University of Kent International Schools Newsletter – July 2020

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University of Kent International Schools Newsletter | July 2020
Dear all,
A warm welcome to the July edition of the University of Kent International Schools Newsletter. We hope you are all still keeping safe and well.

This newsletter will now be sent to our International School colleagues every other month. Once again if you have any feedback about this newsletter, or would like to ask for further details about any of the contents, please get in touch with us.

In this update we will be sharing important details regarding the start of our 2020/21 academic year, as well as details of our upcoming Virtual Open Day, and recent news from Kent.

Our plans for the new academic year:

We are looking forward to welcoming new and returning students to the University this September. We will, as of now, be open for business when the autumn term begins on 21 September 2020. We want to ensure that the student experience at Kent is the best it can be, from the moment students arrive on campus, so we are taking steps to protect our students and staff from Covid-19, while safeguarding the quality of our teaching and student life. We are awaiting further guidance regarding entry procedures to the UK and will publish further information as soon as it becomes available; however we are aware that concessions for Tier 4 visas will be available.

In the meantime, the Education and Universities ministers wish to reassure international students who are considering study in the UK that they will be able to apply for, and will receive, their Tier 4 visas in good time before commencing their programme of study in the UK. Despite some COVID-19 disruptions to visa processes and exam timetables, they have advised students to still get started with the process. For example, by familiarising themselves with UK visa requirements and talking to their chosen Universities about evidence they may need to supply for a visa application. The government are continuing to monitor worldwide border, travel and public health restrictions and are resuming normal services as soon as they are able. Some Visa Application Centres have reopened, with more to follow over the coming weeks. As local restrictions lift, and application centres begin to reopen they will be seeking to process applications as quickly as possible.

Our promise: 

  • The health, safety and wellbeing of our students and staff remains our top priority.
  • We will not compromise the quality of teaching, learning and experiences of our students.
  • We will keep applicants updated over the summer to support their arrival at Kent in the autumn.

Our approach for September and the autumn term:

  • The majority of our teaching and services will be delivered in a blended way – both online and in person. Which parts of a student’s studies will be online and which will be in person will vary according to the course they are on, government requirements and our health and safety assessments. We are planning the details of this now and will be able to update applicants in the coming weeks.
  • Online lectures will be complemented with face-to-face and/or online interactive sessions.
  • Lecture theatres will be used for smaller face-to-face group-based activities.
  • Lab classes, and other activities where students physically need to be there, will take place in strict compliance with health and safety requirements.
  • Some modules, or parts of modules, may need to be rescheduled to later in the academic year when social distancing restrictions are eased.
Virtual Open Day – Saturday 4th July
Saturday 4th July 2020 – 10am to 2pm (BST)

Whilst it may not be possible to visit us in person right now, our Virtual Open Day provides a great opportunity to take a look around Kent and find out all about our courses and student life.

On the day, attendees can:

  • Chat to current students and lecturers
  • Get information about fees and funding
  • Listen to presentations about our courses
  • Explore our Libraries, and discover how our staff and facilities help students through their studies
  • Find out about the range of student support facilities available to students
  • Have a virtual tour of our high quality academic buildings and specialist facilities
  • Tour our range of accommodation options
For more information and to register your place on our open day, please click here to visit our website.
IELTS certificates now considered for up to a year past expiry
We are pleased to say that we will now consider IELTS certificates which are up to 1 year past their official expiration date, for degree level applicants. The exception to this is where a UKVI IELTS is required, for example for the International Foundation programme or face to face pre-sessional programmes.
Arrivals Weekend Changes for September 2020
Each year, International Recruitment runs an airport transfer service over Arrivals Weekend, for all new international students arriving at Heathrow and Gatwick. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, it unfortunately will not be possible to run the service this year. This is due to a variety of factors including the difficulties of practicing social distancing measures on  the coach service. Instead, we will be offering enhanced advice and support online for international students on how to make their way safely to campus. Please keep an eye on our Getting Started pages for more information.
Students Share Their Experience of Online Learning
Following the disruption COVID-19 brought to our in-person learning and teaching this academic year, our students have been sharing stories of their transition into the world of online learning.

Kent Law School:
One of our Kent Law School students has been sharing her experience of international internships and networking during lockdown. You can read Maryam Faisal Khan’s story here on our website.

School of European Culture and Languages (SECL)
A student from the School of European Culture and Languages has shared her experience of studying online during lockdown, “The SECL staff, or my particular tutors anyway, have been absolutely fantastic during this time, lots of Zoom meetings, quick and helpful email responses, updates, support from the Head of Department and tutors in general. They have tried to communicate as much as possible during this time, which is very much appreciated. I was incredibly worried about the impact to my studies when lockdown first started, but the tutors (including my dissertation supervisor) have helped immensely.”

School of Anthropology and Conservation (SAC):
Students from the School of Anthropology and Conservation faced the added challenge of being in lockdown during a key period in the development and completion of their projects. However they have taken this opportunity to present their work via an interactive online screening of visual anthropology projects

School of Computing:
Following the cancellation of the computing showcase poster fair in March due to Covid-19, the School of Computing moved the poster fair online to celebrate the hard work put in by the final year students and supervisors. The students and staff in the School also had the opportunity to vote for the best poster as they would normally do with an on-campus event.
Orla Garratt, Marketing and Communications Manager for the School said, ‘We know how much work goes into the final year projects and it was such a shame that our students missed out on the chance to display their work and talk about their projects in person. The virtual fair was a way of displaying the high standard of work that we have come to expect from our students, and we had a great response in the number of votes the posters received. A huge thanks goes to the team who helped get the posters, descriptions and voting online.’
https://blogs.kent.ac.uk/unikentcomp-news/2020/06/15/best-poster-competition-winners-announced/

Law School Students Win Prestigious Award

Final-year Law LLB student Xavier Alexis-Greenfield and second-year LLB student Tayla Dwyer of Kent Law School have won the Michael Sherrard Award from The Honourable Society of the Middle Temple; a prestigious award given in recognition of advocacy skills and dedication on the path to becoming a barrister.

The award, provide by donations of senior members of the renowned Inns of Court, supports undergraduate students from disadvantaged backgrounds who aspire to a career at the Bar. It includes two funded weeks (£250 per week) of work experience; one week marshalling (shadowing a judge in court) and one week’s experience in Chambers.

Law schools are invited to nominate no more than two candidates who are expected to attain a good upper-second or first-class degree and who also show potential to be a successful advocate through their participation in mooting or debating. Successful candidates must also demonstrate self-confidence, strong communication skills along with motivation and determination for a career at the Bar.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Xavier and Tayla will have to wait until they can take up their placements but in the meantime have been offered general advice on the next stages of their career and on applying for a Major Scholarship at any of the Inns of Court. Copies of Tayla and Xavier’s CV will be circulated to all chambers and Judges participating in the scheme and they will also be invited to networking events.

Kent School of Architecture and Planning End of Year Show
On Friday 19 June 2020, the Kent School of Architecture and Planning (KSAP) celebrated its 15-year anniversary with an online event to showcase students’ work from the current academic year. An archive of all KSAP’s end of year projects since 2008 is also being hosted on the showcase website.

The End of Year Show 2020, which is available for public viewing, explores projects by students studying the BA (Hons) Architecture RIBA/ARB Part 1 course, MArch RIBA/ARB Part 2 course, and KSAP’s various postgraduate taught and research programmes. The showcase demonstrates the vast amount of work from students, detailing the initial ideas behind the projects, through to final concept drawings, animations and designs.

Students were further celebrated with KSAP’s 2020 Awards and Prizes, with accolades given in recognition of sustainability, women in property, best dissertation, technology and more.

The End of Year Show can be viewed here until further notice.

University Provides Free Mentoring for Language Students in Kent
Kent’s department of modern languages has begun a free mentoring scheme for sixth form language students across the county, to help them maintain and develop their language skills despite the restrictions of lockdown.

Through the scheme, Kent’s fourth-year Modern Language students conduct weekly tutoring sessions on Zoom and Microsoft Teams, engaging the sixth form students in language exercises and conversation in French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Language provision in schools has been reduced over recent years, and Kent’s Department of Modern Languages is keen to provide the best language-studies resources available for those pupils eager to develop their skills and perhaps consider studying further. The University of Kent is also providing free online resources to partner schools via the Department of Modern Languages’ website and has recently organised an online teaching forum on distance learning in Modern Languages. A recording of the forum can be found here.

The scheme also benefits the University students, as the majority are currently in their fourth year with many considering teaching modern languages in the future, for which mentoring provides valuable experience.

The scheme is free to all schools who wish to take part, with a current majority of partner schools based in Kent. Further information on joining the scheme can be found here.

Kent and Medway Medical School Curriculum Praised by General Medical Council

The General Medical Council (GMC) met online with staff from Kent and Medway’s first medical school, Kent and Medway Medical School (KMMS), as part of the ongoing quality assurance process run for any new medical school.

This was the GMC’s first ever virtual visit to any medical school and was also a major milestone for KMMS. The visit confirmed that KMMS is meeting the required standards the GMC expects all medical schools in the UK to achieve and it is therefore on track to welcome their first students in September this year.

During the visit the GMC acknowledged the successful recruitment of all key members of the Year 1 staffing body and those they met were well engaged and demonstrated an understanding of the school’s aims and ethos.

The KMMS team has been recruited locally, nationally and internationally and many of them hold clinical positions within Kent and Medway healthcare settings and have been working on the front line during the pandemic. For example, the School’s Founding Dean, Professor Chris Holland, has recently moved to work as an intensive care consultant at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS trust.

KMMS has been making contingency plans to prepare for the students arrival during the COVID-19 pandemic and the GMC recognised that the School’s ‘digital first’ approach has put it in a good position to deliver its Year 1 curriculum during the ongoing pandemic.

For more information, please see our website.