Student loneliness is a pervasive issue in Cambridge, and one of the most frequent causes we have found in our research is the short, intense eight week term. We believe that Cambridge education can work better for everyone; the quality and rigour of undergraduate courses should not rely on squeezing as much work as possible into such a short space of time. We believe the best solution to these problems is to introduce a Reading Week in the middle of term.
Following extensive consultation with students and years of lobbying the University, we are very close to making this goal a reality. We are approaching the final stages of this project/campaign, which will include a proposal going to Regent House, the University’s large democratic body, for a vote.
Wed 09 Jun 2021
We are delighted to announce that Cambridge University has established a working group to look into the practicalities of implementing a reading week for Michaelmas and Lent Terms.
Wed 31 Mar 2021
I was absolutely delighted that two weeks ago our All Members’ Meeting passed a motion mandating us to lobby for changes to the Cambridge term, including a reading week and a full welcome/freshers’ week.
Mon 21 Mar 2022
Thu 03 Mar 2022
Ascertain Student Opinion
- During the academic year 2020-21, we discussed and worked with students on a proposal for a Reading Week, culminating in a vote supporting this campaign at the All Members’ Meeting in March 2021. In the development of this proposal many changes were made in light of student feedback, such as ensuring that Saturday lectures for many students in STEM subjects are not removed.
- Student feedback led to further development of the proposal in the academic year 2021-22, and a majority of students showed their support for a Reading Week in an all students’ referendum.
- As the final draft proposal is developed we hope to continue conversations with students on how to ensure the Reading Week works for them and achieves its aims of alleviating student loneliness and academic pressure.
Support from University Committees
- In Easter Term 2022, we presented a detailed proposal for a Reading Week to General Board and University Council, the University's two most senior committees. Both committees approved the direction of travel on the Reading Week.
- We also presented our responses to concerns raised in a University wide consultation of institutions on the Reading Week.
- A draft Report proposing the Reading Week will be going to the Reading Week Working Group in Michaelmas 2022. This is the finalised formal proposal, including all the necessary governance changes for the Reading Week to go ahead.
- Approval through Regent House, likely in Lent Term 2023. If this all goes smoothly, the Reading Week could start in the 2023-24 academic year.