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Industrial action - CS051907

A student was on a one-year master’s course at the time of the industrial action. The student complained to the University that it had not delivered teaching sessions which they had paid for, and that some of the missed teaching included core content and subjects of key interest. The student also complained that adjustments to assessments had not been fair and that the mitigating action taken by the University was not adequate.

The University accepted that the industrial action may have caused distress and inconvenience to students. It had therefore set up an ex gratia fund. The University considered the student’s complaint and offered an ex gratia payment of £130.

The student complained to us.

We asked the University for information about what it had done to make up for the missed learning opportunities. It said that to minimise the effects of the industrial action on the student it had:

  • covered missed content in other seminars
  • made all necessary study resource materials available on the Virtual Learning Environment
  • encouraged students to attend “office hours” sessions to discuss any areas of learning they found difficult
  • made additional academic and professional services available to students during the industrial action
  • identified subjects that weren’t taught and removed them from assessments so that no student results would be adversely affected because they would only be assessed on subjects that were taught.

We decided the complaint was Not Justified.

The student complained that some adjustments to assessments were not fair, because some students were required to give presentations and others were not, depending on whether their presentation slot fell on a strike day. The University explained that the only formal assessment for the module in question was an essay (the presentations were not assessed). We decided that, since the student had given their presentation, their learning opportunities were not affected. The presentation was not formally assessed, so the student suffered no academic disadvantage.

We decided that the University had demonstrated that it had tried to minimise disruption for the student and to put things right. The University had recognised the academic impact and the missed learning opportunities and had taken steps to remedy both. The University had also provided a remedy for any distress and inconvenience suffered by the student in the form of the ex gratia payment.