VP Education

Vice President Education



Education Forum Minutes October 2018

Chair: Matthew Johnston. 48 members in attendance, plus one member of NSU staff.



  • The forum agreed its composition as a subcommittee of Student Executive.


  • Following and election with four candidates, Jim Yare was elected as Chair of Education Forum.


  • The Black Attainment Gap was discussed at length. It was noted that students of BAME ethnicity, and Black students in particular, were less likely to graduate with a 2.1 degree or better than their white counterparts. A range of potential factors for this gap were discussed and activities to raise awareness of the gap and address it were outlined. Following discussion, the following policies were agreed:


  • Education Forum believes that the Black Attainment Gap should be a priority campaign for Northumbria Students’ Union, and a priority issue for Northumbria University.
  • Education Forum agrees to campaign for the University to create a BAME Staff Network.
  • Education Forum mandates the VP Education and VP Postgraduate to work with the BAME Students’ Representative towards the creation of a BAME Student Ambassadors Network.


  • Forum discussed value for money on postgraduate degrees. Whilst this was considered to be an issue that affects all students, the experiences of international students in particular were highlighted and it was felt that students did not receive a learning experience that offered sufficient value for the fees they paid. Examples of issues identified with student experiences included late provision of reading lists, lack of contact hours, lack of support in the transition to Northumbria, lecturers reading text verbatim from Powerpoint slides, lack of teaching innovation, unhappy teaching staff, overreliance on self-directed learning and inconsistent timetabling. There was also concern at the funding levels available to support postgraduate research.


Following discussions, the following policies were agreed:


  • Education Forum believes that NSU should support international research students not included on the revised, four-year visa regime.
  • Education Forum believes there should be increased funding available for postgraduate research students to participate in research events such as presenting conference papers, so that funding levels can be tailored to the actual level of costs incurred.
  • Education Forum expects better value for money for students at Northumbria, specifically international students who pay higher fees, covering the entirety of their learning experience.



  • The above policies were approved. Students wanting to get involved in any of the relevant campaigns and activities should speak to Salma Asghar (BAME attainment) or Matthew Johnston (value for money).
  • Attendees were encouraged to send feedback on the meeting format and topics for future Education Forum discussions to su.reps@northumbria.ac.uk.


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