6 petitions

Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Dr Jeremy Smith

UWTSD Lampeter Campus : Don't let us become Guinea pigs once again

The University of Wales Trinity St David's Lampeter Campus wants to implement a new style of teaching on their students and lecturers, this style of teaching is known as block teaching and to but it politely is complete absurd. Block teaching has been described as modernising the style of teaching when in fact its penalising those who are unable to attend university without working a part time job and even more so the mass amount of students (like myself) who chose this campus and university in general for its small lectures and one to ones with lecturers. Not to mention a meeting was called this evening (October 10th) where students could voice their opinions, however  no one really knew about this so called meeting therefore only  4 students actually attended; one second year and 3 first years, of which Jeremy had managed to brainwash them into thinking this idea of block teaching was the best thing since sliced bread. In an email sent on to all students on Monday the 2nd of October 2017 included an letter which briefly explains what this new style of teaching would do to our courses and when it would put into place ( the beginning of the 2018/2019 academic year ) The letter within the email states ' your programme, like all UG programmes on the Lampeter campus, will run in a series of blocks. These blocks are 5 weeks long with 4 weeks of teaching. Each module will meet four days per week for 3 hours per day (so normally 48 hours of contact per week ) to break this down the newly introduced blocking will be 3 to 4-hour lectures, 4 days a week (Mon, Tues, Thurs and Fri) for 4 weeks and then 1 week to complete essays/assignments still amounting to the amount of words that would be spread across a semester, in one week this could start from as little 2000 words but on average will more than likely be at least 4000 words.It is also only one module per block, one solid lecture so there is no variety. These lectures would take place between 9:30-12:30/1:30 so afternoons would be ‘free’ to work in group projects. group projects are now a thing that you will have to do unless student services state otherwise, basically saying a big F-you to any students who attend this university who have social anxiety of which I can assure you there is plenty.Levels would be split into blocks, level 4 (first years) in block 1 and levels 5 and 6 in block two. Levels 5 and 6  will share the same lectures at the same time but will do different essay questions of different levels/strengths, which makes no sense how can there be different strength questions for the exact same module? when a fellow student questioned Jeremy Smith (Dean for the Faculty of Humanities and Performing Arts) on how this new style of teaching would affect his staff  he replied with, “you seem to think lecturers are under a lot of stress” this really  shows how out of  touch Jeremy really is with his staff as he unable to see the rapid change that can happen to lecturers throughout the academic year. Jeremy Smith also stated  ‘many lecturers are okay with this change but some are still upset about but will soon change when the system comes in place’ which is like saying ah yes many of the people who put their heart and soul into educating the future of our society and who spend hours each week with their students are convinced this is a bad idea thus being openly against these changes implies that this ' innovative and modern' change is not a bright idea.Not only are many lecturers against this change many of the student services workers are too and if student services who work in a university campus where around  40% of the students have learning difficulties say its bad it’s obviously not a good idea.  When the second year who attended the previously stated meeting  tried to explain to Jeremy Smith that many people much like myself will find that learning only one lecture for 4 weeks to be too difficult and in the end would really mess with our heads, he replied with ‘I think it will be better and there is evidence that it works’ Lampeter is not like other university’s we do not work the same way, we are small, many of us have learning difficulties and mental health issues this will negatively affect us greatly! Which again to proves how out of touch he is with his students and their needs! when the second year student questioned Jeremy Smith on whether this new teaching style was reduce the lecturers availability to discuss essays, dissertations and general course worries Dr Smith simply stated ‘the more and longer lectures have increased contact time ’ and while it sounds great in theory its a bit more than flawed as some students like myself feel uncomfortable discussing certain things in front of large classes (which will be even larger if this block teaching system comes into place) not to mention it will be overworking the lecturers more than they already are with the current system.  Dr Jeremy Smiths best and most relevant ‘evidence’ of a blocking system working is within Carmarthen campus where they use blocking system for the performing arts students, which has a completely different teaching style and is more of a physical aspect than what most courses at Lampeter do, making this argument practically irrelevant! The only time it could possibly work at Lampeter is Archaeology excavation module, that’s it. To back to my previous statement that this new blocking system would mess up those who can only afford university even in the small town of Lampeter by working Dr Jeremy Smith offered the ever so considerate reply of  'his focus is on the academic, not whether or not Tesco's can move hours for them' ( which is a horrible answer since the closest supermarkets to us is the Co-op and Salisbury's  to but it abruptly He simply didn’t want to listen to the students arguments and kept talking over them, which in all honestly is just disrespectful. not to mention that when they were talking to new possible students in the previous academic year, one of their highlighted points was that this university was small and allowed more freedom and fluidity when choosing courses and modules. They also stated that there would be smaller classes which equals more one on one time with students. They can't just go back on what they promised hundreds of possible students when trying to make this university appealing to them.  To sum up this argument, the students who finished College/Sixth form in 2017 were guinea pigs for the new A-Levels and that effect was seen throughout the grades, and I like many other first year students refuse to be another specimen for the educational system to test things on, as will the students who arrive next year and the people in the years ahead. I urge people to sign this petition as its unfair and cruel on not only the students but also the lectures. We're not paying £9,250 a year to become a play toy for the university.  I'd like to thank the second year student Jess for sharing her notes on the meeting as it seems no one else had any idea that this meeting was even taking place!

Hollie Mcdonald
666 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Justine Greening MP, Caroline Dinenage MP

Every child deserves a childhood and an education that is the BEST and not STRESSED!

We are living in one of the few countries in the world where our children start formal schooling at the age of 4. Our newspapers are full of stories about children's mental health, children failing in basic skills, children behaving anti socially, and teachers leaving in droves. Our National Curriculum is constantly moving the goalposts with children's heads being filled with knowledge that many adults either never learned, or if they did it was much later, perhaps in secondary or higher education. My own son explained to me what a 'subordinate clause' was. I have written 5 books for teachers,  numerous articles and yet have somehow succeeded in writing and actually ENJOYED the process without needing this technical vocabulary. If we consider what our future generations need, we will see they need strong communication skills, strong personal, social and emotional development, strong physical skills, embedded concrete literacy and maths skills, an understanding of and respect for their world and creativity. They need characteristics such as resilience, perseverance, creative thinking, the ability to solve problems, think outside the box, independence, risk taking, confidence and the ability to learn from mistakes as they grow in a world which is a challenging place to be...and becoming more so by the day. The irony of all of the above is that we have a curriculum in England that delivers all this and more. The only problem is it ends when children leave Reception classes. Increasingly worryingly, for many children, it is ending in the Reception classes due to pressures to be so called "National Curriculum" ready! Many children even at aged 3 and 4 are spending days at tables, being tested, completing worksheets and being forced to write when all the evidence shows us that they need to be moving, doing, exploring, experiencing, feeling, seeing.  These young children are being damaged and as a society we will pay the price in years to come when our world needs inventors, risk takers, entrepreneurs, and LEADERS! Our current education system of doing more earlier in a bid to catch up with our international counterparts is dangerous, and not preparing children for the world in which they will live as adults.   So please please let's extend the developmentally appropriate, child centred, tried and tested approaches used in Early Years education and the term "Early Years" to encompass children from birth to 7 or even it did on my teaching degree and in my nursery nursing qualification.   Look abroad at nations like Finland where this is just what happens.  Their children are thriving and out performing ours.  Our children (and their families and teacher's) are tired, stressed, pressured and fed up. Children as young as 4 are switched off and see learning as boring.... It's time to extend the tried and tested, researched, proven approaches of early education into Key Stage 1. Let's see a focus on areas of real learning AND development, not just abstract subject knowledge AND with a focus on the statutory Characteristics of Effective Learning..those essential learning behaviours which set us up for life and the challenges we face in it daily! Lets see children's well being and mental health as crucial! Let's put them at the heart of education...otherwise who is it for? Let's make sure everyone working with children (not just the youngest ones) understand child development, how children learn and the power of play for all! Let's stop the testing, stop the inappropriate practice and make a change for our children, their families and our educational workforce. Let's make a change for the future. WB Yeats stated that: "Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire". It's time to find the matches...

Keeping Early Years Unique
21,869 supporters
This petition won 9 months ago

Petition to University of Sussex

Petition on making futher changes to new Tutor Contract at University of Sussex

We, the undersigned, wish to voice our concerns about the terms of the new Tutor Contract at the University of Sussex, due to come into force in January 2017. While we greatly appreciate the move away from zero-hours contracts and the security offered with holiday pay and sick pay, we have concerns about the specifics of the terms.  Teaching is a crucial skill for employability. PGR students who have had the opportunity to teach have been equipped with skills and gone on to secure good employment posts on the basis of their research AND teaching experience. We understand that data shows there is no substantial link to demonstrate that PGR students who are doing more teaching are also submitting their thesis late. Imposing teaching restrictions onto PGR students and current postgraduate ATs is thus patronizing, because it assumes they cannot make appropriate decisions about their career development and studies. The current changes have created an unequal two-tier system, with some PGRs receiving more benefits than others. We believe that it is not reasonable to extend a cap on hours for funded PGR students to those students who are not funded, who are most in need of reliable work to support their studies. Additional harm will be done also to part-time PGR students and current postgraduate ATs who teach our students. Most part-time students are only part time for financial reasons, and placing restrictions on the number of hours they are allowed to work seriously jeopardises their future here as PhD students. The same applies to our postgraduate ATs whose contribution to our teaching is undeniable and whose future careers are about to take off yet need a steady transition which their home institution should support.    Essentially, those restrictions will push PGR students - funded or not funded, full-time or part-time, home or international - and our postgraduate ATs outside the university to take up other work that is likely to have less relevance to their studies and be less helpful to their future employability. Last but not least, the proposed changes could have a detrimental impact on the experience of undergraduate students, if the class sizes were to increase; and on faculty research outputs and funding, if their teaching load was to increase as a consequence of limited PGR teaching responsibilities, which have been valued by students and staff alike. We propose:  1. Remove caps on hours and instead provide guidance and safeguards for Heads of Schools and supervisors to make individual decisions on quantity of PGR teaching, with respect to thesis completion.  2. In the interests of equality, remove the pro rata basis of work for part-time PGR students, who tend to be the ones who are in most need of funds to support their degree, and are disproportionately women.  3. Lift the restriction of no teaching after the viva. A more suitable cut-off date would be when the final thesis is submitted after revisions or corrections. Please sign with your name, title, affiliation and employment/student status (such as full-time/part-time staff member, AT, full-time/part-time PhD student, undergraduate). You can remain anonymous if you choose. You can add it to the comments box. Thank you.

Evie Browne
526 supporters
Started 9 months ago

Petition to Sir David Melville, Pearson, Edexcel, John fallon, The Rt Hon. Justine Greening MP

Reform the Critical Thinking A Level curriculum to continue the subject's teaching.

In a time of 'alternative facts', #FakeNews, and a so-called 'post-truth' era, the validity and reputation of news sources is crucial for constructive debate. Critical Thinking is a worthwhile A Level encouraging students to evaluate evidence we've been presented with, and encourages productive and critical discussion. Through Critical Thinking, one develops the ability to think clearly and rationally, understanding the logical connection between ideas. It is about being an active learner rather than a passive recipient of information, which is a very valuable skill to hold. Critical thinkers rigorously question ideas and assumptions rather than accepting them at face value, and can see varying perspectives on some of the most controversial and relevant topics of the day. From TED talks to debate motions, Critical Thinking gives an open and evolving curriculum that gives an insight into the world around us and the news, as it happens.    OCR have classed Critical Thinking as unreformable, much to the dissatisfaction of students up and down the country ( We're calling on Pearson (Edexcel) to continue the subject, and work with subject leaders and lecturers who value the teaching of the subject as much as we, the students, value learning it. Our Further Education provision is greatly enhanced because of Critical Thinking. We believe the next students deserve the opportunity, too.   

Kira Lewis
56 supporters