Image: The Boar / Nicole Karageorgi

Satisfaction with Warwick SU decreases from last year, NSS results show

44% of students* who completed the National Student Survey (NSS) at the University of Warwick think the Students’ Union (SU) “effectively represents” their academic interests.

Of those Warwick students who responded in the NSS 2020, 44% felt that Warwick SU “effectively represents students’ academic interests”, which is “significantly below” the benchmark of 53%.

The results have decreased from 2019, where 48% of respondents agreed that the SU represents their academic interests. Last year, the result was 5% below the benchmark, compared to this year where the result is 9% below the benchmark.

The question on satisfaction with the SU was the only scale for the University of Warwick which was “significantly below” the bench- mark.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Luke Mepham, President of Warwick SU, said: “As an SU, we are naturally disappointed by this year’s results to Question 26 on the NSS.

“Whilst we believe that the one SU-related question in the survey does not fully represent all of our activities, and only addresses academic representation, we do recognise that there is work to be done to ensure we effectively represent students, both in their studies and through our other activities.

“This year, effective academic representation is going to be more critical than ever, and so our teams have been working hard to ensure Course and Faculty Reps will be properly supported to enact positive change for students on their courses through SSLCs (Student-Staff Liaison Committees) and other committees.”

As an SU, we are naturally disappointed by this year’s results to Question 26 on the NSS

– Luke Mepham

In the 2019/2020 academic year, there was a landslide vote against supporting the Hong Kong protests in the Warwick SU’s Term 2 All Student Vote (ASV). In the same ASV, the motion ‘Fighting Stigmas Together’ was also overturned, with 226 more votes for against.

The Term 2 ASV saw the highest voter turnout, triple the Term 1 ASV turnout, hitting a record high.

Other survey results for the University of Warwick show a slight decrease in satisfaction, compared to last year.

Overall, 85% of Warwick students were satisfied with the quality of their course, which is above the benchmark of 83%. This is a slight decrease from last year where 87% were satisfied with the quality of their course.

Student voice results were “significantly above” the benchmark, with 76% of respondents agreeing that they have opportunities to provide feedback on their course and agreeing that it is clear how students’ feedback has been acted on. This result was exactly the same as last year.

One scale for the University saw a slight increase in satisfaction since last year. Access to IT, course specific and library resources rose by one percentage point from 86% in 2019 to 87% satisfaction in 2020.

Commenting on the NSS results, the University of Warwick said that students felt more needed to be done to help students and staff feel part of a community.

“We know the group chat incident will have been on your minds when answering this question too,” they added.

44% felt Warwick SU “effectively represents” their academic interests

“The action to confirm our community’s values and to improve our disciplinary processes will go some way to address these concerns, but we recognise there is still more to do to embed and live those values.”

Other areas the University plans to address include communicating changes to courses “more effectively”.

“We have invested in a number of major projects to improve the organisation and administration of our courses, so that we use one system across departments and everything that a student needs to access is in one place.

“For example, we have increased the use of Moodle for more modules, we have introduced a new Module Catalogue and for the first time , we are only releasing student results through Tabula this summer instead of several different systems.”

The University said that the results will be shared with Course Reps and action will be taken accordingly.

“Eight out of ten of you are satisfied overall with your course; so much of our action will be about building on and refining the best bits of a Warwick education.

“This is encouraging as we end a difficult year in which your patience, commitment and hard work have helped us to ensure you will graduate with your degree this summer.”

Eight out of ten of you are satisfied overall with your course; so much of our action will be about building on and refining the best bits of a Warwick education

– University of Warwick

The NSS is an annual survey, completed by final-year students who are asked to provide feedback on their time in higher education.

Across all UK universities, overall student satisfaction decreased this year, which Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union (UCU), argued was due to “unprecedented events”.

Earlier in September, it was announced that the NSS is to undergo a “radical” review, after concerns arose from the government that “that good scores can more easily be achieved through dumbing down and spoon-feeding students”.

Commenting on the review, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS, said: “Our review will seek to reduce any unnecessary bureaucracy, prevent any unintended consequences and gaming of the survey, whilst ensuring that the NSS stands the test of time as an important indicator of students’ opinions and experiences at every level.”

*All figures have been rounded to the nearest percentage. For more information on the NSS results and methodology, you can visit the OfS webpage.


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