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Higher Edcuation: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Education

UIN 59751, tabled on 16 June 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the level of evidence a student is required to provide to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education in the event that that student is dissatisfied with the level of education that their university has provided during the covid-19 outbreak.

Answered on

7 July 2020

The statutory independent student complaints scheme for higher education is run by the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). The scheme, guidance for students and the level of evidence has not changed during the COVID-19 outbreak. Students are still expected to raise formal complaints with their own university in the first instance, and if those cannot be resolved, students can approach the OIA. The OIA website outlines the process and the information required to submit a complaint: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/students/how-to-complain-to-us/.

On 22 June, the OIA published specific guidance outlining its approach to handling complaints that arose from the COVID-19 outbreak, including complaints on course delivery. The OIA will take a number of issues into account when considering a complaint and will consider what was promised against what was delivered. The OIA will also take into account the relevant legislation and related guidance (such as that published by the Competition and Markets Authority), and whether the higher education provider has been fair and reasonable in developing its policies.

The guidance is available at: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/resources-and-publications/latest-news-and-updates/oia-briefing-note-2-our-approach-to-complaints-arising-from-the-effects-of-coronavirus-covid-19-june-202/.

There are some issues that the OIA is unable to consider. These issues include matters relating to admissions and academic judgement. Guidance on the issues that the OIA can consider is available at: https://www.oiahe.org.uk/students/can-you-complain-to-us/.