Concern for student numbers ahead of college reopening

  • Watch the full report from Max Walsh

The principal of one of the largest colleges in the region has told ITV News he is concerned student numbers will be down this year because of the impact of coronavirus.

City of Bristol College officially opens next week after spending more than £300,000 to help make its sites safe. But there are fears some students simply will not return.

Principal Andy Forbes says "If we don't get the numbers back we are going to be struggling financially."

"What worries me above and beyond that is we have a whole generation out there and they need to get their skills and qualifications. Not being in education in the long term is going to be really damaging."

City of Bristol College has installed temperature checks at entrances, a strict one way system and many courses will now include online classes.

The canteen has been transformed into a click-and-collect service and practical courses like hairdressing will face even more limitations.

However many students insist they want to come back.

Connor Berwick, 17, who studies business says he is looking forward to return to the classroom after a difficult period:

"There are safety measures already in place which takes all the worry away. I think just being back will be decent, to get back into some sort of routine."

Priscilla Lumoso, 17, explains that lockdown was not easy and is excited for the start of the next academic year:

"I quickly got used to lockdown but my mum was quite on top of us and our siblings so I worked hard. But when the work ran out, I didn't know what to do."

James Stewart, 19, is an apprentice at the college. He was furloughed during lockdown but has recently started working in the library again:

"All the little things that mean the most were taken away from me. The things I never really appreciated, I now appreciate so much more."


All these students say they are desperate to restart their education. 

But the reality is just days before this college is supposed to open its doors there is still so much uncertainty around how this academic year will unfold.