NSS Boycott: We’ve won!
The University of Cambridge has agreed to meet all of the demands of Cambridge SU’s boycott of the National Student Survey. Following conversations with Cambridge SU Officers, and years of hard work from student campaigners, the University will today make a public commitment to a series of actions that speak to student priorities, take a stand against marketisation in Higher Education, overhaul mechanisms of student consultation and feedback, and alleviate student concerns about the NSS.
As a result of the 2022 boycott, the University has made the following three commitments:
1. Any report from the Reading Week Working Group recommending the introduction of a mid-term break will be considered by the General Board and the University Council by the end of this academic year, following the demonstration of strong support for mid-term break in the SU referendum.
Following the recent student referendum, which solidified huge student support for the introduction of the Reading Week, the highest governing bodies at the University will give serious consideration to this issue at the top of the student agenda. Previously published NSS results, and continued student feedback, show that intensive workloads and lack of engagement with student feedback have been an issue for years, so it’s a significant win to see the University taking this on board and pushing the mid-term break proposal forward.
2. The University will publicly oppose any attempts by the Government or the Office for Students (OfS) to link undergraduate home student tuition fees to the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), which is informed by NSS results.
The Office for Students has previously used the TEF to propose increases in tuition fees, so we are pleased to see that the University is using its platform to stand against the Government and OfS’s potential use of NSS results to raise tuition fees. Cambridge SU was heavily involved in the University’s recent TEF consultation response, where they strongly opposed any attempts to tie NSS results and TEF ratings to tuition fee increases.
3. The University and Cambridge SU will co-author and implement a student consultation framework to guarantee productive student participation in decision-making in Faculties, Departments, Schools and the wider university.
Students are constantly shut out of decision-making spaces and told they don’t know what’s best for them. The creation of a consultation framework will stop this, and bolster student power by ensuring that all students have the opportunity to have their say on big decisions which affect their university experience and that of future students. This commitment represents a turning point in the University’s attitude to and relationship with students as decision-makers and co-creators of their education. We look forward to working with a wide range of students in the creation of the framework.
As a result of these our demands being met, Cambridge SU is suspending its active boycott of the National Student Survey. You can find out more about the NSS and why we ran the boycott here. As ever, it is up to students’ individual discretion whether or not they choose to fill out the NSS.