

We’re hitting the ground running for the 2021/22 academic year and building on last year’s success to ensure that teaching, socialising and all the opportunities we offer our students can be provided safely and effectively.

Just as we did last year, we’ve been working closely with Chester Students’ Union, our current students and our staff to create and implement a comprehensive and adaptable plan.

This is what’s in store for the 2021/22 academic year.

In Person Teaching

In line with the advice from the UK government’s Chief Medical Officer, all of our academic departments are making plans for face-to-face, socially distanced teaching from September onwards.

If your course involves work-place based placements, such as nursing, midwifery, physician associates, medicine and teacher-training, you will be able to continue to attend these placements in accordance with the current guidelines. 

The Chester Blend

We have been delivering blended learning - a combination of virtual and in-person teaching - since before the pandemic, and will continue to operate this way so we can offer students the best of both worlds. We continue to be guided by scientific advice, best practice across the sector, and of course, listening to our students.

Teaching Timetable

Later this summer, you should receive your teaching timetable, and you should plan to be at the University of Chester in person from the start of the autumn term. If due to your own circumstances you aren’t able to start at the beginning of term, then please contact your course leader or Personal Academic Tutor as soon as possible.

If during your course any placements or fieldwork activities are impacted by COVID-19, alternative activities will be provided so you don’t miss out on the learning aims of the course being completed.

You’ll also receive any further information about maintaining COVID-19 secure sites e.g. social distancing, testing, and so on, to ensure we're providing a safe and accessible student experience.

Accommodation

We have a range of accommodation types available to choose from, everything from fully-catered packages to self-catered. We also have a new self-catered en-suite accommodation block called Tudor Place that opened in September 2020, which is just a couple minutes’ walk from our Exton Park learning site in Chester. Best of all, we are able to guarantee accommodation for those students who make us a Firm choice, so there’s absolutely no need to worry about where you’re going to live. If you accept your offer of a place at the University, we’d recommend applying for University accommodation as soon as possible.

For those students who are keen to avoid public transport, you needn’t worry. Our learning sites in Chester and Shrewsbury are ideally located for getting about, with everything you need within walking distance.

2022 spring term

We are hoping and planning that there will be no requirement for social distancing in the 2022 spring term, and we’re preparing for an approach from January 2022 where in person teaching is the main teaching mode, with an element of digital delivery as described above.

However, we are of course mindful of how things can change quickly and therefore we will also be prepared for a socially distanced approach, so that we can ensure minimal disruption if things change. If at any time in the next year we are not able to allow students to return to in person teaching due to government guidelines, we will continue to deliver your course by online methods.

The University is planning for both these scenarios so it can adapt flexibly to enable students’ year of study to be completed, however the COVID-19 situation may change during the year.

Before you arrive

Before you arrive in September, you’ll be invited to a pre-induction programme of events to get involved with. Our departments are already planning socially distanced events for students to meet their classmates and lecturers, and we have our ‘Preparing for University’ live chat in August. 

We also have our Facebook Offer Holders Group for students starting in September to join. Not only will we be posting information about events and updates, but you can also start meeting and making friends online before you arrive in September.

You also have the opportunity to be matched with one of our Peer Mentors before you arrive, to help welcome you to the University, share their experiences and answer queries about University life during the first year.

Welcome Week

Your first week at the University of Chester is known as Welcome Week, and it’s exactly that! Your chance to familiarise yourself with your new learning site, the University, find out where your classes are, register as a student, and also, make new friends!

Teaching will then start the following week, and we’ve been working hard, alongside the Students’ Union, to create new and innovative ways for students to be able to get to know each other, whilst adhering to social distancing.

Virtual work placements

Alongside your studies, Chester offers a range of distinctive opportunities to help students develop new skills and grow in confidence. Our volunteering, internships and work-based learning programmes offer virtual alternatives, ensuring that our students continue to be challenged and inspired while working remotely if necessary.

Highly rated student support

We were recognised as one of the country’s top ten universities for student support in the 2020 WhatUni? Student Choice Awards, and we are committed to empowering and nurturing every student. Each student is allocated a Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) in order to ensure they maximise their potential. The PAT's role is to help you with your personal development by engaging with you on a one-to-one basis, acting like a personal coach. For the 2020/21 academic year, we decided to allocate PATs prior to Welcome Week so that they could help students with their transition into University, giving them a head start, as well as a friendly face that they recognised when they arrived.

We also have a Wellbeing and Mental Health team that spans across all our learning sites, ensuring that our students settle in, get the most out of their university experience and feel safe and at home in their new surroundings. The team provides students with practical information, support and guidance and is on hand if they have any issues that may be affecting their experience.

Local and commuting students

The pandemic has led to many students wanting to stay closer to home. For students already living in the region who decide to commute, we have our Facebook Offer Holders Group to join, so that you can start making friends before you arrive. This is a great way of making new friends with students who potentially don’t live all that far away from you. We’ll also be offering induction events, so commuting students can ask any questions they may have prior to their studies starting.

We recognise that our commuting students have a different experience to residential students, but with almost half of our student population now opting to commute, it is important to us that they feel as much a part of the University of Chester community as our residential students. For this reason, we have a number of initiatives in place to help ensure our commuting students are able to make the most of the full University experience. Local students can also stay overnight by booking a University room on a ‘pay as you go’ basis, particularly handy from those 9 o’clock lectures where you’d rather avoid the rush hour traffic!

Click and Collect

Our catering outlets have social distancing restrictions in place for your safety. We have also introduced our own click and collect service, should students fancy taking their food out.

The University App

The University of Chester app not only helps our students stay informed, but it also keeps them ahead of the game. Students regularly use the app to keep on top of their timetable but there are a whole host of other features on the app too. If you’re joining us in September 2021, make sure you download the University of Chester app before you arrive!

Next steps

Keep an eye on your emails! We’ll be keeping you updated about starting term, and Faculty Departments will also be in contact about details of your course.

We can’t wait to welcome you to the University of Chester.