Can you advise on student numbers and forecast numbers?

QUESTION:

Can you please advise:

Student numbers for 2014/15 intake (to date) and how many students this is down on the forecast numbers.
Student numbers for 2013/14 intake and how many students this was down on the forecast numbers.

Student retention (numbers) for the 2014/15 intake (to date) and how this compares to forecast retention.
Student retention (numbers) for 2013/14 intake and how this compares to forecast retention.

How many students will be studying at Blackheath Lane in 2016/17 according to forecasts.
How many students will be studying at Stoke in 2016/17 according to forecasts.

Thanks.

ANSWER:

The University has under-recruited against target over the last two years, particularly in relation to full time undergraduate students but also international students as well. However, having had three successive years in which UCAS applications have fallen, it is pleasing to note that that the early signals for 2015 entry indicate that UCAS applications have now stabilised at 2014 levels. Notwithstanding this, considerably energies continue to be applied to marketing the University, encouraging attendance at open days and converting applications into firm, first choice acceptances.

While retention rates for level 5 and 6 students are satisfactory, we are still seeing too many level 4 students either self-withdraw or fail to complete the year in a fashion that allows them to progress to the next level of their studies. The University’s Academic Board has recently approved changes to the assessment regulations, which we hope will remove barriers to progression while maintaining academic quality and standards.

As set out in the ‘Smarter Future’ strategy document, our future is to be a medium-sized, city-based University of at least 8,500 full time undergraduate students, including more
than 1,200 international students. This includes students at our centre of excellence on the Blackheath Lane site at Stafford.

Can we have more details about the Easter holiday consultation please?

QUESTION:

Dear Ask Executive,

Please could you share full and specific details of the ‘limited student consultation’ identified in your Ask Executive question response of 23/10/2014 in relation to the movement of the traditional Easter holiday period?

Also, it was indicated that the moving of the Easter holiday period was intended to improve the student experience and attendance post Easter – please could you provide specific detail as to working groups assessment of the potential impact which moving Easter might have on these factors. The indications I am receiving from students would suggest that the opposite is true as a result of this move.

Could the minutes of these meetings be shared?

Thank you.

ANSWER:

The change in the calendar which impacts on the Easter break in 2015, resulted from a desire to establish (wherever possible) a consistent pattern to teaching in semester 2, where 9 weeks of teaching would take place prior to Easter and 3 weeks after Easter. In particular, this sought to address student and staff concerns that the post-Easter teaching period often comprised a very small number of teaching weeks which had led to poor student attendance and, in some cases, those weeks had been converted into revision rather than teaching sessions.

At the time the changes to the calendar were being prepared, the Students’ Union invited students to comment on different aspects of the proposals. While the total number of students who responded to the survey was relatively small, nevertheless there was positive support for the change to the Easter schedule.

The academic calendar remains under review and further meetings are planned with Faculties to review the impact of the 2014/15 changes before the 2015/16 calendar is finalised.

Can staff make informed decisions around MSS?

QUESTION:

Are senior managers locally in a position to discuss with their teams and individuals if there is a likelihood of their jobs being at risk? In particular there needs to be a fairness of opportunity to make informed decisions, if a member of staff cannot afford to lose their job but would opt for MSS rather than waiting for compulsory redundancy are senior/line managers in a position to be honest with teams – have Executive provided sufficient information to managers to facilitate this?

ANSWER:

Each faculty and service is currently reviewing their costs and identifying proposals to reduce expenditure. Once proposals are formulated these should be discussed with staff.

Will there be another opportunity to apply for MSS?

QUESTION:

Will there be another opportunity for Professional Support Staff to apply for MSS during the Ways of Working consultation or will that be confined to those staff who are ‘at risk’ at that time?

ANSWER:

The MSS will be open to only those staff at risk when the WoW is released for consultation.

Therefore anyone interested in MSS would be best advised to apply now through this current round.

What are the time periods for MSS?

QUESTION:
Please could you tell me the time periods we are looking at regarding the MSS? What is the latest date staff can specify as a proposed leaving date?

ANSWER:
Applications for MSS can be submitted at any time from now until Friday 16 January 2015. The MSS panel will meet regularly until the closing date, meeting one final time after the closing date to consider any remaining applications. Applicants will be informed of the outcome within a week of the MSS panel meeting, and will either be required to work their notice or select a leaving date earlier, waiving the remaining period of notice. A cut-off date for proposed leaving times has not been prescribed.

Could part-time workers still be made redundant?

QUESTION:

If a member of staff requests part-time working could that member of staff still be made redundant at a later date, even though they have helped towards reducing staffing levels. If yes, how would this affect redundancy payments for that member of staff.

ANSWER:

A member of staff who reduces the number of hours worked per week, whilst contributing to the salary savings, is not exempt from being ‘at risk’ of further reductions in staffing levels going forward. If reductions in an area are required then all posts whether full time or part time would be ‘at risk’ of redundancy and would need to be considered in the ‘selection pool’.

Redundancy payments are based on a week’s pay x service and therefore anyone working part time would receive less weekly pay than their full time comparator. Further details on the calculation of redundancy payments are explained in Section 8 of the Organisational Change Policy located on the website.