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Industrial action - CS051912

A student was in the first year of a four-year undergraduate programme at the time of the industrial action. They complained to the University that the steps it had taken to minimise the impact of the action did not take account of their needs as a student with dyslexia. The student said that, as a result, they were at a particular disadvantage and had failed one module exam. The student asked for an uncapped resit of the exam.

The University did not uphold the student’s complaint. It said that to minimise the impact of the industrial action it had:

  • given advance notice of the strikes
  • created podcasts of all lectures to share on online
  • ensured only material covered in the lectures was included in the exam
  • extended office hours and advertised this online
  • covered exam questions during a revision lecture and given an open invitation for students to discuss any outstanding concerns
  • replaced time allocated for an in-class assessment with additional lecture time.

The University offered to provide the student with one-to-one feedback on their first attempt at the exam and support preparing for the resit.

The student complained to us, asking for an uncapped resit.

We decided the complaint was Not Justified.

We decided that the University had taken reasonable steps to minimise the academic impact of the industrial action and to make up for the lost learning opportunities for students.

It would have been good practice if the University had explained how it had considered the needs of disabled students when deciding what to do about the industrial action. However, the steps it had taken suggested that the University had embedded inclusive teaching practices. The mitigating action took account of students’ different needs and learning styles which ought to have removed disadvantage for disabled students including the student who brought a complaint to us. The University was not aware that the student had particular concerns because of their dyslexia, so it didn’t have the chance to address those concerns before the student’s exams.

We observed that some providers have offered uncapped resit to students affected by the industrial action, and we suggested the University might want to offer to uncap the student’s mark as a goodwill gesture.