Image: Loic Verstrepen Sande / The Boar

Meet your candidates: Education Officer

Meet the candidates running to be your next Students’ Union Education Officer in this year’s spring elections.


Agatha Allen-Jones

Communication, liberation, and accessibility are at the heart of my campaign. As a current faculty rep and SSLC rep, I have seen the issues that students are facing across the university and the underlying issues of the current system. Students need more clarity from their departments, sympathetic and specific care that caters to the need of the individual and their course, and more communication across the board. More study space on campus is needed, particularly with computers and other essential equipment; simultaneously creating more social space to free up space in the over-crowded existing spaces.

Why are you running for this role?

I am frustrated with student voices being diminished and want to see more action being done for students. I want to be an Education Officer that actively improves the education experience for all, from removing barriers that prevent students from achieving the grades they deserve, to creating a safe learning environment. Change needs to happen university wide and on a course-by-course basis, to ensure the best structures are being put in place for each person at our university.

What, in your opinion, most needs changing at Warwick?

There needs to be more communication, listening to and increasing support for SSLCs and other rep roles, as well as increasing cross-faculty communication. Students from marginalised groups need more than just a voice but a full commitment from the SU to achieving liberation from all forms of systemic oppression. Our university needs to be more accessible to all students, ensuring disabled students and students from different backgrounds all have access to a high-quality education.

What has been your favourite memory from your time at Warwick?

Hanging out in the first-year kitchen and being able to spend time with friends whenever I wanted, in term one I think we were all together at every moment. My friends and I have great memories of the kitchen, from after nights out, eating someone’s amazing food at group dinners, to revising all day. I am so grateful to have been with the people I was with and the amazing times we had together.

Isabelle Atkins

Hello! I’m Isabelle, this year’s Disabled Students’ Officer, and I’m running for the role of Education Officer. I came to Warwick through an atypical path, joining a part-time degree through the Centre for Lifelong Learning, and my unusual route to higher education has made me passionate about ensuring access and equity for all. At the same time, my tenure as DSO this year has showed me that the university continues to fail to advocate for the interests and needs of its students on an endemic scale. I would be an officer for all, ensuring everyone gets the education they deserve.

Why are you running for this role?

I’m running for this role because too often have I had to say “that’s not what students need” at committees and meetings. The university is out of touch with the student experience, treating us as mindless consumers rather than individuals with unique needs, aspirations and abilities. Marketised education has warped what it means to be a student, foregoing experience at the expense of ratings and rankings. I believe that every student should be entitled to an enjoyable and enriching education.

What, in your opinion, most needs changing at Warwick?

I think overall attitude is still a systemic problem at Warwick. It manifests itself everywhere from personal tutors trivialising student distress, to cuts to Welfare and Support Services, to the way minority students on campus still don’t feel safe and welcome. Some issues are quick fixes – I’ve worked hard this year introducing mental health training for personal tutors and lobbying for improved wellbeing provision – but others can only be addressed through intentional, proactive changes to attitudes.

What has been your favourite memory from your time at Warwick?

This year has, personally, been totally crap, but yet the work I’ve done as Disabled Students’ Officer has been so fulfilling – if also incredibly frustrating at times. I’ve seen the positive change a students’ union can make, if the right people with the right agendas are in charge. That’s what made me want to stand for this role this year, because I know deep down the SU and the student voice is a powerful tool.

Joe Baird ENE

Hi, I’m Joe, a third year HistPol Student, Social Secretary of Warwick Labour society, and I’m running to be your Education Officer. I’m a big fan of music and The Simpsons. I’m passionate about fighting for you on the Students’ Union

COVID-19 has exposed the university’s lack of compassion for its students, whether through the lack of a safety net or inadequate mitigation policies. We need an SU that will stand up for you and ensure your needs don’t go unrepresented. Vote for me and the rest of Education Not Exploitation (ENE) to have an SU that works for you.

Why are you running for this role?

I believe that Warwick has taken its students for granted for too long. In light of the pandemic, I feel this has only become more apparent. The university coaxed its students back with false promises with the aim of collecting rent. I feel I have the passion and drive to make a difference on your behalf, and to hold the university to account, pushing for the necessary changes for all our educational wellbeing.

What, in your opinion, most needs changing at Warwick?

The balance between academia and mental wellbeing is not adequately struck. Better support structures and more robust and universal mitigation policies are a must. These should be applied without exception university-wide. Furthermore, I believe greater inclusivity and accessibility must be sought, be it for disabled, LGBTQ+ or students of colour. If elected Education Officer I would fight to ensure this occurs whether through educational delivery or content.

What has been your favourite memory from your time at Warwick?

It has to be nights spent listening to music with my first-year flatmates and getting drunk together. Swapping songs, (Phil Collins anyone?) and sharing each other’s favourite music is something I really enjoy. Times like this shouldn’t fall by the wayside in the face of academic pressure. As Education Officer ensuring all students can have a solid work-life balance will be one of my aims.

Disclaimer: candidates’ answers have not been edited. The opinions featured here do not reflect the opinions of The Boar.


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