11 November 2014

"You said, we did..."

Gareth Knott, Student Chair, SSLC

The simple phrase "you said, we did..." encapsulates what the aim of the SSLC is; to get the views of students out there and to ensure that they are listened to, acted upon and that these actions are fed back to students.

Life at medical school is tough, really tough, and it is absolutely right for students to demand excellent experiences, education, facilities and support. All too often for some students it feels like 'excellent' is too generous a word.

Worse than that, students can feel like things can’t change or won't change. They simply complain to each other over a coffee, then buy a cookie, and merrily get on with their lives. But change has happened.

Tutor advising student
The SSLC has worked with the faculty to:
  • Ensure a four week deadline for all feedback
  • Hugely increase the number of face-to-face feedback opportunities
  • Ensure students receive more teaching from consultants (e.g. OSLERS)
  • Clarify what is and is not going to be in upcoming examinations
  • Re-organise finals revision
  • Give students access to the Postgraduate Hub
  • Improve the experience within placements, which in some situations has not been good enough for students. Progress has been slow but we continue to work for improvements
Change needs to continue to happen and we need to continue to set the bar higher. I implore all students to maintain high expectations and when these standards are not met to act on it. Email your head of Phase and expect a response. Email your SSLC rep and let's work together.

Staff need to do better in showing that they are listening to students and showing students what actions they are taking. Also some staff need to ensure they are replying to emails - nothing annoys students more than feeling they are being completely ignored. Students - if this is happening to you please let the SSLC know.

At the SSLC we too need to do better in receiving more views from students in order to better represent your views. We need to better communicate with you to show exactly what we are doing to make the changes you want.

If you would like to share your thoughts and experiences, we'd love to hear from you in the comments section below. If there's anything you don't feel comfortable sharing here but would like to raise, please contact your SSLC reps.

A message from Lesley
"Gareth is obviously committed to the work of the SSLC and makes a very good point that it is all too easy to have a moan over coffee and then get back to work – life is full of minor irritants and moaning actually does have a therapeutic benefit but Gareth gives some convincing examples of how the SSLC has brought about real change and if irritants are more than minor I would certainly support his plea that you inform the SSLC and allow them to lead on improving things for you and those who follow you.

"I will point out that Gareth and the SSLC also do tell us when we have got things right and when changes bring about significant improvements in the student experience… like you we also need a little positive feedback to counter the negative… But are committed to getting it right. Please do make sure you continue to raise issues (good and bad) with your reps."
Have your say

Is there a current irritant you would like to tell us about here rather than wasting your precious coffee time later today? Tell us in the comment section below:


  1. I think one of the main issues is feedback. The cpms system is dreadful, its is not user friendly at all. I spoke to one of my SSLC reps yesterday about a new idea- something anonymous, free and simple: Survey monkey. I used this myself to get feedback from my rugby team recently and we had a really good uptake as it was a scoring system with the option of "any other comments" at the bottom. I think the uptake on feedback would be much improved if the worry of linking ones responses to their account as with cpms is removed. Survery Monkey could be emailed out to students on last Friday of the block and at SAD/JAD, then it is literally at students fingertips as most have a smart phone and check their emails on the run. Just an idea!

  2. It is interesting how often we reinvent the wheel without actually making it any rounder isn't it? This is a really useful comment both in that it presents an area of irritation which is what we want (that is to be aware of the irritation not to irritate!) and a solution. I will make sure this is responded to at the next SSLC - there may well be a reason we don't use Survey Monkey related to data security and ownership but we will be able to confirm this. Personally I am a survey monkey fan because of the ease of both setting up a survey and responding to one .... even if we can't use it we can explore the features of it which make it so user friendly and attempt to mirror these within our systems. I'll make sure that the Head of Digital Technologies provides a response to this to the next SSLC so your reps can update you. Thanks Lesley