Coronavirus causes Oldham College to switch to online learning and remote working

OLDHAM College is switching to online learning and remote working to keep all its 6,000+ staff and students safe during the coronavirus outbreak.

Oldham College and its Higher Education provision at University Campus Oldham temporarily closed their sites to learners at 5pm on Wednesday, March 18.

The move follows daily discussions, risk assessments and consultations on how to best operate safely and effectively as the virus spreads.

It means teaching and learning will be carried out online, with all students and staff working remotely from home, from Monday, March 23 until further notice.

Students will continue to be taught online in lessons taking place as per the timetable on Google Classroom. This is to ensure they can cover all the material needed to complete their courses while the college awaits clarification about examinations and assessments.

Tutors will support and monitor learners and non-teaching staff will continue their roles using remote access to all key services, including HR, financial and administration resources.

These arrangements will be continually reviewed with regular updates and feedback from students, staff, parents, carers and partners including consideration of whether any additional practical or other learning sessions are needed once campuses reopen.

Alun Francis, Oldham College Principal and Chief Executive, said: “I want to make it very clear that Oldham College is not closed: We’re still working – just not here!

“Our campus won’t be open but face-to-face teaching is being temporarily replaced by online tuition, and our non-teaching staff will continue their important work from home.

“We haven’t taken this decision lightly, and we won’t be the first – or the last – Further and Higher Education facility to take this step, but the safety of all our students and staff must be our priority at all times.

“This is the result of a lot of careful planning and an ongoing risk assessment of the coronavirus situation and I want to thank all our community – the staff, parents, students and partners – for all their patience and efforts so far.

“We will continually be reviewing our provision for key workers and vulnerable learners to ensure our provision is meeting their needs.

“We’re also working very hard to keep everyone informed on a daily basis, and regular updates are also available on our website at

Oldham College – shortlisted in the prestigious TES FE Awards for ‘College of the Year’ 2020 – currently employs 480 staff across two sites and has around 5,760 learners enrolled.

It specialises in technical and professional education and training for hundreds of learners and apprenticeships aged 16 and above. Founded in 1893, it offers an extensive range of courses, including apprenticeships. University Campus Oldham (UCO) is its Higher Education faculty.

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