The education sector is still adjusting to the challenges brought on by lockdown restrictions. Now – with light at the end of the tunnel – @HopwoodHall are getting a clearer picture of what the ‘new normal’ will be in September.

There is, however, uncertainly over the long-term viability of traditional Higher Education. With a question mark over its future, the answer looks to benefit students at those institutions with a more alternative and emerging model of university life.

With a diverse range of full-time and part-time vocational courses – teamed with a record for delivering e-learning – Hopwood Hall College is already a go to place for Further Education in Greater Manchester.

Its Higher Education offerings are quickly expanding too, with impressive academic results and 90% of students deeming their course to be ‘good, interesting and intellectually stimulating’ (source: NSS Results 2019).

Now Hopwood’s message that you can ‘Stay Near, Go Far’ is set to clinch a whole new generation of learners. After all, even with social distancing the make up of each pathway is set to be near identical to what was originally on the table.

There will remain a guaranteed personal approach to teaching on every course. Each learner will be known by their name, not to mention their personality, strengths and goals. It’s this kind of environment that means individuals can flourish and feel a part of a community.

This is largely down to Hopwood’s unique scale, which allows for real human interaction in which thoughts and ideas can thrive. The size of the classes mean people who signed up for that all-important face-to-face teaching will still get exactly what they paid for.

Each student’s investment – which at £6,000-per-year is significantly less than the £9,250-per-year sum demanded by competing institutions – is both affordable and pandemic-proof. Unlike other university routes, the essence isn’t stripped away due to the effects of COVID-19.

Everyone will feel welcome from day one. Everyone will have the chance to make friends. Most importantly, everyone will be taking one huge step towards achieving their potential.

Take, for instance, Hopwood’s Higher National Diploma in Animal Management. With elements of the course undertaken at the animal enclosure located on its 70-acre Middleton Campus, there will be physical on-site activities all year long.

New students can learn safely as they make the most out of sprawling woodland. Group work – which benefits learners both academically and personally – won’t be shunned for fear of people getting too close.

The campus really is an exceptional feature, making Hopwood’s distinctive brand of university life stand out from its competitors. It truly provides an experience beyond what you can get elsewhere.

This quality is a luxury afforded to those institutions with small but effective models for offering Higher Education. It is, unfortunately, not a luxury that others can afford right now.

The typical ‘university experience’ (like classes held in huge lecture theatres and student accommodation bustling with Freshers) is no longer a guarantee. In fact, at many city-based institutions’ day-to-day life might look almost unrecognisable from what people envisioned when they chose their path before the pandemic.

It’s now even fair to doubt that the leap to a far away university will be the positive experience that many expect it to be. As well as the mounting costs of living away from home, students will also be giving up their support network in what could soon turn to trying times with little warning.

A local education now has endless possibilities, especially for those that envision a long-term future in the north west. Thanks to Hopwood’s growing relationships with local businesses, there’s a brilliant opportunity for students to build long-lasting links in their chosen industry. In this way, it puts learners on the fast track to employment.

Simon Farrar, Director of Higher Education at Hopwood Hall College, said:

“We are proud to offer a personal and robust approach to Higher Education.

“Everyone who joins us receives real-world experience as we nurture their confidence and independence.

“Our promise to ‘Stay Near, Go Far’ has been appealing to those in the local area for years, but now more people than ever are seeing the benefit.

“During these uncertain times, you can be certain of the amazing experience you’ll receive as a student at Hopwood Hall College.”

The entire country has had to re-evaluate the way we expected the next few years to go. From holidays to weddings, people are thinking outside the box and considering options that – until now – they never thought applied to them.

It’s understandable that the next logical step is to re-assess the merits of each Higher Education institution ahead of September.

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The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

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In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

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