The Knowledge has uncovered that the Learning Support and Wellbeing services (LSW) in place at the university will be cut by the Dean of Students. This comes after reports from The Guardian that teaching budgets at English universities are to be slashed by 6%.
It is understood that there were no representatives from the study body or UPSU present during the decision. Over 30,000 Plymouth University (and Partner Colleges) students will be impacted by the £260,000 cuts to LSW and other areas in the Student Gateway.
The Learning Support and Wellbeing (LSW) team includes Learning Development, Student Counselling, Disability Assist, PALS, the Writing Café, admin staff for the Learning Gateway and Widening Participation. At present these teams are already understaffed, and sources suggest it would be better to hire additional staff to help meet the overwhelming student demand. The programmes are vital to student support; many university staff recommend using their services to benefit student performance and achievement.
A representative from LSW is urging students to contact Student Union Representatives to protest the cuts, saying:
“If I was paying £9000/year for fees, I most certainly would want the student support staff in place to help me reach my full potential.”
Protest action is to be taken by UCU and Unison, supported by GMB, and is open to all non-members from 13:30-14:15 outside the next Board of Governors meeting, which is to be held on Tuesday 01 April at 14:00 on the 6th floor of the Rolle Bldg. All students and staff welcome to attend.
The Plymouth University Board of Governors has yet to comment. A follow up article will be published as soon as they do.