All the subjects listed in 7 Jan DfE guidance that are not in the 31 December guidance

Specifying which students should be on campus by HECoS code was a bad idea. And it is being done badly.

David Kernohan is Acting Editor of Wonkhe

Operating department practice

Physician associate studies

Prosthetics and orthotics

Therapeutic imaging

If you are teaching or learning any of these subjects, you are allowed on campus. This is notable because these subjects are listed in Annex A of today’s updated DfE guidance for students returning to and starting higher education in the spring term of 2021, but are not listed in the similar but not identical Annex A of Michelle Donelan’s letter to students published on 31 December.

I’m not completely convinced that expecting staff and students to be checking for differences in two unordered lists in two PDF documents on two websites is the best way to disseminate this information, so I thought I’d let you all know here.

None of these additions is likely to shift the bar on the number of students that may be returning to campus, but it will have an impact on students, on academics, and on support staff.

Completists will be thrilled to learn that there are now four subjects that appear twice on the permitted list:  orthopaedics, paediatrics, rehabilitation studies, and (now) diagnostic imaging. As before, I’m not sure if this means it is doubly important that these subjects are taught during a pandemic.

And, in case you thought “natural sciences” included botany and microbiology, we get a clarification that in this context the term only covers “those courses allied with medical/health only, i.e. with clinical elements”. Apologies to any zoologists who have just traveled to their term-time address.

This episode demonstrates the benefits of using identifiers alongside names, sorting lists in a readable way, and – frankly – proof reading. I would also note that maybe we don’t need to be specifying subjects at quite this level of detail (again, I can only assume that someone in DfE has discovered HECoS codes but not yet the wonders of CaH).


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