Vice-Chancellor’s response to student petition

06/03/2018

Thank you for your petition and the concerns you have expressed regarding UCU’s strike action and its impact on student learning and assessment. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding. I was grateful for you raising this with me at yesterday’s meeting.

Our priority is to ensure that all students will have opportunities to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes attached to their programmes and modules of study. We have already taken a number of steps to minimise the impact of strike action. I have exercised the authority I have under Senate Regulations that allow me to permit changes to teaching and assessment arrangements where exceptional circumstances disrupt the activities of the University.

Measures will include re-scheduling or using alternative methods for delivering learning opportunities and possible, consideration of variations to assessment and where appropriate the application of extenuating circumstances at all Examining Boards.
The University has agreed to reschedule assessment submission dates that fall on a strike day where possible and/or appropriate. Schools are also being asked to adjust assessment tasks and examinations, where this is possible and appropriate. Schools will provide information to students about any changes to assessment modes or deadlines.

Academic Schools are recording all disruptions or cancellation of classes which occur during the period of industrial action, as well as all mitigating actions taken. This record will be made available to Examining Boards who can determine where any further action is required.

I would like to reassure you that we are – and will continue – to work hard to ensure that the impact of the industrial action on students is minimised, students will not be disadvantaged by strike action and will be able to progress or graduate as expected. Even in the most disrupted cases, it would be possible to vary progression requirements and permit further learning to be covered next session. Therefore, students can still progress to the next stage of their programme without impacting on academic standards, although they will still be required to satisfy all requirements before they can graduate.

The point at which a student may seek to claim compensation would be at the end of the Academic Year following the application of the above measures. A student wishing to pursue a complaint and claim will need to demonstrate that the University has failed to take reasonable steps to provide them with an opportunity to demonstrate achievement of module and programme learning outcomes.

I am very grateful to students for their understanding during this difficult time. This is a situation no-one wants to be in, and I remain committed to continuing talks between UCU and UUK to resolve the pensions dispute.