The Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP, visited the University of Winchester this week to view at first-hand the exceptional quality of the University's teaching and health and social care degrees and meet some of the outstanding students studying to become the next generation of teachers and nurses.
The Minister met University of Winchester Vice-Chancellor, The Reverend Professor Elizabeth Stuart, alongside other members of the Executive Leadership Team and elected officers of Winchester Student Union. They discussed a number of issues, including online learning, mental health support for students, the importance of expanding the provision of Nursing courses, and plans to prepare for the new academic year.
Next stop was the School Resources Centre in the Martial Rose Library to meet student teachers, Institute of Education staff and former students who mentor newly-qualified teachers and headteachers.
The Minister then visited the Education Centre at the adjacent Royal Hampshire County Hospital (part of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust) to meet five University of Winchester student nurses and hear from them about their practical training and experience of working on the frontline response to Covid-19. She also found out more about the strategic partnership between the University and the Trust which began in 2018. The partnership offers Winchester students the opportunity to use Trust facilities and work on placements within the Trust, as well as providing a springboard for research collaborations across a range of health and wellbeing issues.
Steve Brine MP said; “So good to welcome the Minister here and show what strong institutions we have, working completely as one, in the university and the hospital next door.”
Universities Minister Michelle Donelan said: "I was delighted to speak directly with students and staff at the University of Winchester about the resilience and determination they have shown throughout the past year.
"Ensuring that students have access to courses that provide the training and skills needed to pursue a meaningful career is a top priority for this government.
"That is why it was especially great to see the work the University is doing to support the education of our future frontline workers, providing their trainee teachers and nurses with the experiences they will need to help us build back better from this pandemic."
The Reverend Professor Elizabeth Stuart said: "It was a pleasure to welcome the Minister to the University to meet students and lecturers on our highly-rated teacher training and Nursing courses.
"Our meeting provided us with a great opportunity to discuss some of the big issues that students are facing at this particularly difficult time. We were also able to inform her about the ingenuity and dedication of our whole community in adapting to the challenges of teaching and learning during the pandemic and how proud we are of our staff and students, some of whom worked on the front line."
Alex Whitfield, Chief Executive of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are absolutely delighted to have such a close partnership with the University of Winchester. We work really closely together which means that students learn in a very practical and grounded way and it also gives our own staff an opportunity to inspire young people to pursue a career in the NHS."
The University has a long history of delivering Ofsted Outstanding teacher training for its provision of both primary and secondary initial teacher education.
The University offers Nursing courses focused on Adult, Child, Learning Disabilities and Mental Health, all of which are accredited by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
Click here to watch a short video interview with Michelle Donelan MP.