Skip to main content
St Catharine's College, Cambridge Search

"Small group teaching is at the heart of our educational provision": Message from the Senior Tutor



Dr Holly Canuto, Senior Tutor at St Catharine’s College, has written to the College's undergraduate and postgraduate students about planning for 2020/21:


Many of you will have seen stories in the media this morning about the University of Cambridge’s plans for teaching and learning next academic year. On behalf of St Catharine’s, I wanted to confirm what decisions have been taken and why.

St Catharine’s and the wider Collegiate University will welcome as many students as possible to Cambridge for the start of the next academic year, guided always by advice from Public Health England. We are committed to continuing to deliver high quality education to all our students, while ensuring that we respond effectively to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Suspension of face-to-face lectures

Given the likely need for continued social distancing, mass lectures in person have been suspended for the next academic year. Lectures will be available online; this system is already in place in some University Departments.

There remains a great deal of uncertainty about the likely course of the pandemic and its impact on universities. If we are able to restore mass lectures in person sooner than currently anticipated, we will.

Prioritising other valuable modes of learning

Lectures are only one part of the rich education that Cambridge offers and freeing space in lecture halls will allow teaching staff to concentrate on delivering not only small group teaching, but also lab work and practicals as official advice allows.

Small group teaching – supervisions, seminars or individual tuition – is at the heart of our educational provision. While this provision will continue online this academic year, we intend to return to being in-person as soon as is reasonable next year.

The College is very sorry that you and your families may have learned from the media about a decision made yesterday about one aspect of the University’s planning for next year – and for any disruption this caused during an already busy week for our students. Please do not hesitate to contact your Tutor or the Welfare team if you have any questions or concerns.

Please be assured that we are committed to providing you with up-to-date and accurate information about your studies at St Catharine’s.