Posted on Tue 03 Apr 2018 at 14:53 by Rowan South
It has been a while since I updated about the week off after January exams proposal but I want to assure you that the work is still ongoing and there has infact been a breakthrough!!
Just a little bit of background for anyone who is not familiar with the proposal. When I ran for the role of Education Officer I pledged in my manifesto to lobby the University to introduce a week’s break between the end of semester 1 and the start of semester 2 to give students a break after the January exam period. The proposal was to reduce the Easter break from 4 weeks to 3 and move the spare week to the end of semester 2. I consulted on this proposal with every head of school over the summer, the outcomes of these consultations highlighted areas that there were concerns about mainly around the shortening of the Easter break. I then set about forming solutions to the academic concerns and began student consultation.
From speaking to students across the faculties and schools it was clear there was significant demand for this break in many areas, with a student survey receiving 1025 responses resulting in 62% in favour of the proposal. After completing these consultations I then brought the proposal to the University Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committee (ULTSEC) to discuss whether to refer this proposal to University Senate for approval. Although there was broad support for the break between semester 1 and semester 2 the proposal was rejected based on concerns around shortening the Easter break, specifically around fieldwork run at this time. I then went back to the Faculty Learning, Teaching and Student Experience Committees (FLTSECs) to discuss how the proposal could be improved and what came out of these meetings was that a review into the structure of the whole academic year should be undertaken.
I brought this proposal back to ULTSEC in March and it was agreed that the University would undertake a review of the academic year to be completed by the end of academic year 2018/19 with the aim for changes to be implemented by academic year 2021/22. This review would identify particularly difficult periods of the academic year, such as the end of semester 1 / start of semester 2 or the lack of break within the first term before Christmas and come develop a structure that provides a more well-balanced experience for both students and staff.