Category Archives: .Vice President Faculty of Education

All blogs from Tamara Giles – Vice President Faculty of Education.

The End is Nigh

And so today brings to a close this academic year for most – with many receiving their overall classifications. It also sees my reign as Vice President Faculty of Education draw to a close too. Under normal circumstances I would continue in my new role as President from Monday, but as the SU has changed the dates of Sabbatical Officers’ contracts for next year I don’t resume until August.

This means that unlike any officer before me, I actually get a ‘mini’ summer break. I’m down in Exeter next week for the NUS Awards to see if we win the ‘Small SU of the Year’ award and will be attending a Board of Governor’s meeting the week after, but other than that July is work-free for me 🙂 I’m off to France at the back end with my family which should be fun!

One thing I will be missing out on is the Graduation Ceremonies and having the pleasure of watching many of you graduate (as well as some amazing food at the Graduation Lunches), but as I will be working through till August next year I will get the chance to see many others this time next year and at December’s ceremonies. Rumour has it, that our outgoing President Colin has received a personal invite to one of the Lunches from no less than the Chancellor herself, Tanya Byron.

I would love to spend time talking about all the things we’ve done this year as a team but the report we submitted to Academic Board and the Board of Governors on that exact topic contained over 3 pages of bullet points so I won’t bore you with it. Safe to say it has been the SU’s most successful year to date and our shortlisting for Small SU of the Year against just two other institutions reflects that. I hope many of you have felt some of the positive impacts of the things we have been doing on your behalf and no doubt there will be a whole host of positive things which have happened which you had no idea we were behind or involved in. We are employing a Communications member of staff over the summer for just such reasons! To continue to get the message out there about who we are and what we’re doing.

It’s safe to say I’m really looking forward to taking up my role as President of the SU from August and continuing to move this Union forward and improving students’ lives here at Edge Hill. In the meantime I hope you all have a fantastic summer and to all those who are graduating I wish you all the best for the future. You know you’re always welcome to come and see us or pop by any time to see how we’re getting on.

Finally just a quick thank you to my colleagues this year Colin, Billy, Nat and all the staff team here at EHSU.

Vice President Faculty of Education and President-elect

What do you think of the library?????

Hi everyone

On the 19th June I am on a panel which is assessing the current library facilities. Part of the day is set aside for asking students their thoughts. Therefore I am trying to get as many students to come along for an hour to have your say on the library facilities, what you want in there and how can it be improved? So if you can spare an hour 1-2pm on the 19th June, I’d be grateful if you could come along. It is in the FAS Boardroom in the LINC building on Ormskirk campus and lunch is provided.

If you would like to attend then just let me know in the comments box below or via the usual communication methods found at the bottom of this blog. If you can’t make it but would still like to have your say then feel free to leave any relevant comments which I can then take to the panel.

Best wishes and I hope you are all well 🙂
Vice President Faculty of Education and President-elect

01695 657310
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation
Facebook: Ehsu VPFacultyofEducation

I’m Back Part 1

Howdy folks

It’s Elliott here, remember that guy who used to blog every so often! What a glorious day we have upon us today, in fact, what a fantastic week of weather we’ve had. Just hoping it continues into the weekend so I myself can get out in it and get a bit of tanning and ‘audiobooking’ done. Plus it’s your VP Faculty of Arts and Science’s wedding on Sunday too so would be nice if we got good weather for that too!

Anyway, I’m aware of just how long it’s been since I last blogged, but I’m not going to bore you and go into every single thing I’ve done since you last heard from me. In fact it’s been that long that this is my first blog since winning the Presidency in the SU elections, which themselves feel like a lifetime ago. Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for me and hopefully I won’t let you down in the upcoming academic year. In fact, much of what I’ve been doing of late, has been more under the remit of that role than my current VP role in all honesty and I’m sure you’ll recognise this when reading through some of the key things I’ve been up to below. Colin himself will say that the President-elect position is a role in itself, as everyone wants my input and views as future President as much as they do Colin’s as outgoing.

Anyway, here’s a summary of some of the key things I/we have been up to:

  • I met with the Pro-Vice Chancellor Resources and the Head of IT Services back in April to discuss IT provision and working space around campus. As a result of that meeting many things are being considered and started on including:

–       More plug sockets in The Hub and library (and not just round the edges)

–       More PC’s in The Hub and library (not Macs)

–       Bespoke course-specific software (Photoshop, Final Cut Pro etc) on some 24/7 computers i.e. The LINC. Adobe Creative suite has already been installed on 3 macs in LINC but there have been some issues with Final Cut so this is on standby

–       Space for those working on laptops in The LINC.

–       Phones on the first floor of The Hub linking to different helpdesks so students can phone for support rather than having to go and find someone in a different building.

–       Basically re-designing the top floor of The Hub with the Head of IT and Director of Facilities Management (FM) to accommodate for both social activities and those wanting a proper working environment.

–       Possibility of an Interactive Whiteboard in one of the group rooms in the library

  • Various meetings and requests which have led to the laundrette being expanded. Hopefully this will see the number of machines doubled over the summer
  • After much hard work, the Accommodation Team have allowed the April intake of nurses to apply for halls accommodation from September, where in the past they have had to move out to make way for the much larger September intake of students. This has made life much easier and less stressful for these students who find it difficult enough integrating into University life in their small group at such a strange time of the year.
  • I’ve also been looking into the issue of that the Year 1 and 2 Key Stage 2/3 students have been having regarding the lateness of their placements (on into July). This is still being looked at, but they are able to reside in halls for the time after their current housing contracts  expire  and hopefully this will be paid for by the FoE (fingers crossed).
  • The Semi-Naked Sport Relief Calendar launched at the back end of March and has helped us raise money for Sport Relief. After much hard work by the lead photographer & editor and I, I’m pleased to say the end result was fantastic and the feedback from those involved and those buying it has echoed that sentiment. Being the over ambitious person I am, I ordered lots of the calendars and so we do still have some left. As we covered costs a while ago literally all £6 goes to charity, so if anyone would like one or fancies being generous then come and grab yourself a copy from the SU J
  • After research undertaken with students I delivered a report to the Faculty of Ed’s Senior Leadership Team on this role and how it can be approved. As a result next year Alex should be able to visit more lectures, not only at the beginning of the academic year but further down the line to keep students up to date with what she’s been doing and keep an ear to the ground on any burning issues. Also the SU and FoE will do a better job of informing staff about the role and integrating it into their thinking and support mechanisms. Movement is already underway on this with the Primary and Early Years area including the VP FoE’s contact details and description in their module handbooks for next year.
  • I have also sat on a thematic enquiry panel which has been looking at student induction and how it can be improved. Research that I carried out with both current and prospective students has played a large part in recommendations the panel has made to the University regarding student induction. Such recommendations include basic timetables being made available 6-weeks before the course starts, enrolment being 100% online and evaluating that ‘First Week’ of teaching in the same way that normal modules are, to ensure that induction activities are successful and ‘of worth’ to students.
  • I was the speaker at our annual Sports Awards, which seemed to be a very successful night and enjoyed by those who were present
  • I was also present at our Graduation Ball, which saw over 450 beautifully-dressed students flock to Aintree racecourse. Again this seemed to be enjoyed by the majority of those that attended and the views before the sun went down were fantastic.

Please read Part 2 too…!!

Elliott 🙂

I’m Back – Part 2

…Following on from Part 1

Finally a few bits of information to give you and some questions I’m hoping you could feedback to me on…

Firstly, Patricia Burgess – the Programme Leader for Early Years Professional Status, has asked me to inform as many students as possible about the course. It is fully funded by the Government (rare in this day in age and unlikely to last long) and also comes with a £3.5k bursary so provides finance too. It is also an excellent stepping stone to a career in working with children (especially young children) and is a great addition to your CV. It also comes with lots of placements so is good experience for any student. The course is 12-months Full Time and can be undertaken at Ormskirk, Chorley the Wirral and others. So if you’re graduating this year are aren’t sure what you want to do yet or are struggling to find employment, then why not consider this course as an option for the next 12 months. Money, experience and further qualifications!!! Can’t say fairer than that. Any student with a degree (or completing one) can apply 🙂

If you would like more info, visit or contact Lindy Jones on 01257 517127, Jill Houghton on 01257 517126 or email for an application form or further information.

Outside of this I’m sat on a scoping group looking at Apps and mobile friendly websites that Edge Hill could invest in. I have discussed that such technology could resolve issues that current students at Edge Hill have and as a result have been asked to go away and list any students problems seem to have and an app that might help it. One example would be that Ormskirk-based students often complain that they can’t find a free computer at peak times. Therefore an app which highlighted where free computers around campus are could help.

So my question to you is exactly that. With no boundaries or restrictions to your imagination what issues you have could be solved by an app. The more imaginative the better 🙂

As stated in the bullets above, I’m looking at the use of The Hub. How could we improve The Hub and what would make the upstairs area more appropriate for a working environment? Again, feel free to be imaginative.

And finally, I’m currently looking at bulking up Freshers’ Week and putting on events outside of the obvious night time activities which take place. We are already in discussions with the Rose Theatre about putting on films, comedy nights etc but even during the day – what kind of things would really improve Freshers’ Week and would have made your experiences better when you first arrived?


Thanks for reading folks and any questions at all you know where I am J
Vice President Faculty of Education and President-elect

01695 657310
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation
Facebook: Ehsu VPFacultyofEducation

I’m told my teeth are in ‘very good’ shape (and other news)

Good afternoon Edge Hillians

Fresh from the dentist I thought I’d update you all on some of the many things that I’ve been up to as well as some of the general developments across the University over the last month or so. I’m aware of just how long my last email was detailing what we’d done in the first semester, although I’m sure you’ll understand why that was and I urge you to have a brief glance at it if you haven’t already. But I will do my best to keep this one as brief as possible

  • Expansion – In the middle of January we found out that after years and years of trying the University’s plan to expand into the Green Belt land to the eastern side of campus has been accepted. Providing the Secretary of State gives it the ok and the 21-day period passes without a hitch then the University can get on with their next big project which will see new halls, a new bypass road, a permanent car park and new sports facilities amongst other things. More info on this (and videos of the proposed build) can be found here:
  • New Bus Contract – From next Monday (6th) the new Strawberry buses will take over running the Edge Link. I am told that ‘Optare Tempos will be used for the Edgelink Service. These will provide improved accessibility for passengers and increased capacity in comparison with the current Solo vehicles’, which is good news for all those who have waited in the cold only to be told they can’t fit on. In addition to this we have been told by Facilities Management (FM) that the situation will be monitored and there is potential for more buses to be put on during peak times. The timetable will remain the same but the bus will now stop at any stops on St Helen’s road on the way, meaning you can get off at Small Lane for example rather than having to go all the way to the Bus Station. Finally as the 319 bus is run by Strawberry buses, students (and staff) will also be able to use this bus service on production of their Edge Hill card. This is an extra option every hour for students to get to Edge Hill from Ormskirk as the 319 stops at the bus stop outside Edge Hill on its route. More information on all of this will be published by FM over the next week.
  • Library – I met with the Helen Jamieson who is the Customer Services Manager for Learning Services recently to discuss a number of things library + learning space related. One of the outcomes which has derived from this discussion is that the library has managed to secure some more computers on the top floor which is good news. The University is also looking into the possibility of introducing wireless printing so students can print directly from their laptops rather than having to transfer to one of the University’s static computers but this isn’t confirmed yet. There are a number of other things we are looking into, in particular how The Hub could be used to provide extra learning space but I will feedback  to you on these things as they arise. Any feedback on anything Learning Services related or your thoughts on the use of The Hub would be welcomed.
  • Preliminary Placements – This time of year sees a large proportion of education students go out on their preliminary placements. Although providing students with an excellent opportunity to get to know their schools, children, staff and frameworks I have swiftly found that they also cause a lot of trouble and anxiety for those without a placement. As the Faculty don’t class trainees as ‘delayed’ until their block starts many of the support frameworks in place for delayed trainees don’t kick in at the start of these prelims meaning many trainees are left feeling frustrated and lost. I have been working tirelessly since December to improve this support and we have made some improvements. Unplaced trainees will now be contacted directly before placement details are released so they aren’t shocked or disappointed to find out when all their peers do. All unplaced trainees now receive a weekly email summarising all the things they need to know about placement and this has been constructed based on information unplaced trainees have asked both the Faculty and I about. Finally I have talked to both the Head of Partnerships and the Dean of the Faculty about the possibility of feeding back to trainees about schools they submit via a PAF form, so they know when a school has been contacted and why it is or is not appropriate for them. Obviously at the end of the day no one will be completely happy until they get a placement but the least that can be done is make that the only frustration. Any feedback on any of this would also be welcomed.
  • Semi-Naked Sports Relief Calendar – I am leading this project which aims to do a ‘calendar girls’ type shoot which will see some of our sports teams ‘bear all’ (or at least ‘bear most’) for Sports Relief. The shoots will be taking place this month with the aim of having the ‘Grand Launch’ on Friday 23rd March. Any students reading this who are part of a sports teams and don’t know about it, make sure you ask your captains as well as joining the following facebook group which has all the info you need:
    For the rest of you, make sure you get saving your pennies so you can buy one of these great calendars all in aid of a good cause!
  • Academic Issues – As always I continue to represent and support Faculty of Education students in all things academic. Many issues have come to me recently regarding the non-QTS Undergraduate Professional Development (PD) courses which I have been chasing up in various avenues. I met with the Dean and Associate Dean last Friday to discuss some current issues and will be meeting with the Head and Associate Head of PD tomorrow afternoon to discuss many of these in more detail. As always if you have any problems that you don’t want to raise through the Faculty or you feel aren’t getting responded to then contact me via any of the means given at the bottom.

Thanks for reading and I hope this finds you all fit and well. Moreover good luck to all of you who are currently out on placement or are about to embark on one. There’s the odd day when I miss the little blighters I have taught over the years 🙂

Vice President Faculty of Education

01695 657310
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation
Facebook: Ehsu VPFacultyofEducation

Faculty Forum – 12pm and 1pm in Hub 3

Drop-in Surgeries:
Tues 7th Feb 9:00am – 2:00pm
Weds 15th 9:00am – 12:00pm
Thurs 23rd 1:30pm – 5:00pm
Fri 2nd March 10:00am – 1:00pm
Mon 5th March 11:00am – 2:00pm

A look back on Semester #1

Hi folk and Happy New Year!

Welcome back to most of you and to those of you that are still on your Christmas holidays I envy you very much. Having been allowed the luxury of lie ins over the Christmas period I can’t tell you how hard it has been getting up these first three mornings back. How much I long for my comfy, warm bed on a cold, windy, dull morning such as today I can’t tell you.

Anyway, before we broke up for Christmas the other sabbatical officers and I decided to get together and note down all the things we (with the help of our great staff team) had done in the first semester (well, since we started on July 1st) and I thought I would pass this information on to all of you, to give you an idea of why we’re here and the kind of things we get up to on your behalf.

A comprehensive list of everything we could think of goes as follows:

–       Pontins – over the summer Colin (President) in particular was instrumental in the discussion taking place regarding the buses (making them free and the timetables) and the Internet provision there, fighting on behalf of the new first years who were going to be living there.

–       We have run a large campaign in the first semester to collate a list of all hidden fees or in other words, all costs a student incurs on top of their tuition fees, with a view to having them removed. Such costs include: kit, placement transport, books, field trips, printing etc etc. We have met with Directorate about this on two occasions now and are working with them to work out the best way of resolving some of these costs.

–       Billy (VP Faculty of Arts and Science) with the help of some our SU staff has successfully lobbied the University to provide Council Tax Exemption forms for students who are studying a Part-Time year on a Full-Time course i.e. resitting certain modules. Something the University was previously not doing and which in turn has put a significant amount of money back into students’ pockets.

–       Billy has also been working with the local council to implement an accreditation scheme which will vet the houses of those landlords who sign up, to ensure they meet a set standard of quality. This is being launched on 14th February, or for you lovebirds out there – Valentines Day. The long-term aim: obviously to improve the standard of student accommodation in Ormskirk.

–       There will also be very detailed accommodation content and advice on our website very shortly which will hopefully help students when selecting and living in student accommodation.

–       Natalie (VP Faculty Health & Social Care) has been looking at teaching and enhancing learning within the faculty – finding out what students say is good and what would be useful and sharing this across all areas within the Faculty.

–       We launched our new website in the last term and Colin has done lots of work on the site to make it as useful to students as possible. The site will hopefully provide much, much more over the coming months and years.

–       The first semester also saw the launch of our first ever radio station L:39 radio. It allows any students to get involved with broadcasting whether it be for enjoyment and entertainment or to increase their skills and employability.

–       The same can be said for our new online magazine ‘Vibe’ which will be launching soon and also our TV station which we hope to get underway with once the new magazine is up and running. Again these provide you the students with the chance to not only get involved with something fun and have your voice heard but also improve your employability.

–       In his role as SU President Colin is also a Governor. The University and its Vice Chancellor are accountable to the governors and they oversee what it does and the direction the University takes. In this capacity he has developed much stronger links with the governors and encouraged them to interact more with students which led to two of the governors attending our AGM.

–       At our AGM in November we had the Vice Chancellor of the University Dr John Cater present and answer questions. This was a great chance for students to talk directly to the person responsible for running the University and led to the Vice Chancellor agreeing to invest £50k into more books for the library.

–       The three Vice Presidents in particular have supported students on various panels whether they are Appeals, Disciplinary, Malpratice or Fitness for Practice, helping them prepare for and often accompanying them at the panel.

–       We were instrumental in securing more computers in the library.

–       We have also triggered a price review by Facilities Management in Sages.

–       We have linked some students’ courses (BA Advertising and BA Web Systems Development Development) with a real life client by involving them in our website and magazine development as part of their coursework with the aim of increasing their chances of employment when they graduate.

–       Working with Careers to identify pitfalls in various Edge Hill courses’ employability skills and trying to find resolutions.

–       Over the first semester we held a number of Part-Time Focus Groups within each faculty to identify the issues of Part-Time students and what we can do for them. Information from this has been collated and put into an NUS report and will formulate how we go about better engaging with and catering for our Part-Time students.

–       Natalie and I have also held several drop-in surgeries in our faculties as another way of interacting with students and ‘putting ourselves out there so to speak’. Much important information has been collected via this method.

–       I divulged a whole host of issues with the Dean of the Faculty of Education and Head of Secondary Education regarding the Secondary Mathematics course and made recommendations. These meetings led to a number of changes and improvements being made.

–       Raised problems with an unauthorised company who had accessed both the campus and certain lectures within the FoE to both the Pro Vice Chancellor Resources and various members of the FoE including the Dean. Ensured that procedures were put in place to prevent similar things happening in the future.

–       Worked alongside the Head of Professional Development within the FoE to make positive changes to some of the Undergraduate Non-QTS courses including adding an extra module option which has proven to be very popular.

–       Been involved in the re-validation of the Primary & Early Years courses highlighting what I felt was good and what could be improved or included.

–       Course Rep system – the SU has responsibility for this entire system and provides training for all course reps. In addition the VP’s in particular have been meeting with their respective course reps to discuss what they understand the role to be and how to go about making positive change.

–       All three VP’s have visited students at some of our various Outreach/Satellite Campuses (Hopwood, Shrewsbury, Manchester and Aintree) to ensure that the SU is representing ALL its students and not just those who study in Ormskirk.

–       The SU has been looking at security across the campus (lighting, CCTV, barriers) and will continue to try and improve these things in the next semester.

–       Natalie worked with the Faculty to redesign the module evaluation forms so that they were more user friendly and asked the really pivotal questions.

–       We held a Mental Health Awareness Day which took place in The Hub and had a number of different companies and charities attend.

–       We have worked with Admissions to look at the customer service provided when students are going through the admissions process and how it can be improved.

–       Issues have been raised and recommendations made regarding placements in both the FoH and the FoE.

–       Made a conscious effort to shift our image through our rebranding, the way we dress and even the way our offices are now set up to ensure we are representing all our students (mature and part-time included) and portray the fact that we are a professional organisation.

–       The SU also removed its Student Council in the first semester. The Student Council was originally set up to get students involved in what happens at the Union and the University itself. However in recent years it has been felt that Council was doing the opposite of this as it appeared to be only allowing a select few students to actually have any influence over what the SU did i.e. if you weren’t elected you couldn’t get involved. By removing it, the hope is that all students feel they can now get involved if they want to. If a student has an interest in the environment for example they don’t need to be elected to an ‘environment officer’ role, they can simply come in, tell us about it and get on with whatever it is they want to do.

–       I have planned to undertake both a Lipdub project and a semi-naked sports calendar this year too of which I hope both will get underway very soon.

–       We have been involved in research with Student Services to find out what students want from the campus over the next few years.

–       Of large importance is the fact that through our new sabbatical structure we have interacted and worked heavily with both the Faculty of Health & Social Care and the Faculty of Education. Both of which we have often neglected in the past.

–       We have made inroads to improve our relationship with the University College Union (UCU) and met with them less than a week before the ‘Day of Action’, meaning we were able to advise students on what was happening and what action they could take.

–       We have worked with IT Services to provide better wireless access on campus.

–       Colin has also been asked to submit an article on our Alternative Prospectus to ‘Spotlight’ NUS’ national magazine. This will inevitably raise the profile of Edge Hill University and encourage other SU’s to undertake similar projects.

–       Colin has been influential in linking Postgraduate research students with Solstice which provides further opportunities for them to enhance their learning.

–       We have also promoted and aided the student support groups which has resulted in increased numbers.

–       We are looking into the potential of having an external, professional body come in later this year and research what you the students want from the SU.

–       We have been involved in discussions regarding the buses and have relayed students’ concerns and problems with the current service. Hopefully students will begin to see some changes later this semester.

–       Dealt with issues raised by a Key Stage 2/3 cohort regarding a particular tutor.

–       Helped numerous students with placement problems particularly those with transport issues.

–       Managed to get a student on a PGCE course extra time to acquire their required enrolment documentation when otherwise they would have been withdrawn from the course.

–       Also helped introduce a placement training plan which will be used with delayed trainees within some areas of the FoE.

–       Helping students to understand how the placement system works within the FoE and manage students’ expectations.

–       We have supported students in internal investigations and helped them write statements.

–       Made a landlord change the standards of a house based on visits from both the SU and the Council.

–       Natalie highlighted concern about the FoH not allowing pregnant students on placements.

–       We have set up the first ever Edge Hill ‘University Challenge’ team.

–       Helped a sport student withdrawn from their course get back on.

–       Supported a student who was being sexually harassed on placement.

–       We have also seen a dramatic rise in the number of societies we have over the last semester and much of this is likely down to the fact we now have a dedicated Societies Officer in one our members of staff Tina. They are a great way to have fun and make new friends.

–       The SU was obviously responsible for setting up both Freshers Week and Freshers Fair and all four sabbatical officers were heavily involved in the running of these events.

–       We have been involved in the recruitment of next year’s Student Assistants (SA’s)

–       During Open Days both in evenings and on Saturdays we have been present to talk to prospective students and inform them of what they can expect from the SU if they decide to come to Edge Hill.

–       We have secured several students places in halls who originally missed out.

–       Daily we provide students with advice and guidance on various issues and queries whether this is in person, via email or phone or our many other outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, our website etc.

–       We have helped students to put their posters up across the numerous television screens around campus advertising various things.

–       Over the summer we helped some of the April intake nurses to get PDP folders having originally been told that they wouldn’t receive them.

–       Natalie and I have met with students looking at the prospect of setting up a ‘Fifa Tournament’ in The Hub and utilising the 126” screen in there.

I’m sure there are other things we have forgotten or couldn’t think of at the time  but I think this is probably enough for now. For those of you who have made it to this point a huge congratulations and thank you as I know it isn’t the shortest thing to read. Hopefully you can all find something that affects or relates to you in this extensive list and it gives you an idea of what we’ve been doing and will continue to work on.

Many thanks
Vice President Faculty of Education

01695 657310
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation
Facebook: Ehsu VPFacultyofEducation

The Edge Link Bus

Two blogs in two days??? Not quite sure what’s happening to me. Just a very quick one to say that we are aware of the problems students are facing getting on the Edge Link bus at peak times and we have been working with FM on this issue for some time.

Hopefully in the new year we will gradually start to see some changes to this which I can’t go into right now as nothing has been finalised. But rest assured we are aware of the problems and we are trying to work with the University to solve them.

Many thanks
Vice President Faculty of Education
01695 657310
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation
Facebook: Ehsu VPFacultyofEducation

Placements, placements, placements…

Hi folks

Yes, it’s that time of the year when a number of our undergraduate teacher trainees find out where they are going to be placed (or not in some circumstances). As always there are many students who have taken issue with this whole process whether they haven’t been allocated a placement yet, they have been given a placement which is inappropriate for any number of reasons or simply that they don’t feel they have been communicated with effectively. However what has been different this year, is unlike in the past when those students would only be able to raise these concerns internally within the Faculty they now have somebody else to moan to… ME! Yes this last week has seen a significant increase in students contacting me through any number of means: email, phone, drop-in surgeries, facebook account…

All joking aside though I think it shows the importance of having somebody representing education students who has been through the system. As many of you know I studied Primary Education myself and graduated over the summer. As has been the case for many of you at some point in your Edge Hill experience I was late placed for my final year synoptic placement so I understand the anxieties and frustrations. However after working with the Partnership team very closely behind the scenes please believe me when I say they are working extremely hard to get you all a suitable, good quality placement. The difficulties of trying to place hundreds to thousands of students in the North-West at any one time is obviously a very difficult one. The North-West is home to the three biggest teacher training providers in the country and therefore schools have the pick of the bunch and to some extent much of the control and until the government makes it compulsory for schools to take on teacher trainees like hospitals do with trainee practitioners and nurses this will always be the case. It is for this reason that I don’t envy the job that they have to do. Nevertheless as I have said on many occasions before it is imperative that the Faculty supports all students through this process and communicates with them effectively.

I have been working closely with Greg Parker (Assistant Head of Primary & Early Years) recently and I know he has been developing a training plan for any trainee within the area who isn’t placed when the block starts which will help you understand how your timetable in school will be affected, any extensions on assignments that may be required as well as providing tasks or workshops for you to undertake so you’re not sat twiddling your thumbs.

If anybody reading this is having any trouble at all or has any questions surrounding the process then please feel free to contact me via any of the methods highlighted at the bottom of this blog.

At this point I’m going to take the opportunity to advertise my Faculty Forum which is taking place tomorrow 1-3pm in Hub 3. I don’t expect it to last 2 hours by any means but having such a slot allows for students who don’t get out of lectures for example, to turn up when they want. This is a free-for-all where anything goes so please feel free to come along equipped with any questions, issues, concerns or praises that you would like to talk to me about and hopefully we might just be able to bring about some positive changes J

Monday sees the end of the beginning of our ‘Hidden Fees’ campaign which aims to eradicate all costs that students accrue on the course surplus to their tuition fees. Examples include books, kit, printing, resources, trips etc. We have collated and compiled a list of all these costs and will be taking them to Directorate (the guys that run the uni) on Monday. If you have any examples of these at all on your course then please leave them in the comments box below or again contact me via any of the methods listed at the bottom. This is your last chance to potentially get rid of any extra charges for future students that you have had to incur.

In other news I have finally gotten round to sorting out a new LipDub group after the last one decided it wasn’t going to allow me to message any of its members. You can find the group here and see some examples in the description.

I am also beginning to plan some of the necessary background information required in order to produce a Semi-naked Sports Calendar for Sport Relief in March. No doubt our sports teams will be hearing from me relatively soon.

I think that’s enough from me anyway guys. Once again I’ve waffled on far more than I would have liked. Many thanks for reading and as always if you have anything you want to ask or talk about then contact me J

Vice President Faculty of Education
01695 657310
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation
Facebook: Ehsu VPFacultyofEducation

It’s been a while…

Once again I’ve been slacking on the old blog front. Having met with lots of students over this past month I think we really underestimate how many of you read these blogs. I promise from now on I will try and keep to one a week as it’s of vital importance to me that you guys know what I’ve been doing.

I could go on all day listing the different things I’ve been up to of late but I’ll do my best to summarise:

I’ve held two part-time focus groups this last week as part of a project we are running at the SU to better engage with part-time students. Many thanks to all those that attended, (those in Shrewsbury didn’t get a choice) and if there are any part-time students reading this who have a spare 5-10 minutes to write an email to me detailing what it’s like to be a PT student, any issues you have or if there’s anything more either the uni or the SU could be doing for you I’d be grateful. All the feedback we are receiving goes into a report for NUS but will also be relayed to the relevant members of staff in the uni and any issues will try to be resolved.

I visited our Shrewsbury campus again this week (my second time) with Learning Services and had a great time chatting to a lot of the students there and getting to know them all a little better. The aim is to ensure that all students no matter where they are know what the SU does but more significantly to know that they are as important to us as any of our other 24000+ members! (And I sincerely hope so seeing as this day was also my birthday and I didn’t get back till 7pm!)

After months and months of trying I still have less than 100 followers on twitter and therefore decided to set up a facebook account for my role as well. Anybody reading this please add me as it’s the best way to keep up to date with what I’m doing. My Facebook name is Ehsu VP FacultyofEducation and my twitter feed is @EHSUvpeducation.

A quick note to mention that we have our Annual General Meeting (AGM) at 5:30pm on Monday (21st) in Wilson 1. Please do come along and see what we’ve been up to over the past year. The Vice Chancellor Dr John Cater will also be giving a talk on why Edge Hill is worth £9k a year. This is not only the perfect opportunity for you to ask any questions of your Students’ Union but also those responsible for running the University!

Recently I have been working closely with the Head of Professional Development in the Faculty of Education to resolve any concerns or problems students on the ‘non-QTS’ courses have been airing and have been instrumental in creating a series of changes to these courses which are currently being reviewed at various committees and boards.

As the others have mentioned we are attempting to abolish all hidden fees for the year beginning Sept 2012 and I am therefore still busy collating all costs which students incur within my faculty. If anybody has any extra costs they have had to pay (on top of your tuition fee) please send the info over to me or leave a comment here.

The most frustrating thing for me recently has been my LipDub project. I have been desperate to get moving with focus groups etc but unfortunately the facebook event (which has 1000) people in it is refusing to play ball and therefore my messages about it aren’t being received. I had planned two focus groups with students who have expertise of knowledge in the world of media, film and production to iron out what was and wasn’t possible with this project and was also looking for students to design a new logo for the event but as I say unfortunately the facebook event hasn’t been sending my messages to anyone but myself. While I try to solve these issues please continue to join the event, invite your friends and spread the word!/event.php?eid=127613200661795

Finally, demonstrating our wider role I am now on the Sports steering group. This is the group which makes all the decisions regarding competitive sport at Edge Hill. This means that two of your elected officers (Colin and I) are instrumental in what decisions are made regarding Team Edge Hill. As part of this I was present at a meeting which outlined some future plans for our ‘Super 8’ rugby league team earlier this week.

On the theme of sports I am hoping to get our semi-naked sports calendar underway soon and am currently making contact with various groups and people to make this possible.

I hope this gives you an insight (if only very brief) into the life of a sabbatical officer and the diverse range of activities we undertake. Throw in the regular boards, committees, appeals panels, meetings, individual student help, course rep training… etc and you can see why I get a little stressed from time to time.

I hope you are all very well and looking forward to Christmas. If you have any comments, issues, concerns, questions or even praises (heaven forbid) then as always you are more than welcome to contact me in any of the ways listed at the bottom or alternatively come and see me in The Hub.

Many thanks for reading
VP Faculty of Education
01695 657310
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation
Facebook: Ehsu VPFacultyofEducation
Drop-in Surgeries (Faculty of Ed foyer):
Weds 23rd 10-1
Mon 28th 10-1
Thurs 1st Dec 9-1
Tues 6th 9-1

Back to some sort of normality!

Hi one and all

I must begin with an apology, as I know it has been a month since my last blog, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me what with the hectic schedule of the first few weeks of the academic year. As always with these blogs I wanted to keep you all in the loop with what I’ve been up to so here goes…

The obvious point to start with has to be Freshers Week. Many of the events were packed out (to the point when I was worrying about people’s safety at times) and the end of the week saw me meeting Greg James and standing next to his girlfriend who goes by the name of Ellie Goulding I think. She’s a small time singer or something… :p Despite my ‘starry eyedness’ (see what I did there) the highlight of the week for me had to be Freshers’ Fair. A resounding success with more stalls than ever before, more signups to sports clubs and societies than ever before, flash dances, an 8-man bike and the launch of L:39 radio! Was so nice to see the buzz amongst students and I hope those of you who went, really enjoyed it.

The next point to mention is the talks I have been giving alongside the Dean of the Faculty of Education or Carol Calcutt (Associate Dean) and Louise May (Head of Partnerships) to as many education students as possible. With this role never existing before I’m keen to ensure all students in my faculty know who I am and what I’m here for. These talks hopefully go some way to doing that as will the drop-in sessions I’ll be carrying out in the FoE foyer hopefully on a weekly basis, where students can come to me with any issues, praises or questions they have about their course. To give you an idea of my commitment to this I travelled down to Shropshire on the Monday of Freshers Week to talk to the new Primary Part Time QTS students we have training there. I represent EVERY student, whether they are FT or PT, distance learners or on campus 18-21 or mature. If you haven’t heard from me yet then you may be on my schedule for the coming months talks and if for some reason you aren’t then come in for a chat at my office in the Hub , email me or phone me J

(A brief ‘shout out’ must go here to the Year 2 Primary FT students I spoke to last week, who saw me almost combust in an attempt to give my 15-20 minute presentation in less than 5 minutes; I’m honestly not crazy, I promise!).

Much of my time has also been taken up by sitting on numerous panels – one fitness for practice panel in particular. 7 hours later we finally managed to make a decision on whether the student was fit for practice. A member of the Students’ Union will always sit on these panels alongside staff from the University and help make decisions on the outcomes of students’ futures.

This last month also saw my first Faculty Board. I gave a short presentation to the other attendees highlighting who I was, my role and what my aims were for the year. For future boards I can submit papers, so if I feel anything needs to be changed on behalf of you, this is one way of potential bringing in positive changes.

Last Monday (26th) we had our first scheduled meeting with directorate (the guys who run the University) and we discussed a number of issues including accommodation, Pontins, hidden fees and The Hub. Outside of this, I have also been talking to a number of members of staff from both the faculty and the SU about the course rep system and how we can give those elected reps the best possible chance of bringing about positive change.

Recently I have been dealing with an issue brought to me by a cohort from Key Stage 2/3 maths which I raised with Phil Rigby (Head of Secondary) in a meeting on Monday.

And last but not least, we have finally had our corporate photos taken. Some of them have already been uploaded to our facebook page!/edgehillsu and will be on our new website shortly

If you’ve made it this far then thank you. I know it’s long but this is what happens when you don’t blog for a month. I hope you are all settling in well whether you are a first year, returning student or postgraduate. All the best for the coming week or two and feel free to contact me if you need anything J

Vice President Faculty of Education
01695 657310
Twitter: @EHSUvpeducation – Please follow for updates!