For students, the Queen’s speech should be a call to action | Malia Bouattia

On mental health, EU citizens’ rights and counter-extremism, there is an opportunity for student campaigners to make a real difference

The Queen’s speech was a dream come true for no one – except perhaps foxes, who will be relieved that there was no further mention of hunting. But for students, it was a mixed bag.

The speech was light on detail and heavy on Brexit. For the 84% of voting students who were opposed to leaving the EU, the future it outlined is exactly what we didn’t want. But there were silver linings: the announcement of plans to abolish letting agent fees and to bring forward legislation protecting victims of domestic violence, for instance. There are also plans to tackle the gender pay gap.

Related: NUS president Malia Bouattia: ‘Political activists are being demonised’

Related: Three steps to building a successful student campaign

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Queen’s speech: what the Tories’ overhauled priorities may look like

Party’s manifesto plans will change in wake of election, with possible shifts in stance on Brexit, grammar schools and social care

The first Queen’s speech of the new parliament will be nothing like as ambitious as Theresa May had hoped, given the Conservative party’s lack of an overall majority and the need to rely on the Democratic Unionist party of Northern Ireland to pass legislation. Only a handful of key policies are likely to survive:

Related: Tom Watson asks May: did Murdoch request Gove’s return to cabinet?

Related: Q&A: how will the UK election result affect Brexit talks?

Related: Can party politics be set aside to save social care? | Paul Burstow

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UEA course cut a blow for mental health work | Letters

Students and former students protest at the end to counselling training at the University of East Anglia

All the parties in the general election have adopted mental health as a key issue. But this enthusiasm is not reflected on the ground and the electorate should not be fooled. We are students and former students on the internationally renowned counselling programme at the University of East Anglia. We trained to be counsellors, or “shrinks”, to quote Prince Harry in his recent interview. But now the university has closed the course and even made it impossible for some students to complete their professional qualification. As part of this draconian process, in which consultation was at a minimum, responsibility to students, staff and the wider local community has been completely deprioritised. This is exactly the opposite of what the princes, applauded by the government, were calling for.

The impact is not only on the course itself, but also on those therapy organisations where students have for many years worked as volunteers on placement and beyond, and on the availability of the kind of in-depth listening relationship – described as so crucial by the princes – in the university’s own counselling service. The management-speak reason given by the university for this closure is “a need for greater alignment of courses and a more coherent portfolio of activity centred on the teaching of education theory and practice”. What is the point of accenting mental health if there won’t be any counsellors to deliver it?
Sara Bradly, Dr Rachel Freeth, Bridget Garrard, Nikki Rowntree
Norwich

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Number of university dropouts due to mental health problems trebles

Data shows record 1,180 students who experienced mental ill health left courses early in 2014-15, up 210% from 2009-10

The number of students to drop out of university with mental health problems has more than trebled in recent years, official figures show.

Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) revealed that a record 1,180 students who experienced mental health problems left university early in 2014-15, the most recent year in which data was available. It represents a 210% increase from 380 in 2009-10.

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‘Isolated’ poorer students more likely to drop out, study shows

Survey finds that students from poorer backgrounds feel less well integrated

Less affluent students in higher education are significantly more likely to experience problems with socialising and integrating than their peers from well-off families, says a major new study.

Only 33% of the students from D and E socioeconomic groups said they were well integrated with the students they lived with, compared with 50% of students from A and B socioeconomic groups. Only 34% of the group said they had friends at university whom they socialised with at least twice a week, compared with 48% of AB students.

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For academics with depression, the student feedback process is hell

We need a conversation about the impact of student evaluations of teaching on the mental health of professors

Related: I wish we could talk more openly about mental health in academia

I find teaching incredibly rewarding, but because of depression and anxiety there is one area where I have particularly struggled: student evaluations.

Related: Everyone’s talking about the Tef, but no one is listening to students

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