student.union@newcastle.ac.uk

Term 1 Updates from your Education Officer Liv!

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Hello everyone!

Hi everyone! It’s been a bit of a whirlwind few months Education Officer-wise. Though I thin I speak for everyone when I say that seeing students back on campus, chatting to you all and just having our SU and campus feeling vibrant again is so lovely. I’ll try and keep what I’ve been up to short and sweet, but if you do have any questions queries or feedback, please get in touch with me via email or Instagram DM.

A lot of my time as term began was spent meeting with every Head of School with your Postgraduate Officer Eleanor. We used this as an opportunity to introduce ourselves, get a feel for the different schools, challenges students there have faced over the past year and what provisions are being put in place to support overcoming them. We asked every Head of School 3 key question to help us focus our work over the next term:

  1. What issues did students in your school face last year, and are there any that you think could crop up over the next academic year?
  2. How does teaching look this year, if it is blended, what provisions are being put in place to ensure this is accessible and of excellent quality.
  3. As a Sabb Team we are continuing the Decolonising NCL project launched last year, and are encouraging schools to make their Decol pledge, how have you found this initiative so far and how can the Union support this?

Additionally, Eleanor and I have hosted three Education Executive Committee meetings so far, including a lovely Italian meal after one. These are a great opportunity for us to meet with our School Reps, get feedback from you guys as students and bounce our ideas off of the reps from across the University. Here, I sounded my ideas about shifting the culture around Personal Extenuating Circumstances applications off of the School Reps. They agreed that the culture around PECs must change, particularly when it comes to the assumption that students are ‘lying’ for the sake of an extra week, the complicated forms and evidence you must provide justifying why you are ‘bad enough’ to warrant an extension is a culture which is unacceptable and prevents many who need help from feeling they are able to access it.

After asking School Reps to collect feedback from students in their school, myself and Eleanor have put together a PEC experience form. The feedback on it is anonymous other than your course and stage. All experiences, good, bad and everything inbetween, are welcomed. This feedback will be used as evidence to present a case to the University showing why change must be made, and the best way we can do so. During this time, I am also having regular meetings with senior members of the University regarding the culture of PECs. We are looking beyond the existing system and looking broadly at how best we can support our students, no matter what they are going through. There is some planned discovery work to collect student feedback and input in the new year, as whatever plans we come up with, student voices must be at the centre.

I could probably keep going on and on but those are some quick updates on how I am representing your voices at the highest levels of University meetings. I know you will all be feeling a little worn out at this point in term, but keep going, you’re stronger and more capable than you know. But if you are struggling with anything, know myself and the SU are here for you. If you ever have a question or would like a hand with anything, please drop me an email education.union@newcastle.ac.uk, follow me on Insta @nusu_educationofficer, or pop into the Your Voice Office on Level 1 of the Students Union, I’m always happy to chat!

Education love! Liv xx

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