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Student wellbeing - CS042301

A student was studying for a degree in business with a foreign language. The student was affected by mental health difficulties and during their first year of study they had discussed and agreed with the provider what support would be helpful.

The student complained in the second year that the provider was not making reasonable adjustments to support them in their studies. They complained that material made available on the virtual learning environment was disorganised, that they had not received additional time in some assessments, and that they did not want to participate in any interactive sessions nor answer questions in class. The student was upset that a tutor had criticised them for not attending presentations by other students, because their disability sometimes affected their ability to attend teaching sessions.

The provider investigated the complaint. It concluded that speaking and listening in a group setting in a foreign language was a competence standard for the course so it was not a reasonable adjustment to allow the student not to participate at all. But it found that, although there were systems in place so that staff would be aware of adjustments that should be made, these were not working very well in practice. It said that communication with the student about what adjustments could be made and how these would work could have been better.

The student complained to us. We upheld some parts of the student’s complaint (we decided it was Partly Justified). It was reasonable for the provider to say that speaking and listening in a foreign language was a competence standard. But the provider should have explored in more detail some of the other adjustments the student asked for. The tutor should not have criticised the student’s attendance. The provider was already taking action to address some of the issues in the systems and how they were used by staff. We recommended that the provider should pay the student £1,000 in compensation for the distress they had experienced, and should arrange a further meeting between the student, academic staff and wellbeing staff to discuss the student’s ongoing support.