NSS Boycott: Why we are doing it

Dear Students,

Following the meeting of the Students’ Union Council on the 11th of January, it was agreed to pass a motion in favour of supporting a boycott of the National Student Survey based on the following beliefs:

  1. Due to the size and largely practice-based learner journeys within the Conservatoire the National Student Survey is not a rigorous feedback method for students
  2. The resource used on the promotion of the National Student Survey should be redirected to the enhancement of current and/or innovative feedback systems
  3. The demand of resource on senior management, teaching and support staff to promote the completion of the NSS detracts from teaching and more direct enhancement of the learner experience within the Conservatoire.
  4. The focus on the National Student Survey prevents more considered metrics to be used to enhance learning within the Conservatoire
  5. The National Student Survey creates a method of feedback that is geared toward marketing not enhancement of the institution and programmes within it.
  6. The National Student Survey is a poor metric with which to assess Teaching Excellence
  7. We are opposed to the National Student Survey being used as a metric within the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) that allows institutions in England and Wales to increase fees for students.

Over the next few months you’ll hear more from the Students’ Union Council team as to why we believe it is important that you join us in boycotting the National Student Survey. Sign and support the boycott by clicking this link: https://goo.gl/forms/qrBYfP9fxD4hcap33

We currently sit alongside 21 Student Associations throughout the UK including London School of Economics, Oxford University, Aberdeen University, Sussex University and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in supporting this boycott and we expect more to follow in the coming weeks. I want this to be clear – we are not alone in this action.

The NSS remains a poor way in which to gather feedback for us at the Conservatoire and I will personally be focusing on delivering the Council’s decision to support the boycott and enhancing the Programme Committee structures to look at developing feedback approaches and committee rep support. We aim to work with the Conservatoire to enhance current feedback systems including programme committees to ensure students’ voices are appropriately heard and acted upon. We want to work towards creating a feedback method for our final year students that is Conservatoire-sector leading and student centered.

The NSS boycott is situated within a climate of an increasing marketization of Higher Education, that makes our education suffer. NSS results, through the Teaching Excellence Framework, are being linked to institutions abilities to raise fees; already we are expecting an increase for new students to RCS year on year based on inflation. We need to stand in solidarity to support a Higher Education that is under threat. We will be running the campaign throughout the next few months and I would welcome coming and talking to anyone who is interested/conerned, please feel free to just drop me a message and meet you/other people on your course.

If you have any questions in the meantime please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Warm wishes,
Will Stringer
President
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Students’ Union

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