The Office for Students (OfS) has today set out a new approach to ensuring that students help shape the regulation of higher education in England.

The ‘Students – Experts in their own experience’ strategy has been developed in partnership with students from a variety of different backgrounds across the country over the last year, and with the support of the OfS’s 14-member student panel.

The OfS is committing – in a new three-year strategy – to learning about students and their experiences, collaborating and working in partnership with them, communicating with them in an accessible way, and amplifying the voices of those who often go unheard.

In the first year of the strategy, the OfS will undertake some key pilot activities, including:

  • working with students to ensure that our notifications system for drawing attention to issues at universities and colleges is clear and straightforward for students to understand and use
  • engaging students and applicants to shape our review of the admissions system
  • working with students to ensure that universities and colleges give effective support when dealing with issues of harassment and sexual misconduct.

Martha Longdon, chair of the OfS student panel and student experience board member, said:

‘The OfS has always said that it would involve students – past, present and future – in its work. This strategy now lays the foundations for how that will happen.

‘Students are experts in their own experience, and this strategy is a really important milestone in making sure they bring that expertise to the table so that the OfS can regulate effectively for their benefit.’

Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS, said:

‘Engaging seriously with students is critical to our success as a regulator. It is clear to me that if we are regulating for students, we have to listen to what they say and make sure that what we do reflects their priorities. Otherwise we won’t be a good regulator – it’s as simple as that.

‘We are committed to ensuring that students have a meaningful influence on our work and the decisions we make, and this strategy is an important milestone in realising that ambition.’

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