Ffion Thomas, Vice President

Ffion Thomas, Vice President

  • Reforming module selection
  • Reducing the cost of the gym
  • Focusing on Mental Health and Expanding Mental Health Forums
  • Improving Society Storage
  • Creating a Guild Calendar

I’m passionate about reforming how Module Selection works, after having an awful experience with this as a student. It’s a very stressful and unfair process, and I’m working to improve this system, so no other students have a similar experience. I’m currently working on an approach that addresses both the theoretical issue (i.e. moving away from a system of fastest-finger-first at 9am) and also the IT issue of load and capacity failing.

I’m focusing on Sports and especially accessibility and affordability. Initially, I’m interested in working to reduce the cost, especially in comparison to similar gym offerings. Also, I’m addressing the current inability to pay in monthly instalments and the student demand for this service. My Manifesto also noted seeing if the trial membership of AU clubs could be extended, although this is on hold until Sports restart, Covid dependant.

I am committed to improving Mental Health support awareness for students, especially as it has become particularly important in light of Covid. Currently, at the beginning of term, my focus is wellbeing issues such as making friends, loneliness, homesickness and anxiety. I’m especially working on the accessibility and awareness of support services and making these as clear and succinct as possible for students.

I want to create a safe space for our male students to discuss wellbeing and mental health issues. This is especially important to me, as student suicides are tragically at an all time high, with 70% of these being male students. I am looking towards partnering with local charities to utilise their expertise in this field.

The Mental Health Forums are an opportunity for students to interact with the Guild and University Support Services staff about wellbeing and Mental Health issues and support provision. These were only established last year, so I will be working to continue and improve these and encourage students to engage in raising issues, giving feedback and holding the University to account.

Supporting students through the financial difficulties COVID has presented, by asking the University to agree to a list of demands. More info here.

Make the Society storage better organised, less hazardous and more accessible to student societies. Collate the Guild’s possessions in an inventory audit to understand societies’ possessions, with the aim to make Spend It more effective.

Have a central spot on the Guild website to house all society activity and events.

This project will begin with specific University buildings, and I hope to start with a trial but this is Covid dependant.

Prioritising student mental health and wellbeing – 24.11.20
No Detriment Policy Updates Explained – 18-01-21
University Mental Health Day – 04-03-21
Welcome to Mental Health Website – 02-03-21
Let's Improve Module Selection! – 04-05-21

This group oversees policies around academic misconduct; reviewing policies, curriculum changes overseeing how the University records these and ensuring there is effective communication and awareness of the changes.

This committee oversees university processes for academic standards. They look at all of the university processes in place, such as how the university forms practical decisions regarding courses, and ensures that they are robust, consistent, trAssessment and Feedback Working Groupansparent and reviews any proposed changes to processes.

In this Committee, I’ve been discussing the changes to the ‘Extenuating Circumstances Policy’. I have been working with the Advice Team at the Guild, to comment on the policy to on what the proposed changes mean for our students. I’ve been working to ensure the changes are appropriate and that the guidance provided is clearer.

This working group reviews the University’s assessment and feedback policies and practices to enhance effectiveness, consistency, and equity. The group also monitors the Code of Practice on Assessment and the PGR Code of Practice.

In 2018, the committee supported changes of the university’s Late Penalties policy led by previous Guild President. Find out more here.

This committee oversees the quality assurance, monitoring, and review of arrangements with partner institutions, making recommendations to Senate on the renewal or termination of partnerships. The group throughout this year will alternative their meetings from focusing on Laureate to focusing on Kaplan (UoL’s current online partner and new online partner). This will ensure both the current partner and the new partner have full oversight of their operations alongside ensuring students at both partners receive sufficient support.

This committee sits under Collaborative Provision Committee to review and approve new partner programmes with the University.

From peer mentoring, lecture capture, vital and the library, the committee has an oversight of all academic aspects of the Student Experience in the University and to promote its ongoing enhancement. This committee initiated discussions about the BAME attainment gap, this led to the Task and Finish Groups focusing on the attainment gap through the University’s Access & Participation Plan.

The committee informs the University’s strategic requirements in regard to education-related digital systems (such as lecture capture and VITAL) and services, in order to achieve Strategy 2026 objectives.

This committee forms the strategic relationship between the University and the Guild. It monitors and signs off the Guild’s reporting and accounts such as the Student Voice Report, which reviews issues and feedback from Course Reps. This committee acts as a forum to discuss university and Guild joint campaigns and activity.

This committee considers how to make best use of the University’s heritage collections and cultural activities in order to benefit the University’s teaching and research activities and the University’s engagement with the Liverpool City Region and its cultural life.

Recently, this policy has been focused on Liverpool’s colonial and imperialist past. In light of this year’s Black Lives Matter Campaign, and raised awareness or race inequalities, this group has been focused on revising the University’s ‘Heritage and Culture Strategy’. Personally, I have been pushing to make the revised version much more explicit in understanding Liverpool’s past and acknowledging its crucial part in the Transatlantic slave trade, especially focused on the language and tone of the strategy. I’ve also been providing feedback regarding plans for student-facing cultural events in the city.

This group looks at which school leaving qualifications are allowed upon entry to the University. They generally base this around A-Levels, B-Tecs and their International equivalents.

Having done an A-Level equivalent qualification myself, I know how frustrating it is when researching and applying for undergraduate degree, Higher Education providers don’t recognise or accept your qualifications. Therefore, in this Committee, I will be advocating for different qualifications to be considered for University entry.

This committee reviews the University’s Quality Assurance processes and develops an overall strategy to review and enhance provision in regards to university priorities and advances in the sector.

Senate is one of the highest decision-making bodies at the University and is responsible for promoting research, promoting and regulating learning and teaching, and for maintaining the quality of standards of the University’s academic provision.

The University set out a student success strategy. The groups aim to improve the experience of and provision for students so they can succeed academically. There are three groups within this.

The Academic Success strand of the Student Success Strategy addresses the University’s institutional aim to ensure that ‘all students have the opportunity and support to achieve their full academic potential’.

The Personal Success strand of the Student Success Strategy addresses the University’s institutional aim to ensure that ‘all students experience a welcoming and supportive environment which prioritises well-being and belonging’.

Discussing and leading on the University’s sustainable approaches, the group facilitates the sustainable activities on campus and partners with Guild and city-wide campaigns. The University’s annual Sustainability Report is discussed at this group.

Following the success of pushing the University to commit to fossil fuel divestment, the Guild lobbied the University to do more on sustainability. They set up 6 working groups (details below) that each specialise in a different area of sustainability on campus and an Education group.

  1. Built Environment Working Group
  2. Culture & Community Working Group

Engagement and Attendance Strategy Group

This group was set up to establish a strategy for monitoring students’ engagement with and attendance to their timetabled teaching sessions.

On this Committee, I focus on policies and recommendations for change, and review these from a student perspective. Recently, there has been proposed changes whilst updating the ‘Engagement & Attendance Strategy’ which I’ve pushed to be more student-friendly. Also, I’m ensuring that the communications around this policy (i.e. emails students get if their attendance drops) are supportive rather than punitive and aim to encourage students to seek assistance, rather than be intimidated by the policy, and where appropriate signpost to support services too.

Attendance Monitoring Task and Finish Group

This group reports to the Engagement and Attendance Strategy Group and is responsible for implementing a method of attendance monitoring. There are lots of different methods of monitoring attendance across the university – paper registers, card scanners, logging into VITAL. It’s difficult to find a solution that suits all departments as some have specific needs, e.g. clinical programmes would need attendance monitoring software that can record students’ attendance for placements across Liverpool.

UKVI – (UK Visas and Immigration) Tier 4 Compliance Group

This group was established to ensure the University is compliant in relation to attendance monitoring of international students. The Tier 4 Visa is the general student visa that all international students have. Universities sponsor students to study so they are able to get a tier 4 visa from the home office. As a sponsor, the University has many responsibilities, including monitoring the attendance of students on a tier 4 visa.

I sit on this Committee to ensure that International students are being treated fairly, in accordance to the conditions the University outline, and their responsibilities in being a Higher Education provider that accepts (‘sponsors’) International Students. Especially since the Covid-19 pandemic, this has been an important Committee to understand the situation for our International students, and get crucial updates from UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) and the Home Office.

The Wellbeing Board works on the University’s strategic approach to student and staff wellbeing; this includes recruiting additional Wellbeing staff, planning collaborative projects and coordinating Wellbeing Week events and activities. The board plans to move the counselling building to a larger and more accessible space.

This group is part of a project that has three groups, funded by the Office for Students. Working in the reams of the student mental health project, the group will work with services across to Liverpool to ensure there is a collaborative and joined up approach when supporting student mental health.

There are three groups:

In this Evaluation Group, I’ve been working alongside the University’s Support services and NHS Merseycare on U-COPE, a project to help students who do, or are at risk of self-harm. I’ve been focused on making this the most accessible experience possible for moving therapy online, and the processes in which students are referred to this service, to ensure students get the most appropriate help for their needs.

  • Steering Group: two subgroups:
  1. Clinical Working Group
  2. Evaluation Group

Email: Ffion.G.Thomas@liverpool.ac.uk