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Showing posts from December, 2018

Mind the Gap: University students under increasing financial pressure.

Two stories this week served to highlight the financial plight of many of our students. They also illustrate the extent to which a ‘two tier’ education system is now operating. There is a growing gap between those that have financial support and the rest that must struggle one way or another; with more now turning to the sex industry for funds. This is further exacerbated by a failure of the institutions to recognise there is a problem and a government that increasingly fails to take any responsibility. This leaves the ‘fourth estate’ of the media to warn us of the gap. More students turning to sex work.  Yesterday the Independent published an exclusive story about students turning to sex work to make ends meet ‘Students are turning to sex work for extra money but experts warn universities are ignoring the issue Exclusive: The financial situation for students is getting more and more bleak’ Independent 27th December 2018. This is not really a new story and prostitution is surely a

Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year from TEFS

If you have time please look back over the TEFS offerings of 2018. Hopefully you will find them informative. It has been a stormy year that will proceed into 2019 unabated. To help track things, y ou can download a free TEFS Calendar for your office or study. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A plea for some Christmas goodwill. When celebrating Christmas with family, friends and colleagues, please spare a thought for the staff that serve you. Many will be students with considerable financial challenges. Not all students will be home with family that is the experience of most of us. Some will have no family to fall back on or visit at Christmas. Some will be away from far flung homes. Some will be living with unsupportive families or unable to return home. Yet, in my experience, they rarely complain and soldier on as best they can. At a function in England recently, I discovered that all of the staff serving were students and that the floor manager was also a student prepari

ONS calls a halt to the party: Universities to ‘Cancel Christmas’

The long awaited ruling from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on student loans was released this morning and heralds a hangover in advance of the party. The headline spreading across most of the leading media outlets was the government having to add £12 billion to the public deficit next year. This will be added directly to the tab of already massive government borrowing. It is very bad news for the government and worrying for universities fearing a cut in fees and budgets. Indeed, most university administrations must be thinking of cancelling Christmas as they rush back to the office to plan for the perfect storm ahead. It will see them take all of the blame for the mess that follows whilst the Government and the Office for Students (OfS) looks on (See TEFS 14th December 2018 ‘Kicking the can down the road in the face of a perfect storm’ ). Augar waiting in the wings with a class act to follow. The ONS is only the warm-up turn and the audience awaits the headline act tha

Kicking the can down the road in the face of a perfect storm.

‘Kicking the can down the road’ was the catchphrase of the week as the government lurched towards a Brexit crisis of its own making. It seems that scrutiny by parliament is to be avoided until it’s too late to do anything about it. Or until a new government is elected and it becomes their problem. However, the 'can-kicking’ approach is not confined to planning for Brexit; it affects nearly every corner of government. It is marked by a failure to plan effectively followed by a panic reaction.  Whilst Theresa May was fending off many of her own party’s MPs on Wednesday, the Office for Students (OfS) was preparing to release two very important reports the following day. The first, ‘A new approach to regulating access and participation in English higher education: Consultation outcomes’ sets out the expectations that they have of our universities. The second, ‘Access and Participation: Analysis of responses to the consultation’ summarises the concerns of many of t

Students working in term-time: Can we see the full picture please?

It is high time that all universities and colleges got to grips with this issue. There is little understanding of what the lack of time is having on progress and attainment within courses .  The guardian recently reported ( The Guardian 24th November 2018 ) that a physiotherapy student, Michael Olorode at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, was working 38 hours per week during term whilst attending classes. This is a staggering challenge for anyone. The student achieved this feat by taking on night shifts at weekends. His herculean task involves working some days from 10pm to 8am and then attending lectures at 9am. Being ineligible for a student loan, he set out to carry on regardless. “I don’t have much time to socialise because of my job. Ideally, I would also like to have more time to study so I can excel at my course. But complaining is pointless.” By last week donations were coming in to assist him and at the last count today they were at an impressive £16,624. The GoF


Are you a student in a university or further education college who works part-time during term-time? Is this affecting your studies and progress? Please use this link to complete a very short questionnaire. CLICK HERE TO COMPLETE A SHORT SURVEY - 8 simple questions in 2-3 minutes. Feel free to complete this even if you have no part-time job in term-time. It is completely anonymous and the data will only be used by TEFS to compile an overview report as part of its campaign to seek equality of opportunity. Your input and help in assessing the situation more fully is appreciated. Please feel free to add any more information on your situation with regard to part-time employment and your studies. If working during term-time is causing problems for you, approach a tutor or student support as soon as possible and seek help from the university or college. Finally, best wishes and best of luck with your efforts.