From the 22nd till the 25th of November, UCA students will have the opportunity to vote in a university-wide referendum on the NUS National Ballot. The ballot poses the question, 'Should NUS conduct and publish a risk assessment and equality impact assessment before finalising the NSS boycott / sabotage action?'. For most students, this probably doesn't make much sense. It's a simple question, but it has a bit of background. Let's break this question down.

  •  The UK government is launching Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) as a way of determining whether universities are ‘gold’, ‘silver’, or ‘bronze’ standard. Depending on which level a university is awarded, they will be allowed to raise their tuition fees further above and beyond the current £9,000 per year
  •  TEF measures a number of things to determine whether a university should be gold, silver or bronze. One of their methods of measurement is the National Student Survey (NSS), which final year undergraduate students are asked to complete before they leave university. This is the only aspect of TEF which students have any direct control over.
  • In order to sabotage TEF (and therefore sabotage the government’s attempts to allow universities to raise tuition fees even further), the National Union of Students (NUS) has proposed a boycott of the NSS. This would mean either refusing to complete the survey, or providing unusable answers. As a result, universities that might normally be ‘gold’, would potentially be granted a ‘silver’ or ‘bronze’ because of students’ negative responses to NSS.
  • University of West London’s Students’ Union has asked that the NUS conducts a risk assessment into their proposed boycott of the NSS, to find out the potential harm to smaller students’ unions that are more reliant on the success of their relationship with their institution. It is possible that the boycott, and the potential sabotage of the Teaching Excellence Framework, could result in some students’ unions losing funding or support from their institution.


Now here’s where you come in: a National Ballot has been called by the NUS as to whether they should conduct this risk assessment. That’s all you need to answer today - the question we posed at the beginning:

Should NUS conduct and publish a risk assessment and equality impact assessment before finalising the NSS boycott / sabotage action?

To vote, follow the individual link that will be emailed to you when voting opens on Tuesday 22nd November. If you have any further questions about the ballot or the referendum, please email

Posted in: Blog on Friday, November 18th, 2016 by