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University Safety Net update

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As your Vice President of Education I wanted to ensure you were updated on the work your SU have been doing regarding the University Safety Net policy as I imagine many of you will be concerned following the recent lockdown announcement by the government and the impact this will have on your teaching and learning.

On the 11th of November, we raised the topic of a new Safety Net at the University Teaching and Learning Quality Committee (UTLQC). The University responded saying that the first safety net was implemented due to the speed that the first lockdown came into place and the sudden switch to online learning. There would be no need for a new safety net as they had been preparing for blended learning since the summer and students were made aware of it before the year beginning.

We followed this up by consulting with students and collating the different reasons why you felt you needed a safety net, this was then shared at the UTLQC meeting on the 23rd November. At this meeting the student petition was discussed and it was recognised that there was confusion as to what students were asking for from the University . It was announced that there would not be another safety net due to the reasons mentioned in the previous meeting. It was explained that extra support measures had already been implemented at the beginning of the academic year such as allowing 10-day extensions, or non-submissions for self-certification of extenuating circumstances.

As your representative I explained that despite the University having extra time to prepare for blended learning, not all students were receiving it and the quality of online teaching was not always up to standard. I highlighted that students mental health has been suffering significantly largely due to the uncertainty and working environments. Alongside this, students are dealing with issues such as noise in shared housing, poor Wi-Fi, lack of lab/studio and practical time making it difficult to learn and produce good quality work. As a result of the discussion, the University have agreed to publish clear and more accessible information outlining what support has been put in place due to the pandemic and how students can access it.

I was unsatisfied with the Universities response and not recognising the full extent of the challenges students are facing, so I focussed on collating your feedback about what you want from a safety net. This was then presented to the University. We are currently writing a paper to present to the Associate Deans and UTLQC and as your representatives the sabbatical team will be discussing this matter with the University Vice Chancellor as an upmost priority for you.

We understand that the new lockdown brings new worries and concerns, so if you want to share your views then please email me at emilia.dowse@su.plymouth.ac.uk.
The more feedback I receive, the stronger case I can take to the uni

Video: April Safety Net explained

 

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