Our Response – UHI Perth Consultation Information Pack

On June 13th, UHI Perth released its consultation response to its current Financial Sustainability project, in which it announced changes to reduce its deficit budget.

Perth

Dear Students,

On June 13th, UHI Perth released its consultation response to its current Financial Sustainability project, in which it announced changes to reduce its deficit budget. We are pleased that some of the services and support that students find crucial to their studies are now being retained or decisions reviewed.

We will continue to engage in ongoing conversations with UHI Perth regarding any transitions to a new operating model to ensure these are done with respect for all involved and with the student experience at their heart. It should be made clear that this is a challenging time for the education sector across the UK.

However, we are deeply concerned about two comments made in the document released to students last week regarding HISA’s position on some of the proposed changes and are studying it carefully to determine whether there are further issues to raise with Senior Management at UHI Perth.

The first is that the document contains a reference where the Students’ Association noted that the Nursery is a “nice to have but not essential” and the second is that the Students’ Association noted that the Personal Academic Tutor (PAT) was the “highest priority to be cut.”

HISA does not share these views, and we have made our position clear in a response to the consultation on May 29th. You can find our response on our website, and it was also emailed to all enrolled UHI Perth Students.

In that document, we mentioned the Nursery fourteen times. We noted the following:

  • This was the largest concern of students
  • The lack of communication on this decision making
  • Deadlines to find alternative nursery spaces for our students have now passed
  • The Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to UHI Perth on the nursery, which were refused.
  • And finally, the recommendation that the decision to close the Nursery should be reconsidered.

We never stated that the Nursery would be a “nice to have” because for the students who use this service, it is essential for them to remain enrolled, and the decision to close the Nursery will likely leave student parents with no choice but to leave their courses. This decision and consultation were taken at the worst possible time to ensure that student parents and student carers could not find alternative Nursery services.

Secondly, we mentioned Personal Academic Tutors (PATS) three times. We noted the following:

  • Students regularly inform us that PATS have a positive impact on their experience and success.
  • Students raised significant concerns on the removal of remittance time (paid contracted hours) of PATS within Further Education and Higher Education.
  • And finally, the recommendation that the decision to remove contracted hours from PATS should be reconsidered.

Again, the comments shared by UHI Perth do not reflect the response that we sent to the University and students.

We have contacted the Senior Management at UHI Perth for comment on this and will continue to keep in contact with you, our members, and specifically those affected by these decisions.

Thanks,

William Campbell and Gary Souter
Cross Campus President and Cross Campus Vice President Education.

Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA)