Protecting Our Students During The Pandemic

What we're doing to protect you!

The ongoing pandemic has meant lots of changes for our students, which not only impact on your academic performance and your finances, but can have a significant impact on your physical and mental wellbeing too.  Your Guild are always committed to represent and support you at any time, but particularly right now when you may need to have your voice amplified with the University to achieve a suitable outcome to your worries and concerns.

On this page we'll be providing you with a round up of what your Officer team are talking to the University about currently, details of any actions that might impact you, and any help that you may be entitled too.  Keep checking back for all of the latest news and updates, and make sure you stay up to date by following us on social media.

Asks and Recommendations

The following is a list of our current asks and recommendations for the University, to protect you during the pandemic:

Academic

For graduating finalists and postgraduate taught students, we believe the University should:

  • Implement flexible grade boundary margins, acknowledging a student’s full range of marks
  • Take into account previous attainment where this confirms or improves a student’s final classification
  • Require exam boards to consider all students, rather than a sample, to ensure students’ marks reflect their capability across their academic profile
  • Provide time and resources during Weekly Group Tutorials to explain the assessment, exam board and awarding process, and how grades are determined
  • Provide uncapped resits in the supplementary period for any student that fails a module or assessment

For all students, including continuing students and part time PGTs, we believe the University should:

  • Commit to a flexible approach when deciding a student’s final classification for all those who started their degree before or during the pandemic, changing restrictions.
  • Clearly communicate and encourage students to access relevant extensions, extenuating circumstances and Reasonable Adjustment Plan processes/entitlements
  • Regularly promote and assess study space availability and introduce booking options beyond the Main Library to ensure guaranteed access for those who need it
  • Hold Q&As with the College Directors of Education to provide students with guidance
  • Promote the Student Rep system to all students and ensure departments, Schools and Colleges are providing regular feedback on actions
  • Hold regular Student Reference Groups in each College for Student Reps to feedback directly to senior staff about issues they are experiencing

For Postgraduate Research students, we believe the University should:

  • Host a Q&A with the Director of PGR to provide students with guidance on their research experience
  • Match the extension processes of relevant research councils, positively adjusting for any future improvements and actively influencing to provide more flexible and realistic processes for research students
  • Actively promote the Enhanced Student Support Fund, including to students in Thesis Awaited status, to limit short-term hardship in the PGR community

For students with professional placement requirements, we believe the University should:

  • Work with the Guild to develop a professional peer networking system to encourage further professional development and peer support during challenging circumstances 

Read an update from Jules regarding Fair Assessments and Fair Outcomes for Undergraduate students.

Financial

To support students financially, and to ensure that students are not paying for things they cannot access, we believe the University should:

  • Refund students for the time they are unable to live in university-managed student accommodation due to the national lockdown. NEWS UPDATE: 13.01.21
  • Ensure that students can leave their contracts in university-managed accommodation without penalties
  • Actively promote the Enhanced Student Support Fund, to ensure students experiencing hardship can access financial support
  • Provide refunds for gym memberships and ensure club membership fees are reflective of the activities clubs are able to provide News Update: 05.02.21

Wellbeing

To support the wellbeing of students, and to allow students to make appropriate decisions about their wellbeing, we believe the University should:

  • Promote all University, partner and student-specific wellbeing and mental health support organisations within their regular promotion of Pause@UoB and other wellbeing services
  • Work with the Guild to continue the work of the Student Mentors scheme, reaching out to students to check in on their mental wellbeing 
  • Provide resources as part of Weekly Group Tutorials on wellbeing during a pandemic
  • Publish clear and accessible guidance on the process of taking a Leave of Absence or other study/research breaks, including financial and academic implications for all levels of study

We will also work with our Student Reps and academic societies to educate students on the best ways to feedback on their course and university experience.

 

Experiencing Hardship? Apply for the Student Support Fund

If you are currently experiencing hardship, did you know that the University have a Student Support Fund(SSF) that you can apply for? If you're unsure whether you meet the eligibility criteria, or if you need someone to look through your application form to ensure you're clearly explaining your circumstances, Guild Advice can help! 

If you thought about applying for the SSF previously, but didn't think you were eligible, we would advise you to have another look as the eligibility criteria has changed.

 

Rent

Charlotte, your Welfare & Community Officer, began talking to the University in December 2020 about refunding students for the rent they paid in university managed accommodation, from the start of the student travel window (early December), up until when students were supposed to return to University in January.  Although the University has announced students will receive refunds from 11th January 2021, Charlotte is still talking to the University about extending this period.

Charlotte is also lobbying MPs and private landlords, to push for refunds or discounts in rent, for those of you in private student housing.  She has also written a letter for you to send directly to your landlord, which sets out your personal circumstances and how much a rent or discount would help you. NEWS UPDATE: 03.02.21

 

International Students

Wei-Lun, your International Officer has co-written a letter to the Chief Executive of the Russell Group and all Vice Chancellors at Russell Group universities.  The purpose of the letter is to ask for the issues faced by international students be acknowledged and 30% of international tuition fees be reimbursed.

Challenges faced by international students which the officers have identified, include travel bans, high internet costs in students' home countries, lack of hardship funding and working through time differences.

Contact us

If you'd like to talk to any of your Officers about your concerns, just click on our pictures below.  You'll also be able to keep up to date with our blogs and updates too.


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