Navigating uni life at Aston
As many of you may already be aware, the University and College Union (UCU), the Trade Union to which many University staff belong, is currently taking industrial action nationally across many universities.
Whilst many of Aston’s programmes will be unaffected by UCU strike action, there are likely to be some areas where staff choose to take industrial action.
In addition to the industrial action that took place in early February, UCU has confirmed the following dates for further strike action nationally:
The University is keen to ensure that there is as little disruption as possible for our students, and we are working hard to minimise the impact of any strike action for our learners, offering an equivalent learning experience where possible for any cancelled teaching sessions. We have asked colleagues taking strike action to advise you in advance if there are any changes to your teaching timetables. If you do not receive any communication about changes to your timetable, you should attend in the normal way, be that online or in person.
For any further queries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The University has been advised that the previously published strike days in February have now been paused.
Aston, like other universities, is a member of the national body UCEA (Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association) which negotiates on behalf of the universities about the level of annual pay uplift that staff employed in the Universities sector are then awarded. Universities, like other employers, have an annual pay review process to ensure that employee salaries, while being affordable, also take into account inflation/ increases in the cost of living etc.
UCU (Universities and Colleges Union) and some other unions have been in dispute about the final offer that UCEA has made to the joint unions this year which has triggered the recent strike actions. Discussions are, however, underway to resolve the dispute with ACAS’s help, and whilst these discussions are ongoing, the previously published strike days in February have now been paused.
As such, teaching will run as scheduled for the remainder of February. Any further changes to the previously published strike days (above) will be updated here.
We live in a period of global uncertainty both as a result of the pandemic and major geopolitical developments including the invasion of Ukraine. We are aware that this will be a very difficult time for our students and staff who are either directly or indirectly affected
Our support services are here for you so please reach out if you need to talk to anyone.
Student Support Services
Our team in The Hub is here to offer advice, help and support. For information about how to access these services, please visit the Hub webpage.
Contact Student Services on 0121 204 4007 or by email.
If you’re struggling with your wellbeing or mental health, our qualified counsellors/psychotherapy practitioners in the Counselling and Wellbeing Service are here for you.
Contact email@example.com in the first instance
Our Chaplaincy team is here for you whether you belong to a faith community or not. You are welcome to talk confidentially with a Chaplain about any problems or concerns you may have.
Contact our Chaplains on 0121 204 4729 or by email.
Aston Students’ Union
Our students' Union (SU) team is also here to provide advice and support, so pay them a visit at the SU building or email. The University has also signed up to ‘Togetherall’ which is an anonymous 24/7/365 days a year on-line support community, monitored by trained professionals who keep the community safe. You can access this support free of charge through using your Aston email address to register and log in at the Togetherall website.
If you are affected by the crisis in Ukraine and have concerns about your upcoming tuition fee payments, contact our friendly student advice team at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you need some short-term support wit living costs our financial advisors are here for you. Contact FinancialSupport@aston.ac.uk
Other ways to get help and support:
How can you help the people of Ukraine?
There are many ways in which you can show your support. The British Red Cross; UNHCR refugee agency; Unicef, the UN’s children’s charity; and Save the Children are all collecting funds for Ukraine.
Timeout has also pulled together some useful sources and compiled a list of 17 things you can do to help the people of Ukraine
I wanted to write to you as the Minister of State for Higher and Further Education in light of Russia’s unprovoked attack on your country and to set out some of the support that the Department for Education will be making available to you during this extremely difficult time.
Given the uncertainty that I am sure many of you are currently facing, the Department for Education has been working across Government and with the Higher Education sector to ensure you are supported throughout your studies during this time.
I have seen an extremely positive response from the higher education sector, and I am pleased that universities have already offered significant support to many of you, including through additional wellbeing and financial hardship support.
I wanted to make you aware that the Department for Education has made over £4 million of additional funding available to your universities to distribute to students from Ukraine who are currently studying at English Higher Education providers and who are in need of financial hardship assistance.
This additional funding has been provided to help you to continue your studies and reduce the impact of any adverse financial implications of the conflict on your ability to learn.
We are also extending access to HE student support, home fee status, tuition fee caps, Advanced learner loans and FE19+ funding for those who are granted leave under one of the three schemes for Ukrainians introduced recently by the Home Office. This ensures those who have been affected by the war in Ukraine can access support on the same basis as those within other protection-based categories (such as refugees).
In line with those within existing protection-based categories, you would not be required to meet a three-year period of ordinary residence for HE support, Advanced Learner Loans or FE19+ funding, but would need only to have been ordinarily resident in the UK since your grant of leave.
The Government and I recognise the important contribution you make to the UK’s higher education sector, and we are extremely proud that so many students from Ukraine have chosen to study here.
Rt. Hon. Michelle Donelan MP
Minister of State for Higher and Further Education
We recognise that there may still be Covid infection in the population at large, and that a number of students may be affected during the examination period. If you are not fit to take any of your assessments because of COVID or any other valid reason (i.e., you were unable to prepare for, or unable to take any of your assessments) you should submit an Exceptional Circumstances (EC) claim in the usual way.
Please be assured that EC claims will be considered by Boards of Examiners when making decisions on progression or award. Where an assessment has been missed owing to COVID (or any other valid reason) the Board will defer that attempt and provide future assessment opportunities so that students are able to demonstrate their full potential.
We still have some Covid test kits which are available to collect free of charge from Main Reception. You will need to show your ID card to collect.
My Aston Portal (MAP) is a secure web portal that allows you to update your personal details, view teaching timetables and more
The University’s online virtual learning environment (VLE) where you can access resources and course information
Make sure you check your Uni email account regularly for the latest Aston updates plus important info from your tutors