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Industrial action - CS021902
Case summary February 2019 | Partly Justified
The student was on a part-time MSc programme at the time of the industrial action. They complained to the University that it had cancelled 50% of the teaching time for one unit.
The University was aware that the student is disabled and has complex needs.
The University explained that it had not replaced the missed lectures but had minimised the disruption of the strike action for the unit in question by:
- Enabling students to meet with their course convenor;
- Adding the previous year’s materials to the student intranet;
- Postponing submission dates; and
- Using freely available open source software which could be used remotely.
During the complaints process, the University offered the student the opportunity to sit in on teaching for the unit during the next academic year.
The student complained to us. They explained that they have difficulties in processing written material and so they learn more slowly. This means that face to face lectures were extremely important for them and the alternatives offered by the University did not make up for this. The student also explained that they would not be able to manage additional teaching hours for the unit the following year, at the same time as studying their final year units and working part time. Additionally, the student said that they intended to apply the learning from the unit to their employment and auditing the unit the following year would be too late.
Outcome: Partly Justified
We decided that the action taken by the University was not sufficient to remedy the impact of the industrial action on the student. The remedy the University had offered was not suitable for the student’s individual circumstances. There were also some procedural issues in the University’s handling of the student’s complaint.
We recommended that the University should offer to refund £300 in tuition fees. This was based on the notional cost of the affected module (£677.08), reduced to take into account the (limited) value the student had from the module, and that higher education providers have to provide and maintain buildings, IT and library facilities, wellbeing and other student support and administration. We also recommended a payment of £400 for distress and inconvenience.