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Maidstone student found out his Cambridge University lectures were being held virtually by watching news

A young student says he found out his lectures at Cambridge University will be held virtually after student newspaper Varsity published "a leaked email to senior tutors", with the news then published by other organisations.

Dan Little, 18, from Maidstone, has since been contacted directly by the university who told him they're "disappointed with the way the information came out as it doesn't represent the full picture".

Mr Little, who is at the end of his gap year as an au pair in France, is "obviously disappointed to miss out on in-person lectures" but understands "it would be impossible to fill lecture halls without social distancing".

He said: "I've been reassured that supervisions and other small-group teaching is likely to go ahead as normal, which I'm relieved to hear - at least lectures can be done online as they aren't interactive."

The former Maidstone Grammar School pupil added: "I appreciate the efforts they're making to minimise the level of disruption and I get why the decision is being taken, it was just a bit of a shock to have to learn through the BBC before we'd been contacted by the uni itself."

Despite Cambridge University's plans to hold all lectures virtually until summer 2021, Mr Little hopes this date might be brought forward if government advice alters over the coming months.

Former Maidstone Grammar School pupil, Dan Little
Former Maidstone Grammar School pupil, Dan Little

The prospective Christ's College modern and medieval languages student thinks most universities will do something similar as he "doesn't see what other choice they have got".

And Mr Little is not worried online lectures will prevent him meeting new friends.

He said: "I'll still be living in halls - at Cambridge all three years live in halls so I think they will want to encourage us to still do this because I expect they get a lot of revenue from it.

"I've already been chatting to some of the people on my course and having Zoom calls and we'll still have the smaller group sessions to meet people.

"Freshers' week probably won't happen and the independent clubs might be off for a while but I don't think it'll be too much of a problem."

Cambridge University. Stock picture
Cambridge University. Stock picture

Mr Little also said he doesn't think student fees should be waived because the lectures are still happening and the coronavirus restrictions are not the university's' fault.

Earlier this week, it was revealed the University of Kent is preparing to continue using online lectures at the start of the next academic year.

Lecturers at the uni, which has campuses in Canterbury and Medway, will deliver a mix of virtual learning alongside "socially distancing approaches" to any face-to-face delivery.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone


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