PODCAST: Bailouts, admissions, September

This week on The Wonkhe Show we look at proposed bailouts for students and universities and consider how the proposals are being received by Government.

This week on the podcast we look at UUK’s proposed higher education bailout and NUS’ proposed student bailout and consider how the proposals are being received by Government. We also look at the ongoing moratorium on unconditional offers, talk to Durham’s VC, wonder how universities will ever re-open, and have a think about what September might look like for students and universities.

With sector student experience expert Michelle Morgan, Professor of Higher Education at Lancaster Uni Paul Ashwin, and Wonkhe’s Associate Editor David Kernohan.

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Transcript

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[00:00:01] It’s the Wonkhe show this week, will we’ll chat bailouts both for students and for universities. We’ll catch up on the latest developments on admissions in September. What will it look like? It’s coming up.

[00:00:11] You can’t leave this to the market. You can’t leave it to the interests of individual institutions. You have to have some coordination by policy makers. Actually looks after the health of the sector as a whole rather than take the step. You know, very says that by stopping the voices, which tend to be prestigious, institutions provide a system that suits that.

[00:00:42] Welcome to the Wonkhe show, your weekly weigh into next week’s higher education news, policy and analysis side. Jim Dickinson I’m here to remember to meet their marks. As usual, we have three fabulous guests in Brighton Sector student experience expert Michelle Morgan. They say, Michelle, your reason to be cheerful this week?

[00:00:58] Well, I’ve been following Captain Tom the last two weeks, which has been great. And I’m just hearing the fabulous stories of kindness and gratitude of people who’ve been horrible.

[00:01:06] Annie Lancaster, professor of higher education at Lancaster, Anya’s Paul Ashwin.

[00:01:10] Paul, your reasons to be cheerful while I’m not very good at being cheerful. I guess the current situation really emphasizes the way in which not isolated individuals more connected together than in relation to higher education. That really emphasizes the ways in which universities work their local communities. There’s been some really interesting and exciting things going on with universities working with the areas where they’re located.

[00:01:34] Lovely. Anecdotally, David Kinahan is one case associate editor, DKA, your reason to be cheerful?

[00:01:39] Well, thank you for asking to him. I’ve been really pleased to see the response to the pieces that we’re putting up getting on. Warnke is really glad to feel like we are of help. And on a more personal note, my local curry house and my local pub are both doing deliveries.

[00:01:55] Excellent. So, yes, we start this week with the university bail-outs, u.s.-eu and London Economics have an analysis of the size of the hole that needs plugging news has imagine that there is a lack of enthusiasm for gig case proposals in government and you asked just published its own plans for student bailout. DKA, talk straight.

[00:02:11] Well, what a mess. I guess we start with today’s news. The front page of the FTSE that’s been followed up everywhere else suggests that the requests for a bailout are not being met with much sympathy from the Treasury. The bailout in question is the one that came from University UK just before Easter. The two big chunks of that were the doubling of QR, which is the second leg of the double stream research funding linked to RAF results and a voluntary cap on undergraduate recruitment, which will be the projection for 2020 21 year. Remember those really over the top projections that we got a summary published by IFRS plus some of 5 percent just to make sure this is a huge cut and be set up on the site this morning. Doesn’t really make much difference, especially if, as expected, recruitment levels drop. We’ve also seen a suggestion from National Union of Students of Color for every student. Now the option to redo the 29 20 academic year. No further, no further cost and was for maintenance support. There’s also a call for student hardship fund and an economic package covering training and development for people that are graduating this year. There’s clearly a lot at stake here. It’s no exaggeration to say providers are at risk and students and graduates are liable to be strongly affected by quarterly 19 and the after effects. The government clearly does need to do something here. It doesn’t look like the existing stuff that applies to everybody is going to quite meet the purposes of a sector which even the Office for Budget Responsibility says is looking at a 90 per cent cut in income.

[00:03:50] So, sir, my sense is that UK paper clip, clearly it was great to have a paper. Clearly they’re trying to work with a number of different constituencies in his book to get something out there. The element I found a bit disappointing is the sense that it’s still very much focused on the Special Minister. Lichee Well, HP needs in order to carry on as much as possible as business as usual, rather than taking his opportunity to say actually, look, this this is how higher education could work differently in order to respond to this crisis. There was far more detail about what universities needed, but that was about actually what universities can do to help with the situation beyond saying what they currently do or why that might be useful in the current situation.

[00:04:36] The University UK proposal did provide very generic and brief statements about retention recruitment of students and that include a proposal for a one year cap on undergraduate recruitment. I would have liked to have seen much more practical ideas of how the next academic year was going to maybe roll out and how as a sector we could have agreed a consensus to move forward. What I found very interesting was the proposal didn’t mention postgraduate recruitment, and maybe that’s where some universities will hope, will hope to make up the financial gaps.

[00:05:11] Dka, clearly there’s you know, there are different ways to structure any kind of bailout or, you know, a package that would, you know, seat different agendas. You know, there’s the levelling up agenda that they value for money and that they preserve research capacity. I mean, there’s all sorts of agendas that you could either, you know, harm or benefit, depending on how you structure this sort.

[00:05:34] There is a million different ways to structure a potential bailout to deal with a million different. Situations. And a million different priorities that you might have in the sector. It’s the last one for me. Yassky It’s a question of ideology. There’s been a resistance in recent years to think of sector capacity or sector delivery as something that can be planned. Their tendency to let the market work its magic and sit back and enjoy the proceeds. Arguably, this is why we’re in the problem where we are now. We don’t know the way the market is going to react and we need to step in. But we have the ability in doing this to get our hands on the planning lever, to think about the kind of graduates we are going to need to rebuild society, to think about the kind of research capacity we’re going to need to think about the benefits that providers have on their local environments as well. All of this needs to be considered and the government needs to make a thoughtful and decisive action based on a plan.

[00:06:35] And Paul, I see that, you know, a number of bits of the press coverage raise the specter of the United States, this direct attack on a need to tackle poor value causes again.

[00:06:46] Yeah. There’s going to be various elements. Not so the pausing of the tax will have raised that a number of chairs amongst a number of groups. But you need to be careful what you wish for. The most obvious thing to replace a full scale path will be something. Looking at the salaries that students earn after graduation, which is kind of the definition of low value courses that is used. But interestingly, the current situation has helped to show what not such as students graduating this year are likely to earn far less than students in previous years just because of the situation. Nothing to do with the quality of their education. So, you know, there’s kind of, you know, those things that might push towards low value courses. But actually the underlying logic has been completely taken away from that way of thinking about the benefits of higher education. Interestingly, you mentioned the different agendas that they allow to focus on within the UK paper. You can see tension between those different agendas. So when the benefits of higher education is that it starts very much with what higher education does as educational institutions when they move to focus on what do we want? It’s about universities, research institutions. So you can see a tension between different types of institution and the way not portrayed. And there’s some funny positions that the UK take up in that paper. So it’s really odd to read that defining what student interest is in a number of places and not people they they see. They define the student interest. They also talk about how they can work with AP colleges, but it’s very much a direct tax. So for me, that tone was wrong. Yeah, it shouldn’t have been about the benefits to HP HP as a leader. It should have been universities as an integral part of a wider collective effort to respond to the crisis.

[00:08:36] The student interest is pivotal. I think this is why the N S the end US report covered is so important. It’s a critical document because for the first time it really does bring the student voice to the current debate on how we move forward. And it does layouts. Very clear suggestions of support includes offering students the chance to repeat year if they wish to with no further cost, providing further grants for those who complete their qualifications to undertake further training, reskilling or development. And this could be very helpful to universities in terms of final year students deciding to continue on to postgraduate study or further study. It’s almost like providing a similar grant scheme in 2015/16 for the postgraduate taught before the introduction of the loan scheme. But I think for both of these issues, there are real structural issues regarding the delivery of the upcoming academic year that we really need to talk about. We really need to address and we need to scenario plan alongside a request for extra funding. kohver 19 It requires us to think differently for the first time in a long time to get off the conveyor belt of what we normally do. You know, unprecedented times require unprecedented action and thinking.

[00:09:50] I think also on what I found interesting about the annual US proposals is when I first met them, you know, my kind of reaction was really kind of defensive. H.E. insider. Well, that’s not gonna happen. And then if you start but you actually think, well, why should that happen? You know, lots of unusual things or unthinkable before are happening. And actually, we need to think more radically about how higher education might respond rather than trying to think about how we can get back to close to business as normal as quickly as possible.

[00:10:19] But now, let’s say who’s been blogging for us this week?

[00:10:22] Hi, my name is Lizzie Gad. I work for Lusby University as a research policy manager and I’ve worked to support scholarly communications pretty much my whole career. And frankly, for all of that time, I’ve been banging the drum open access to scholarship. And my one key piece this week expressed my frustration that for 20 years there have been too big. But that has stifled progress on this agenda. One is but publishers and the impact of open access on the economy subtext publications off a profit and one around. But academic careers and how researchers rely on publications in glamorous journals to progress subtext publications off credit.

[00:10:58] And I argue that in the context of a pandemic, while we are still begging publishers for access to our own research in order to save humanity from an unnecessary death, we have to put our foot down and say no more. Blotz Scholarly communication should be driven by one thing only, and that is how can we best allow scholars to communicate with each other?

[00:11:17] And I go on to describe how open the search platforms are the best way of achieving this. And I plead with UK outright to adopt this approach in their forthcoming open access policy.

[00:11:28] Don’t forget, we’d love to have your contribution on the site if you’d like to purchase a piece to drop us an email on team at Wonkette.com with your idea. We’ll be in touch now. Next up, the moratorium on unconditional offers continues and there’s some concern about the government’s promise that students will be able to retake A-levels in the autumn. Michelle White is where we’re at, where we’re up to on all of this.

[00:11:47] Well, with the announcement of the cancellation of exams, schools and colleges have been working flat out to devise alternative assessments for schools and colleges. The A-level qualifications that would ordinarily be based on examinations only will now be assessed on a range of metrics, including MOCs coursework and predictor grades. However, across the school and college sector, there are concerns about the practicality of teacher assessments and the ranking of students effectively. You gotta remember, this is an activity. Schools are not used to doing so. This along with the extension of the moratorium on conditional, unconditional and unconditional offers and almost no change the admissions cycle timeline. You know, the question is how will the recruitment process for universities play out this year? It wasn’t a surprise to me that as soon as the announcement was made that university should close. We saw an immediate increase in conditional unconditional has been made. You know you know, I’ve written in the past in defense of conditional, unconditional and unconditional offers. But I really do feel this is one time when the moratorium should be extended until after clearing, because the offer in this instance has most certainly not been done on contextual grounds. Understandably, UCAS is trying to maintain the stability in the admissions process and carry on as normal. It is about trying to create that stability and confidence in the system. However, covered is throw in all of that to the winds.

[00:13:08] YouCut announced last Saturday that students will now have until the 18th June to make the decisions and that the confirmation and clearing process will start on the 6th of July. What’s not clear about the 6th of July is whether the self release system will also be available or whether or not this scheme that was introduced last year will be put on hold. But the reality is, we just do not know how the majority of applicants who will be entering H.E. with A-levels that rely on examinations only are going to respond. David’s piece this morning on wanky. Does the cap fit both insightful and bit depressing? What we have to remember, though, is that many students will not have to take exams as part of the main assessment qualification, for example. Let’s look at BITA and Level 3 diploma students who are the next biggest entry qualification. They mainly undertake coursework, so this group of students need be problematic in terms of the qualification outcomes achieved. Neither should the A-level that require a portfolio of continuous work. And ironically, these are the ones that receive the majority of unconditioned related offers that people complain about. What worries me though, is critically what is missing from the sector discussions. Is the timing between the admissions process and when new students start. If you go to UK and the kuar websites, they don’t really have much guidance and advice on this.

[00:14:34] The kuar website have a number of resources, but when you click onto the admissions induction and transition’s is all says the p.g awards expereince and academic standards and supporting student achievement, all UK is a mass message that the resources will become available in the next few weeks. Now, as a transition specialist, this is what I would advise to support recruitment, progression and retention of our students. I would argue face back students over term and let’s start with the new students excluded direct entries. I talk about them later for level new level three and four undergraduate entrants and postgraduate taught students start the mid-January. What this allows is for the admissions process for undergraduates and postgraduates to continue through to late November. You know, we can’t think that the UK is going to be alone in the chaos of the admissions process, because even if some countries who may be clear of covet and can actually open their borders, you know, it’s no good if the countries of the students who would normally go to their universities, their borders are still closed. So that’s not gonna happen. So what this does by having a mid-January star is provide space and time for a level, appeals take place and any opportunity if offered for an applicant to take and undertake an examination in the autumn, which has been promised by the Department of Education and of qual- or a university exam.

[00:15:59] However, it is important to note that the Garden just reported the examination boards are becoming reluctant to support autumn examinations. What January start also does, though it provides breathing space applicants to think about options and for those unable to find employment between graduation and Christmas. And we know that is potentially going to be a struggle and that can give them the time to maybe think about further study. If the grants the NEA and US suggest that made findable, this will really help if international movement is not lifted fully by September. But there is some movement. It provides time for international applicants to make arrangements to come in January. It’s also important to avoid these students starting their courses online because what we cannot make assumptions is about their digital. Their learning. Digital native capacity or their access to resources. And if we are talking about getting a cohort together that we can engage and we can create a connected with that connected ness with then NDB really, you know, a bringing together of that cohort, which is probably face to face. And lastly, the direct entry applicants to Level 5 and 6 could start in mid to late October when returning students could be phased back. This is if we are actually able to bring the international students back at the same time.

[00:17:17] Well, yeah. So there you go. So first year, don’t start till January, DKA.

[00:17:22] Paul, is that is that is that possible, you think?

[00:17:25] I have to say that I like Michelles out there a lot. I think starting in January is the right thing for new students. And I think a staggered start is the right thing for existing students. However, as always, with these things, a problem comes with paying for it. And in the spirit of cooperation, I like to tender a solution, because a start in January means that a big track from the SLC will not be arriving in September as anticipated. It leaves universities with an acute short term cash flow problem. I think the answer to this is a loan which could be used to keep staff paid and to work on preparations for the January start. I think this should be linked to future income and spread out over a long time, something like 30 or 40 years the same way as we do for students. And there should also be a threshold. If a provider is struggling for other reasons, it shouldn’t necessarily have to go under just because it’s got this particular loan. It’s likely many universities will try and do this on the bond market. Always private private borrowing anyway. So they might as well benefit from the the the lower interest rates that are available to governments at the moment, especially if they’re borrowing in bulk, which they are.

[00:18:38] I mean, I think what one of the crucial questions about Michelle’s proposal. There are lots of potentially strong things in it is whether we’ll be back to normal in January. I think the really big question is about international travel. You know, so at the moment, you know, countries have their borders closed. We could see the different effects, different strategies are having in different countries at the moment. Those borders open, then all those bets are off. You know what? People from the UK can go to Germany. Then they’re part. The u.k.’s approaches had reaches Germany at the same for every other country in the world. So I’m not too certain the international travel will be back to normal in January, and I think that’s a risk for universities. If they could definitely say, okay, by January we’ll be out. Not as normal, but that will be very attractive. Unfortunately, the situation is that no one knows where we’re going to be in January. This is part of what this really highlights for me is the importance of policy interactions. You can’t leave this to the market. You can’t leave it to the interests of individual institutions. You have to have some coordination by policy makers that actually looks out of the health with the sector as a whole rather than letting the strongest, you know, very says the most dominant voices, which tend to be prestigious institutions to fight a system that suits them but severely hurts other institutions.

[00:20:06] I think when we look at international travel in terms of Austrian recruitment, we need to think about where we actually bring most of our international European students from Europe. It’s Italy internationally. It’s China. These are two countries that have had some of the worst covert experiences to date. And it’s gonna be very interesting to see what their government policy and strategy is on international movement for their citizens.

[00:20:32] Obviously, we’re not that many days away from the moratorium being lifted. Again, just just just just before we move on to the next. Saying what what someone’s prediction on what will happen when we reach that next deadline?

[00:20:44] Well, I think at that point the moratorium on offers is obviously going to be released and which is going to offer ourselves up to the market forces. No, actually, I don’t think that. I think we’ve obviously been kicking the can down the road. And we because we don’t want to admit that the recruitment cycle this year is going to be anything other than normal. It’s clearly not going to be normal. We do need to do something about it. I don’t think the start to me is going to be the time when that happens. It’s a shame.

[00:21:12] Yeah, I think it’ll be extended. You know what I hope happens. And it’s not not prediction because I’m not sure it will. But I think I think that was highlight highlighted in David’s piece on Wonky this morning, actually looking at minimum numbers for institutions rather than just caps for institutions. It’s something that needs to be seriously considered.

[00:21:31] Now, Debbie wants a word. So here’s Debbie.

[00:21:36] Hi, it’s Debbie F.A. Wonky letting you know about an event coming up with our partners eila on 7th of May. In the last month, transparent. courses online universities have done, but nobody would have thought possible back in February. And though maybe there’s been a few hiccups. Everybody’s prepared to accept that this is the best that can be done right now. But given it’s looking unlikely that universities will be back to business as usual in September, I learned wonkier bringing the energy sector together to ask what would a world class remote learning experience look like and how on earth universities can get there in just six short months. The degree it speakers and great conversation. And of course, it will all be from the comfort of your living room. To find out more, just go to Wonkette.com. Forward slash events. We’ll see you at the 7th of May. In the cloud now, September’s coming.

[00:22:15] But with social distancing rules still very much up in the air, we’re not really sure what it will look like for our universities. Durham got caught up in some local disagreement on what will and won’t be happening in the autumn this week. So DKA caught up with Durham’s, they say.

[00:22:29] So I’m here with Stewart coverage. The v.c of Durham University. Stewart, there’s been reports in the media of 25 percent cuts to module’s at Durham. What’s going on?

[00:22:39] You’re absolutely, David. So the university is planning to be open as normal in October. Freshers week will begin the twenty eighth of September, including at our new college site, college. A full suite of modules will be available to everybody in Durham in the week beginning the 5th of October. Absolutely no change there. That’s great. Having said that, like a responsible university, we have to assume there’s a small possibility that Kove 19 might resurge in October November, which means that we’re going to ask our colleagues to have an online version of their modules ready for that online version. We did originally say because that’s quite a lot of work, you might want to consider taking out 25 percent of those online modules. Now, it turns out I should have known this because my colleagues are exceptionally committed to their students at Durham. Nobody wants to take out 25 per cent. So we’re now saying it’s up to you if you can do the full suite of online versions. That’s absolutely great. And that’s where we are. If the campus is fully open, no change. If we’re fully online, apparently no change either just because of my exceptional colleagues.

[00:23:49] That’s good news. I’m sure that staff and current students and prospective students will be glad to hear that. More generally, how is the move to online provision at Durham gone?

[00:23:59] It’s been brilliant. I think we were the first Russell Group University to go wholly online in week 10. Yes, week 10 of the second term. We call it the Epiphanny term here, but the spring term and you know, we had to give colleagues very short notice for that. We were advised actually by two of our epidemiologists from our bio sciences department that was a good thing to do for the city. People stepped up. Amazingly, I’ve not had a single comment, adverse comment from students about what we did in Week 10, only applause for the fact that colleagues stepped up so quickly. And we’re planning to do the same if we have to.

[00:24:33] For the Michaelmas term, that’s really good to hear. And as you say, academics around the country have gone above and beyond to support those students. But there’s other parts of the student experience as well. What are your plans for graduation this year?

[00:24:45] Durham Yeah, well, I mean, I do feel very sorry for students graduating this year for all sorts of reasons. We obviously can’t. Yeah, I mean we can’t whole congregation as normal. At the end of June, the beginning of July in the cathedral. So we’ll market as best we can online, but we will do congregations for this year’s graduating students in the cathedral. We’re working with the cathedral now on the dates when we can do that. So finally, you know, students will get the experience that they deserve and hopefully they’ll enter the labour market to in more benign times than they’re facing right now.

[00:25:21] Let’s hope so. In all that you’ve said so far. I hear how proud you are of your staff and the work they’ve done. Are you able to reassure staff that they will get the support that they need and that their jobs are safe?

[00:25:33] Stephan Students at the heart of any university and you know, we are a great university. We’ve got great staff and students across the. And alumni members. So we constantly need to invest in our staff and thank them for getting teaching online. Getting the university closed down, maintaining health and safety at the moment, making sure that the students that are still in Durham make a lot of international students still here. I’ve been looked after that they can get takeaway meals and so on and so forth. We’re clearly facing a difficult time financially like any university in the UK. And I think everybody understands that Durham is much better founded financially than almost all universities in the UK. And our first call on resources will be to protect what makes the university’s reputation, which is our staff and students.

[00:26:21] Stuart Corporate’s thank you.

[00:26:23] Well, there we are. Paul, tell us a bit more about, you know, September, October, November and.

[00:26:27] Well, as you can hear from that piece from Durham, you know, it’s it’s uncertainty about what’s going to happen in September. You know, financial uncertainty for institutions. Will they be sustainable? No clear position on what’s going to happen with international students, although the most likely thing is that they won’t be here in September. Uncertainty about enrollments, uncertainty about how academics and students will be working and living, because we don’t know how the pandemic is going to develop between now and then. And clearly that’s going to present huge challenges for staff and for students who are returning to their studies when they are under undergraduate Taupo. Got you almost got your research students. But if we do take in new undergraduates, um, in September or October, then then there needs to be some real thought about how we how we handle that, how we support students. Clearly, the end of their pre-university course has been massively disrupted and and ended in a in a way that makes them feel very uncertain and very unclear ending. They would have had huge uncertainty about what they’re studying and where they’re studying. And then even once they know the interview with the BBC, it shows it’s not too clear what kind, of course, what they hope will be an online course. Will it be a face to face course? And we know from research that those first few weeks of study are absolutely crucial.

[00:27:48] You know, students retention and academic success is really founded on the social and academic engagement that they gain in those first few weeks of study. And if it is up an online environment, then, you know, there’s a real site there for inequalities to be perpetuated. So no differences in the home environment. The students have, you know, do they have a quiet space space to work? They have somewhere where they can easily exercise and get fresh air, all their abusive relationships at home that stop them stopping and also within their home environment. How how many other people that they have who are familiar with higher education that could help them to understand how these things work. So if universities do admit up since September and those students do start studying online, there’s a huge piece of work to be done to think about how we address these situations so that we don’t just perpetuate existing inequalities. You know, one of the things for me about higher education generally is that we often mistake social privilege for ability. We often think that students who’ve had the most are rich educational opportunities that the brightest rather than it being a reflection of those opportunities. And this situation is one in which that could be massively reinforced and institutions have a responsibility to really work through how they’re going to address it in a fair, transparent way.

[00:29:13] Michelle, what’s your sense of, you know, what’s possible and what isn’t?

[00:29:15] In the kind of early months of next of the autumn term, I think the one thing we have to really get to grips with, we are not going to resume normality for a while. All the things that we would instinctively lift and shift from one year to the other in terms of how we would bring our returners back and our new students back, we need to rethink. And I think we have to think about it now because we need to start planning. We have a duty of care and responsibility to all our students, including Unkovic graduates this year and on staff. You know, our staff at the moment are under immense pressure to try and find alternative ways to assess the students. So they are equally in kind of quite an emotionally challenging time. Leaders and managers, I appreciate they have a lot on their plate, but as a sector, we need to start thinking and planning now how we support our returning students because of the disruption and change in the expectations they have experienced this academic year. And remember, whenever the students come back, they will not have been on campus since March. And so in a way, we’re almost bringing them on in terms of maybe being a new student and re-engaging them with areas that may have developed or changed, policies that have changed. I think it’s essential that we keep the communications going through the summer with our students until they return whenever there is to try and keep a connectedness to them. And so, you know, I’ve already suggested bring the returners back, including our placement students back mid to late October, high level of study and provide an effective but Turners orientation, what I call re-orientation and a return is induction to study Wicary induction at each level.

[00:30:56] And what this does is provide staff with adequate time to concentrate on each level and get them embedded back into their studies. They need to be reminded the support available and we need to bridge any skill gaps. You know, asking them how they’re feeling so we can actually identify the support they need as a cohort is going to be essential. I’ve spoken about a pre arrival, a questionnaire for new students, and with that could be adopted and adapted for returners as palls already highlighted. We need to be mindful of the emotional well-being, a mental health impact of our students of lockdown. It you know, and this is very much been highlighted in the N N US Koven report and we need to plan for how we’re going to deal with any fallout when it university because it will be on our doorstep. So it’s not something we can turn around and say, pull up the drawbridge. We’re not going to deal with it. You know, the students will be in our care. So I think we need to work with student minds and the NHS and other mental health charities to get the guidance in place that we can actually put it on our Web sites for attorneys and for new students and actually help guide them on how they’re feeling, the type of situations that could actually evoke emotions, but also pinpoint and try and target information where they can go and visit it. Let me give you a couple of examples of the common challenges that staff are going to face when students come back.

[00:32:20] Firstly, the exams have been canceled in 2019 20 with alternative assessments. And so for many level four and five students, we may see an increase in failure rates at the next level because when they take their exams for the first time and they would have maybe dropped out in level four, it’s going to push the attrition rate up. So introducing, say, summative assessments that count for a small percentage of the overall grade could help with their main examination. Preparation across the sector level for generally doesn’t count to level five is going to be pivotal for those students. And if they’ve not had exam preparation, that could be a real problem. Secondly, we’re going to have students whose courses are quite lap and workshop based and they may not be allowed to have the opportunity to develop a hands on skills prereqs skills required to progress because of the shutdown. And so we need to equip them with their skills by weaving activities into the upcoming course delivery. But this type adaption, it takes time to plan. We’ve also got to be mindful that students who are required to undertake a placement in 2021 may not be able to obtain one. And so we’ve got a plan for larger final year cohorts and potentially make changes to the academic rules and regulations requiring a placement for a sandwich degree, bringing back returners in October and Level 3 and 4 and postgraduates in January, if we are able to. Will require careful planning and a mapping of assessment and examination boards. But it is very doable.

[00:33:53] Take deep detail.

[00:33:54] I mean, you’re you’re familiar, for instance, with the you know, the the HACER data set that at least gives us some clues about how intensively worked our campuses are in terms of space, even if what Michelle describes was possible from a kind of teaching and learning and didn’t support point of view. Is it possible from a compass point of view?

[00:34:10] Well, at this point, we have to consider the plight of university planning teams. It’s been a good life, been a planner over the last few years. If you’re in the active institution, of course, we’ve had a lot of really good high quality data. We’re getting really good at using it. So making a plan for the next one to three or five years is just a simple of extrapolating from a line graph. Unfortunately, this year all bets are off. The changes in the data from Corbitt, 19 have completely destroyed the data record that for 2019 nineteen. It’s liable that the what when previously is not going to be comparable to what comes after either. So very much we’re looking at with kind of shooting in the dark. We can’t rely on extrapolation or previous trends. We have to build scenarios. Now there’s lots of potential scenarios that could be built. So many in fact, that there might be a temptation just not to do any in-depth manage day to day, as many providers have been doing. But it is important that we do keep planning, we do keep building and testing these scenarios. And the idea of a January start is one of these scenarios. It’s got impacts. If the quality of the model of the institution is good enough, it should be easy to see what would be to happen to make this work in terms of estate, in terms of staffing, in terms of accommodation, in terms of offer making, a recruitment. So it’s all that to play for. But we really need the quality of planning and the quality of. Leadership, the person, the the board of governors, all of that has to make the decision in the end, even though to get the decision wrong may have significant downsides. We still need to be making decisions. Not making decisions is not going to help us in the short to medium term or the long term.

[00:35:57] Paul, it’s tricky this, isn’t it? Because, you know, even if something is deemed to be okay now by government, you know, if you know, if we get, you know, some vague social distancing rules that universities after that interpret, that’s no guarantee that students and staff will behave in a way that says, yeah, we’re willing to take any at any risk that that that might be perceived to be that. You know, we only have to look, I guess, at that final week when face to face teaching had ceased. But librarians were still at work. And I was a little kick off about that.

[00:36:23] Yeah. I think people were always going to reinterpret the advice given to them, make decisions based on their own personal circumstances. People need to be allowed to have the space to do that. I mean, I think when you think about this in relation to policy implementation, you can either position that as a flaw with the implementation or you can position it as an effort, as an inevitable part of the process and try and take account. And I think that’s some really interesting questions raised here awhile about how we think about higher education. You know, the kind of research and policy in higher education kind of almost behave. It’s almost created as if higher education is the sum of the institutions. Know, I think this situation kind of throws out into sharp relief. So if we take the Michelles idea, if not start until January, not raises this question about what people are going to do between September and January when they would have been doing a course.

[00:37:22] Now, if you take the kind of higher education is the individual institution’s perspective, then what you would say is, okay, well, they can do for you. RYFLE Coursebut another way of thinking about that is actually what universities could do would be to take responsibility for the people in that particular area rather than the students places their students and work out how they can work with those people who are going to go to a university later on and do things with them on how to coordinate work in that local community, which moves away from this idea that it’s all about institutions again, for an institution where your incredibly worried about your financial survival. You know, it is responsible just to think in terms of your institution. And this is where we come back to what I mentioned before. The policy needs to then help to move things beyond that and move away from individual institutional interest to something much. The focus is on how universities as a whole can make a contribution in this incredibly difficult situation.

[00:38:26] So that’s about it for this week. To find out more about anything we’ve discussed today. You’ll find links on the episode page of wonky dot com where you can also leave your thoughts and comments. Don’t forget, you can subscribe to us automatically. Just search for the wonky show on your favourite podcast rectory or you’ll find the feature need dot com forward slash podcast. How do you think you’ve got what it takes to be a guest on the show? Drop us an e-mail on team at wonky dot com and we’ll be in touch. Say thanks again to our guest, Michelle Poland. D.K., everyone at team, thank you for making the show happen. And of course, today for listening. Until next week, stay won’t keep.

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