Quality Manual

Student Support and Development


  1. Introduction
  2. Induction
  3. School Tutoring Statements
  4. Role and Responsibilities of Schools
  5. Role and Responsibilities of Senior Tutors
  6. Role and Responsibilities of the Personal Tutor
  7. Personal Development Goals
  8. Personal and Academic Records (PARs)
  9. Policy on Providing Printed Materials for Students 
  10. Central Support Services
  11. Student Responsibilities
  12. Monitoring of Student Support and Development

1. Introduction: The Scope of Student Support, Development and Personal Tutoring 

The aim of the student support, development and personal tutoring programmes at Nottingham is to provide appropriate personalised developmental support and encouragement for the student to reach their academic potential, maximum personal development and professional and employability skills acquisition throughout their time at Nottingham

All members of University staff have an important role to play in maximising the experience of every student. The University’s Student Support and Development Policy as detailed in this section of the Quality Manual outlines the particular responsibilities in this area placed on schools, personal tutors, Senior Tutors and central support services. However, it is important to appreciate that effective levels of student support and development require high levels of integration and information exchange across the wide variety of support and development services made available by the University as a whole.

It is important that all parties recognise how student development is about more than helping those students with particular academic or personal difficulties. Whilst such students clearly need our assistance, the best support and development provision will engage with every student to help them to maximise their potential whilst studying at the University of Nottingham.

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2. Induction

Schools must ensure that all of their students obtain a clear and timely communication of their induction arrangements.

Schools must arrange introductory meetings for all new full-time students within their first two days at the University, and for part-time students as reasonably practical.

Within the induction process, schools must ensure that all of their students are provided with:

  • An opportunity to declare any disability.
  • Required health and safety information.
  • Guidance on their course and module choices.
  • Guidance on progression and degree award regulations, academic offence matters, and appeals and complaints procedures.
  • A student handbook and other materials as may be appropriate incorporating the above information.

During induction, undergraduate and taught postgraduate students should be provided with information on who their personal tutor is and how to contact them.

During induction, all undergraduate and taught postgraduate students should be provided with information on personal tutoring in their school/unit, including information on the role of their personal tutor, the scheduling of meetings, and who to contact should their personal tutor not be available.

Schools are reminded that induction is not solely a Week One activity.

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3. School Tutoring Statements

Each school is required to produce a written statement of its arrangements for achieving outcomes of tutoring for all its taught students (undergraduate and postgraduate). The tutoring statement may be an account of how each of the individual outcomes is achieved or may comprise a general description of how tutoring works within a school (perhaps taken directly from the student handbook) with a commentary or mapping exercise on how these arrangements secure the tutoring outcomes.

A prime purpose of these statements is to identify practices in schools that have a positive impact on students’ academic experience and that lend themselves to wider adoption within the institution.

Tutoring statements should be made available to all students, either through inclusion in students handbooks or by other suitable means such as the online Learning Community Fora.

Outcomes of tutoring:

  1. The student should feel acknowledged, recognised and accepted within their school/department as an individual with distinct academic needs and preferences. 
  2. The student should feel part of the school/department community, experiencing frequent contact with academic staff on an individual or small group basis and building relations with particular members of staff over an extended period.
  3. The personal development of the student should be promoted; leading to improved communication skills and greater confidence in presentation and dealing with the unfamiliar.
  4. Students should receive prompt, helpful and detailed feedback on their assessments, in a manner that enhances learning and improves future assessment performance.
  5. Students struggling with aspects of individual modules, or more generally with their programme of studies, should have clearly signposted and ready access to a reasonable level of academic advice and support designed to remedy their difficulties.
  6. Students should receive the level of support in developing their study skills necessary to perform satisfactorily on their programme of studies.
  7. Students with personal circumstances adversely affecting their studies should feel able to make these known to the school/department without difficulty and to be directed to the appropriate support service.
  8. Students should receive the necessary careers information, advice and guidance to equip them to make informed choices about their future, to understand the options open to them, and to take advantage of available opportunities.
  9. Students should be made aware of the importance of developing and articulating their employability skills, including possible participation in the Nottingham Advantage Award.
  10. Students should receive appropriate advice and support when considering changing their programme of study or contemplating leaving the University.
  11. Students should be prepared for periods of study away from their home campus and appropriately supported during those periods.
  12. The procedures for submitting extenuating circumstances regarding assessments should be straightforward and well publicised.D
  13. Disabled Students and those with Specific Learning Difficulties or a long term medical condition should be clear as to the support they will receive and where it is available, and the support should be in line with University policies.
  14. The procedures for submitting academic appeals and complaints should be well publicised and staff should be aware of their responsibilities within these procedures.
  15. Students being subjected to the academic offences procedure should receive clear information and advice.
  16. Students should receive relevant health and safety guidance, especially in laboratory or workshop-based subjects.
  17. Students should be directed in a timely and appropriate manner to University support services for assistance with all of the above matters as necessary.

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4. Role and Responsibilities of Schools

Undergraduate (UG) Students

  1. Every undergraduate student should be allocated a personal tutor by their school/unit at the start of their course. For Joint Honours students the personal tutor should be appointed by the lead school/unit. However, the students should have a Joint-Honours Advisor in the other school who meets with the student at least twice per year (individually or as a group), particularly to assist with subject specific module choice and feedback.
  2. Personal tutors must be academic members of staff or with the approval by the University Senior Tutor, members of the administrative, professional and management job family at Level 4 or above, (with the exception in the UK with circumstances stated below *)
  3. Schools should ensure that appropriate allowance is made in the work load plan (WLP) for the staff-time necessary for effective personal tutoring and the administration involved in being an effective personal tutor.
  4. Schools should ensure that students are informed who they can seek assistance from if for some reason their personal tutor is not available.

*Clinical lecturers, Practitioner Health lecturers, NHS mentors and social work practice learning tutors or equivalent may act as personal tutors. 

Postgraduate taught (PGT) students

  1. Every PGT student (full and part time, professional course, distance learning) should be allocated a personal tutor and informed of this at the start of their course. Schools should particularly ensure that PGT personal tutoring programmes provide:
    1. Review of feedback from early progress checks and advice and guidance on how to support the tutee’s development
    2. Opportunity to participate in the personal and professional  developmental opportunities available at Nottingham.

Postgradute reseach (PGR) students

PGR students should receive personal and academic support from their supervisor and from their School Postgraduate Student Adviser, as set out in the research degree programmes section of the Quality Manual.

School's responsibility regarding Senior Tutors

  1. Each school should appoint an appropriately experienced academic member of staff to act as a senior tutor and should keep the University Senior Tutor informed of the person given this role within the school. If they wish schools may decide to appoint multiple senior tutors with responsibility for different groups of students (e.g. undergraduates or postgraduates) or different units or divisions within their school if they feel that this will improve their overall delivery of student support and development.

2. Appropriate WLP time should be allocated to effectively perform this role.

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5. Role and Responsibilities of Senior Tutors

1. Senior tutors are responsible for coordinating the following activities within their school or part thereof:

1. Overseeing and coordinating the operation of student support and development and the personal tutoring system in their school/unit, and acting as a point of reference, advice and guidance for all personal tutors in their school/unit.

2. Producing and annually updating guidance for personal tutors in their school/unit as a local supplement to the University Guidance for Personal Tutors, and ensuring that all material is appropriately disseminated to all personal tutors in their school/unit.

3. Providing appropriate information and training for personal tutors to enable them to fulfil their role effectively.

4. Appropriate induction of new personal tutors.

5. Appropriate refresher training for all personal tutors should be organised biennially (Resources to provide such training are developed through working together with other senior tutors and shared via the STN) 

6. Assisting students in cases where the student feels unable to approach his/her designated personal tutor, including arranging allocation of a new personal tutor if necessary.

7. Advising the Head of school/unit on the adequacy of tutor/student ratios, and on any other matters relevant to the effectiveness of the school’s arrangements for personal tutoring, and on any matters related to student wellbeing and their impact on learning.

8. Reviewing all induction processes for new students in order to ensure their school/unit complies with its responsibilities in this area. The senior tutor needs to ensure that students are aware of the importance of participation in the personal tutoring programmes and the expectation to seek support as needed. 

9. Ensuring that school/unit handbooks for staff and students are updated on a regular basis in respect of information about personal tutoring arrangements in their school/unit and student support and development across the University.

10. Liaising closely with other colleagues with responsibilities for specific aspects of support for students’ learning and development such as the school’s disability liaison officer (DLO) over disability issues, the welfare officers for student welfare issues, the school’s careers and employability staff links and the appropriate staff in the student service centres.

11. Monitoring and enhancing the effectiveness of student support and development and the personal tutor system in their school by a range of means, including being members of their school/unit teaching and learning committees and liaising with the specialists services; collecting and responding to staff and student feedback (for example through learning community fora, personal tutoring programme evaluations), being part of extenuating circumstance panels/examination boards and consulting with colleagues in other schools.

12. Ensuring that student support, development and personal tutoring is an agenda item on all relevant school/unit committees, learning community fora and education meetings 

13. Ensuring annual updating and submission of the school/unit’s tutoring statement to the University Senior Tutor and communication of such tutoring statements to staff and students (for example by inclusion into appropriate staff and student handbooks).

2. All senior tutors automatically become members of the University’s Senior Tutor Network (STN), which they are expected to attend and actively participate in. International campus senior tutors liaise regularly with the University Senior Tutor and have access to the STN workspace. The STN meetings take place at scheduled times throughout the year and help, support and inform the senior tutors in their role, and act as a bidirectional conduit for relevant information to and from the University executive board (UEB). One member of the STN will be appointed as the University Senior Tutor. 

3. Newly appointed senior tutors are expected to engage in training for new senior tutors which is organised annually, if required, by the University Senior Tutor.

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6. Role and Responsibilities of Personal Tutors

As part of their school’s student support, development and personal tutoring programme all personal tutors in the University of Nottingham are expected to support, encourage and guide their tutees’ development so that all students are supported in maximising their academic potential, personal development and professional and employability skills acquisition throughout their time at Nottingham. Personal tutors can enable their tutees to achieve this degree of development by helping their tutees to regularly review their progress by encouraging self-appraisal and self-development strategies, by helping their tutees identify learning needs or goals and monitor their progress towards achieving their goals as well as exploring developmental opportunities available both within and outside the University.

The personal tutor will also act as a gateway to the wider support and development provision at the University.

Personal Tutors Responsibilities

1. Personal tutors are not expected to be able to advise on all matters of ‘personal and professional development and support’ however they are expected to have sufficient knowledge of both their school and the wider University to be able to assist students in finding the assistance they may require. Such information will be made available to them via training or their senior tutor.

1. Upon appointment as a personal tutor, they are expected to undertake appropriate induction and training and thereafter attend refresher training on a biennial basis (this can be via professional development or organised by the school/unit senior tutor) and as appropriate within this period.

2. Where personal tutor meetings are not timetabled, personal tutors are expected to be available to meet/make contact for a developmental/personal tutoring meeting with their tutees a minimum of three times per academic year (once per term). In addition to this, for first year undergraduate students, an additional introductory meeting/contact should be arranged, ordinarily within the first two weeks of the first term. For PGT students, students on placement or exchange, this contact may not be face-to-face and can be email, skype, telephone or other.

3. In addition to these scheduled meetings/contact, personal tutors should ensure that their tutees are able to contact them for additional guidance and support.

4. Personal tutoring meetings/contact should provide an opportunity for the personal tutor to encourage their student’s developmental action planning/goal setting and reflection on performance, skills acquisition and employability

5. Personal tutors are expected to challenge their students to make the most they can of their experience of studying at the University of Nottingham. In part, if appropriate, they will do this by signalling to the wide range of opportunities made available by the University (e.g. The Nottingham Advantage Award and CES and the student Union). 

6. All personal tutors are expected to be familiar with the University’s guidance for personal tutors in this entry, as well as their own school/unit’s supplementary guidance for personal tutors, and to keep abreast of updates to this material.

7. Personal tutors are expected to provide their tutees with references for employment and further studies.

2. Schools may choose to use in whole or part of the ePAR system to facilitate personal tutor meetings, however this may be replaced in due course by campus solutions.

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7. Personal Development Goals

1. Schools are encouraged to give students the opportunity to set personal and professional/employability development goals at each personal tutor meeting. Personal and professional/employability developmental goals may relate to any area of potential achievement other than those for which students are explicitly provided with an assessment grade or academic award.

2. By setting, achieving and reflecting on their academic performance and their personal and professional/employability developmental goals, students may be assisted in maximising their experience of their time at the University of Nottingham, and should improve their employability prospects and their general wellbeing.

3. It is suggested that the best goals will be simple, tangible, memorable and potentially achievable.

4. Examples of some goals may include:

  • Participation in the Nottingham Advantage Award (NAA)
  • Investigating work placement or final employment options and identifying possible companies to apply to
  • Undertaking a volunteering activity
  • Helping to run a student society
  • Becoming a member of the hall of residence committee or team
  • Learning about another society or culture
  • Improving writing/research skills• Increasing levels of tutorial contribution
  • Identifying and applying for study abroad/campus mobility options
  • Developing ideas for a dissertation topic

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8. Personal and Academic Records (PARs)

Each School’s student support and development arrangements should include the provision to enable every undergraduate student studying for a University award to maintain their own personal and academic record (PAR). PARs should at a minimum be able to incorporate information on a student’s academic programme, and a record of their scheduled personal tutor meetings.

All students should be provided by their School with information detailing how their PAR can be maintained.

The University provides an online ePAR resource that schools may adopt in whole or part in order to assist in maintaining PARs and/or facilitating their personal tutor systems and meetings. However, it is up to each individual school to determine whether the ePAR system best meets the needs of its students and personal tutors in delivering student support and development. Alternative forms of record include those based around PAR folders or student portfolios.

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9. Policy on Providing Printed Materials for Students  

Each School/ Department is required to provide the following to studnets:

• Materials that address a whole module / term / semester of activity (e.g. module handbooks, collection of lecture notes, set of problem class exercises, lab instructions) may be printed, bound and distributed at the beginning of the module in addition to the online provision as required by the Moodle Everywhere mandate.

• Materials designed to support in-class activities (e.g. gapped handouts, task sheets, material on current issues) should be printed and distributed in class. Colleagues are asked to make realistic estimates of numbers required.

• Copies of presentation slides, or written notes that do not require student input for completion, should not be printed unless as part of a whole module’s provision that is distributed at the start of the module. An exception may be made for the first lecture or two in the first year of study as students may not be familiar with the policy. 

Students should be made aware of the nature of the provision they can expect in the school, to allow them to plan their personal printing accordingly. 

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10. Central Support Services

The following central support services are responsible for providing student support and development. 

Academic Support

Academic Support offers support for both students with study difficulties and those who wish to develop ability to study effectively. It also provides specialist academic support for both dyslexic students and disabled students and is a recognised Assessment Centre for those who wish to apply for Disabled Students' Allowances.

Accommodation Office

The Accommodation Office provides assistance in finding suitable accommodation and information provision relating to the same.

Careers and Employability Service 

The Careers and Employability Service provides:

  • Structured support in acquiring and developing the knowledge and skills required in managing career development, including:
  • awareness of opportunities including access to information about the widest possible range of potential careers and further study.
  • awareness of their own characteristics, interests and values, and of the impact of these on career choice and decision-making.
  • the making of career plans and decisions, and strategies for their implementation.
  • the development of effective job-seeking skills and behaviours.
  • Support and guidance in producing effective applications for employment and further study including, where appropriate, an effective CV.

Counselling Service

Counselling is a free, confidential service available to all student and staff members. Counsellors are professionally qualified and work within the ethical framework for good practice as published by British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. 

Disability Support Team

The Disability Support Team co-ordinates a network of Disability Liaison Officers, appointed in each school as a point of reference on disability issues. The unit also ensures that the University keeps abreast of developments in disability issues and has launched a Disability Plan for Students to ensure that the University is able to comply with the relevant legislation.

Financial Support

Financial Support provides information about financial matters (including fees, student loans, bursaries and scholarships), as well as access to hardship support and information on the same.

The International Office

The International Office is responsible for the recruitment and welfare of international students at the University. An experienced team of dedicated staff advise and support students from their initial enquiry, throughout the application process and give ongoing support on issues such as immigration, employment, finance, personal and family concerns, and academic difficulties.

Centre for English Language Education

The Centre for English Language Education (CELE) at The University of Nottingham provides English language and academic study skills support for international students. Pre-sessional courses are for students intending to study at Nottingham and who need to improve their academic language and study skills.  In-sessional courses provide support for students during their studies at Nottingham. CELE credit-bearing courses in English Language and academic development are available to exchange, study abroad and other undergraduate international students. The Centre can support academic departments through bespoke and short courses to improve students' English for academic purposes. Finally, CELE is able to run pre- and in-service teacher training courses for teachers of English as a Foreign Language and English for Academic Purposes.

The Graduate School

The Graduate School provides a focus for postgraduate education and represents the needs of postgraduate students within the University. The school offers a comprehensive range of research training courses to all postgraduate research students to enable them to make the most of their research activities. Presentation skills courses are also available and should be taken by anyone applying for one of the prestigious prizes offered by the Graduate School to support research students who wish to present their research at a national or international conference

Other support services available to students include:

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11. Student Responsibilities

All students need to appreciate that a successful undergraduate or postgraduate career will involve more than passing assessments to achieve a University award. The University both centrally and at a school level provides a wide range of support and development services intended both to assist students in difficulty, and to improve the wellbeing, personal and academic development, understanding of University practices, employability and sense of community of every student. However, it is the responsibility of every student to gain an adequate knowledge of what services are available to and appropriate for them, and to make use of these services as their individual needs and circumstances require.

In particular, students should make all reasonable efforts to prepare for and attend all scheduled meetings with their personal tutor, and to keep their personal tutor informed of their personal development progress. Students are reminded that they are likely to require references for employment or further study from their personal tutor, and that it is unreasonable to expect their personal tutor to be able to supply an adequate reference if they have not engaged in a reasonable level of interaction with them.

Students must keep their School informed of circumstances that may impact on their progress and which may require personal support at either a School or University level.

12. Monitoring of Student Support and Development

Each School should take steps to monitor the effectiveness of its arrangements for the provision of student support and development. The Senior Tutor(s) should take a lead role in undertaking such monitoring.

One aspect of University School Review of Schools is to determine whether adequate provision is made overall for student support and development support in line with this section of the Quality Manual.

Central support services providing student support and development are subject to periodic review by the University.

It is the responsibility of the University Senior Tutor to monitor the operation of student support and development across the University and to bring issues of concern to relevant University committees.

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Last updated 28 September 2017


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