Higher Education Student Support Champion
In June 2022, the Department for Education announced the appointment of Nottingham Trent University Vice Chancellor Edward Peck as the first Higher Education Student Support Champion (HESSC).
The role was created to help universities support students in completing their studies and ensure they are able to access appropriate help as and when they need it. Over the next two years, the Student Support Champion will engage with providers of higher education – both universities and colleges – sector agencies, students and parents to discuss challenges and opportunities and share best practice on approaches to keeping students engaged with all aspects of campus life. This will include how to spot the early warning signs of those who are struggling with their studies or with their mental health.
There is a determination within higher education institutions to get this right and I will promote effective and evidence-based best practice across the sector, enabling higher education providers to offer the widest possible range of ways to support students.
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During summer 2022, the HESSC undertook an extensive consultation with the sector and students in England to define the priorities for his work. The themes below are derived from these conversations as well as ongoing discussion with the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education. This dialogue will continue as the programme develops and progress is made on this important agenda.
Discover more about upcoming priorities and guidance available to help universities support students:
Serious mental illness
I am working with partners to better understand successful partnerships models between universities and the NHS.
I am also exploring how the sector can learn from previous incidents of suicide to improve practice in pre- and postvention.
Student analytics are going to become ever more sophisticated, predicting as well as reporting on student engagement and well-being.
This work will focus on highlighting the key data that are needed to develop descriptive and predictive analytics for engagement and wellbeing monitoring.
This work will tackle how colleagues working in the sector should share information when there are significant concerns about a student.
Student Support Services
I recognise that the student support landscape is complex and evidence on what works is still being established. I will be looking initially to agree the fundamental support needs of students to succeed and thrive in higher education with a view to developing a set of functions and interventions HEPs should adopt to meet these needs.
I will work with several HEPs as pilot sites to test the delivery of new activity.
Careers services and employability
It can be difficult for universities to understand what works, how to implement most effectively strategic interventions, and how to engage students fully in the careers and employability offer.
I will be scoping work that addresses some of these issues and consulting with sector bodies before driving this work forward.
Supporting international students
Recent insight appears to show some important messages about HE sector in the UK when international applicants are asked to rate their perceptions of the student support they would receive once enrolled. I am interested in understanding what may be causing these messages and will be working with stakeholders to understand where I can add value to current activity.
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