We are publishing a briefing note on course, campus or provider closure and some reflections on complaints arising from the closure of GSM London.
The briefing note sets out some of our learning from the complaints we have seen over the years that have arisen from the closure of a course, department, campus or a whole provider. The purpose of the note is to identify some issues that might arise in these sorts of circumstances. We hope it will help providers to anticipate and address students’ concerns and reduce the likelihood of complaints arising, and be useful to student representative bodies and others who support students through these situations.
In Closure of GSM London: the OIA’s perspective, we outline some of the common themes in the complaints we received arising from the closure and we explore the principles we developed and how we applied them. We also discuss some steps that were taken that we saw had been helpful to students. Our perspective is drawn from the complaints we have seen and so does not necessarily reflect GSM students’ experiences more widely or give a holistic view of the closure.
Felicity Mitchell, Independent Adjudicator said:
“Over the years we have seen a small number of complaints relating to closures, mostly arising from the closure of a course or department. Complaints often arise from how changes are handled rather than from the changes themselves.
The impact of the coronavirus pandemic means that providers are looking at their provision in a different light. There have been very significant challenges and many positive innovations over the past nine months and that is likely to lead to longer-term changes to which courses providers decide to offer and how and where they deliver them.
We think it’s timely to share our learning from what we have seen, and hope that it will be helpful to providers, student representative bodies and others who support students in these circumstances.”
Notes to Editors
- The Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA) is the independent student complaints ombuds service for higher education in England and Wales. It is the designated operator of the student complaints’ scheme under the Higher Education Act 2004.
- Our Scheme is free to students, and has been designed to be accessible to all students, without the need for legal representation.
- We have a wide remit to review student complaints about higher education providers in England and Wales, as set out in our Scheme Rules.
- In 2019 we received 2,371 complaints. Complaints to us have been rising steadily over the last few years and this has continued in 2020.
- The number of complaints to us about closure events of any type is very small. The intention of our publications is to help providers and students navigate closure events so that as far as possible students’ concerns are addressed without the need for formal complaints.
- You can find further information about the Scheme and our work at https://www.oiahe.org.uk/.