UCL News


Covid-19: update for students

23 April 2020

Message to UCL students from Professor Anthony Smith, Vice-Provost (Education and Student Affairs).

UCL's main Quad and Portico building

I am writing to say thank you for your patience over recent weeks while we have been developing plans to support you to continue your UCL education through these extraordinary and challenging times. 

I was reminded by a colleague that this Monday was to be the start of our Main Exams Period, and the next six weeks would have seen many of you travelling to ExCel London to take more than 2,000 different assessments.

Now, ExCel London has been turned into a hospital, London is in lockdown and you are continuing your education at a distance.

While we are no longer running exams at ExCel, many of you will be preparing for your alternative assessments and I send you my best wishes for them. Recognizing that the Covid-19 outbreak will have affected your preparation for and performance in assessments, we have taken a broad range of measures to make sure all of you are treated fairly, including alternative assessments and cancellation of assessments where sufficient performance data has already been collected to award a grade. To support these measures we have also introduced a simplified extenuating circumstances process.

We know how much hard work and commitment you put into your studies and we have taken great care to ensure these measures reflect that and uphold the academic standards that make a UCL qualification so valued. I am massively grateful for the support and advice I have had from your Students’ Union Sabbatical Officers. They have worked tirelessly to represent your concerns and views and they have helped us make the best decisions possible. Throughout this period you will have had lots of questions about your assessments and the arrangements for the rest of this academic year which I hope we have been able to answer. If you are still not sure about the arrangements for your alternative assessments please contact your department who will be able to help you.  

Many of you are still being taught in Term 3 and, again, your lecturers and support staff have been working incredibly hard to maintain the rich academic experience that you expect from UCL. We hope we have thought of everything and please bear with us whilst we try to put in place anything else you need. If we fall short, please contact your programme team who will do their best to help you. Some of you have asked whether you should be due a refund of your tuition fees. The UK Government Department for Education has made clear that you should not expect any refund if you are receiving adequate online learning and support. Of course, if we don’t get it right you have recourse to UCL’s Student Complaints process.

I would also like to reassure you that our preparations for the 2020/21 academic year are well advanced. With the pandemic situation literally changing daily, it is too early to say when campus will re-open fully and we can deliver your teaching face-to-face. We are working through all the possibilities for you to study, including of course safely on campus and also remotely where social distancing is still needed.   

I know some of you are experiencing real hardship due the impact of the coronavirus on you and your families. Please remember that the UCL Emergency Assistance Grant and the UCL Financial Assistance Fund are available to help you. 

Wherever you are reading this message, we hope that you, your families and friends are safe and well, and we look forward to welcoming you back to campus as soon as possible.

Best wishes, 

Professor Anthony Smith
Vice-Provost (Education & Student Affairs)