Bristol SU should not oppose any pastoral change models which include managing support in clusters of halls because:
The proposed changes are a sensible response to student feedback
In a consultation on support in residences students fed back that they would prefer additional proactive (rather than reactive) support, consistency of support, support provided by full time professional staff, and separation of discipline and pastoral support. All of this has been reflected in what the university has proposed.
Managing halls in clusters improves consistency of support
A recurring theme in the student consultation was inconsistency of support. There were some instances where support that was given was good and instances where it was not good. We recognise this isn’t the fault of individuals, but of a system that allows for inconsistency. Students in all residences should be receiving a similar level of high quality support. Managing support in clusters allows the manager to better address inconsistency, as they will have oversight of the service across different halls. Managing support in each residence makes this very difficult.
Managing halls in clusters facilitates 24/7/365 support and allows for the recruitment of a more diverse support team
Pooling resources makes the service more robust in instances of staff sickness, leave, holiday or other unexpected gaps in service provision. In addition, having a large team of staff means that shifts can be set so that there is always someone awake from whom a student could receive support. Moreover, a large staff team allows for recruitment of more diverse staff such that they reflect a diverse student body. It is also an opportunity to have staff that can better support those from underrepresented groups and postgraduate students.
It is better to work with the University to make sure the proposed model better meets the needs of students
The proposed model improves on the current model, but it is not perfect. We think it is more productive to consistently review the model and suggest how it could be improved to better support students. We believe that managing support in clusters has many benefits, and there are many things in the current model we believe should change. We do not think it is sensible to oppose a system because of principled opposition to cluster management. If we must holistically oppose any system that contains hubs, we cannot point out the good and the bad in that system from a student perspective.
Perhaps you're interested in leading the conversation around student living, wellbeing, value for money or other areas of student life that are important to you.
If yes - you should consider becoming a rep! Bristol SU has a team of hundreds of rep roles - part-time voluntary and full-time paid - who represent their students and bring about change for the issues that matter to them.
Nominate yourself or a friend at www.bristolsu.org.uk/elections by 1 March.