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NSS results released

16 Jul 2021

Message from April McMahon, Vice-President for Teaching, Learning and Students

NSS results

First and foremost, can I thank every member of staff for the enormous effort that has been put in over the past 18 months in supporting our students. It has been the most challenging period that many of us have known and your dedication and resilience has been a huge credit.

We have seen a considerable step down in overall levels of satisfaction both across the sector and even more so in the University. While this is understandable it is still a really disappointing outcome. Our overall satisfaction score decreased to 71.4% (81.1% in 2020) and 63% of our final year undergraduate students completed the Survey, up from 60% in 2020.

We know that graduating students have not had the final year that they would have wanted or deserved. It is certainly not the year we had all planned or hoped for. And it is in that context that the annual National Student Survey Results (NSS) were issued yesterday.

The NSS asks students to reflect on the whole of their time at University, and clearly much of that period of study has unfortunately been impacted by pandemic restrictions, which have hit Greater Manchester particularly hard.

While the pandemic definitely had a major effect, we can’t view these results entirely through a COVID lens. It is certainly not that simple and there are undeniably improvements for us to make.

We are proud of the outstanding efforts of our staff throughout the year, and it is heartening to see those efforts recognised in the comments of the survey. We have also invested significantly in student support this year, as well as enhanced library and other resources. We have worked closely with our Students’ Union, for example in developing the Assessment Pledge.

We have learned a huge amount through this very challenging year and there are many innovations and developments that will improve student experience in future, including our Institute for Teaching and Learning which is already helping us embed good practice, developments in Flexible Learning, advances in the ways we listen to student voice and the speed at which we can act, and our Student Experience Programme.

We are beginning to see improvements coming through across a range of other measures. Our most recent unit survey research saw 83% of those surveyed rating their units excellent. This suggests that the effort and investment that staff and the University have made are beginning to take root.

As is always the case, we are currently looking at all the NSS data to understand our detailed performance in significantly more depth. Every final year student who filled in the survey wanted to tell us something, positive or negative, and we are committed to learning from their comments to improve teaching and student experiences at Manchester.

But above all, we are looking forward to seeing staff and students back on campus in the autumn, teaching in person, enjoying everything that the University and the City of Manchester can offer.

Kind regards

Professor April McMahon  

Vice-President for Teaching, Learning and Students