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Hallam Safety Net: The latest

Since the outbreak of Covid19, the Officers and staff of the Students’ Union, campaigners from the Hallam Safety Net, and senior leaders of the University have been engaged in regular discussions to ensure that students at Sheffield Hallam University suffer no detriment as a result of the pandemic.

In May, the former Students’ Union President wrote to the University outlining concerns students had around the impact of the pandemic and the measures put in place to correct them.

Over the last few months, your Officers, representatives and student campaigners have spoken loudly on your behalf, and the University have listened. Both the Students’ Union and the University have been committed to ensuring students grades are not impacted by the pandemic, and also that students are given the confidence they need that their hard work will not be undone by circumstances outside of their control.

The measures put in place by the University have been comprehensive and recognise the impact of the pandemic and, in our opinion, should ensure students grades do not suffer any detriment as a result of the pandemic. The measures put in place include extended deadlines, uncapped resits, and flexibility given to Department Assessment Boards (the University Committees that agree and approve your marks and grades) to scale up cohort and individual marks by up to 5% where there is clear detriment.

The University also recognised that, in a small number of cases, the impact of the pandemic would be so severe on students, that the flexibility to scale up marks to this level would not capture all the detriment. A central panel, consisting of senior leaders and academics, was set up to review individual cases and ensure detriments are addressed. As a result of the discussions between the campaign, the Union and the University, it was agreed that elected representatives of the Students’ Union would sit on the panel determining the final outcome of the assessment decisions. The below infographic, designed by the Hallam Safety Net campaign, shows how the University No Detriment approach will work.

It is very rare that student representatives take part in decisions around assessment, and it is a testament to the level to which the University have listened to the student voice on this issue that they made this offer.

As a Students’ Union, we are confident that the measures put in place will have enabled you to succeed in these most challenging of times. If you still believe your grades have been unfairly impacted, the University complaints and appeals process is open as normal, and you can access support from our independent Student Advice Centre should you require support on this issue.

This campaign has shown the power of the student voice. More than 4,000 students signed the petition, and the University has shown itself more than willing to work with the Students’ Union to support students. It is clear that the impact of the pandemic will be felt for some time, and we are committed to working closely with the University, and holding them to account where necessary, with an unwavering commitment to defending the interests of our students.

To find out more about the work that has been done to get to this point please click here.