Skip to main content

Universities: Strikes

Question for Department for Education

UIN 135855, tabled on 16 April 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate he has made of the number of students whose classes have been cancelled as a result of the recent strikes by university staff.

Answered on

19 April 2018

Universities are autonomous institutions and it is for them to consider the number of their students whose classes have been affected by strike action. No assessment has been made by the Department for Education, but we remain concerned about any impact of the strikes on students and are pleased that the action has been suspended.

We note that the Universities and Colleges Employers Association, which represents UK higher education organisations as employers, polled the 56 universities that were the focus of strikes on 22 and 23 February 2018. Results of this polling indicated that the overall impact in four out of five institutions was between ‘none’ and ‘low-medium’.

The new regulator for higher education in England, the Office for Students (OfS), has recently issued guidance to students stating that it expects universities to take all reasonable steps to reduce the impact of any future strike action on teaching, learning and assessment, and to communicate clearly to students the impact of any industrial action. Universities should make clear to students how they intend to avoid or mitigate the impact of the disruption caused by strike action.

The OfS will also have the power to request information from registered higher education providers.

Named day
Named day questions only occur in the House of Commons. The MP tabling the question specifies the date on which they should receive an answer. MPs may not table more than five named day questions on a single day.