Times Higher Education
Response to White Paper
AMOSSHE responds to the BIS Higher Education White Paper: Students at the Heart of the System
29 June 2011
AMOSSHE welcomes the explicit recognition of Student Services and welfare provision as key HEI services in the White Paper published to parliament yesterday by David Willetts. ‘Students at the Heart of the System’ acknowledges the HEI’s duty of care and that good pastoral care can sometimes ‘make the difference between completing a course and dropping out.’ AMOSSHE also welcomes that the proposals around graduate skills and employability in many ways build on existing good practice, employer engagement and internship schemes. This is long overdue recognition of the contribution that support services make to the student experience, employability, and equipping students for life beyond university.
‘Students at the Heart of the System’ is a clear signal that AMOSSHE’s Value and Impact Toolkit could not be more timely. Using the value and impact approach, departments can understand the effect that their pastoral care has and support the statements made by government in the White Paper. In meeting Access Agreement requirements and thresholds, institutions are asked to ‘focus on clear outputs from access activities and measurable progress against appropriate measures and targets.’ AMOSSHE proposes that institutions consider the Value and Impact Toolkit when thinking about these measures, and utilise the tools that will best enable them to assess their fair access and widening participation successes.
Dr. Andrew West, Chair of AMOSSHE and Director of Student Services at the University of Sheffield said:
‘We are pleased to see that the student experience is at the heart of the White Paper and that Student Services provision is explicitly recognised as a key HEI service, pointing in particular to the impact of student support on student success and retention. The evaluation toolkit ‘Understanding the Value and Impact of services that support students’ recently launched by AMOSSHE can support HEIs in assessing student services to ensure that they deliver support that makes a real positive difference to the student experience.’
AMOSSHE today issued a briefing note to its members highlighting the main points of interest in the White Paper as they relate specifically to Student Services. AMOSSHE will consider each of the consultations set out by the White paper, and will respond to these as appropriate. We will discuss the implications of the White Paper and our responses with related professional sector groups where appropriate. In particular, we have agreed to work with the Academic Registrars’ Council (ARC) on areas of synergy relating to the ‘Students at the Heart of the System,’ including consultation responses.
The Value and Impact Toolkit is available as a navigable site with fully interactive tools at www.amosshe.org/viptoolkit, or a full PDF text document
3. Information about ARC is available at www.arc.ac.uk