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Your Experience Matters

There are various ways that we canvass your opinions whilst you are studying on your course. Your experience is important to us, and our partner Universities and awarding bodies, so that we can learn about what it is like to study here, and how we can keep making improvements to your experience as a student. We can’t do this without your input, so it’s really important to keep talking to us throughout your time at college.

The student voice – we want to hear from you!

During your time studying here at college, we understand that there will be things that go well and that you enjoy, and also things that may not go so well. Every group of students is different and we want to hear from you about things we should keep on doing (or make even better!) and things that might need reviewing or changing.

We know you will be busy studying, but we don’t want you to muddle through when things are not going so well, so please do take time to engage with our Student Experience Forums (SEF’s). These are held in the middle of each Semester with a summary of actions recorded at the end of the year.

Your Programme Leader will ask your group early in the year for nominations for a Student Representative. If there is more than one nominee, the successful candidate will be chosen with a vote.

The Student Rep will act as a contact to give feedback, raise issues and liaise with our staff, and will be the spokesperson at each SEF. They will also be invited to attend the Programme Committee to speak directly to the programme team and managers about the experiences of their wider student group.

You will also be asked to take part in some college wide surveys throughout your time here. Firstly following Induction to check you have had a good start and have all you need for your studies, and then again later in the year once you have settled in to see how things are going with all aspects of your programme.

As a full-time student in your final year you will be contacted to take part in the National Student Survey (NSS) which is a nationally and independently operated survey providing information about the experience of students at all Universities and Colleges studying Higher Education.

The National Union of Students is an organisation that provides a national voice for students, promoting students’ rights as well as providing practical help. All HE students can also apply for an TOTUM Student Discount Card for a small fee, which gives offers and discounts for students.

What if I have concerns about something?

If you are not happy about something, and haven’t been able to solve the issue through talking to the staff, or through the SEF process, you can raise a complaint.

If you have concerns, but don’t want to put in a formal complaint, please raise these verbally or by email to the Curriculum Manager or Assistant Curriculum Manager for your area. You can ask for their name at Reception if you don’t know it. We will always try, where appropriate, to resolve your complaint at a local level initially, and this might involve face to face meetings and/or written correspondence by email or letter.

If this doesn’t resolve the issue, and you are still not happy with your experience, you can make a formal complaint.

The complaint process

Should you wish to make a formal complaint, this should be made in writing, and submitted according to the College policy.

All students, regardless of what HE course you are on, or your awarding body, should submit a complaint directly to the college in the first instance. This allows us to investigate your complaint thoroughly and to respond to you with a decision

We will respond by letter either upholding your complaint and meeting your requirements, or letting you know the outcome if we cannot uphold your complaint. At this stage you can make a request for further review of your complaint. Should you complete this process and your complaint is not upheld we will issue an outcome letter called a Completion of Procedures (COP) letter, and this signifies that the College complaint procedure has been exhausted. The letter will provide information on what you can do next, should you be unhappy with the outcome we have provided.

If we have partially upheld or upheld your complaint, or you feel you do not have grounds for further review of the outcome decision, you can request a COP letter within one month of the date of your outcome letter.

If your programme is with a University partner and you feel the decision you have been given is not satisfactory, you can then contact the University to ask that your complaint be dealt with through the University procedures. You can also ask for assistance to pursue your complaint from the University Student Union. Please see your University website for guidance on how to do this.

For all HE students, once you have pursued your complaint (and review if applicable) and received a response from the College (and your University) if you are still not satisfied with the outcome or handling of your complaint you may bring it to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator (OIA) who operate an independent review scheme and are independent of the educational establishments.

Information regarding the role and remit of the OIA can be found here.

You can fill in the OIA’s complaint form online or download a copy from the OIA website. The OIA also publishes An Introduction to the OIA Scheme for Students, which can be downloaded here. Alternatively, you can telephone or write to the OIA for a form. You should send a copy of your Completion of Procedures letter/s to the OIA with your OIA Complaint Form.

Please note that the OIA will only review complaints within 12 months of the issue date on the Completion of Procedures letter, and that all cases must have gone through and exhausted the College’s internal procedures and those of the University where applicable.

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