STUDENTS at an adult education college told to leave their accommodation at the last minute thought they faced the prospect of having nowhere to go.

Ruskin College, based at Dunstan Road in Headington, was criticised for posting notes through the doors to all its students on Thursday last week asking them to move out by 4pm the next day.

The note from the college, which teaches adult education courses, said this was because it would be closing for the foreseeable future and the health of students was its priority.

All schools and colleges across the UK closed last Friday as part of social distancing measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

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While most of the students living on site did leave, 10 of them had nowhere else to go.

Among them were seven international students, two of whom came to the UK as refugees.

While the college has since rehomed the ten students, who are all under 25, a representative for the students said there were concerns for the whereabouts of their classmates.

Steve Gill of the Communication Workers Union was called in to represent the 10 students because one of them, a postman, asked for his help.

After they enlisted as union members Mr Gill raised concerns about the quick nature of the closure on behalf of the students at a meeting held by Ruskin College on Thursday evening.

Ahead of the meeting he said: "It is barbaric of Ruskin to throw people out on to the streets at a time of the COVID-19 epidemic. The students have paid their rents, and for any other landlord this would be an illegal act."

After discussion with college staff, alternative accommodation at a college-owned house was provided.

Mr Gill said while the 10 had been rehomed, he did not know what had happened to the rest of Ruskin's students.

Oxford Mail:

The note sent to students at Ruskin College asking them to leave.

Ruskin College spokeswoman Nicki O'Shea said the college had offered one-to-one meetings to all students to see if they needed support ahead of the closure last Friday.

Ms O'Shea said: "This a fast-moving and unprecedented situation and for the vast majority of students the safest option is to return to family or close friends.

"However, we fully understand that this is not the case for everyone and we have always been very clear that we would support them in every possible way throughout this difficult situation."

She added that Ruskin was aware of where all its residential students had gone following the closure.

The college stressed no eviction orders had been made, and rent payments until the end of term were being reimbursed.

Ms O'Shea added: "The vast majority of our students qualify for a bursary payment which means that they do not pay any rent and receive food, provisions and allowances."

Ruskin College's website provides updates on the college's current situation.

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In the latest update posted on Tuesday (March 24) it said that 'there are a number of students in residency who are being supported by colleagues'.

The website also said the college will re-open on April 20 at the earliest notice, but in the meantime work is being shared online for students to complete.

It also urged students to follow government guidance on the pandemic.

Ruskin College teaches degree-level and further education courses to adult learners.

Students at the college pay for their education via student loans or other government-backed loan schemes.

Meanwhile, Oxford University's colleges are reportedly taking a variety of approaches as social distancing measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus take hold.

While some have closed their accommodation, others are currently allowing some graduate students to still live in halls and college-owned flats.