Andrew Southern

Southern Grove chairman urges government to 'get tough' on universities which refuse to abandon remote learning by September

Southern Grove has called for the government to push universities to unlock in full this September.


The group chairman, Andrew Southern (pictured above), spoke out after a string of universities revealed they were still going to be providing at least some of their lectures online next term, including University of Leeds, University of Manchester, and University of Liverpool.

“The attitude of some universities flies in the face of the vaccine optimism that has been sold to the public as the price of returning the UK to normality,” he said.

“We should all feel a tremendous amount of sympathy with students, who don’t have money to burn and have had one of life’s most wonderful experiences stolen from them by a pandemic that struck out of the blue.”

According to a recent Future Generation and UniTaskr straw poll — which had 102 student participants — 91% of students would rather see a return to normal in-person teaching next term than stay at home and study remotely.

Andrew added that unlocking fully by September was also crucial for small businesses, as he stated that students were integral to the life of many towns and cities.

“PBSA providers aren’t the only companies that will suffer if students avoid going to university for fear it could be an expensive disappointment, despite life returning to normal off-campus.”

Southern Grove’s sister company, Future Generation, is currently in the process of letting its portfolio of more than 2,000 student beds for the 2021/22 academic year.

The PBSA specialist recently reported robust demand for student accommodation, with 52.9% of total bookings at Future Generation schemes made by international students.

The company expects the rate to rise in June, July and August, when it says approximately 30% of total capacity is let.

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