Another step towards getting more students back on campus

Perth College UHI will offer an enhanced student experience when it opens for the new semester this month after most of Scotland’s remaining COVID-19 restrictions were recently lifted.

Following the First Minister’s announcement at the beginning of August, the Crieff Road facility has updated its guidance ahead of students returning for their studies.

This will see an increase in face-to-face interaction, with two-thirds of teaching on campus and the return of face-to-face inductions for students beginning courses.

It comes as new figures show that Perth College UHI was among the best in the sector in Scotland in dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When students return on 6 September, physical distancing will be one metre rather than two and students staying in residential accommodation will be able to visit one another.

Several COVID -19 measures will remain in place to protect the health and wellbeing of students and staff, including the mandatory use of face coverings in public spaces and classrooms, on campus QR codes to support test and protect and providing access to lateral flow testing kits. The college is also working with NHS Tayside to increase the offer of vaccinations to students.

Dr Margaret Cook, Principal of Perth College UHI said: “It will be great to be back on campus and I’m really looking forward to meeting new and returning students. The easing of restrictions means we can take another big step towards getting more students and staff back on campus. One of our priorities is to ensure those students doing courses with a heavy emphasis on practical learning will have the opportunity for more hands-on teaching.

“Perth College UHI will continue to have all the necessary measures in place to ensure the health and wellbeing of our students and staff and to mitigate ongoing risks of transmission.

“On campus QR codes and sign in sheets will be in place in all buildings to support test and protect and one metre distancing will now apply across the college estate. Face coverings will be mandatory in public spaces and classrooms and hand-sanitisation stations and PPE equipment will be available, where required.

“We are also committed to working closely with NHS Tayside to ensure as many students as possible are vaccinated. A lot of careful planning has gone into preparing the campus for the new semester to ensure that our students will receive the best possible learning experience, whilst still adhering to the latest safety guidance.”

The report measuring key performance indicators showed that Perth College UHI was among the highest in Scotland for students completing their course, with almost 80% achieving this.

The number of full-time students successfully being awarded a ‘pass’ was also one of the best in the country, at 67%, while those studying part-time also surpassed the national average, with a pass rate of just over 80%. Many are achieving key skills and experience in important areas of the economy, such as hospitality, construction, and early years provision.

Perth College UHI highlighted the success of their school/college partnerships, including Foundation Apprenticeships. The report revealed how under 18s achieved a pass rate of just over 73%, which was one of the highest in Scotland.

Deborah Lally, Head of Student Experience said: “These results are even more impressive, considering students had to work at home and deal with all the extra pressures that came with that. It’s pleasing to see we are continuing to outperform the college sector across Scotland and this is testament to the hard work and dedication of students and staff.

“In the lead-up to lockdown, we were quick to source and equip students with laptops and we have continued to invest in digital support to ensure our students are fully supported.”

Winfrida Mwongela, who is studying Business Management said: “The pandemic was an unforeseen blow, but this didn’t stop the lecturers from providing maximum support. They have been a very huge support in numerous ways, from keeping constant communication through calls and emails, to just making sure that we were all doing ok and coping with the situation. They all deserve an Oscar.”