Royal Holloway Students’ Union voted to support the National Student Survey, thus overturning the previous boycott.
Well, quite simply, we’ll be advocating for and advertising you all to fill out the NSS. Rather than ignoring it and actively encouraging you to boycott, we’ll be taking the opposite stance. Until the 30th of April (which is when the survey closes) we’ll occasionally be promoting it, and the reasons you might want to fill it out. So why should you fill out the NSS?
These are just some of the reasons you should fill in the NSS. For more information you can read the college’s page here.
Fill out the survey
Following significant changes to the relationship between tuition fees and the Teaching Excellence Framework, the Students’ Union has called for a referendum to determine whether the boycott of the National Student Survey (NSS), which passed as a resolution in a March 2017 referendum, should stand.
The referendum took place on Tuesday 16 January via an online vote on the Students’ Union website.
The question being asked was:
In accordance with the Union’s constitution, a referendum can be called by a simple majority of the sabbatical officer team, and after careful consideration of the facts, the officer team believes that the range of changes is substantial enough to alter the basis on which the original referendum was held.
At the Annual General Meeting 2017, a group of students proposed that the Students' Union boycott the NSS in-line with the NUS’ current policy. The motion was put to an online referendum between 10am on 8 March 2017 and 4pm on 10 March 2017. The motion carried, with 185 students voting YES, 82 students voting NO, and 64 students abstaining.
The referendum wording was as follows:
The Students’ Union should boycott the NSS and actively discourage students of Royal Holloway from completing the survey. Yes or no?
The rationale for the boycott at the time was that the NSS was one metric being utilised in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework, which in its initial stages proposed that HE institutions which scored highly in the framework (i.e. by achieving a ‘silver’ or ‘gold’ rating) would be able to charge higher tuition fees than institutions scoring the lowest ‘bronze’ rating, or those not submitting to be part of the framework.
Therefore, by filling in the NSS, students risked actively facilitating, or at least being part of, the process of allowing the government to raise tuition fees.
According to Bye-Law F of the RHSU Constitution, such resolutions ‘have authority for a period of three years following their adoption, or until a subsequent resolution overrides it’.
Since the referendum, tuition fee costs have been decoupled from TEF ratings under the Higher Education and Research Act 2017. Furthermore, Theresa May announced a tuition fee freeze at £9250 on 30 September 2017, and the recently-announced Chancellor’s budget hints that this is budgeted to stick for two years.
As TEF ratings currently no longer directly affect tuition fee prices, it could be argued that the main motivation for boycotting the NSS no longer stands and that filling in the NSS does hold some value in conveying the student voice to the College.
However, some students may still oppose the NSS as a survey, and choose to boycott it.
The referendum will allow students to have a say on what they want to do this year, now that the context has changed.
If you are a member of the Students’ Union (you’re automatically one unless you have opted out) then you are eligible. Undergrad, postgrad, first, second, third year, international student, mature student; anyone can cast their vote.
Wed 17 Jan 2018
With the 24 hours of voting over, the referendum on the Students’ Union’s relationship with the National Student Survey has come to a close. Find out the results now.
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