An update from our Academic Registrar, Richard Stock, on our plans for the Spring Term 2021.

We have reviewed the latest Government guidance for universities, infection rates on our campuses and in the communities in which our campuses are located and local and national restrictions. Our ‘dual delivery’ approach, moving between on-line and face-to-face provision as circumstances require, allows us to be flexible and respond to external changes and Government requirements. Our plan for the Spring Terms is as follows:   

The start of term

Our Spring Term will begin as scheduled on Monday 18 January 2021. 

A small number of students will begin their Spring Term teaching early from 4  January 2021. You will be notified by your Department or School if you are in this early group, which includes:

  • East 15 Acting School students;
  • Some students in the School of Health and Social Care; and 
  • Students on selected courses in the School of Life Sciences; the School of Sport, Rehabilitation, and Exercise Sciences (SRES), and the Department of Languages and Linguistics.

All other students will begin the Spring Term on 18 January 2021.


For most students, until the end of January, you will continue to access your teaching on-line.

If you are on a course where an element of face-to-face teaching was deemed essential in November and December 2020, your teaching will continue to be in blended format, including the required element of face-to-face teaching. 

If you are on a course where teaching was entirely on-line during November and December 2020, you will begin the new term studying on-line. 

We are committed to providing face-to-face teaching for you as soon as we are able to do so safely and where Government guidance permits it. 

From 1 February 2021 (Week 3 of the Spring Term), wherever possible and consistent with the University’s blended approach, alongside continued on-line learning Departments will be introducing face-to-face elements into courses which begin the Spring Term being delivered exclusively on-line.

Your Department or School will be in touch with you by 4pm on Thursday 17 December with more information about what this means for you and your course. 

For our postgraduate research students, our Dean of Postgraduate Research Education will update you separately in the coming days.

Information about your timetable

Your Spring Term teaching timetable will be published by 19 December 2020 and will display your timetable for the whole Spring Term. Teaching to be delivered from 1 February 2021 will show as online only initially but will be updated with details of face-to-face elements nearer the time.

You have a choice whether to study on-line only or face-to-face now or at any point during the year. Please tell us by going to the My Essex student portal and completing the Student Study Form. We will update your timetable accordingly.

If you have any questions or concerns about your teaching, course or modules, let us know as soon as possible. Please contact your lecturers, your personal tutor or the administrative team in your Department or School. Our Students’ Union can also help.

There are also Course Representatives at the Colchester, Southend and Loughton campuses, who can support you, provide feedback, and help to resolve any issues.

Testing on your return

Further details about COVID-19 testing can be found on our webpage, which will also be updated soon with information about the testing plans for the Spring term.

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or been in contact with somebody who has, you must self-isolate for 10 days. We have developed a full programme to support you when you self-isolate. Please let us know by email to ensure appropriate support can be provided:


As part of our commitment to putting our students at the heart of all we do, we are extending our flexible accommodation arrangements:

  • For students who have not yet moved into University accommodation, either because they deferred occupancy or are studying on courses that commence in January, or for those who have paused their tenancy during the Autumn Term, accommodation charges for the Spring Term will only commence from the point that you move in.
  • For students who have been a resident in our accommodation, but have left our campuses for the vacation before the end of term due to the requirements of the Government’s travel window, we will reimburse you for 10 days of accommodation between 9 December and the end of term, on 18 December, when you were not able to be on campus. In addition, should you wish to defer your return to accommodation in the Spring Term, then please notify us by 1 January 2021, so they are able to pause your tenancy until you intend to move back in.
  • For students remaining in our accommodation over the vacation, the option to pause your tenancy will remain available to you should you wish to pause ahead of the start of Spring Term. Please let us know if you wish to take up this opportunity

Support during the break

Our Student Services will continue to be available for you while the University is open during the Winter break, wherever you are studying or staying during the vacation.
Student Services Hubs for Colchester, Southend and Loughton continue to operate in-person, by phone, email and live chat facilities and can provide information on our range of mental health and emotional support services. The Students’ Union Advice service is also available.
The Wellbeing Team is hosting Winter Break Drop-In sessions every day between 10 to 22 December at 2.30pm. These are open to all, no need to book, just join on zoom where you can meet other students and chat to the friendly wellbeing team. 
Find out what your SU has planned to keep you entertained over the winter break.
IT support is available via the Helpdesk. You can access all your applications remotely via the Software Hub. 
Wherever you are, I hope you all enjoy a relaxing Winter and New Year break.