After a long hard time of lobbying with the university, we have received a response from the university on PGT Safety Net. Ever since the PGT Safety Net information was released to students, we have been asking the university to provide a fairer safety net provision for PGT students, as the one instated was not adequate to a lot of students. We conducted surveys with students to find out how they felt about the safety net and presented our findings to the university through multiple channels.
At the end, the results we received were disappointing and the following message is from Nicola Phillips, King's Vice President and Vice Principal, in response to our petitions and lobbying. We want to apologise for the inconvenience and for the delay as we have tried our best to get a better provision. Thank you for all of the support and feedback you have given to us over the last couple of months. We know it is not the outcome we wanted but we hope that we can continue to lobby for the interests for all of our students moving forward. if you have any issues please do get in touch with the new student officer team at email@example.com.
Your 19/20 student officers
(Message received from King's)
“Dear PGT students
Thank you very much for writing to express your views regarding the PGT safety net policy.
We recognise the ongoing pandemic has been unsettling for everyone, particularly in relation to exams and assessments. We want to assure you that we remain fully committed to mitigating the negative impact of Covid-19 for all of you, and have worked to design fair, equitable and proportionate arrangements to reflect this commitment.
We are aware that colleagues across all faculties, especially the Deans and Vice-Deans of Education, have already responded to all of the correspondence they have received on this topic, including from many of you who have signed this petition. Following careful consideration of all your views, as well as those of colleagues within faculties and departments, and those stated by students expressing different views from the ones you have set out here, we wanted to take the time to write to you personally and help clarify the position.
Firstly we wanted to respond to the suggestion that the arrangements in place represent a change of policy. We want to assure you that this is not the case. The safety net policy sits alongside a wide range of other mitigation measures, which we have established to support you during these unprecedented times. The safety net policy itself comprises a number of components. We want to be able to properly recognise your full and proper achievements from your time at Kings, especially in these unusually unsettling times.
We understand your strength of feeling and our sincere endeavours all along have been to apply appropriate measures for all students regardless of level or programme.
After full and proper consideration, it was important to ensure that the safety net policy could be adapted and applied to our diverse undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes and take account of variations in assessment processes, supporting our students in extremely difficult circumstances while also maintaining academic standards and the integrity of our postgraduate degrees.
At postgraduate taught (Masters) level, we said that ‘where possible’ we would seek to put in place the same kind of safety net policy as for undergraduates, despite the challenges this would present. We want to assure you that we have been at pains to do this. However, it became apparent that this would not be possible, without compromising academic outcomes, fairness, and equity of consideration for all postgraduate taught students.
We understand that concerns are about a seemingly different approach to undergraduates and postgraduates. The vast majority of postgraduate taught (Masters) students have not yet accumulated enough marks this year to apply a reliable safety net average for the year as a whole without unacceptably compromising academic standards. Whereas at undergraduate level we had the option to consider marks from previous years, this is not available at postgraduate taught (Masters) level. Applying this specific element was therefore just not possible. So we collectively took the decision to apply the element of the safety net policy which could feasibly and appropriately be applied at Postgraduate taught (Masters) level – a new rule governing borderline cases, to ensure that you have a strong chance of being awarded a higher classification if you are sitting at the borderline between classifications.
You will appreciate that this has been a complex process. In writing to you on 15 March we were striking a balance between wanting to keep you informed as early as possible about our general approach whilst recognising the need to finalise the precise details of implementing the safety net policy for individual faculties and programmes. The main reason for this early communication was to openly and honestly share with you our early plans to assure you of our firm commitment to create a safety net in response to this unprecedented situation.
As we touched on earlier in this letter, the safety net policy and overall approach to mitigation were approved by the Academic Standards Sub-Committee, as part of a range of mitigation measures, and will not now change.
We want to take this opportunity to reiterate our commitment to you as a valued member of the King’s community that no student – pre-undergraduate, undergraduate or postgraduate – is disadvantaged academically by the uncertain times caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Please be assured that we have listened carefully to all your views on this matter. We trust that this letter assures you of the complexity of the decisions and necessary care with which we have had to make them. We remain confident that we have all the appropriate mitigation measures in place to honour our commitment to you all that no student is disadvantaged.
Nicola Phillips and Darren Wallis”