Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of the Open University

Students with few or no helpful teachers are 146% more likely to report a high level of dissatisfaction with life

Professor Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of the Open University, has applied sophisticated statistical techniques to the most recent HEPI / Advance HE Student Academic Experience Survey results in order to see which factors most affect student wellbeing.

Tim Blackman is Vice-Chancellor of The Open University. He was previously Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University. His professorial appointments include Oxford Brookes, Teesside, Durham, the OU and Middlesex.

The HEPI / Advance HE Student Academic Experience Survey covers over 14,000 full-time students each year and includes four questions on wellbeing, originally created by the Office for National Statistics, with respondents asked to rank themselves from 0 (low) to 10 (high).

The key findings in What affects student wellbeing? (HEPI Policy Note 21) include:

  1. a relationship between ethnic identity and dissatisfaction with life, with life satisfaction scores of under 7 (on a 0-to-10 scale) varying from 42% among Bangladeshi students to 28% among White students
  2. a similar relationship between ethnic identity and anxiety, with anxiety scores of 7 or more ranging from 27% among Mixed identity students to 21% among Black African students
  3. more dissatisfaction with life among students from the lowest participation quintile than from the highest participation quintile (35% vs 30%)
  4. higher dissatisfaction with life among students who live at home while studying and who commute more than five miles (37%) than among those who have relocated to their place of study (30%)
  5. only 12% of students who relocate to study work 12 or more hours a week compared to 25% of students who continue living at home – but longer working hours have no significant effect on anxiety and only a small negative effect on life satisfaction
  6. 62% of students think all or most staff are helpful and supportive, while 22% say half and half are and 7% say few or none are
  7. as the proportion of staff experienced as helpful and supportive declines, the proportion of students reporting high anxiety rises, from 22% to 33%
  8. dissatisfaction with life is reported by 24% of students who feel all or most staff are helpful and supportive, but this rises to 49% among students who feel few or no staff are helpful and supportive
  9. when logistic regression is applied to the data to find out the actual independent effect of each variable, students who say they experience few or no helpful teachers are seen to be 146% more likely to report a high level of life dissatisfaction than students who report all or most teachers are helpful
  10. logistic regression also shows students who report few or no helpful teachers are 65% more likely to report a high level of anxiety than students who report all or most teachers as helpful

Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor of the Open University and the author of the report, said:

Student wellbeing is often seen through the lens of counselling and mental health support. This new analysis identifies other possible factors that may increase the risk of particularly high levels of anxiety and dissatisfaction with life among higher education students. 

Can some of the drivers of high levels of poor wellbeing among students be the way that we as universities and a sector undertake teaching and assessment? Can we look at student wellbeing and learn from good practice in the workplace, where stress is often seen in terms of how work is organised?

While we cannot rule out that students become more dissatisfied or anxious for other reasons than the factors identified in this report, the statistical evidence found in these data suggests a wellbeing gain from improving teaching and feedback.

Higher education institutions should see increasing their students’ experiences of helpful teachers and useful feedback not just as important to student achievement but also as part of their wellbeing strategies.

Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:

We have been collecting large amounts of data on the student experience since 2006. This helps us understand how students’ lives have changed as their mental health has deteriorated.

This new analysis allows us to understand in more detail than before what makes students tick. It proves beyond reasonable doubt that there is a close link between teaching quality and student wellbeing. You cannot choose to focus on one or the other.

Any institution that wants to raise its levels of student wellbeing should invest in teaching staff who know how to interact with students effectively and have the time to do so.

Jonathan Neves, Advance HE’s Head of Business Intelligence & Surveys, said:

Wellbeing has become a really important aspect of our jointly-run annual Student Academic Experience Survey with HEPI. Our data have played a key role in highlighting what is an increasingly worrying trend across the student body.

Using four established wellbeing measures allows us to produce clear comparisons between students and the general population over time. There are a wide range of demographic factors that potentially link to low levels of wellbeing but this paper breaks new ground in identifying the critical importance of teaching and feedback, highlighting how academic practice and welfare strategies may benefit from further alignment.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter yesterday

RT @FENews: NGWLive: Network Rail: NGWLive: Network Rail https://t.co/zqS6YwqgxP
View Original Tweet

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 2 days ago

City of London Corporation provides Square Mile schoolchildren with food vouchers during half term break:… https://t.co/QilxKc8yaD
View Original Tweet

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page