Arts SU Policy Digest: September 2022

UAL, Higher Education, and Politics policy updates from Arts SU for September 2022.

A photo of two people at an exhibition looking at art and talking.

Policy updates from UAL this month

  • Arts SU has responded to the government consultation on reforms to the National Student Survey (NSS). The NSS is a crucial survey completed by all final year undergraduate students, and is used in the assessment of educational quality at universities. In this response we set out our thoughts on topics such as why we oppose the inclusion of a ‘free speech’ question, what a mental health specific question in the survey could bring, and how we think the NSS evaluates students’ unions. You can read our response here.
  • Arts SU met last week with Michelle Howe, UAL’s Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education), to discuss the student submission to the upcoming Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) review. UAL is undergoing evaluation for the TEF, and has asked the SU to submit evidence on the student experience to complement their submission. Last time UAL were evaluated they received a rating of Silver (the second highest rating) which they will be hoping to retain. Arts SU’s Policy Team will be writing this submission during the upcoming term. You can read more about the TEF here.

 

HE news

  • Kit Malthouse has been appointed as the new Education Secretary under Liz Truss. He is the fifth Education Secretary this year. Malthouse is a Boris Johnson loyalist, who served with him as Deputy Mayor for London before becoming an MP. He has only mentioned universities 7 times in speeches since becoming an MP, so he is not known for having a particular passion for this policy area. WonkHE provide a nice overview of his time in politics.
  • The Times finds that on average students are left with only a quarter of their student loan to live on after they have paid rent in halls. A key focus of the term ahead for the Policy Team is producing a research report on the cost of living faced by students at UAL, and examining the costs of halls of residence will be one of the areas we look at.  
  • WonkHE have published research showing how students were in fuel poverty, even before the current cost-of-living crisis hit. Students often live in poor quality housing stock, in some of the most deprived areas of the country, and fuel price rises exacerbate pre-existing issues around insulation and damp. In term two, the Policy Team are planning to revisit our work on housing that we started during the Covid lockdowns, by undertaking research into the state of accommodation experienced by UAL students. You can read WonkHE’s findings here.

 

A photo of two people at Affordable Art Fair talking and looking at a phone. 
Affordable Art Fair 2022. Photo credit: David Povilaika

Arts / Creative Industries news 

  • Arts Council England (ACE) have published guidance for museums and galleries on restitution which aims to “provide advice and best practice for museums in England on responding to restitution and repatriation cases”. This is a major step forward in the debate about the returning of artefacts stolen under colonialism, which has informed Arts SU’s own development of our Ethical Partnership Guidelines. You can read the guidance document here. 
  • Bectu, a trade union for workers in the creative industries, have issued a statement calling on the new Culture Secretary, Michelle Donelan, to “champion the self-employed and freelance workforce in government, through fighting for a better paid workforce and fairer working conditions” in order to “safeguard the arts for all”. You can read their statement here. 

 

Monthly reading list 

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