Gavin Williamson plans phased return to English universities in March

Education secretary targets 8 March but vice-chancellors warn Covid will keep most students away

Gavin Williamson is drawing up plans for students to make a phased return to universities in England from 8 March, although vice-chancellors warned that many were unlikely to be back on campus before summer.

The education secretary is expected to announce on 22 February that final-year students in practical subjects will be able to return to face-to-face teaching, with students taking other subjects to follow soon afterwards. But unions said as much tuition as possible should remain online for the rest of the academic year to put the safety of staff and students first.

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