NUS Membership update on Coronavirus (Covid-19) 11 May 2020

  • Today NUS National President, Zamzam Ibrahim, and Vice President (Higher Education), Claire Sosienski Smith, had a call with Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan, to discuss the recently announced government bailout for universities, online learning and the specific issues that are facing disabled students, plans for reopening universities and measures to support education leavers
  • We had our weekly call with OfS and discussed the latest developments in government guidelines and how they affect higher education in England, as well as the adequacy of online learning and how we can support both students and institutions in understanding what best practice here might look like.
  • We met with Student Minds last week to discuss further work around supporting student mental health during the current situation.
  • Last Thursday Zamzam gave evidence to the Petitions Committee on the disruption Covid-19 has caused students and the case for fee reimbursements
  • We responded to the Ofqual consultations around the assessment and grading of FE qualifications, both academic and vocational. While we support some of the approach in respect of its aims and the need for consistency, we have raised concerns about the impact on minoritised groups including Black and disabled students, and the need to look ahead to next year as well as the approach for this academic year.

  • Our #NotStayingNotPaying campaign has scored a huge success, after the Scottish Government announced it will propose new notice periods for renters in student accommodation. If the proposals are passed as part of the emergency Coronavirus Bill in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow, Tuesday, then students who left their accommodation due to the lockdown will be able to give seven days’ notice to quit their contract. Any new contracts will be subject to a 28-day notice period while the bill remains in force. This is happening because of the hard work of students across the country, from those that signed our petition to our activists who put pressure on accommodation providers. Thank you to everyone who took part!
  • Last week we welcomed a statement from the Minister for Higher Education, Further Education and Science, Richard Lochhead, setting out guidance to ensure all students are fairly assessed during the current situation.

  • We've written to the Education Minister asking for a £3 million student hardship fund for Wales, presenting evidence from our Coronavirus and Students survey and hardship funds
  • We held our latest membership meeting, hearing the latest issues students are facing from sabbatical officers in Wales
  • We met with the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales last week to update them on students' priorities around coronavirus and our work.

  • We’ve put all the information about weekly officer catch-ups together making it easier to find and sign up to them here on the Covid-19 hub
  • We’ve enhanced the information about different funding streams available to unions
  • We’re making final plans for Lead and Change ahead of registration going live later this week. We know that delegates come to L&C to develop their network, enhance their knowledge and skills and inform their campaigning and planning. This year will be no different and we have time for tutor groups and action learning sets, networking sessions, access to a library of specialist content and plenaries as part of the package. Watch this space!

  • This week we reveal the candidates for the election of the first ever Vice President Liberation and Equality taking place at this year's Liberation Conference. Get involved now by submitting your questions for the live hustings recording taking place this Friday 15 May. Channel 4 News and ITV News editor Keme Nzerem will be hosting the hustings, with the video recording, podcast and transcript available around 20 May.  Visit the Liberation conference site for more information on the conference taking place online on Wednesday 27 May.