Topic briefing

Student engagement and consultation

Published 27 July 2020

The issue

Student engagement helps providers to understand the experiences of specific groups at different stages in the student lifecycle. This can be helpful in informing and developing effective practice in access and participation.

This input helps providers to put effective mechanisms in place to address the barriers and gaps that may be specific to particular groups of students.

We’ve created a video that providers can share with students to encourage students to get involved in activities to tackle inequality.

Key facts

  1. Our access and participation plan guidance requires providers to demonstrate how students have had the opportunity to express their views about the plan before it was submitted for approval, and what steps were taken as a result of monitoring plans. We also encourage providers to involve students in the delivery of their plans.
  2. Student engagement is a requirement of the public interest governance principles for all providers registered with the OfS.
  3. There are clear benefits for students who participate in engagement opportunities, including personal development and valuable experience as they progress into employment or further study.
  4. Approaches to student engagement will vary from provider to provider. For example, not all providers will have a students’ union and not all students will be members of a students’ union.
  5. Students may face barriers which can result in them not wanting to engage. For access and participation, these could include:
  • a lack of understanding – students may not know what an access and participation plan is, what it is for and why they should engage with it
  • different motivations – students have varied interests and may not realise that they can get involved in different aspects of the plan, for example development, implementation or monitoring
  • limited time – there are many demands on students’ time and this can limit their capacity to contribute
  • inflexibility – formal routes to engage in the plan may deter some students
  • space restrictions – confining engagement to one physical or virtual space could limit the potential to reach the diverse population
  • inaccessibility – students may have a perception that engagement is overly bureaucratic or complicated.
Published 27 July 2020

Describe your experience of using this website

Improve experience feedback
* *

Thank you for your feedback