Committee reference number: CN/06/59 Security Classification: Open
Annual Report of the Student Services – 2005
Dr Alan Rump – Director of Student Services
Council is asked to: note the contents of the report
Paper history: the report has been seen by the Student Affairs Committee, UPARC and
Responsibility for ensuring delivery of any actions: Director of Student Services
Report of the Student Services – Summary
From 1998 to 2004, the undergraduate intake grew at an average of 3.5% per annum, but the demands made of the Student Services have grown faster still. The number of students using the Counselling Service has increased by 20% in the last two years. Drop-in interviews at the Careers Service increased by 40% in two years, whilst use of its e-guidance facilities increased by 37% last year alone. Attendance at the Access Unit increased by 145% last year.
Our Education Strategy puts emphasis on the rounded student experience and our Widening Participation Strategy on seeking and supporting an increasingly diverse student population. Next year, higher tuition fees will change our market place and the „OFFA‟ agreement will have to be honoured. As the year‟s delay in meeting the needs of the Counselling Service
showed, the Student Services must not enter the new era under-resourced.
Legislative and other governmental pressures
Besides „mainstream‟ pressures such as the requirements of Health and Safety, Equality and Diversity, Workplace law and the like, the services face more specific pressures: the new GP contract; the code of practice on accommodation management soon to be agreed with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister; substantively backing-up the letter and spirit of our agreement with „OFFA‟; and the additions to, and approaching milestones of, the DDA.
Provision for students with mental health difficulties is a particularly difficult sub-set of the DDA, given the poverty of local NHS services. The Access Unit already offers specialized counselling for deaf and disabled students; the work of the Counselling Service will be expanded, though the action plan will demand resource beyond that already granted; the Student Health Service is investigating on-site clinics conducted by a visiting Registrar; but, despite these developments, consideration might be given to appointing a (part-time) mental health „co-ordinator‟ to provide both a focus for our provision and a channel for the
implementation of our responsibilities in the academic arena.
Developing new expertise
The Accommodation Office has now passed its first full audit to qualify for the Legal Services Commission‟s Quality Mark – the first in the country to do so. The Access Unit
has become an accredited regional training centre for electronic note-taking. The Student Health Service now offers enhanced level services in sexual health, minor surgery, pre and post-operative care, asthma and diabetes. The Careers Advisory Service leads other services in the development of IT services such as „Jobs by Email‟, E-guidance‟ and „Castanet‟ (an
employer and vacancy database). The Chaplaincy team has welcomed new members from the Muslim community, the orthodox and progressive synagogues, and the Quakers. The Postgraduate Union has been successfully launched and the Careers Advisory Service will shortly appoint a new adviser specifically for postgraduates.
The Union Vice-President conducted a wide-ranging survey of student support. The satisfactory or better ratings of the Student Services ranged between 82% and 93%. Some suggestions have already been acted on: a second „phone line has been installed for the
Health Service and surgery times have been staggered during lunch times and early mornings;
a working group has reported on the development of the Jobshop; the Accommodation
Office web-site has been completely overhauled, as has the reporting mechanism for dealing
with complaints for partnership properties, and an action plan has been produced for
expanding the availability of the Counselling Service. The Union‟s provision for (mainly
first year) students not living in hall has been revitalised and relaunched as „Orbital‟. Work
is progressing on the web-based „Welfare Map‟ which, it is hoped, will go live in the Spring.
In December, the Student Health Service moved into Hampton House, which has been
bought and redeveloped by an „NHS Lift‟ company from which the local Primary Care Trust
rents the premises.
Neither the Chaplaincy nor the Counselling Service are accessible by disabled students; the
rooms available to the Counselling Service can no longer provide for demand; the Nursery
has a very long waiting list. Although none of these services may ultimately be housed
within the ambit of the „Nucleus‟ itself, it is important that their needs are properly
acknowledged in the work of the „Nucleus Project‟. Rehousing the Students‟ Union is
central to that project, but necessary improvements have nonetheless been made to the foyer
and bar of the present building.
Budget Out-turn Accommodation Office 222 180 Access Unit for Deaf and Disabled Students 229 211 Careers Advisory Service 534 535 Student Counselling Service 134 142 Student Health Service 222 190 UBU Block Grant 900 900 Chaplaincy 0 2
_____ _____ Total 2,241 2,160
Dr Alan Rump – Director of Student Services
The Accommodation Office
? First Years
This year we received 3586 applications for student residences. The newly designed and more informative application form had the desired effect of increasing applications to traditionally less popular Halls.
3249 first year students were housed in University Residences or Deans Court with a further 241 returners housed. At the start of term there were 18 vacancies in permanent spaces but these were matched by 18 students placed by Halls into temporary rooms, which were not originally included in the number of spaces to be allocated.
No abusive and angry telephone calls and letters were received from parents and students unhappy with their allocation for the first time and we believe this is entirely due to the increased information available to students about the allocations process. Standard tenancies were introduced for all Student Residences this year with very few problems.
The challenge facing Student Residences for the next year will be the introduction of the UUK Code of Standards and Management. We anticipate devoting considerable time and resources to ensuring that the University is able to demonstrate compliance. Additionally there is an urgent need for a clear strategy on increasing undergraduate spaces available to compensate for spaces lost through disposals and to allow for an expansion in numbers.
? Other Undergraduates
The number of returner spaces to Halls was cut again this year. This further diminishes the role of the Hall community. 390 returners were allocated to Unite House, thus no guaranteed payment will be due from the University. Next year however, Unite House will be facing competition from UNITE‟s direct let properties as their bed spaces in central Bristol increase to around 800. There is a significant danger in the fact that UNITE‟s income from Unite House is guaranteed and thus their obvious preference will be to divert students to their own direct let vacancies. The situation will require careful monitoring and management.
Over 250 Erasmus students attended the Accommodation Office‟s House Search Event. We succeeded in finding housing for all of them within the private sector.
The fall in applications from overseas fee paying postgraduates had a very severe effect on University Allocated Accommodation. The number of Guaranteed Overseas Postgraduates housed fell from 350 in 2004 to only 238 this year and the number of Non Guaranteed Overseas Postgraduates rose only a little from 77 in 2004 to 82 this year. The Accommodation Office faced considerable difficulties in meeting the rent guarantees on Partnership Properties because there were simply not enough postgraduate students who wanted University Allocated Accommodation. We were, however, able to meet the targets set by offering tenancies to University Research Staff.
The recent disastrous events at Chantry Court should not be allowed to overshadow the success of our other postgraduate scheme at Deans Court owned and managed by Dominion
Housing, which has once again provided a first class service to its tenants. There is every indication that this will continue with the Dominion Residence at Woodland Court.
? The Private Sector
Over 1500 first year students attended the Annual Housing Fair in February intended to provide them with all the information for a successful time in a private tenancy. This year the Housing Fair was augmented by the Students Union‟s Housing Roadshows held in the Halls
There was again an over supply of private rented accommodation and with the addition of the 600 Unite bedspaces in 2006 (see above) there is no prospect of any shortage. The Accommodation Office advertised over 1,000 private sector vacancies with our registered landlords and a recent survey has shown that over 30% of students find their private rental through us.
This was the first full year of the Housing Advice Service operating under the Legal Services Commission‟s Quality Mark and at our first full audit the award was confirmed. We have seen a large increase in students seeking advice on complex housing issues. We have taken on a number of cases and gained over ?10,000 in refunded deposits or compensation for disrepair for individual students. In the coming year we intend to build on this success with increased publicity, with the aim that in the future any University of Bristol student experiencing any sort of problem with a private rental will automatically turn to the Accommodation Office for advice and assistance.
The Access Unit for Deaf and Disabled Students
Support services – students
? Percentage of disclosed disabled students contacting Access Unit increased by 4% to
? 2542 hours of communication support booked in 2004/5 –93% success rate
? Introduction of Irlen syndrome screening service for dyslexic students (69
students) using external service provider
? Welcome Days established as part of Access Unit‟s services
? Maintained service standards to disabled students in response to increased volume
? Provided CACDP Level 2 Electronic notetaking course to all existing operators to
ensure quality service provision
Information and advice to staff
? Admissions – working with Admissions Office to develop procedures for
identification of disabled applicants to departments
? Information session – supporting students with mental health difficulties - developed. st? Information session on disability issues provided to 1 year students in Biological
Sciences – embedded by department into induction week
? Involvement in Medical Admissions Disability Panel
? Meetings with Equality and Diversity Manager and Assistant Registrar, Teaching
Support Unit, to discuss and progress disability issues
? Membership of Equality and Diversity Working Group to ensure legislative
compliance by University
? Working collaboratively with Students Union to facilitate Disabled Students Network
– in line with DDA legislation
Information Services (internal and external)
? New Website –delayed due to staff changes until Spring 2006.
? Helpdesk – embedded service for staff enquiries
? Disability Equality training provided to all staff
? Staff working with D/deaf students gained CACDP Level 1 Deaf Awareness
qualification. Service standard for staff working directly with D/deaf students now
Deaf Awareness Level 1 and BSL Stage 2.
? Develop Access Unit as regional training centre for electronic notetakers
(accreditation achieved June 2005)
? Participate with Equality and Diversity Manager and others to develop a University
Disability Equality Scheme by December 2006 in line with new DDA legislation
? Investigate possibility of D/deaf counselling service being offered to other local HEIs
In 2004/5 the Access Unit had to respond to greater demands on its services by increased
student numbers across all disabilities, particularly in relation to dyslexic students.
Service (no. of appointments) 2003/4 2004/5
Am I dyslexic? 67 107
Post-psychological assessment 45 86
Irlen assessment 4 69
General support/DSA 22 77
This is a continuing trend, by mid October 2005 the Access Unit had 125 new student files, giving a total number of active student files of 640.
This increase in numbers is to be welcomed, as it is an indicator that disabled students are aware that services are available, and feel confident to disclose at application. However, this may well result in our having to operate waiting lists for students to cope with demand. This also affects our ability to meet target times for information provision to departments, which could put the university at risk under current legislation.
Communication support service is undertaken by 1.5 staff –demand for support services has
seen an expansion in workload, coupled with additional tasks relating to issuing of
contracts/terms and conditions for support workers to meet relevant employment legislation. The range of support workers is expanding, with the number of postgraduate note-takers
increasing. This is appropriate for subjects which do not lend themselves to electronic support – such as Science subjects or languages. All postgraduates now receive an induction
pack and are invited to support workers meetings.
Disability advice and support is offered by 1.5 staff – 1 full-time for dyslexic students, 0.5
post for all other disabilities. 2004/5 has seen an increase in the number of students disclosing mental health difficulties. This has resulted in increased workload – involving
departmental case conferences, meetings with departments and students. It is important that the university reviews provision in this area, it may be that funding of a mental health co-ordinator post should be considered as a way of improving this situation.
The Access Unit team is committed to the provision of quality services to disabled students and is working together and with others in the university to enable disabled applicants to make a smooth transition to university life and receive appropriate services to ensure an accessible university experience.
University of Bristol Chaplaincy
The Chaplaincy provides support for students and staff from all backgrounds. In the last year
we have worked to successfully strengthen relationships between the diverse faith groups in
The needs of a multicultural community, such as that of a modern university, are changing.
Chaplains strive to be forward thinking in their response to the emerging pastoral needs of
staff and students. People of varied religious and cultural backgrounds value the work of the
Chaplains. Many make good use of the centre and programme of events. The work of the
Chaplaincy is both recognised and respected outside of the immediate University community.
Issues of limited space and lack of accessibility need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
Purpose of service:
The Chaplaincy at Bristol University seeks to serve students and staff of all faiths and none
- personal support
- opportunities to explore spirituality, faith and belief
- religious advice and information
- service to the institution by engaging in and facilitating ongoing discussion,
development and co-operation with departments
- support for churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, gudwaras in their work with
and for students and staff
- Chaplains funded by various faith communities:
Anglican/Lutheran Chaplain - Full time (co-ordinating Chaplain): Jutta Mueller-
Roman Catholic Chaplain - Full time: Robert King
Orthodox Jewish Chaplain - responsible for universities in southwest England and
Wales: Natan Levy
Free Church Chaplain - Part time: David Goodall
Chaplain with the Deaf Community in Bristol: Gill Behenna
Chaplaincy Assistant - Full time: Michelle Brown (part funded by university to
provide administrative support)
- Voluntary Chaplains:
Farooq Siddique (Bristol Muslim Cultural Society) and Rabbi Francis Berry (Bristol & West
Progressive Jewish Congregation) as well as local ministers or lay people representing local Churches: Victoria Methodist, Tyndale Baptist, Redland Park URC, the Woodlands
Christian Centre, the Society of Friends, the Orthodox Church and Bristol International
Student Centre (BISC)
- Close relations exist to most of the religious student societies, including Buddhism and
Hinduism who do not have representation on the Chaplaincy team (yet).
- The team is currently undergoing a process of establishing a structural framework for its
multifaith work, which will give a better basis for the appointment and recognition as well as
(internal and external) accountability of Chaplains. This process should be completed by the
end of the Spring Term.
Chaplaincy Centre (1 Priory Road)
- The Chaplaincy Centre‟s Quiet and Common Rooms are used by different (faith) groups for events every lunchtime and most evenings during the week. (Some of these events are organised by Chaplains, others are run by students or staff) This includes Buddhist meditation, Jewish study groups, a Christian book group, meetings for prayer and discussion, lunchtime socials for students and staff, a multifaith women‟s group and the weekly Fair Trade Café, run by the UoB Fair Trade Society.
- Each day morning prayer takes place for all members of the University and is led in different Christian traditions.
- The use of the Chaplaincy Centre has increased considerably over the last twelve months. This means that the limited space allocated to the Chaplaincy and the issue of poor access needs to be addressed with some urgency. At present there is no provision for disabled access, as the only way of entering is via a very narrow and uneven pathway and steep steps. - Redecoration of the Quiet Room and installation of a counselling room have been undertaken by the Chaplains themselves.
- Conversations have begun concerning a possible relocation within the Nucleus development. This can only be seen as a long-term solution.
The Catholic Chaplaincy (103 Queen‟s Road) continues to host the celebration of Sunday
and weekday Masses as well as a programme of catechesis and topical talks. The Catholic Chaplaincy is home to a residential community of 10 students as well as the Catholic Chaplain.
- There is a steady stream of students and staff, both regular and occasional, dropping in for an informal chat, coffee, to work or to use the quiet room for prayer or reflection. Others make appointments to see Chaplains at specific times. Areas of concern include: questions of faith, problems with their course, accommodation and relationship related issues, feelings of unhappiness and depression. Chaplains are always willing to listen and talk in complete confidence and where necessary point people in the right direction for help in particular areas e.g. Student counselling, Student Health service.
- Chaplains seek to support Wardens of Halls and Hall Tutors in their pastoral work. - Chaplains have been involved in pastoral care following the death of students and staff, including the facilitating of memorial services and funerals.
- Chaplains are available to advise and where appropriate assist with weddings, baptisms, confirmation, bar/bat mitzvahs and other religious ceremonies.
Activities and events:
The Chaplaincy is heavily involved in different induction programmes for new students (including International and Postgraduate). During FRESH we serve free hot dogs, vegetarian soup and in 2005 ran a free café to welcome students to Bristol and make them aware of our service and presence in the University.
Throughout the year many events are organised by Chaplains aimed at building good relations between the faith communities and raising awareness of religious and ethical issues. - The Muslim and Jewish Chaplains organised an event to mark start of Ramadan and Rosh Hashanah in October 2005, which was well attended by students as well as members of the public.
- The Beginning of Session Service, an annual joint event with UWE, held at Bristol Cathedral was celebrated in 2005 again with contributions from various faith traditions. The attendance of the service has substantially increased compared to previous years. The guest Preacher was The Rev Carla A. Grosh-Miller and the Chancellors of both Universities joined the Academic procession.
- For the third year running, in cooperation with the Islamic Students Society the Chaplaincy organised an event for National Fast Day. The joint breaking of the fast, where people of all
faiths and none came together, was held at the Victoria Rooms and was attended by over 100 people.
- The annual University Carol Service in December 2004 was well attended. Musical Contributions were made by the University Church Choir as well as the student Gospel Choir “Revelation”. Also, a “giving tree” was placed in the Wills Memorial Building for the service. This project, which supports local charities will be continued and expanded over the thChristmas season in 2005. The next Carol Service will take place on December 13, 1.10pm
at the Great Hall, Wills Memorial Building.
- In January 2005 the Chaplaincy organised a commemoration for the victims of the Tsunami disaster. Students from the affected regions were involved in preparing the event. th- National Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27) was marked with a public
Commemorative event outside the Victoria Rooms organised by the Chaplaincy in cooperation with the Jewish Students Society and the Students Union. This event, for the second year running, attracted a large number of people from within the University and the wider public. Also, the then Lord Mayor of Bristol, Councillor Simon Cook attended the ceremony, which was covered extensively by local media.
- The Anne Spencer Memorial Sermon (an annual sermon established by the Spencer family in memory of their daughter who died tragically in 1990) was given in February 2005 by The Rt Hon. Paul Boateng, MP who spoke on “Faith and Globalisation”.
- The annual service of Thanksgiving for those who gave their bodies for the training of medical students took place in May 2005. Chaplains organise this event together with members of staff from the Anatomy Department. Both demonstrators and students expressed their gratitude towards the donors and their families, and religious texts from different faith traditions were read out.
The Chaplaincy see the welcome and on going pastoral needs of the increasing international student population as a priority. The Chaplaincy works closely with the International Students Advisory Service, Bristol International Student Centre (BISC, a local Christian charity) and student accommodation. During the welcome fortnight BISC, supported by a large number of volunteers from the local churches, welcomed over 500 (UoB and UWE) students from some 65 different countries. The Vice Chancellor met new students at a welcome meal.
Chaplains helped run workshops on cultural differences in cooperation with the International Students Advisors.
- The Chaplaincy publishes a termly magazine called „EpiScope‟: comprising articles, a
programme of events and an annual calendar of religious festivals.
- Our website: www.bris.ac.uk/Depts/Chap serves as a first point of contact for many students, is widely publicised and regularly updated and will be linked to the University‟s
The Chaplains consider the following necessary for future growth and development and plan to address them over the coming year:
-Space and facilities need urgent consideration for further development of Chaplaincy work. -Exploration of possible Chaplaincy presence and pastoral care at Langford Campus. -Offering support and information to the University on religious issues relating to the new equality and diversity legislation.
The Rev Jutta Mueller-Schnurr, Co-ordinating Chaplain, October 2005